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Christopher Prendergast: Sarah Palin’s Favourite Frenchman, 2 December 2010

... of the New Deal. The key players were Thomas Carver, a Harvard professor of economics, and Leonard Read, who created the Foundation for Economic Education; the emigré Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises was a member, while Hayek gave his warm support. Later fans included Reagan and Thatcher, who found his theories ‘elegant and powerful’. So ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... Ronnie Kray, performance artist and comedian of terror, was beginning to lose his audience. LeonardNipperRead’s weasels were infecting the landscape with rumours: all the creeping, ugly dream-things the Twins had always vigorously suppressed were daring to emerge by daylight. The aura of magical ...

Reconstruction

Christopher Beha: Jeffrey Eugenides, 6 October 2011

The Marriage Plot 
by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Fourth Estate, 406 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 0 00 744129 7
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... in need of being reconstructed.’ Their generation, he claimed, ‘grew up backwards … We read Joyce before we read Tolstoy. The gods we were told about were Pynchon and high modernism. Experimentation was the norm for us. Then we found out what the modernists were rebelling against.’ Eugenides studied at Brown ...

Hanging out with Higgins

Michael Wood, 7 December 1989

Silent Partner 
by Jonathan Kellerman.
Macdonald, 506 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 356 17598 7
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‘Murder will out’: The Detective in Fiction 
by T.J. Binyon.
Oxford, 166 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 9780192192233
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Devices and Desires 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 408 pp., £11.99, October 1989, 0 571 14178 1
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Killshot 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 287 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 670 82258 2
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Trust 
by George V. Higgins.
Deutsch, 213 pp., £11.95, November 1989, 0 233 98513 1
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Polar Star 
by Martin Cruz Smith.
Collins Harvill, 373 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 00 271269 5
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... but wouldn’t that be pretty much tautological? Certainly readers of George V. Higgins and Elmore Leonard would be surprised by the claim as it stands. Binyon also accepts without questioning the distinction between detective fiction and thrillers, or what he sometimes calls adventure stories. This is a familiar distinction, and in certain ways a real ...

Under the Sphinx

Alasdair Gray, 11 March 1993

Places of the Mind: The Life and Work of James Thomson (‘B.V.’) 
by Tom Leonard.
Cape, 407 pp., £25, February 1993, 9780224031189
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... may be charged with filling the ear more than the mind.’ Without comparing the two Thomsons, Leonard shows by quotation that the Victorian (1834-82) is the greater poet. He shows, too, that the later Thomson’s life reflects the state of Britain more fully than other poets of his age excepting G. M. Hopkins and Hardy. Before describing how Places of ...

Mrs Webb and Mrs Woolf

Michael Holroyd, 7 November 1985

... in 1961. A few months before I presented my cheque for 50 pounds to my bank, the first volume of Leonard Woolf’s autobiography, Sowing, was published. It covered his own origins and early years, as well as the origins of the Bloomsbury Group in Cambridge and among that famously secret society known as the Apostles. The fifth and last volume of this ...

Bloodbaths

John Sutherland, 21 April 1988

Misery 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 340 39070 0
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The Tommyknockers 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 563 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 340 39069 7
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Touch 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 245 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 9780670816545
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Sideswipe 
by Charles Willeford.
Gollancz, 293 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 575 04197 8
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Ratking 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 282 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 571 15147 7
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... different historical periods: the result has all the narrative elegance of overcooked spaghetti. Read allegorically, Misery’s writing-treadmill-with-torture expresses King’s jaundiced view of the genre author-reader relationship, and its mutual imprisonments. The fan is a monster who first makes you famous and then traps you in the fame like a ...

Utopia Limited

David Cannadine, 15 July 1982

Fabianism and Culture: A Study in British Socialism and the Arts, 1884-1918 
by Ian Britain.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £19.50, June 1982, 0 521 23563 4
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The Elmhirsts of Dartington: The Creation of an Utopian Community 
by Michael Young.
Routledge, 381 pp., £15, June 1982, 9780710090515
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... of the 19th, were equally unsuccessful in their Utopian endeavours, for reasons well summarised by Leonard Elmhirst, founder of Dartington Hall School: ‘they disregarded sound economics, they followed some ethical or theoretical principle too rigorously, or they attempted to isolate themselves too completely from the social and economic world around ...

