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Shatost

John Bayley, 16 June 1983

Dostoevsky and ‘The Idiot’: Author, Narrator and Reader 
by Robin Feuer Miller.
Harvard, 296 pp., £16, October 1981, 0 674 21490 0
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Dostoevsky 
by John Jones.
Oxford, 365 pp., £15, May 1983, 9780198126454
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New Essays on Dostoyevsky 
edited by Malcolm Jones and Garth Terry.
Cambridge, 252 pp., £25, March 1983, 0 521 24890 6
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The Art of Dostoevsky: Deliriums and Nocturnes 
by Robert Louis Jackson.
Princeton, 380 pp., £17.60, January 1982, 0 691 06484 9
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... turn parody into new reality and the Gothic into his own version of the electrically banal. John Jones may be right to write off The Idiot in his study and leave it out of discussion. Even its humour is disproportionate, and it is peculiarly difficult to separate in it the essential from the inessential, the blind alley (Myshkin) from the continuing way. Yet ...

Complete Internal Collapse

Malcolm Vale: Agincourt, 19 May 2016

The Hundred Years War, Vol. IV: Cursed Kings 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 909 pp., £40, August 2015, 978 0 571 27454 3
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Agincourt 
by Anne Curry.
Oxford, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 19 968101 3
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The Battle of Agincourt 
edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer.
Yale, 344 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 300 21430 7
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24 Hours at Agincourt: 25 October 1415 
by Michael Jones.
W.H. Allen, 352 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 7535 5545 3
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Agincourt: Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer 
by W.B. Bartlett.
Amberley, 447 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 1 4456 3949 9
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... in the Tower of London. The accompanying lavishly produced catalogue, edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer, contains 24 contributions from a distinguished cast of historians, including three from France. Rowena Archer, in a piece on war widows, notes the appalling casualty rate in some French noble families. The Craon family from Anjou, which had a ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Malcolm Gladwell, 4 December 2008

... together and head out. The phrase became common currency in 2000, when the New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell used it as the title of his first book, subtitled ‘How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference’. The Tipping Point is written in clear, readable prose and tells some engaging stories to advance the somewhat bland thesis that little things can ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Shipping containers, 9 February 2006

... global container system – and therefore, Levinson argues, the modern globalised economy – was Malcolm McLean, a trucking magnate from North Carolina, whose ‘fundamental insight’, Levinson writes, ‘commonplace today but quite radical in the 1950s, was that the shipping industry’s business was moving cargo, not sailing ships’. It took a while for ...

Flavr of the Month

Daniel Kevles, 19 August 1993

Perilous Knowledge: The Human Genome Project and its Implications 
by Tom Wilkie.
Faber, 195 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 571 16423 4
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The Language of the Genes: Biology, History and the Evolutionary Future 
by Steve Jones.
HarperCollins, 236 pp., £16.99, June 1993, 0 00 255020 2
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... that forms the moral core of the novel by Michael Crichton on which it is based. In the novel, Ian Malcolm, the conscience of the tale, remarks as he lies dying from a raptor attack (in the film he doesn’t die; only villains die on Spielberg’s screen): ‘Science, like other outmoded systems, is destroying itself. As it gains power, it proves itself ...

The Human Frown

John Bayley, 21 February 1991

Samuel Butler: A Biography 
by Peter Raby.
Hogarth, 334 pp., £25, February 1991, 0 7012 0890 2
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... dinners’ were being held, at first under the auspices of Butler’s great friend Henry Festing Jones (the last dinner was in July 1914), and Forster was offered £25 by his publisher as an advance for a book about Butler. Lytton Strachey, who also found Butler immensely ‘cheering’, wanted to write on him in the Edinburgh Review; and Forster, who ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: ‘Niche’, 3 March 2011

... At least since the New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell’s first book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, became a bestseller ten years ago, publishers have churned out popular social science books, several but not all of them by New Yorker staffers (including a couple more from Gladwell), with short, catchy titles and long, friendly subtitles, and if one or other of them appears paradoxical, so much the better ...

Just off Lexham Gardens

John Bayley, 9 January 1992

Through a Glass Darkly: The life of Patrick Hamilton 
by Nigel Jones.
Scribner, 408 pp., £18.95, December 1991, 0 356 19701 8
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... life (he died aged 58) Patrick Hamilton was taking the cure in some Metroland establishment while Malcolm Lowry was being dried out in another not far off. That was around l960, and the two writers never met; but both had become something of a cult. Hamilton died two years later in more than averagely gloomy circumstances, back on the bottle again; and most ...

How are you finding it here?

