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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

18 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 ...
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 ...

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 ...
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 ...
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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...
9 July 1992
Devolving English Literature 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 320 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198112983
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Scottish Poetry 
edited by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 424 pp., £17.50, July 1992, 9780571154319
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... any Scots from the indictment (though – unkindest cut – he does exonerate one Welshman, David Jones). Worse still for Crawford, Kenner announces, ‘There’s no longer an English literature’: by which he means that, whereas ‘talent has not been lacking’ – on the contrary, ‘good poets are dispersed round the land’ and each has a personal ...

Moments

Marilyn Butler

2 September 1982
The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. I: Medieval Literature Part One: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition, Vol. II: The Age of Shakespeare, Vol. III: From Donne to Marvell, Vol. IV: From Dryden to Johnson 
edited by Boris Ford.
Penguin, 647 pp., £2.95, March 1982, 0 14 022264 2
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Medieval Writers and their Work: Middle English Literature and its Background 
by J.A. Burrow.
Oxford, 148 pp., £9.95, May 1982, 0 19 289122 7
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Contemporary Writers Series: Saul Bellow, Joe Orton, John Fowles, Kurt Vonnegut, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Pynchon 
by Malcolm Bradbury, C.W.E. Bigsby, Peter Conradi, Jerome Klinkowitz and Blake Morrison.
Methuen, 110 pp., £1.95, May 1982, 0 416 31650 6
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... elicited from the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales and Henry IV Part One, Keats’s Odes and Tom Jones, Emma and Tess. It is still happening, even after we have got historians to stop drilling them in the battles we won, and when geographers no longer offer them maps in which the Empire is coloured red. Penguin Books’ reissue of Boris Ford’s Pelican ...

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 ...

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