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Notes from an Outpost

Kenneth White

6 July 1989
... I am just back at my home in Brittany after a week’s moving round Britain doing talks and readings on the occasion of my return to English-language publishing after twenty years’ absence. Before going further into this return, which I do not see as any kind of ‘come-back’, but as a new departure, maybe I should lay out the reasons for that long absence and silence in the English-language field ...

Heimat

David Craig

6 July 1989
A Search for Scotland 
by R.F. Mackenzie.
Collins, 280 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 00 215185 5
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A Claim of Right for Scotland 
edited by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 202 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6022 4
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The Eclipse of Scottish Culture 
by Craig Beveridge and Ronald Turnbull.
Polygon, 121 pp., £6.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6000 3
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The Bird Path: Collected Longer Poems 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 239 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 245 2
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Travels in the Drifting Dawn 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 160 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 240 1
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... R.F. Mackenzie, veteran champion and practitioner of libertarian schooling, travels Scotland towards the end of his life, gauging morale and wondering what system could help young folk to flourish. KennethWhite, a Glaswegian based in Brittany and professor at the Sorbonne, is for ever wondering, as he walks the beaches of Western Europe, which place is home for him. Beveridge and Turnbull, young ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett

7 November 1985
... I live sandwiched between the houses of Chateaubriand and Saint-Simon. From here I go daily to cross steps with Jacques Laurent (Prix Goncourt, Grand Prix de I’ Académie Française), Max Gallo, KennethWhite (Prix Médicis Etranger), Jean-Edern Hallier, Marcel Schneider, Bernard Frank, Sartre when he was alive, Barthes likewise, Jean Genet, Wolfromm, Françoise Giroud, Le Roy Ladurie (who loafs by ...
17 April 1980
Race, Sex and Class under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and their Critics 
by Kenneth​ Ballhatchet.
Weidenfeld, 199 pp., £9.50, January 1980, 0 297 77646 0
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Queen Victoria’s Maharajah: Duleep Singh 1838-1898 
by Michael Alexander and Sushila Anand.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £9.95, February 1980, 0 297 77656 8
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... usually consisted of distinctions of dress, comportment and speech, and of restrictions on commensality and connubium. In Western societies they have operated within the cultural framework of class. Kenneth Ballhatchet takes the equally familiar notion that in colonial societies alien minority rule translated class distinctions into those of race. In India he sees the social aloofness of the ruling ...

At Tate Britain (2)

Rosemary Hill: Kenneth​ Clark

2 July 2014
... In part ten​ of Civilisation, Kenneth Clark turned his attention to the Enlightenment, the age of the great amateurs. These were men ‘rich and independent enough to do what they liked’, who nevertheless did things which required ...

Modern Shakespeare

Graham Bradshaw

21 April 1983
The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by H.J. Oliver.
Oxford, 248 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812907 6
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Henry V 
edited by Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 330 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812912 2
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth​ Muir.
Oxford, 205 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812903 3
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth​ Palmer.
Methuen, 337 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 416 47680 5
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... keep our aunt. Is she worth keeping? – Why, she is a pearl Whose price hath launch’d above a thousand ships, and it is perfectly clear that ‘her’ and ‘she’ refer to Helen throughout. If Kenneth Palmer had retained the Folio colon after ‘aunt’, it would be necessary to explain in a note that the first ‘she’ does not refer to Aunty Hesione. It may be argued that this is what notes are ...
23 September 1993
Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices 
by Shelley Fishkin.
Oxford, 270 pp., £17.50, June 1993, 0 19 508214 1
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Black Legacy: America’s Hidden Heritage 
by William Piersen.
Massachusetts, 264 pp., £36, August 1993, 9780870238543
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Black and White​ Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism 
by Kenneth​ Warren.
Chicago, 178 pp., £21.95, August 1993, 0 226 87384 6
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... Was Huckleberry Finn black? Of course he wasn’t. By today’s accredited categories he was poor, male, white trash. So what – besides a desire to be arresting – lies behind Professor Fishkin’s clearly tendentious title? Mark Twain, Clifton Fadiman wrote, is ‘our Chaucer, our Homer, our Dante, our ...

