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In a Frozen Crouch

Colin Kidd: Democracy’s Ends

13 September 2018
How Democracy Ends 
by David Runciman.
Profile, 249 pp., £14.99, May 2018, 978 1 78125 974 0
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Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth – And How to Fix It 
by Dambisa Moyo.
Little, Brown, 296 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 1 4087 1089 0
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How Democracies Die 
by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.
Viking, 311 pp., £16.99, January 2018, 978 0 241 31798 3
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Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy 
by William Galston.
Yale, 158 pp., £25, June 2018, 978 0 300 22892 2
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... miners’ confrontation with Ted Heath’s government. When Armstrong’s colleague Sir Douglas Allen, the permanent secretary at the Treasury, speculated openly about coming in to work and finding tanks drawn up on Horse Guards Parade, his colleagues couldn’t tell whether or not he was joking. Was the UK on the brink of a left-wing revolution or a ...

Who had the most fun?

David Bromwich: The Marx Brothers

10 May 2001
Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 480 pp., £7.99, April 2001, 0 14 029426 0
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The Essential Groucho 
by Groucho Marx, edited by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 254 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 14 029425 2
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... afford it. You see, if we don’t rehearse, and if we don’t-a play, that runs into money. Margaret Dumont, most imperturbable of straight men, was the aristocratic foil to all the boys in Animal Crackers, and when the circus of Harpo reeled around her, or poked her with a stick, or got his foot caught in her sleeve, Dumont’s suffering was ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock

30 November 2000
King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... weird genealogies are disclosed. ‘Angus Wilson, the novelist, who bore a striking resemblance to Margaret Rutherford, the actress who originally played Miss Marple’, is present. Also namechecked are Patricia Hodge, Simon Russell Beale, Giles Gordon (once Moorcock’s literary agent), Andrea Dworkin and Iris Murdoch, who ‘sat smiling into the ...
20 August 1998
... with the Pemberton-Billing trial. (Pemberton-Billing was sued for libel by the actress Maud Allen for publishing an article suggesting that a large number of her audience at the opening of Oscar Wilde’s Salome were German spies. Lord Alfred Douglas used the occasion of the trial to accuse Wilde’s friend Robert Ross of being the ‘leader of all the ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers

7 August 1986
Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... the beginnings of the epistolary novel in France or in England. Rightly observing that Walter Allen in The English Novel fails to trace the full lineage of fiction, she does not see how many of the male ancestors he omits with the women. Alive to the gaps in Ian Watt’s account as far as Aphra Behn et al are concerned, she seems oblivious of the fact ...

The Leopard

James Meek: A Leopard in the Family

18 June 2014
... was great, but seemed neither so great nor so significant as the gap between both of them and Margaret Thatcher’s Tories, who came to power after Wilson withdrew his party’s support for Labour in Westminster. Scottish nationalism didn’t appear to be about the separation of Scotland from the UK so much as one aspect of a global struggle for ...
27 September 1990
Collected Poems, 1937-1971 
by John Berryman, edited by Charles Thornbury.
Faber, 348 pp., £17.50, February 1990, 0 571 14317 2
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The Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Faber, 427 pp., £17.50, February 1990, 0 571 14318 0
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Poems 1959-1979 
by Frederick Seidel.
Knopf, 112 pp., $19.95, November 1989, 0 394 58021 4
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These Days 
by Frederick Seidel.
Knopf, 50 pp., $18.95, October 1989, 0 394 58022 2
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A Scottish Assembly 
by Robert Crawford.
Chatto, 64 pp., £5.99, April 1990, 0 7011 3595 6
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... one for public consumption. When Homage to Mistress Bradstreet was completed, five years later, Allen Tate, Lowell and others gave its studied historicism and technical effects unqualified approval. Berryman’s reputation was made, but his best work was still to come. The poem involves a modern, gnostic poet, for whom nothing is more important than writing ...

