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Some Flim-Flam with Socks

Adam Kuper: Laurens vander Post, 3 January 2002

Storyteller: The Many Lives of Laurens vander Post 
by J.D.F. Jones.
Murray, 505 pp., £25, September 2001, 0 7195 5580 9
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... In 1972, when his reputation was close to its peak, Laurens vander Post published a novel called A Story like the Wind. Reviewing it in the TLS, I wrote that it was an old-fashioned colonial romance, but since the book carried a portentous preface in which Van derPost described himself as a great authority on Africa, I added that his statements about the Bushmen, the Zulu and other peoples were unreliable and tinged with racism, and that much of his material was drawn uncritically (without acknowledgment) from outdated sources ...

Van der Posture

J.D.F. Jones, 3 February 1983

Yet Being Someone Other 
by Laurens vander Post.
Hogarth, 352 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7012 1900 9
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... lose touch with our own humanity. Thus the Prince of Wales, in an interview with the Washington Post. How serious, one might say, and how admirable, and how surprising in one so young – and apparently so unconsoled by child-bride, son and heir, and the loyal affection of his subjects. The tone, however, seems familiar. Haven’t we heard this sort of ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... archdeacon with a sideline in African magic’. In his youth he had collaborated with Campbell and Laurens vander Post on the literary magazine Voorslag, then the only thing of its kind in South Africa. Voorslag brought out some of Campbell’s earliest and best poems, like ‘Tristan da Cunha’, whose rhetorical ...

Can-do Rhodie

Polly Hope: African childhoods, 8 August 2002

Before the Knife: Memories of an African Childhood 
by Carolyn Slaughter.
Doubleday, 254 pp., £12.99, March 2002, 0 385 60344 4
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Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood 
by Alexandra Fuller.
Picador, 310 pp., £15.99, February 2002, 0 330 49023 0
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The Healing Land: A Kalahari Journey 
by Rupert Isaacson.
Fourth Estate, 272 pp., £7.99, February 2002, 9781857028973
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... they became a central and useful trope for generations of white African writers, most notoriously Laurens vander Post. Here were the original people: kindly, gentle nomads who really understood the land without ever wanting to own or work it. And conveniently, they were almost extinct. As with all anthropological ...

Short Cuts

Jenny Diski: HRH, 4 November 2010

... and for nanny murderers than the murdered nanny) started the Ecologist magazine, supported by Laurens vander Post (spiritual mentor to the Prince of Wales), which suggested in its first issue that it might be an idea to offer the public ‘a bounty for submitting to sterilisation’. What makes me think of ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Meeting the Royals, 19 February 2015

... outside the royal box – as a thinker, he’s still conjuring with the late Jungian blether of Laurens vander Post – and Mayer turns to gossip and simmering insider resentments to help her fashion a more vivid picture. Clarence House, his London residence, is apparently known as Wolf Hall, where no opinion ...


R.W. Johnson, 2 December 1993

The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... was that [he] wasn’t killed in the war’, the batty Keith Joseph, the transparently pretentious Laurens vander Post, the relentlessly downmarket Norman Tebbit and Alfred Sherman who, though Jewish himself, risked his career to invite the notorious anti-semite Jean-Marie Le Pen to the Tory Conference. The ...

Is this successful management?

R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989

One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... company of other marginalised men – cranks like Alfred Sherman and Paul Johnson, mystics like Laurens vander Post and the born-again Brian Griffiths, embittered outcasts like Enoch Powell and Ray Honeyford, men like Bernard Ingham and John Hoskyns whose previous Labour sympathies made them oddities in the ...

Fear in Those Blue Eyes

David Runciman: Thatcher in Her Bubble, 3 December 2015

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. II: Everything She Wants 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 821 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 7139 9288 5
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... transition to black majority rule’ was put at ‘perhaps 5 per cent’. She also listened to Laurens vander Post, who told her that sanctions were ‘immoral’ and the key was to ‘get a majority against the extreme blacks by forming an alliance of Whites-Indians-Coloureds-Zulus-S. African Swazis’. In ...

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