Sea Creatures

Peter Campbell

23 July 1987
Sidney Nolan: Such is life 
by Brian Adams.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.95, June 1987, 0 09 168430 7
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Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures 
by John Wilmerding.
Viking, 208 pp., £25, September 1987, 9780670817665
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Faces 1966-1984 
by David Hockney and Marco Livingstone.
Thames and Hudson, 96 pp., £8.95, June 1987, 0 500 27464 9
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... They were Irish, working-class, lapsed Catholics. Sidney left school at 14 and spent his late teens in irregular employment and part-time art education. He could not draw well enough for Mr Leyshon-White’s commercial art agency, so he ran the correspondence course. He enjoyed writing to rural amateurs telling them how bad their work was. Later he made advertising displays and did a little modelling ...

Soul Bellow

Craig Raine

12 November 1987
More die of heartbreak 
by Saul Bellow.
Alison Press/Secker, 335 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 436 03962 1
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... up an endless supply of rich details. Nothing is too small for him to notice. In Humboldt’s Gift, it might be a clothesline, ‘old and dark grey’: ‘It had burst open and was giving up its white pith.’ Or it might be a locker room, where ‘hair pieces like Skye terriers waited for their masters’; or a courtroom, where a lawyer called Cannibal Pinsker has ‘a large yellow cravat that ...
5 April 1984
Labour in Power 1945-1951 
by Kenneth​ Morgan.
Oxford, 546 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 19 215865 1
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... reminiscences are no longer a substitute for scholarship. The passage of time requires greater detachment and the professional skills of the historian. But it must be disturbing when academics in white coats come to take you away for intense observation in the oral history ward. If the old identify too closely with the ideas and emotions of the past, the young have difficulty in understanding them ...
10 December 1998
Between Us Girls 
by Joe Orton.
Hern, 224 pp., £14.99, October 1998, 1 85459 374 9
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‘Fred & Madge’ and ‘The Visitors’ 
by Joe Orton.
Hern, 224 pp., £12.99, October 1998, 1 85459 354 4
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... failed the 11-plus, spent six months in prison, and was bludgeoned to death at the age of 34. He wrote Between Us Girls in 1957, after he had ended a period of collaboration with his lover and mentor Kenneth Halliwell. A classics scholar and failed actor, Halliwell was devoted to the gay literary canon avant la lettre, and had tutored Orton in the homosexual literary tradition from the Greeks to Genet ...

Downhill Racer

John Sutherland

16 August 1990
Lying together 
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 255 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 575 04802 6
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The Neon Bible 
by John Kennedy Toole.
Viking, 162 pp., £12.99, March 1990, 0 670 82908 0
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Solomon Gursky was here 
by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 576 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 394 53995 8
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Death of the Soap Queen 
by Peter Prince.
Bloomsbury, 277 pp., £13.99, April 1990, 0 7475 0611 6
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... letting go – as it has now done.’ It would have been convenient for Thomas’s career if the work had let go earlier. He began the ‘Russian Nights’ enterprise on the crest of a wave. The White Hotel (1981) catapulted him to international fame. It was a novelist’s fairy-tale: ignored or ridiculed as high-falutin’ pornography in the UK, Thomas’s Freudian fantasia sold only a few ...

To Fiji with Measles

Terence Ranger: Plagues

4 February 1999
The Black Death and the Transformation of the West 
by David Herlihy.
Harvard, 117 pp., £17.95, October 1997, 0 674 07613 3
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Plague, Pox and Pestilence 
edited by Kenneth​ Kiple.
Weidenfeld, 176 pp., £25, January 1997, 0 297 82254 3
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Epidemics and History: Disease, Power and Imperialism 
by Sheldon Watts.
Yale, 400 pp., £30, January 1997, 0 300 07015 2
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... So-called World History originated in an attempt to escape from the tyrannical perspective of dead white Euro-American males, yet that ‘world’ perspective has had the effect of making those same males more dominant than ever. Thus Eric Wolf’s Europe and the People Without History (1982), however ...
4 December 1986
The Orton Diaries 
edited by John Lahr.
Methuen, 307 pp., £12.50, November 1986, 0 413 49660 0
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... I fucked him up against a wall.’ An ordinary participant, an ugly Scotsman perhaps, might have stopped there, or discussed his feelings. Orton concludes: ‘the sleeve of my rainmac is covered with white-wash from the wall. It won’t come off.’ All emotion, all sensation, is edited out. But the scene is there – horribly vivid, carefully written. Because Orton’s prose is naturally flat and ...

Diary

Norman Buchan: In Defence of the Word

1 October 1987
... We do not wish newspapers to fall into too few hands’: Kenneth Clarke, Trade and Industry Minister. ‘There could hardly be a more obvious increase in concentration than acquisition of a fifth national newspaper by a group which already owns four’: Sir Zelman ...

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