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Looking away

Michael Wood

18 May 1989
First Light 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 328 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 241 12498 0
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The Chymical Wedding 
by Lindsay Clarke.
Cape, 542 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 224 02537 6
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The Northern Lights 
by Howard Norman.
Faber, 236 pp., £4.99, April 1989, 0 571 15474 3
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... a myth about peace and wholeness which only seriously splintered people could invent or care about. The myth is finally too quiet for such people, and the splinters yield too readily to caricature. LindsayClarke’s The Chymical Wedding is an intricate double narrative, and it is also about the life of the dead. Although Clarke calls it a romance, it is a pastoral novel too, since it describes a ...

Fill it with fish

Helen Cooper: The trail of the Grail

6 June 2002
Parzival and the Stone from Heaven: A Grail Romance Retold for Our Time 
by Lindsay Clarke.
HarperCollins, 239 pp., £14.99, September 2001, 0 00 710813 3
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Merlin and the Grail: ‘Joseph of Arimathea’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Perceval’ The Trilogy of Arthurian Romances Attributed to Robert de Boron 
translated by Nigel Bryant.
Boydell and Brewer, 172 pp., £30, May 2001, 0 85991 616 2
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Le Livre du Graal. Tome I: ‘Joseph D’Arimathie’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Les Premiers Faits du Roi Arthur’ 
edited by Daniel Poirion and Philippe Walter.
Gallimard, 1993 pp., £50.95, April 2001, 2 07 011342 6
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... not a vessel; and instead of being used to serve somebody, it is itself served by a company of knights and maidens, selected by virtue of their names appearing inscribed around its circumference. In LindsayClarke’s Parzifal and the Stone from Heaven, a ‘grail romance retold for our time’, and trailing shades of Harry Potter in its title to tempt us in, the stone metamorphoses into a heart, then a ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations

20 October 1994
... 13 January. Having supper in the National Theatre restaurant are Lindsay Anderson and Gavin Lambert. ‘I suppose you like this place,’ says Lindsay. I do, actually, as the food is now very good. I say so and Lindsay, who judges all restaurants by the standard of the Cosmo in Finchley Road, smiles wearily, pleased to be reassured about one’s ...

Mockney Rebels

Thomas Jones: Lindsay​ Anderson

20 July 2000
Mainly about Linsay Anderson 
by Gavin Lambert.
Faber, 302 pp., £18.99, May 2000, 0 571 17775 1
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... is quite proud of the ‘Great Rebellion’: the English establishment thrives on tricks of this kind – witness the Shelley memorial at University College, Oxford. The first time I saw If ..., Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 fable of public school rebellion, was at a screening organised by Winchester College’s film society. One of the documentaries Anderson made in the early 1950s was called Wakefield ...
8 December 1994
The New Model Army in England, Ireland and Scotland, 1645-53 
by Ian Gentles.
Blackwell, 590 pp., £14.99, January 1994, 0 631 19347 2
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... debate at the General Council of the New Model Army, which was meeting in Putney at the height of the English Revolution. The debate was scribbled down in shorthand by the Army secretary, William Clarke, who had a remarkable knack for appearing at and recording decisive historical events. He was, for instance, on the scaffold at Westminster 14 months later, on a cold January morning in 1649 when ...

Althusser’s Fate

Douglas Johnson

16 April 1981
The Long March of the French Left 
by R.W. Johnson.
Macmillan, 345 pp., £20, March 1981, 0 333 27417 2
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One-Dimensional Marxism 
by Simon Clarke and Terry Lovell.
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 85031 367 8
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Communism and Philosophy 
by Maurice Cornforth.
Lawrence and Wishart, 282 pp., £8.95, July 1980, 0 85315 430 9
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The Crisis of Marxism 
by Jack Lindsay.
Moonraker, 183 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 239 00200 8
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Class in English History 1680-850 
by R.S. Neale.
Blackwell, 250 pp., £12, January 1981, 0 631 12851 4
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... interpretations would have pleased him. It has been claimed that Althusser, though placing himself on a totally different level, shared the uncertainty and hesitations of the rest of the Party. Simon Clarke, in a bitterly hostile account of Althusserian Marxism, recounts what he chooses to call its ‘sordid history’. He suggests that when Althusser undertook the important and radical task of ...
22 July 1993
Edward Heath: A Biography 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 876 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 224 02482 5
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... until he broke with Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement after Munich. In the Oxford by-election of 1938 Heath was one of the rebel Conservatives who supported the anti-government candidate, A.D. Lindsay, the Master of Balliol. Lindsay succeeded in halving the Conservative majority. Heath did still better out of it, winning the presidency of the Union on the back of the informal popular front which ...
7 April 1994
After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in Modern Britain 
edited by Susan Pedersen and Peter Mandler.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1994, 0 415 07056 2
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... the British public’s unwillingness to act as its patron. If there was less obvious do-gooding about Leonard Woolf or J.M. Keynes (the latter dealt with in a characteristically cogent piece by Peter Clarke), it is nonetheless illuminating to consider them in this company, their high conceptions of public duty usefully complicating the easy stereotypes of Bloomsbury’s revolt against Victorianism. In ...
17 August 1989
Arnold Toynbee: A Life 
by William McNeill.
Oxford, 346 pp., £16.95, July 1989, 0 19 505863 1
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... in effect, to buy Arnold out of his Balliol fellowship and set him up as an independent scholar. This was a significant break with the conventional academic career pattern. To his colleague A.D. Lindsay, it seemed that Toynbee had simply shrugged of his obligations: ‘Don’t you think that anything or anybody has any claim on you?’ McNeill brings out Toynbee’s singleminded and inflexible ...

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