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The Dining-Room Table

Lucie Elven: Anne Serre sheds her armour, 21 April 2022

The Fool and Other Moral Tales 
by Anne Serre, translated by Mark Hutchinson.
Les Fugitives, 228 pp., £10.99, June 2021, 978 1 8380141 5 5
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The Beginners 
by Anne Serre, translated by Mark Hutchinson.
New Directions, 128 pp., $14.95, July 2021, 978 0 8112 3031 5
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... invention. A number of Serre’s protagonists are called ‘Anne’ or ‘Anna’, and ‘mon ami Mark’, who shares the name of her friend and translator Mark Hutchinson, sometimes makes an appearance. Islands recur, so does fate, suicide, sequences of women, hot air balloons, knives with ivory handles, absent ...

Royal Pain

Peter Campbell, 28 September 1989

A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture 
by HRH The Prince of Wales.
Doubleday, 156 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 9780385269032
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The Prince of Wales: Right or Wrong? An architect replies 
by Maxwell Hutchinson.
Faber, 203 pp., £10.99, September 1989, 0 571 14287 7
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... height of the 800-foot Canary Wharf tower as much as its design (its pyramidal finial should be a mark in its favour – he likes buildings with hats on). The Prince’s call for a kindly, tweedy aesthetic which makes the new look like the old has been successful partly because it speaks to a fear of change. Stuart Lipton, who as developer of the Broadgate ...


Peter Clarke, 21 September 1995

LSE: A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 
by Ralf Dahrendorf.
Oxford, 584 pp., £25, May 1995, 0 19 820240 7
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... The troubles at the LSE go back a long way. Perhaps they began on the day in July 1894 when Henry Hutchinson shot himself, thus activating the terms of the will that he had made. A loyal if morose member of the Fabian Society from Derby, Hutchinson had stipulated that the bulk of his sizeable fortune – say a million in today’s money – should be applied by his executors ‘to the propaganda and other purposes of the said Society and its Socialism ...

On Being Late

Andrew O’Hagan, 24 January 2019

... on time is often judged, particularly by the punctual, as representing one’s ability to hit the mark as a human being. In 2017, Alex Honnold, the American free-climber, scaled El Capitan, a 3000-foot rockface in Yosemite, with no harness and no ropes. What is extra alarming is that he completed this feat against the clock. Honnold says that he had to reach ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Ed Balls, 22 September 2016

... he became an MP, so that reading his autobiography, Speaking Out: Lessons in Life and Politics (Hutchinson, £20), one has the strange impression of his career slowing down at exactly the point you’d expect it to get started, as he leaves behind the international summits and the dramas of Budget day, to become bogged down in the prosaic duties of ...


John Sturrock, 24 May 1990

Vladimir Nabokov: Selected Letters 1940-1977 
edited by Dmitri Nabokov and Matthew Bruccoli.
Weidenfeld, 582 pp., £29.95, February 1990, 0 297 81034 0
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... and in every way shockingly different from the “card” part of the interview’). It was a mark of resigned good sense therefore, not of inspiration, when, two years before he died, the New York Times asked if it could commission what it called the ‘ultimate interview’ with him, one conducted by himself. Point six and last in Nabokov’s majestic ...

Lunch in Gordon Square

Sam Rose: Clive Bell’s Feeling for Art, 4 May 2023

Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism 
by Mark Hussey.
Bloomsbury, 578 pp., £14.99, February 2022, 978 1 4088 9441 5
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... he would ‘survive not as an individual, but as the representative of a little world of 1914’.Mark Hussey valiantly attempts to show that Bell’s life and career amount to more than just one good book, but although Bell wrote much more on art and culture that remains entertaining reading, he never really refined or developed his early position. His final ...

Dreadful Beasts

Mark Ridley, 28 June 1990

Wonderful Life 
by Stephen Jay Gould.
Hutchinson Radius, 347 pp., £14.95, February 1990, 0 09 174271 4
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... shrimps, which are used to grasp the female. Indeed, in the 1930s the eminent ecologist Evelyn Hutchinson reconstructed Opabinia as a species of brine shrimp. But Whittington’s Opabinia is not a brine shrimp: it is not even an arthropod. It lacks the characteristic structure of an arthropod – jointed limbs. Whittington reconstructed the anterior ...

Ah, la vie!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Lytton Strachey’s letters, 1 December 2005

The Letters of Lytton Strachey 
edited by Paul Levy.
Viking, 698 pp., £30, March 2005, 0 670 89112 6
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... with which he earlier accounts for Senhouse’s avoidance of him in a letter to his cousin Mary Hutchinson: ‘There must be something tiresome about me, when seen very near at hand.’ ‘All decent people remain young for an incredible length of time and suffer accordingly,’ Strachey wrote to Senhouse in 1929: ‘It would certainly show that there was ...

C is for Colonies

Anthony Pagden: A New History of Empire, 11 May 2006

Edge of Empire: Conquest and Collecting in the East 1750-1850 
by Maya Jasanoff.
Fourth Estate, 405 pp., £25, August 2005, 0 00 718009 8
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... d’Orient, now engaged in a collectors’ war with the English commander, General John Hely-Hutchinson. Hely-Hutchinson maintained that everything that they had in their possession – including their own drawings and notes – was to be considered war booty. The French, led by the biologist Geoffroy ...

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson, 4 December 1986

... Sirrah, you are an impudent fellow ... The Recorder: You are a factious fellow: I will set a mark on you ... The Mayor: I will cut his nose ... This did not sufficiently strengthen the jury, so they were hauled off to prison for the failure to convict. On appeal, the jury was vindicated, and the precedent was established of the jury’s power to ...

Two Americas and a Scotland

Nicholas Everett, 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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... stable. He devoured R.P. Blackmur’s essays while still an undergraduate at Columbia, where Mark Van Doren was his teacher and mentor; and Robert Penn Warren was the editor (at Southern Review) whom he first sought to impress. But if the New Critical aesthetic disciplined Berryman it also inhibited him. It gave him a good technical training, but its ...

Strew the path with flowers

Bernard Porter: Cannabis and empire, 4 March 2004

Cannabis Britannica: Empire, Trade and Prohibition 1800-1928 
by James Mills.
Oxford, 239 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 19 924938 5
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... with the 11th and 12th-century Muslim cult of the assassins (‘hashashin’) may have left a mark. Assassins were supposed to have imbibed the drug for moral strength before going out on their killing sprees. (That is almost certainly a myth.) Hashish fulfilled the same function in 19th-century India, at least according to Caine: ‘When an Indian wants ...

At Dulwich

Alice Spawls: Vanessa Bell, 18 May 2017

... work from the life. Some of the ways in which they fail are better than others. ‘Mrs St John Hutchinson’ (1915) There are things that are helpful or interesting to know, in any case, like that Bell studied under Sargent at the RA, and took private classes as a teenager. As children she and Virginia agreed on their different spheres, a division of ...

Michael Gove recommends …

Robert Hanks: Dennis Wheatley, 20 January 2011

The Devil Is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley 
by Phil Baker.
Dedalus, 699 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 903517 75 8
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... decades into his career, he had 55 books in print, which collectively accounted for one seventh of Hutchinson’s turnover; Arrow, Hutchinson’s paperback imprint, was selling 1,150,000 Wheatleys a year, a quarter of their total output; in 1966, the paperback of The Satanist sold more than 100,000 copies in ten ...

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