Doctors’ Orders

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 18 February 1982

‘All that summer she was mad’: Virginia Woolf and Her Doctors 
by Stephen Trombley.
Junction, 338 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 9780862450397
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... work and exercise, to insist on isolation, weight gain, and extended rest in bed: ‘ “you shant read this” and “you shant write a word” and “you shall lie still and drink milk.” ’ With its ban on reading and writing, Woolf’s summary of her doctors’ orders constitutes a literary patient’s version of the ‘rest cure’, 19th-century ...

Well done, Ian McEwan

Michael Wood, 10 May 1990

The Innocent 
by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 231 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 224 02783 2
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... to look at its chief characters and implications. Our first innocent is a young Englishman called Leonard Marnham, an electrician involved in the wiring of the equipment in the aforementioned tunnel. He meets Maria, an attractive German woman, and McEwan’s prose enters a realm of stealthy double-entendre which recalls the hint-filled atmosphere of Henry ...

Trained to silence

John Mepham, 20 November 1980

The Sickle Side of the Moon: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Vol. V, 1932-1935 
edited by Nigel Nicolson.
Hogarth, 476 pp., £12.50, September 1979, 0 7012 0469 9
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Leave the Letters till we’re dead: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Vol. VI, 1936-41 
edited by Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautman.
Hogarth, 556 pp., £15, September 1980, 0 7012 0470 2
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The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. III: 1925-1930 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell.
Hogarth, 384 pp., £10.50, March 1980, 0 7012 0466 4
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Virginia Woolf 
by Michael Rosenthal.
Routledge, 270 pp., £7.95, September 1979, 0 7100 0189 4
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Virginia Woolf’s Major Novels: The Fables of Anon 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 252 pp., £11, April 1980, 0 300 02402 9
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... Having read some of Henry Brewster’s letters to Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf wrote to Ethel that she found them ‘very witty, easy, well written, full of sparks and faces and shrewdness’, though she admitted that she got ‘a little tired of the lunches and dinners and Pasolinis and Contessa this and that ...
... on her in 1946 by the black dogs of the title. In The Innocent, set in Berlin in the mid-1950s, Leonard Marnham, a telephone communications specialist, is having an affair with Maria Eckdorf, a German. But they murder Maria’s ex-husband and dismember his body and find that their relationship can’t survive that traumatic experience. The central ...

Don’t tell nobody

Michael Wood: Cuba, 3 September 1998

Cuba Libre 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 352 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 670 87988 6
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Havana Dreams 
by Wendy Gimbel.
Knopf, 234 pp., $24, June 1998, 0 679 43053 9
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... the timing of the tempest, she can always be helped out. One theory, quietly articulated in Elmore Leonard’s new thriller, is that the North Americans blew up the Maine themselves in order to start the war. Somewhere behind this notion lies the legendary cable Hearst is supposed to have sent to reporter Richard Harding Davis and cartoonist Frederic ...

Smashing the Teapots

Jacqueline Rose, 23 January 1997

Virginia Woolf 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 722 pp., £20, September 1996, 0 7011 6507 3
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... One of the strangest things Virginia Woolf ever did was to travel with Leonard to Germany for part of their annual holiday in April 1935. The vigour of German anti-semitism was by this point clear and Hitler’s power and at least some of his worst intentions towards Britain were recorded by Woolf in her diaries (‘There is some reason I suppose to expect that Oxford Street will be flooded with poison gas one of these days ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley, 11 July 2002

Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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TheCat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... distinguish herself. At Oxford she met another offspring of a famous dynasty, T.H. Huxley’s son, Leonard. The young man had been a brilliant undergraduate. Should he marry, he would forfeit a career in law, politics or the university. To support a family he would have to take up schoolmastering, where his agnosticism would hold him back and his first-class ...

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