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Eric Hobsbawm: My Days as a Jazz Critic, 27 May 2010

... so evidently dear to the new and talented Angry Young Men. When, needing some money, I saw that Kingsley Amis wrote in the Observer on a subject about which he obviously knew no more and possibly less than I did, I called a friend at the New Statesman. He arranged a meeting with the editor, Kingsley Martin, then at ...

‘No Bullshit’ Bullshit

Stefan Collini: Christopher Hitchens, Englishman, 23 January 2003

Orwell's Victory 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Allen Lane, 150 pp., £9.99, June 2002, 9780713995848
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... alongside a couple of other collections that have recently appeared in paperback, Martin Amis’s The War against Cliché and Frank Kermode’s Pleasing Myself. That’s a tough poker table to ask anyone to sit at, and it’s impressive that some of Hitchens’s best pieces, or at least some of his best paragraphs, don’t seem out of place. It’s ...


Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... the very outset you find within a couple of pages The Great Tradition, A Girl in Winter, a poem by Kingsley Amis, Four Quartets, Brideshead Revisited, Nineteen Eighty-Four, William Cooper, Angus Wilson, Horizon, architectural Modernism and the Festival of Britain. Just as you think something important is going to be left out it turns up: the bourgeois ...


Ian Hamilton: Who will blow it?, 22 May 1997

... but suspect in defence. In other words, too good for their own good. No wonder we like them, as Kingsley Amis used to say, though not of course re soccer. On paper, certainly, with their expensive foreign stars, both teams ought to have done better in the Premiership contest, what we used to call the League. Chelsea, as I write, are in sixth place and ...

Scots wha hae gone to England

Donald Davie, 9 July 1992

Devolving English Literature 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 320 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198112983
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Scottish Poetry 
edited by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 424 pp., £17.50, July 1992, 9780571154319
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... or Aberdonian, then who is left to man the supposedly overbearing metropolis, unless it is Kingsley Amis and John Betjeman? The ramparts so frailly manned should have given way long ago to the armies massed against them. What Crawford doesn’t realise is that this indeed has happened; he is sounding the bugle for an assault on a fortress that ...

Short Cuts

James Francken: The Booker Prize shortlist, 2 November 2000

... costume wasn’t quite challenging enough for him, however: he ran the 26 miles in Antarctica. (Kingsley Amis was satisfied to have come last but one in his school’s under-twelves 440 yards: Booker contenders aren’t meant to be that good at Games.) The set-up of Collins’s novel is engaging. Bill is a feckless sports hack working on a rinky-dink ...

Miss Skippit

Andrew O’Hagan, 18 February 2021

... of an Oxford college. He recalled an occasion in the late 1950s when he was a student himself and Kingsley Amis had come to address his college’s literary society. When Amis eventually asked for questions, a young woman said something that came as a surprise. ‘Can you give us your “Sex Life in Ancient ...

What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens, 10 January 1991

Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... in Charlotte Street. Here was a then-regular sodality, consisting at different times of Kingsley Amis, Bernard Levin, Robert Conquest, Anthony Powell, Russell Lewis and assorted others, and calling itself with heavy and definite self-mockery ‘Bertorelli’s Blackshirts’. The conversational scheme was simple (I think it had evolved from a ...


Theo Tait: Beyond the Barnes persona, 1 September 2005

Arthur & George 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 360 pp., £17.99, July 2005, 0 224 07703 1
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... that he belonged to a less restless generation – that he was a contemporary of Larkin and Kingsley Amis, for instance. Would we have lost much? Metroland (1981) would have been very similar (though probably angrier): a traditional but spirited coming-of-age novel. Flaubert’s Parrot would have been a straight essay. It would have had the same ...

Women and the Novel

Marilyn Butler, 7 June 1984

Stanley and the Women 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 256 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 09 156240 6
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... Like Norman Mailer in America, Kingsley Amis has made a career out of being nasty to women. Even in the days of low consciousness, Lucky Jim had liberals protesting at its treatment of the academic spinster Margaret, a woman whose sole offence was to be physically unattractive to young men. As the woman question has grown more noticeable, Amis’s gallery of male chauvinists has grown too, until in Stanley and the Women he has created a world in which only men appear to communicate with one another, and their favourite topic is their dislike of women ...

Keep yr gob shut

Christopher Tayler: Larkin v. Amis, 20 December 2012

The Odd Couple: The Curious Friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin 
by Richard Bradford.
Robson, 373 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84954 375 0
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... the poor, most other writers, other people in general and, much of the time, himself. Kingsley Amis, the addressee of many colourful Larkin bulletins, had written to his pen pal in 1956 of the ‘feast … awaiting chaps when we’re both dead and our complete letters come out’. He was, he said, vastly amused by the debates occasioned by ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Trip to Echo Spring’, 12 September 2013

... God help him if he isn’t sober for the time it takes to get the thing down. Where you once had Kingsley Amis and Ian Hamilton, imbibing and describing for all they were worth, you now have young men who constantly pat their pockets, plead poverty, dodge their round and worry about their deadlines, in ways that would have made Dylan Thomas reach for ...


Stefan Collini: The Movement, 25 June 2009

The Movement Reconsidered: Essays on Larkin, Amis, Gunn, Davie and Their Contemporaries 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 336 pp., £18.99, May 2009, 978 0 19 955825 4
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... There is much about their writing and behaviour, that of Larkin and his close friend Kingsley Amis in particular, which contemporary sensibility finds parochial, conservative and sometimes offensive. For some years now, condemning these writers has been a means of affirming one’s credentials as progressive and internationalist, as pro or ...

Liber Amoris

Christopher Hitchens, 28 May 1992

The Russian Girl 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 296 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 0 09 174536 5
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... Two core propositions occupy the centre of Sir Kingsley’s fiction, and are doggedly reflected in his occasional journalism, his memoirs, his poetry and his conversation. Rendered as questions, these propositions make it vitally necessary to ask, of everything: ‘Is it any good?’ and ‘Is it nice, or is it nasty?’ (Amazingly, he himself answers in the affirmative when these questions concern, of all crappy things, Science Fiction ...

Inside Out

John Bayley, 4 September 1980

The Collected Ewart 1933-1980 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 412 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 09 141000 2
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Selected Poems and Prose 
by Michael Roberts, edited by Frederick Grubb.
Carcanet, 205 pp., £7.95, June 1980, 0 85635 263 2
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... just because on those terms of art there is nothing there to dislike. Beside Ewart, Byron, and Kingsley Amis, look like shy dreamers, confiding in the reader their sense of themselves as essentially regular fellows, but doing it in such a way that he can look down on them for it, or at least patronise. Keats sighed to write what he thought Byron ...

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