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Pretty Things

Peter Campbell

21 February 1980
by Kit Williams.
Cape, 32 pp., £3.50, September 1980, 0 224 01617 2
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Beauty and the Beast 
by Rosemary Harris and Errol Le Cain.
Faber, 32 pp., £3.50, October 1980, 0 571 11374 5
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Mazel and Shlimazel 
by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Margot Zemach.
Cape, 42 pp., £3.95, November 1980, 0 224 01758 6
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La Corona 
by Russell Hoban and Nicola Bayley.
Cape, 32 pp., £3.50, September 1980, 0 224 01397 1
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by Anthony Taber.
Gollancz, 80 pp., £4.50, September 1980, 0 575 02664 2
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Comic and Curious Cats 
by Angela Carter and Martin Leman.
Gollancz, 32 pp., £3.50, April 1980, 0 575 02592 1
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The Wild Washerwomen 
by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake.
Hamish Hamilton, 32 pp., £3.75, October 1980, 0 241 89928 1
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... thing most likely to be lost sight of is the importance of words. The picture books that last do so because they are good to read, give reader and listener pleasure, irritate neither. The success of KitWilliams’s Masquerade certainly cannot be explained by its prose style. ‘The dewy vapours of her gown fell soft upon the land’ or ‘It was in thus doing that the unhappy Moon was the ...

Avoid the Orient

Colm Tóibín: The Ghastly Paul Bowles

4 January 2007
Paul Bowles: A Life 
by Virginia Spencer Carr.
Peter Owen, 431 pp., £19.95, July 2005, 0 7206 1254 3
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... no shame. He does what he pleases with all the young boys, and the men too, and gives them a shilling so they won’t tell about it.’ In publishing these stories Bowles joined Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams and James Baldwin as one of the pioneers of gay fiction in America. Williams read ‘The Delicate Prey’ while accompanying Bowles to Tangier on the SS Vulcania in December 1948. ‘It was a stormy ...

An Actor’s War

Hugo Williams

18 April 1985
... Second World War Before the British public I was once a leading man, Now behind a British private I just follow, if I can.                                  Hugh Williams March Well, here we are in our Tropical Kit – shirts and shorts and little black toques, looking like a lot of hikers or cyclists with dead bluebells on the handlebars. It seems we have at last ...

Aspects of My Case

Hugo Williams

21 April 1983
... I, 1087-1066’. I could smell the aeroplane glue on his fingers as he took hold of my ear. I stood in the corner near the insect case, remembering my bike. I had the John Bull Puncture Repair Kit in my pocket: glass paper, rubber solution, patches, chalk and grater, spare valves. I was ‘riding dead’ – freewheeling downhill with my arms folded and my eyes shut, looking Mr Ray in the eye ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: ‘British Folk Art’

2 July 2014
... since then, but surely the grace note of the lines drawn on the eyes follows the initial artist’s inspiration.) ‘The Blue Ship’ by Alfred Wallis (1934). ‘The Four Alls’ pub sign by D.J. Williams (c.1850). Unicorn figurehead, date unknown. Calcutta figurehead, date unknown. ‘Goose Woman’ by George Smart (c.1830). ‘Sunbeam’ by Gunner Baldie (c.1830). ‘The Tailor’s Coverlet’ by ...


Denis Donoghue

2 February 1984
Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... are William Morris, T.H. Green, John Maynard Keynes, R.G. Collingwood, F.R. Leavis, George Orwell, Adrian Stokes, Tony Crosland – as he calls him – Richard Titmuss, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, John Berger, E.P. Thompson and Isaiah Berlin. If you need a stereotype of the English socialist, you may as well take this one as any other, though it’s hard to do any worthwhile thinking so long ...

Let’s to billiards

Stephen Walsh: Constant Lambert

22 January 2015
Constant Lambert: Beyond the Rio Grande 
by Stephen Lloyd.
Boydell, 584 pp., £45, March 2014, 978 1 84383 898 2
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... Schoenberg and especially Berg, loathed Stravinsky, preferred Satie to Debussy, thought Sibelius the greatest symphonist since Beethoven, had no interest in folksong (though he studied with Vaughan Williams and liked and respected him), adored jazz for its virtuosity and instrumental sound but had little patience with most of the so-called symphonic jazz of the 1920s. The key to this apparent ragbag of ...