Not in My House

Mark Ford: Flannery O’Connor

23 July 2009
Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor 
by Brad Gooch.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 316 00066 6
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... like Gone with the Wind.”’ O’Connor’s Georgia could hardly be further from the Tara of Margaret Mitchell. O’Connor has much fun mocking elegant diction and manners, and the Southern obsession with bloodlines: ‘I know you’re a good man,’ the Grandmother tells the psychotic Misfit, who is on the run from the federal penitentiary, in ‘A Good ...

On the Lower Slopes

Stefan Collini: Greene’s Luck

5 August 2010
Shades of Greene: One Generation of an English Family 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 580 pp., £25, August 2010, 978 0 224 07921 1
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... Ghost, he devoutly believed in sin. And sin, too, is a kind of failure, a confirmation of man’s fallen state as well as a welcome escape from the tedium of virtue. It is easy to come away from Greene’s books with the thought that the deepest form of inauthenticity is to be a worldly success. But that is precisely what Graham Greene became. He became a ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth

19 August 2004
Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... Prynne, Barry MacSweeney, Wendy Mulford, John James, with decent selections of Bill Griffiths, Allen Fisher, Douglas Oliver. And glimpses of many others, the reforgotten: John Temple, Anna Mendelssohn. It is a truth, unilaterally acknowledged (Cambridge and environs), that Raworth is the man, the only English poet the Americans read. They like, or liked in ...

A Common Playhouse

Charles Nicholl: The Globe Theatre

8 January 2015
Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle That Gave Birth to the Globe 
by Chris Laoutaris.
Fig Tree, 528 pp., £20, April 2015, 978 1 905490 96 7
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... Men. But their tenure was in jeopardy, because the owner of the land on which it stood, Giles Allen, was refusing to extend their lease, which was due to expire in April 1597. It was this imminent threat of eviction which brought Burbage to the Blackfriars in search of alternative accommodation for the company. He paid the owner of the former ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2016

5 January 2017
... era which benefit from having such a clear-cut political situation and a ready-made villain – ‘Margaret Fucking Thatcher’ in Bill Nighy’s words – giving all three films the feeling of being a crusade while still being very funny. I’d like to have written any or all of them. As R. says, the 1980s was such a simple world and the villains so ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe

27 September 2012
All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... travel and read, to indulge and exhaust curiosities, completely uninhibited talks, resistance to challenge of the right to play, to the idea of growing old, settling down to a steady maturity’. Wilson continues to impress because even at his chattiest and most off-the-cuff (as here) he manages to flavour what he says with intellectual surprise: some quick ...

Tacky Dress

Dale Peck

22 February 1996
Like People in History: A Gay American Epic 
by Felice Picano.
Viking, 512 pp., $23.95, July 1995, 0 670 86047 6
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How Long Has This Been Going On? 
by Ethan Mordden.
Villard, 590 pp., $25, April 1995, 0 679 41529 7
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The Facts of Life 
by Patrick Gale.
Flamingo, 511 pp., £15.99, June 1995, 0 602 24522 2
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Flesh and Blood 
by Michael Cunningham.
Hamish Hamilton, 480 pp., £14.99, June 1995, 9780241135150
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... Aids fiction started to show up: Robert Ferro’s Second Son, David B. Feinberg’s Eighty-Sixed, Allen Barnett’s beautiful The Body and Its Dangers. Today, as a result of political pressure as well as recognition of a growing gay readership, gay sections can be found in most bookshop chains, and independent gay bookstores can be found in most major cities ...
22 February 1996
Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... So what happens to the subject who outlives his or her brief biographical moment? Who is left to challenge inauthentic versions of the story? In the Belsize Park flat, one room is a pictorial shrine, mugshots of Beat heroes – Cassady in t-shirt, Kerouac in a Stetson; the kind of image that is now surfacing, as Joyce Johnson recalls, in hip advertisements for ...

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