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Star-Crossed in the Congo

Mark Hudson: Ronan Bennett, 20 August 1998

The Catastrophist 
by Ronan Bennett.
Headline, 313 pp., £14.99, July 1998, 9780747222101
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... At independence from Belgium in June 1960, Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first prime minister, inherited a territory the size of India with only 12 African university graduates and no African lawyers, senior civil servants or army officers above the rank of sergeant. Although it was still making vast sums for Belgian commercial interests, the country was bankrupt, and almost immediately it began to fall apart ...

Turning down O’Hanlon

Mark Ford, 7 December 1989

In Trouble Again: A Journey between the Orinoco and the Amazon 
by Redmond O’Hanlon.
Penguin, 368 pp., £3.99, October 1989, 0 14 011900 0
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Our Grandmothers’ Drums: A Portrait of Rural African Life and Culture 
by Mark Hudson.
Secker, 356 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 436 20959 4
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Borderlines: A Journey in Thailand and Burma 
by Charles Nicholl.
Secker, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 436 30980 7
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... only of droughts and erratic harvests, but of the demands of the IMF. Our Grandmother’s Drums, Mark Hudson’s first book, is a record of the 14 months he spent in the village, not as a member of the Research Council, though he is lent a room in their compound, but as an independent observer. It is an arresting and fascinating work. ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... their pleasure and their politics. Their homes, however, remained some of the worst in Britain. Mark Hudson’s Coming Back Brockens – subtitled ‘A Year in a Mining Village’ – extends this anti-heroic narrative, though from the standpoint of a travel writer and a man of letters rather than, as in Beatrix Campbell’s case, that of ...

Two Poems

Mark Rudman, 4 February 2016

... ditto the Seine, but it’s the seamless switch to another country, another river, the Hudson, that will set the first blinks into action, as the same exact events unfold, and no one is put out. The story has them in their grip. All these women, sharing in this concern, and no longer alone, or as alone as the woman who, lacking ...

Notebook/To Lucian Freud/On the Veil

Mark Doty, 20 January 2005

... and chimneypot picked out by the glow slanting across the river,       intensified Hudson-light, and warm lamps in the high windows,       neon over the shopfronts flickering on; world of consummate detail,       the city lay back, shambling, corpulent, nude … (why he loves the big frame: because it is no longer ...

At the Nailya Alexander Gallery

August Kleinzahler: George Tice, 11 October 2018

... America, of main streets, front yards, soft, riverine light: home to James Dean, Ronald Reagan and Mark Twain, three utterly dissimilar characters but emblematic for Tice of a certain idea of America. The images in Lincoln at first seem something else entirely. In fact, through these photographs of memorials of Abraham Lincoln in statuary and signage across ...

Even if I married a whole harem of women I’d still act like a bachelor

Elaine Showalter: Isaac Bashevis Singer, 17 September 1998

Shadows on the Hudson 
by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Joseph Sherman.
Hamish Hamilton, 560 pp., £16.99, June 1998, 0 241 13940 6
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Isaac Bashevis Singer: A Life 
by Janice Hadda.
Oxford, 254 pp., £22.50, February 1998, 0 19 508420 9
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... posthumous English publication of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s mammoth novel Shadows on the Hudson has created such a tumel. Critics have been arguing about the quality of the novel, originally serialised in 1957-58 in the New York Yiddish newspaper the Forward; and about the reasons Singer did not have it translated during his lifetime. It has been ...

Danger-Men

Tom Shippey, 2 February 1989

A Turbulent, Seditious and Factious People: John Bunyan and his Church 
by Christopher Hill.
Oxford, 394 pp., £19.50, October 1988, 0 19 812818 5
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The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History 
by Anne Hudson.
Oxford, 556 pp., £48, July 1988, 0 19 822762 0
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... like to forge connections. It is striking to note, for instance – to take an example from Anne Hudson’s book – that Margery Kempe, about whose orthodoxy there was at least considerable doubt, had as her parish priest William Sawtry, the first man to be burnt to death for Lollardy. If the authorities who interrogated her had known that, they might have ...