Patrick Sims-Williams: Celts, 28 October 1999

The Atlantic Celts: Ancient People or Modern Invention? 
by Simon James.
British Museum, 160 pp., £6.99, March 1999, 0 7141 2165 7
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... The unpalatable answer is blindingly obvious to everyone but themselves. Colonialism, as Siân Jones explained in Archaeology of Ethnicity (1997), commonly involves ‘the critical scrutiny of a minority group’s identity and history by the dominant society, rather than vice versa, ultimately perpetuating the relations of power between groups’. It would ...

Super-Real

Peter Campbell, 18 March 1982

The Pre-Raphaelites 
by Christopher Wood.
Weidenfeld, 160 pp., £18, October 1981, 0 297 78007 7
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The Diary of Ford Madox Brown 
edited by Virginia Surtees.
Yale, 237 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 300 02743 5
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Eric Gill: Man of Flesh and Spirit 
by Malcolm Yorke.
Constable, 304 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 0 09 463740 7
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... first the Pre-Raphaelites were able to rouse both anger and admiration; a Soho sex shop with Burne-Jones posters as its sole window decoration suggests that whatever it was about their work that made people uneasy still tells. Pre-Raphaelite pictures can be memorable even when they are unlikeable: indeed, are sometimes most memorable when most ...

Wodehouse in America

D.A.N. Jones, 20 May 1982

P.G. Wodehouse: A Literary Biography 
by Benny Green.
Joseph, 256 pp., £8.95, October 1981, 0 907516 04 1
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Wodehouse on Wodehouse: Bring on the girls (with Guy Bolton), Performing Flea, Over Seventy 
Penguin, 655 pp., £2.95, September 1981, 0 14 005245 3Show More
P.G. Wodehouse: An Illustrated Biography 
by Joseph Connolly.
Eel Pie, 160 pp., £3.95, September 1981, 0 906008 44 1
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P.G. Wodehouse: A Centenary Celebration 1881-1981 
edited by James Heineman and Donald Bensen.
Oxford, 197 pp., £40, February 1982, 0 19 520357 7
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The World of P.G. Wodehouse 
by Herbert Warren Wind.
Hutchinson, 256 pp., £5.95, October 1981, 0 09 145670 3
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... was ‘the sort of thing foreigners don’t understand’ – like cricket, Gilbert and Sullivan. Malcolm Muggeridge has told an improbable story, repeated in several of these books, about a German spy who misunderstood Wodehouse and landed in Britain wearing spats – accessories almost unknown outside the Drones Club. This may be true, I suppose. What is ...

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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... for his life beside a car in which a woman has been shot dead. At one point, Travis, played by Malcolm McDowell, passing the vodka to his friends, Johnny and Wallace (David Wood and Richard Warwick), asks: ‘When do we live? That’s what I want to know.’ Elsewhere in the film, when the three of them are fencing together, playing at fighting, Travis ...

Paraphernalia

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Tudor Spin, 19 November 2009

Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in 16th-Century England 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Yale, 588 pp., £30, April 2009, 978 0 300 14098 9
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... England. Her role, largely forgotten for centuries and thrillingly rediscovered by Michael Jones and Malcolm Underwood in The King’s Mother (1992), might usefully have played a greater part in Kevin Sharpe’s admittedly already massive study of Tudor spin-doctoring. Sharpe’s subject is the considerable range of ...

One word says to its mate

Claire Harman: W.S. Graham, 4 October 2001

The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Snow and Margaret Snow.
Carcanet, 401 pp., £12.95, November 1999, 1 85754 445 5
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... in little magazines throughout the 1960s, there was a 15-year silence between The Nightfishing and Malcolm Mooney’s Land, during which, it is said, his publisher, Faber, assumed (possibly hoped) the poet had died. Even within the brotherhood of the St Ives group, Graham’s poetry was little read or appreciated. The links between Graham and the painters ...

Fancy Dress

Peter Campbell: Millais, Burne-Jones and Leighton, 15 April 1999

Millais: Portraits 
by Peter Funnell and Malcolm Warner.
National Portrait Gallery, 224 pp., £35, February 1999, 1 85514 255 4
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John Everett Millais 
by G.H. Fleming.
Constable, 318 pp., £20, August 1998, 0 09 478560 0
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Edward Burne-JonesVictorian Artist-Dreamer 
by Stephen Wildman and John Christian.
Abrams, 360 pp., £48, October 1998, 0 8109 6522 4
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Frederic Leighton: Antiquity, Renaissance, Modernity 
edited by Tim Barringer and Elizabeth Prettejohn.
Yale, 332 pp., £40, March 1999, 0 300 07937 0
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... are among the best made for 19th-century fiction), he was at one with his public. Burne-Jones, who has had a better posthumous press and prices, was a bohemian. He was making beautiful paintings when you could call a painting ‘beautiful’ in much the same way you could a girl, a horse or a grove of trees. Beautiful pictures were of beautiful ...

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