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On the Dole

Melanie Phillips

15 July 1982
Unemployment 
by Jeremy Seabrook.
Quartet, 226 pp., £8.95, February 1982, 0 7043 2325 7
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The Black Economy: how it works, who it works for, and what it costs 
by Arnold Heertje, Margaret Allen and Harry Cohen.
Pan, 158 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 330 26765 5
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... so far as anyone has been able to estimate, have never been considered anywhere near as widespread as the myriad of other devices which bolster the black economy. As the book by Arnold Heertje, MargaretAllen and Harry Cohen shows, this problem is huge. According to some estimates, it accounts for 15 per cent of the gross national product. It embraces tax evasion, business expense fiddles ...
1 July 1982
When things of the spirit come first 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Patrick O’Brian.
Deutsch, 212 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 0 233 97462 8
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Union Street 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 266 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 9780860682820
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Lady Oracle 
by Margaret​ Atwood.
Virago, 346 pp., £3.50, June 1982, 0 86068 303 6
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Bodily Harm 
by Margaret​ Atwood.
Cape, 302 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02016 1
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Hearts: A Novel 
by Hilma Wolitzer.
Harvester, 324 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 9780710804754
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Pzyche 
by Amanda Hemingway.
Faber, 236 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 571 11875 5
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December Flower 
by Judy Allen.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7156 1644 7
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... of Union Street is original, and each of its characters gets a good enough run. But the self-imposed limitations of the structure are always in evidence. There is no doubt at all about the Canadian Margaret Atwood’s being a novelist. Both Lady Oracle (first published in 1976 and now appearing in paperback) and Bodily Harm are splendid demonstrations of the contemporary novelist’s craft. To read them ...

Possible Enemies

M.A. Screech

16 June 1983
Collected Works of Erasmus. Vol. V: The Correspondence of Erasmus 
edited by Peter Bietenholz, translated by R.A.B Mynors.
Toronto, 462 pp., £68.25, December 1979, 0 8020 5429 3
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Collected Works of Erasmus. Vol. XXXI: Adages Ii 1 to Iv 100 
edited by R.A.B. Mynors, translated by Margaret​ Mann Phillips.
Toronto, 420 pp., £51.80, December 1982, 0 8020 2373 8
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Le Disciple de Pantagruel 
edited by Guy Demerson and Christiane Lauvergnat-Gagnière.
Nizet, 98 pp.
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... saw must have been on many sadder and wiser lips as Renaissance friends broke up into rival groups. Lefèvre d’Etaples’s Biblical studies won him the support of the French King’s sister, Margaret, and ought to have made him a natural ally of Erasmus. He was soon at Erasmus’s throat. I ‘treat Christ with contumely’, Erasmus exploded. He picked over Lefèvre’s worst insults in a letter ...

All in the Family

Sylvia Lawson

3 December 1992
Letters to Sartre 
by Simone de Beauvoir and Quintin Hoare.
Radius, 531 pp., £20, December 1991, 0 09 174774 0
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Witness to My Life: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvior, 1926-1939 
edited by Simone de Beauvior, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee.
Hamish Hamilton, 448 pp., £20, November 1992, 9780241133361
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... from the Sartre biographies (Annie Cohen-Solal, John Gerassi, Ronald Hayman) over those from the Beauvoir biographies (Deirdre Bair – very much the best; Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Margaret Crosland). Check those against the crucial four volumes of Beauvoir’s memoirs, those translated as The Prime of Life, Force of Circumstance, All Said and Done and Adieux: A farewell to Sartre ...

Sweeno’s Beano

Nigel Wheale: MacSweeney, Kinsella and Harrison

1 October 1998
The Book of Demons 
by Barry MacSweeney.
Bloodaxe, 109 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85224 414 3
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Poems 1980-94 
by John Kinsella.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £9.95, April 1999, 1 85224 453 4
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The Silo: A Pastoral Symphony 
by John Kinsella.
Arc, 108 pp., £7.95, January 1997, 1 900072 12 2
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The Kangaroo Farm 
by Martin Harrison.
Paper Bark, 79 pp., £8.95, May 1998, 0 9586482 4 7
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... evoking a childhood love between the poet-persona and his sweetheart, the daughter of a poverty-stricken smallholding family from the ‘rain-soaked’ ‘raw-bone’ laws – the high moors around Allen-heads in Northumberland. They are two poor kids growing up in the late Fifties. She wears a ‘Co-op coat’; the boy-poet’s heart is            ransomed to Pearl, her Woolworth ...