Lacking in style

Keith Kyle, 25 February 1993

Divided we stand: Britain, the US and the Suez Crisis 
by W. Scott Lucas.
Hodder, 399 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 340 53666 7
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Blind Loyalty: Australia and the Suez Crisis 
by W.J. Hudson.
Melbourne, 157 pp., £12.50, November 1991, 0 522 84394 8
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... of an elaborate deception plan labelled ‘Esau’. These are ingenious but probably overshoot the mark. It is certainly true that there was an Israeli contingency plan called ‘Esau’ in existence before the Sèvres conference with the British and French, designed to make it appear that Britain’s ally, Jordan, not Egypt, was Israel’s main target. After ...

Time Longer than Rope

Greil Marcus, 16 November 1995

... landscape, new songs now coming in a rush; almost three decades later, you can still hear Garth Hudson snap the switch.He clicks on the tape-recorder for the second take of the afternoon. The first time they’d been pressing through the number, the piano, bass, and acoustic guitar piling the rhythm up at the end of a phrase, the feel of a mind changing ...

Erasures

Mark Ford: Donald Justice, 16 November 2006

Collected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 289 pp., £15, June 2006, 0 85646 386 8
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... on from harm to harm, A land of others and of silence. When Kees’s father read this poem in Hudson Review, he was convinced it contained some clue to his son’s whereabouts, and was disappointed to be told by its author that the poem was just a poem. Justice was, however, eventually able to resurrect the body of Kees’s work, arranging the publication ...

Poor Darling

Jean McNicol, 21 March 1996

Vera Brittain: A Life 
by Paul Berry and Mark Bostridge.
Chatto, 581 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 7011 2679 5
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Vera Brittain: A Feminist Life 
by Deborah Gorham.
Blackwell, 330 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 631 14715 2
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... if I were you I should.” ’ Vera was equally keen for her brother to join up and Paul Berry and Mark Bostridge believe that her reliance on what they describe as a ‘sentimentalised conception’ of war affected her relationship with Roland Leighton, who was sent to the Front in March 1915. Leighton had claimed that his purpose in fighting was ‘the ...

Miss Lachrymose

Liz Brown: Doris Day’s Performances, 11 September 2008

Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door 
by David Kaufman.
Virgin, 628 pp., £29.95, June 2008, 978 1 905264 30 8
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... for Jut Butt. Jerry Lewis called her Sylvia, but James Garner called her Sylvia-honey. Rock Hudson called her Eunice and sometimes Maude; she called him Ernie. Her son called her Sis. The character actor Billy de Wolfe called her Clara Bixby, and this is still what her friends call her. Marty Melcher, her third husband and manager, appears to be the ...

Likeable Sage

Sheldon Rothblatt, 17 September 1981

Matthew Arnold: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Weidenfeld, 496 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 297 77824 2
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... women in smart attire, the company of a Rothschild, the compliments of Disraeli, the wealth of a Hudson River estate (where in 1883 he went to see Delanos and Astors), and yes, it mattered to him that his famous lecture tour of the United States netted upwards of £1000, since he was perpetually in debt. Yes, Victorian biographers, memoirists, members of the ...

Morality in the Oxygen

E.S. Turner: Tobogganing, 14 December 2000

How the English Made the Alps 
by Jim Ring.
Murray, 287 pp., £19.99, September 2000, 0 7195 5689 9
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Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps 
by Fergus Fleming.
Granta, 398 pp., £20, November 2000, 1 86207 379 1
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... them the 90th Psalm, from a prayer-book found in the pocket of the dead divine, the Rev. Charles Hudson. Unsurprisingly, the Swiss authorities were displeased about corpses being committed to their snows by English clergymen – Switzerland was not yet an English colony, though beginning to look like one – and the bodies were reinterred at Zermatt. The ...

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