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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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... is clear, by no means provided a paternal template for the aggressive individualism that came to mark Pound’s increasingly vituperative attacks on targets ranging from literary London to F.D. Roosevelt (or ‘Franklin D. Frankfurter Jewsfeld’ as he took to calling him), from the Victorian anthologist Palgrave to the ‘kikefied usurers’ – to borrow a ...

Magical Orange Grove

Anne Diebel: Lowell falls in love again, 11 August 2016

Robert Lowell in Love 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Massachusetts, 288 pp., £36.50, December 2015, 978 1 62534 186 0
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... In the summer​ of 1935, when he was 18, Robert Lowell and two friends from St Mark’s School – Blair Clark and Frank Parker – rented a house in Nantucket. Under Lowell’s direction, they studied the Bible (with special attention to the Book of Job) and ate cereal with raw honey and ‘badly’ cooked eels ...

Some Names for Robert Lowell

Karl Miller, 19 May 1983

Robert Lowell: A Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 527 pp., £12.50, May 1983, 0 571 13045 3
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... too, and it’s hardly surprising that he should have been a rereader of The Idiot. It is a mark of his poetry that it frets in all childishness, praising and blaming, over the actions and reputations of the great, while managing to make people feel that it is itself the work of a great man, however bashful, stumbling and dishevelled. It is the work of ...

Not Recommended Reading

Eliot Weinberger, 7 September 2017

... before it can be set loose in the world. A Psychical Experiment (1887) by B.F. Cresswell    Mark Darrell cannot decide which of two sisters to marry. One is beautiful but not bright, the other brilliant but plain. His scientist friend Ernest Marshall has invented a technique for transferring personalities and offers to experiment on the sisters. It is a ...


Ian Hamilton, 16 June 1983

Ancient Evenings 
by Norman Mailer.
Macmillan, 709 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 333 34025 6
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... though, is always evident, and the suspense level usually flickers just above the zero mark. Again, it is a matter of excess, of Mailer never knowing when to stop, nor – it seems – much caring. ‘ “Why, as slowly as you wish,” said the Pharaoh, and inclined His hand most graciously.’ No doubt we are meant to be similarly gracious. And ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!, 14 December 2000

Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... in 1996, they can get a fix on how much nicer they are now. And this in turn keeps them up to the mark: they do things that won’t seem too terrible in four years’ time. Or forty. Even the most rudimentary diary can have this usefulness. ‘Did I really have lunch so often with him/her? Assuredly, I’ve travelled far since then. And, even allowing for ...

Frown by Frown

Ian Hamilton, 3 July 1997

by R.S. Thomas.
Dent, 192 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 460 87639 2
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Furious Interiors: Wales, R.S. Thomas and God 
by Justin Wintle.
HarperCollins, 492 pp., £20, November 1996, 0 00 255571 9
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Collected Poems 1945-90 
by R.S. Thomas.
Phoenix, 548 pp., £9.99, September 1995, 1 85799 354 3
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... do with Thomas’s bird-watching. This really is a passion – and once again Wintle seems on the mark when he connects Thomas on the look-out for rare birds with Thomas the God-seeker on his knees. In each case, it is a long and passive quest, not always worth it, but for Thomas patience and faith can come to seem like virtues in themselves. Best of ...
Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Thomas Kunkel.
Random House, 497 pp., $25, March 1995, 0 679 41837 7
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... the stick-up thatch, the all-over-the-place arms and legs. Ross’s body resembled a huge question-mark, somebody said – perhaps too neatly. Thurber found it indescribable: those arms and legs were never still. ‘He was always in mid-flight, or on the edge of his chair, alighting or about to take off.’ Harpo Marx said that Ross looked like a cowboy who ...


Ian Hamilton, 25 January 1996

Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... of Watt’s workers are humble volunteers: ‘They don’t do it for the money. For them, it’s Mark Bosnich calling them George or Steve.’ Others view their tasks as inherited family traditions: Brentford’s chief steward, for example, is the son of a Brentford turnstile operator and already has two daughters selling Brentford programmes. For ...

