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Mud, Mud, Mud

Nathaniel Rich: New Orleans, 22 November 2012

The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans 
by Lawrence Powell.
Harvard, 422 pp., £22.95, March 2012, 978 0 674 05987 0
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... what will come next, and how soon. In New Orleans’s first hundred years, the period covered by Lawrence Powell’s The Accidental City, its existence was imperilled more than a dozen times. The first catastrophic flood occurred in 1719, less than a year after the site was claimed by French settlers. It was ‘the worst overflow the local Indians could ...

Dry Lands

Rebecca Solnit: The Water Problem, 3 December 2009

Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water in the West 
by James Lawrence Powell.
California, 283 pp., £19.95, January 2010, 978 0 520 25477 0
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... is already running out. Water limitations were noticed from the beginning, when Major John Wesley Powell and his crew became the first white men to float down the Colorado. Powell’s 1875 Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, an expansion of his magazine reports, is still in print. It is a gorgeous book about ...

Becoming a girl

John Bayley, 25 March 1993

Philip Larkin: Writer 
by James Booth.
Harvester, 192 pp., £9.95, March 1992, 0 7450 0769 4
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... effect under the heading of the pornographic (‘everything he does is so artistic,’ as Anthony Powell remarked of Lawrence’s gamekeeper, quoting a song of Marie Lloyd’s), it might be tempting to construct a General Theory of Pornography in Art along these lines. ...

Brooke’s Benefit

Anthony Powell, 16 April 1981

... between 1905 and 1925. As the weather was wet and cold, Brooke embarked on a reread of D.H. Lawrence: Aaron’s Rod (much praised in its time) struck me, quite simply, as an abysmally bad novel ... The Rainbow: the first chapter seemed magnificent; after all, I decided, Lawrence had everything – a genius for ...

Boss of the Plains

D.A.N. Jones, 19 May 1983

The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 284 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 503102 4
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... shirt: he is wearing the B.P. hat – to which American boys are fully entitled. Robert Baden-Powell, a skilled dress-designer, ordered those cowboy hats from the States in 1900 when he was kitting out his nurses and constables in Africa. B.P. has recorded: ‘They were known in the trade as “Boss of the Plains” or “B.P.” pattern, which brought ...

Diary

Melanie McFadyean: In the Wrong Crowd, 25 September 2014

... Norris. Although neither of them was found guilty of carrying out the stabbing that killed Stephen Lawrence when they were finally tried in 2011, new scientific evidence demonstrated they had been very close to Lawrence when he was attacked – ‘proximity’, as the judgment allowing Dobson’s retrial stated, ‘for which ...

Thoughts about Boars and Paul Celan

Lawrence Norfolk: The Ways of the Boar, 6 January 2011

... by a wild boar the advice from ancient and modern authorities is unanimous: do not run. Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout Movement, estimated that a horse and rider would need three-quarters of a mile to catch a boar with a 50-yard head start. In 1914, Malcolm Crawford, ‘the Bengal hog hunter’, remarked on the boar’s skill in ‘jinking’, or ...

Hugging the cats

John Bayley, 14 June 1990

Poems 
by Gay Clifford.
188 pp., £14.99, May 1990, 0 241 12976 1
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Selected Poems 1940 – 1989 
by Allen Curnow.
Viking, 209 pp., £15.99, May 1990, 0 670 83007 0
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Collected Poems and Selected Translations 
by Norman Cameron, edited by Warren Hope and Jonathan Barker.
Anvil, 160 pp., £14.95, May 1990, 0 85646 202 0
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Collected Poems 
by Enoch Powell.
Bellew, 198 pp., £9.95, April 1990, 0 947792 36 8
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... Museum at Christchurch; a marvellous one on a 90-year-old mountaineer who had known D. H. Lawrence? Terrible young man. Ran away with my friend Weekley’s wife. An elegy on the poet’s father keeps company with a long story poem, ‘An Abominable Temper’, about a 19th-century judge in the Native Land Court, writing to his daughter Ada. Enclosing ...
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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... people take little interest in it, or in the feel of what was being said and written at the time. Lawrence, Yeats and Eliot go marching on, attracting obedient attention from each new generation of students, but this form of academic perpetuity does not extend to the writers who give each literary age its actual and particular flavour. Once it was Sir John ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: A journey to citizenship, 16 November 2006

... book, one that might detail the history of ‘celebratory’ integration in the homeland of Enoch Powell and Stephen Lawrence. The problem – or the hilarity – begins when one begins to read the code of honour that seems to be inscribed between the plain-speaking lines of the manual. One need hardly be I.A. Richards to ...

Bugger me blue

Ian Hamilton, 22 October 1992

The Selected Letters of Philip Larkin 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 759 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 571 15197 3
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... old monolith, no good at all – not a single solitary bit of good’) and Anthony Powell, aka ‘the horse-face dwarf’. There is even a ‘Hi, Ian’: he calls me ‘the Kerensky of poetry’. Not too bad, I thought at first. Alas, though, the book’s editor advises me that Larkin almost certainly meant to say Dzerzhinsky, or somebody ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... publication of Connolly’s Journal (1928-1937) does not serve him, except right. He found D.H. Lawrence insufficiently magnanimous (‘Notice how carefully Lawrence refuses to recognise virtue in anyone but himself’), and his sponsor David Pryce-Jones now finds F.R. Leavis much the same, so it may be legitimate to cite ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... project, it’s also one that stands on its own feet. An affinity with the fiction of Anthony Powell has been caught, but this is not a novel. It is not a memoir, though it eats the memoirs of others, plankton-fashion. It is a species of history – annals, perhaps. Kynaston’s far from copious political judgments are sensible and considerate, though I ...

Female Heads

John Bayley, 27 October 1988

Woman to Woman: Female Friendship in Victorian Fiction 
by Tess Cosslett.
Harvester, 211 pp., £29.95, July 1988, 0 7108 1015 6
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Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century 
by John Mullan.
Oxford, 261 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 19 812865 7
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The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney. Vol. I: 1768-1773 
edited by Lars Troide.
Oxford, 353 pp., £45, June 1988, 9780198125815
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... Creating an imaginary fresco of King Candaules awaiting his wife on the nuptial couch, Anthony Powell observes that the expectant monarch has in him ‘something of all men’, his spouse absorbed in her own rituals ‘something of all women’. In the legend, Candaules dies for thinking his wife’s nakedness belongs exclusively to him, to show off as he ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Terror Plots, 21 October 2010

... and real, and with us now.’ On 5 February, in his presentation to the UN Security Council, Colin Powell said: ‘Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a pinch – imagine a pinch of salt – less than a pinch of ricin, eating just this amount in your food, would cause shock followed by circulatory failure. Death comes within 72 hours and there is no ...

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