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Why do it, Sarah?

Blake Morrison: ‘The Glass Kingdom’, 18 March 2021

The Glass Kingdom 
by Lawrence Osborne.
Hogarth, 304 pp., £16.99, August 2020, 978 1 78109 078 7
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... consequences be for the interloper? Which will prevail, revenge or forgiveness?Four of the novels Lawrence Osborne has published over the last decade – The Forgiven (2012), Hunters in the Dark (2015), Beautiful Animals (2017) and The Glass Kingdom (2020) – follow this pattern, with a fifth, The Ballad of a Small Player (2014), that varies it by ...


Susannah Clapp, 23 July 1987

A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... working on the film of Look back in anger she met the ‘golden-haired, blue-eyed Apollo’, John Osborne – a man she declares ‘incapable of feeling either sexual jealousy or sexual guilt’. This incapacity came in handy. When his musical about gossip columnists flopped, he took off for the Continent with his designer – leaving his wife surrounded by ...

Come along, Alcibiades

John Bayley, 25 January 1996

Terence Rattigan: A Biography 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fourth Estate, 428 pp., £20, October 1995, 1 85702 201 7
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... was still going up on Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables. As soon as they saw the first act of Osborne’s play, the audience at the Royal Court suddenly and spontaneously knew that Rattigan’s already famous piece was flat, stale, unreal, unconfident, artificial, class-ridden. And that no doubt was the case; although, as Christopher Innes pointed out in ...

Ejected Gentleman

Norman Page, 7 May 1987

John Galsworthy’s Life and Art: An Alien’s Fortress 
by James Gindin.
Macmillan, 616 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 333 40812 8
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... and he was being regarded as a shining light of the ‘new drama’, a sort of Edwardian John Osborne, and was joining in the controversy about the licensing of plays by the Lord Chamberlain’s office, a foreshadowing of the direction his energies would take in his later years. There followed, in rapid succession, a long list of novels and plays, mostly ...

Political Purposes

Frances Spalding: Art in postwar Britain, 15 April 1999

New Art New World: British Art in Postwar Society 
by Margaret Garlake.
Yale, 279 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 300 07292 9
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Cultural Offensive: America’s Impact on British Art since 1945 
by John Walker.
Pluto, 304 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 7453 1321 3
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... contrast to the avant-garde painters and sculptors associated with St Ives, where, as the critic Lawrence Alloway wryly noted, ‘the landscape is so nice nobody can quite bring themselves to leave it out in their art.’ Critical debate was lively and healthily factionalised, with Patrick Heron upholding a formalist approach in opposition to John Berger’s ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor, 18 February 2016

The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... that devotes far more of its time to writers like the Sitwells than it does to Joyce, Pound and Lawrence, all three of whom receive no more than a handful of glancing allusions in the book as a whole. There is a single brief reference to Pound’s Cantos and four mentions of Wyndham Lewis. Sylvia Plath’s name surfaces only twice. The study is rich in ...

Lost Jokes

Alan Bennett, 2 August 1984

... the presentation of ‘Speak for England, Arthur’, the play within the play. The memoirs of T.E. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf occur in the original script and the visit to the country house on the eve of the First War, but these are presented as the memories of Hugh and Moggie, the upper-class couple who sit out the Second World War in the basement of ...

A Smile at My Own Temerity

John Barrell: William Hogarth, 16 February 2017

William Hogarth: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings 
by Elizabeth Einberg.
Yale, 432 pp., £95, November 2016, 978 0 300 22174 9
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... Pool of Bethesda’ (1736) ‘Moses Brought before Pharaoh’s Daughter’ (1736) ‘Hannah Osborne, Daughter of John Ranby’ (c.1747-50) detail of ‘Captain Thomas Coram’ (1740)PreviousNext In a thoughtful essay Lamb himself attacked the notion that what is most Hogarthian about Hogarth is what is most broadly comic, most boisterous, most ...

Man and Wife

Rosalind Mitchison, 22 May 1986

Marriage and Love in England: Modes of Reproduction 1300-1840 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 380 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 0 631 13992 3
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For Better, For Worse: British Marriages 1600 to the Present 
by John Gillis.
Oxford, 417 pp., £19.50, February 1986, 9780195036145
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Labour and Love: Women’s Experience of Home and Family 1850-1940 
edited by Jane Lewis.
Blackwell, 274 pp., £25, February 1986, 0 631 13957 5
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... by this group of books. Where, if anywhere, does romantic love come in to the story of marriage? Lawrence Stone has asserted that it was a dangerous delusion introduced and fostered only by literature. Gillis sees it as playing an important role in courtship from early on, but as hedged about by rituals which were necessary since marriage not only created a ...

Writing and Publishing

Alan Sillitoe, 1 April 1982

... brought to order when, in the end, everybody died. It was a vainglorious mishmash of Dostoevsky, Lawrence and Huxley – to name but a few. With the temerity of youthful unconsciousness I sent the typescript to Eyre and Spottiswoode (I think it was), who had announced a competition for new novels. It came back without comment. After active service with the ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... There’s an instance of that in the paper this morning, one of the officers criticised in the Lawrence inquiry off to pastures new with his pension and his hurt feelings. It’s also reported this morning that two of the presumably incriminating rifles used in the Bloody Sunday shootings and supposedly in the safe keeping of the Ministry of Defence have ...

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