So Amused

Sarah Rigby: Fay Weldon

11 July 2002
Auto da Fay 
by Fay Weldon.
Flamingo, 366 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 9780007109920
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... fall neatly into place. She is fictionalising her own life – or, as she sees it, laying bare the workings of ‘fate’. The book begins in 1931, with a description of Weldon’s pregnant mother, Margaret, then aged 23, running through Napier, New Zealand, carrying her first daughter in her arms, as an earthquake destroys the town around her. She reaches safety but cannot find her husband, a doctor ...
24 April 1997
Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me 
by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret​ Jull Costa.
Harvill, 313 pp., £8.99, October 1996, 1 86046 199 9
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The Club Dumas 
by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, translated by Sonia Soto.
Harcourt Brace, 368 pp., $23, February 1997, 0 15 100182 0
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... author of eight novels, the last three of which are available in English (from Harvill) as All Souls, A Heart So White and Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me. All three are admirably translated by Margaret Jull Costa, who not only catches the meanings of words with grace and precision, but gets rhythms of thought, and even better, rhythms of afterthought to carry over into English. Marías writes the ...
5 December 1985
Collected Poems 1928-1985 
by Stephen Spender.
Faber, 204 pp., £4.95, November 1985, 0 571 13666 4
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A Version of the Oedipus Trilogy of Sophocles 
by Stephen Spender.
Faber, 199 pp., £12.50, November 1985, 0 571 13834 9
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Journals 1939-1983 
by Stephen Spender, edited by John Goldsmith.
Faber, 510 pp., £15, November 1985, 0 571 13617 6
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... such as Grecian goldsmiths make, for ‘no one has ever wanted or could want such a thing. Besides, it is not for him to decide what will happen to him.’ Equally characteristic is his response when Allen Ginsberg began to sing him his musical settings of Blake: ‘Won’t you please stop? Hearing people sing songs they’ve composed embarrasses me terribly. I can’t bear it.’ Spender of course ...

Horror like Thunder

Germaine Greer: Lucy Hutchinson

21 June 2001
Order and Disorder 
by Lucy Hutchinson, edited by David Norbrook.
Blackwell, 272 pp., £55, January 2001, 0 631 22061 5
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... without them jar But in their breasts raised up a civil war. According to Anthony à Wood’s Athenae Oxonienses, and Sidney Lee who follows Wood in the DNB, Order and Disorder is the work of Sir Allen Apsley (1616-83). The poem described by Lee as ‘rarely accessible’, now easily accessible in David Norbrook’s modern spelling edition, offers according to Norbrook ‘a particularly strong ...

Diary

Tariq Ali: The Future of Cricket

12 March 2009
... the late 1980s was brought about by a combination of the cricket establishment’s greed, misplaced sporting priorities on the part of public broadcasters and, according to some, strong pressure from Margaret Thatcher, who was determined to help Rupert Murdoch build up his television empire. Within a few years there was no live cricket left on terrestrial television. Numerous addicts, myself included ...
6 January 1994
The Marx Brothers: ‘A Day at the Races’, ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Duck Soup’ 
introduced by Karl French.
Faber, 261 pp., £8.99, November 1993, 0 571 16647 4
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... in the arena of food suggests a relation in their sharing of certain gestures of lechery. If they were really lecherous they would no longer be funny. (Adam Gopnik was making such a point about Woody Allen a couple of months ago in the New Yorker.) Being parodies of lechery, they enact claims on the part of each human creature (‘All God’s chillun’ is how they name them in A Day at the Races) to ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home

24 May 2012
Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... not only to fellow writers such as Wyndham Lewis, E.E. Cummings, Ford Madox Ford, Louis Zukofsky and William Carlos Williams, but also to various editors and patrons: to the somewhat mysterious Margaret Cravens, a Paris-based piano student from Madison, Indiana, who in 1910 bestowed on Pound an annual stipend so he could concentrate on his poetry, only to commit suicide two years later; to John ...
4 November 1993
Erasmus: His Life, Work and Influence 
by Cornelis Augustijn, translated by J.C. Grayson.
Toronto, 239 pp., £16.25, February 1991, 0 8020 5864 7
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Erasmus: A Critical Biography 
by Léon-E. Halkin, translated by John Tonkin.
Blackwell, 360 pp., £45, December 1992, 0 631 16929 6
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Erasmus, Man of Letters: The Construction of Charisma in Print 
by Lisa Jardine.
Princeton, 278 pp., £19.95, June 1993, 0 691 05700 1
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... Leclerc of Geneva and Leiden and briefly of London, and published at Leiden in 1703-6. It was not even partially superseded until our own day: the correspondence by the great edition of P.S. and H.M. Allen, completed by H.W. Garrod (1906-58) and now many other works by the quincentenary Amsterdam edition, of which the first instalment appeared in 1969. The correspondence is available in French ...
5 September 1996
Cambridge Women: Twelve Portraits 
edited by Edward Shils and Carmen Blacker.
Cambridge, 292 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 521 48344 1
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A Woman in History: Eileen Power 1889-1940 
by Maxine Berg.
Cambridge, 292 pp., £45, April 1996, 0 521 40278 6
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... what is far worse for the community) inefficient? You can never tell till the time comes, and then many of your seemingly healthy Girton and Newnham Girls break down utterly. So, according to Grant Allen, writing in the Pall Mall Gazette in the 1880s, higher education could damage your health. More to the point, it interfered physically (not just, that is, by opening up wider and more attractive ...

Into Thin Air

Marina Warner: Science at the Séances

3 October 2002
The Invention of Telepathy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 334 pp., £35, June 2002, 0 19 924962 8
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... bodies, appear in the writings of Henry James, Virginia Woolf (The Waves) and even Rudyard Kipling, as well as those of others mentioned by Luckhurst, such as Arthur Machen, Vernon Lee and Grant Allen. The concept of telepathy continually threatened to collapse distinctions between the literal and the figural, and the psychological and the metaphysical. As Luckhurst remarks, Henry James ‘always ...

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