His v. Hers

Mark Ford

9 March 1995
In Touch: The Letters of Paul Bowles 
edited by Jeffrey Miller.
HarperCollins, 604 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 00 255535 2
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... Review in 1947, and caused quite a stir. On the strength of it Bowles was offered an advance on his first novel, and set off for the Sahara. There he wrote The Sheltering Sky, in which the heroine Kit suffers a similar derangement of the senses; on the death of her husband Port from typhoid fever she joins a caravan of Arabs crossing the desert, is raped, imprisoned, brutalised, and ends up as ...
1 October 1998
Bodies of Law 
by Alan Hyde.
Princeton, 290 pp., £39.50, July 1997, 0 691 01229 6
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... he invokes Monique Wittig and Julia Kristeva, and heats the whole by the halogen sparkle of the superanovae of the American cultural empyrean – Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Patricia J. Williams, Catherine MacKinnon. ‘Can we conceptualise people as people in relations?’ he asks. ‘Can we create a bodily discourse of pleasure, or sexuality? Can we develop a constitutional jurisprudence ...
18 August 1994
Essays, Mainly Shakespearean 
by Anne Barton.
Cambridge, 386 pp., £40, March 1994, 0 521 40444 4
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English Comedy 
edited by Michael Cordner, Peter Holland and John Kerrigan.
Cambridge, 323 pp., £35, March 1994, 0 521 41917 4
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... of the enterprise. But it all goes wrong. ‘Methinks I could not die anywhere so contented as in the King’s company – his cause being just and his quarrel honourable,’ says the disguised King; Williams answers, ‘That’s more than we know.’ We sense at once in Henry’s words the fatal element of rhetorical assumption; the King heartily assumes a willingness to die in (his own) company, after ...
19 July 1984
Faces of Philip: A Memoir of Philip Toynbee 
by Jessica Mitford.
Heinemann, 175 pp., £9.95, July 1984, 0 434 46802 9
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... family disappeared next day and, journeying thirty miles by sea and road, returned bearing a bottle containing a thousand aspirins. All was now well. Inadvertently they had left their own euthanasia kit at home, but now they could kill themselves and their children if nuclear war began. Once he was with his friends the clown in him boxed the ears of the philosopher. A kind of honesty told him that ...

Did Harold really get it in the eye?

Patrick Wormald: The Normans

3 June 2004
The Battle of Hastings, 1066 
by M.K. Lawson.
Tempus, 288 pp., £16.99, October 2003, 0 7524 1998 6
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The Normans: The History of a Dynasty 
by David Crouch.
Hambledon, 345 pp., £25, July 2002, 1 85285 387 5
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Domesday Book: A Complete Translation 
edited by Ann Williams and G.H. Martin.
Penguin, 1436 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 14 143994 7
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... the mounted charge with lance at rest (only one or two combatants in the tapestry do anything like that), or that this was a freshly ‘feudal’ society confronting ploughboys carrying superannuated kit. More to the point was the all-round professionalism and esprit honed by constant conflict all over 11th-century France. For more than a century this fighting style carried almost all before it ...


Iain Sinclair

6 June 1996
... Whitehead video. American poets in those days, with their crisper sense of history and occasion, wore suits and ties. I’d read the free-wheeling interviews in fugitive magazines, such as Arthur and Kit Knight’s The Beat Diary. I’d clocked Corso, along with the other survivors, on the conference circuit. Bearded, lived-in faces confronted by batteries of microphones – as if on trial ...

The Man in the Clearing

Iain Sinclair: Meeting Gary Snyder

24 May 2012
... in Portland with Snyder and Philip Whalen, a formidable Pacific Rim triumvirate of youthful poets and seekers. Heavily dosed on Gertrude Stein, and fired up by a chance encounter with William Carlos Williams, Welch was confirmed in his destiny as an outsider, a casual labourer, cab driver, fisherman, backwoods hermit. He had his task, as writer and recorder, but, unlike Snyder, he never found his place ...


Iain Sinclair: The Thames

25 June 2009
Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... contacts and alliances with New York poets, slim volumes put out by Andrew Crozier’s Ferry Press, Ackroyd knew more than enough about the glittering particulars of Charles Olson and William Carlos Williams to give them their due, while gliding effortlessly in another direction. One of the characters in The Great Fire of London calms his rising panic by swimming lap after lap in a neighbourhood pool, a ...

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