At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ruin Lust’, 3 April 2014

... was long-lived and in the last century the greatest exponent of the rhetorical ruin was Ian Hamilton Finlay. Finlay is represented here by four lithographs but the chance to make interesting and much needed connections with the 18th century in his use of neoclassicism and reworking of Piranesi is not taken up. Finlay’s own temple of protest in his ...


Walter Nash, 18 February 1988

The Panda Hunt 
by Richard Burns.
Cape, 189 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02445 0
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Davy Chadwick 
by James Buchan.
Hamish Hamilton, 145 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 241 12115 9
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Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris 
by Mavis Gallant.
Cape, 196 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02426 4
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Black Idol 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 157 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 9780224024372
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... adrift among the gaming wheels and the champagne. An accident brings him to the notice of Roscoe Hamilton, a big-game hunter who is planning an expedition to China to track down ‘a special kind of black and white bear’. Hamilton takes an immediate fancy to Edmund. ‘You remind me of Chingachgook’ he announces, not ...

Pious Girls and Swearing Fathers

Patricia Craig, 1 June 1989

English Children and their Magazines 1751-1945 
by Kirsten Drotner.
Yale, 272 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 300 04010 5
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Frank Richards: The Chap behind the Chums 
by Mary Cadogan.
Viking, 258 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 670 81946 8
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A History of Children’s Book Illustration 
by Joyce Irene Whalley and Tessa Rose Chester.
Murray/Victoria and Albert Museum, 268 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 7195 4584 6
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Manchester Polytechnic Library of Children’s Books 1840-1939: ‘From Morality to Adventure’ 
by W.H. Shercliff.
Bracken Books/Studio Editions, 203 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 901276 18 9
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Children’s Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors 
by Joseph Connolly.
Macdonald, 336 pp., £17.95, October 1988, 0 356 15741 5
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... the children’s weeklies. The person chiefly responsible for the new note of jollity was Charles Hamilton, better known as Frank Richards, who made a Never Never Land of the English public school, but did it with such dash, amiability and authority that every subsequent generation, right up to the present, has contained its quota of Greyfriars ...

No Accident

Zachary Leader: Gore Vidal’s Golden Age, 21 June 2001

The Golden Age: A Novel 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 467 pp., £17.99, October 2000, 0 316 85409 3
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... rather than developed), the novel’s principal historical figures – Burr, Jefferson and Hamilton – are vividly imagined. Burr is the Vidal figure (in the later novels, it sometimes seems, everybody is the Vidal figure); Hamilton is motivated by a mixture of personal and psychological as well as political ...

Forget the Klingons

James Hamilton-Paterson: Is there anybody out there?, 6 March 2003

Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life 
by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart.
Ebury, 369 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 187927 2
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XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It 
by Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin.
Weidenfeld, 191 pp., £12.99, August 2002, 1 84188 193 7
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... very keen on habitable zones, drawing two concentric spheres of habitability out from the Sun to mark the limits between which it might be worth looking for life. After reading Evolving the Alien this feels conservative, as well it might when one sees Goodwin and Gribbin’s diagram showing the life zone here on Earth stretching just 25 km from below the ...


John Sutherland, 14 June 1990

CounterBlasts No 10. The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain’s Favourite Fetish 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 42 pp., £2.99, January 1990, 0 7011 3555 7
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The Prince 
by Celia Brayfield.
Chatto, 576 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 7011 3357 0
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The Maker’s Mark 
by Roy Hattersley.
Macmillan, 558 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 9780333470329
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A Time to Dance 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Hodder, 220 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 0 340 52911 3
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... cap and bells have been worn variously in the 20th century by Bernard Shaw, Muggeridge, Willie Hamilton, Sylvie Krin and Spitting Image. Their jests have served to make the institution stronger than ever. Christopher Hitchens – although he can poke fun with the best of them – offers an unjestingly rational argument for abolishing the English ...

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