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January

Martin Harrison, 20 January 2000

... For Robert Adamson A blue smear bulges over the ridge; there’s the counterpoint as well of shine on white-hot duco glimpsed on the ute parked outside on the driveway. It blinds its surrounds with a surfboard beach-effect. It’s as ominous as the Mary Celeste – it looks lonely, isolated parked there, brilliant in tinfoil sharpness of afternoon light ...

Winter Solstice

Martin Harrison, 25 September 2003

... A vague mood, a sadness, a feeling as when recovering from illness, a kind of ‘whatever it is which is going on at the time’ mode – a defile bulldozered between trees where the power-lines go through on a ridge top, their suspended wires as out of place as a street’s tramwires would be, while, momentarily, the cut-out shape on the skyline (a trough shape on the crest of the hill) jags with deep, saturated blue, an intense L-shape of it, and then the opposite shape occurs (the reversed completing the hilltop cut), visible power-lines threaded down the middle of it, from ridge to ridge; and yes, I’m thinking who lives out here anyway, who needs these wires to be put through across somewhere, nowhere, out of town ...

Golf Grips and Swastikas

William Feaver: Francis Bacon’s Litter, 26 February 2009

Francis Bacon: Incunabula 
edited by Martin Harrison and Rebecca Daniels.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £39.95, September 2008, 978 0 500 09344 3
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... Illustration surely means just illustrating the image before you, not inventing it.’ Martin Harrison, the editor of the Bacon catalogue raisonné currently in preparation, has produced a scrapbook of illustrational materials from Bacon’s studio floor, among them dog-eared pages torn from magazines, newspaper cuttings with rusty paper clips ...

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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... described and creates a complex critical perspective, at once pastoral and anti-pastoral. Martin Harrison’S The Kangaroo Farm includes a poem in which he tentatively describes his own ‘Australia’ as                 a well-off, livable Argentina with its shards of myth set up in export mode to old oceanic powers and new ...

Something else

Jonathan Coe, 5 December 1991

In Black and White 
by Christopher Stevenson.
New Caxton Press, 32 pp., £1.95
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The Tree of Life 
by Hugh Nissenson.
Carcanet, 159 pp., £6.95, September 1991, 0 85635 874 6
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Cley 
by Carey Harrison.
Heinemann, 181 pp., £13.99, November 1991, 0 434 31368 8
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... on today’s literary scene, is called gently into question by each of these writers. Carey Harrison, with ostensibly the second (although in fact the first) volume of what looks set to become a monumental tetralogy, puts pressure on the boundaries of the form by insisting that it absorb a near-infinity of characters, events and incidental detail. Less ...

Thinking Persons

John Ellis, 14 May 1992

Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... essay on Othello in Addressing Frank Kermode is a particularly bad case. The books by Jackson, Harrison and Turner exemplify in various ways the kinds of problems which occur in a field where theory is so distant from practical reality. Jackson’s starting-point is his conviction that modern literary theory is founded on the work of Marx, Saussure and ...

In Bexhill

Peter Campbell: Unpopular Culture, 5 June 2008

... tight-lipped woman who, accompanied/By all she knows of love on leather leash’), Tony Harrison (‘In each of our Blackpool photos from those years/and, I’ll bet, in every family’s South Pier snap’) and Philip Larkin (‘We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls/In parodies of fashion, heels and veils’) hit the same sweetly rasping note ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... home? Answering the pulls and torsions of that question produces much of the verse of Heaney, Harrison and Dunn, but it also produces very different kinds of poetry. Martianism had nothing to do with Mars, everything to do with home, the place where Craig Raine (like Murray or Dunn) feels richest. Surely Martianism comes from the ‘Ithaca’ section of ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken, 30 April 2009

... Whitechapel High Street’s strongest and most interesting frontage. The architect, Charles Harrison Townsend, designed similar heavily moulded round-arched entrances for the Bishopsgate Institute and the Horniman Museum. The spaces inside were much less emphatic – almost industrial in their plainness. Discreetly elegant improvements in 1988 and the ...

On Richard Hollis

Christopher Turner: Richard Hollis, 24 May 2018

... as well as religion, to the slums. The distinctive Art Nouveau structure was designed by Charles Harrison Townsend, and is dominated by a squat, Romanesque arch, placed, rather eccentrically, off-centre to make way for a modest door that used to lead to the upper galleries. It is clad in glazed terracotta bricks, and the roofline is capped by two book-ending ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... not the other. Kathleen Raine and Ruth Pitter cannot be found in O’Brien, but Elma Mitchell and Martin Bell cannot be found in Armitage and Crawford. Elma Mitchell’s ‘Thoughts after Ruskin’ is a revelation, and to put her in is to do exactly the sort of thing anthologies are meant to do: extend the terrain as they go over it. These books are also ...

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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... that it would not otherwise espouse. Here is the unreconstructed ‘engine of comedy’, Rex Martin (‘the famous farting novelist’) and his diminutive son, Felix. Here is ‘Jillian Burnes’, a transsexual romancer. But these knockabout cartoons are absorbed into a chiaroscuro of the forgotten, denizens of the deep recalled and re-remembered. The ...

Public Works

David Norbrook, 5 June 1986

The Faber Book of Political Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 481 pp., £17.50, May 1986, 0 571 13947 7
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... of ‘Spain’, defended by E.P. Thompson in ‘Outside the Whale’.) Some critics would see Tony Harrison as a leading continuer of the radical tradition. Where Hill eschews the prosaic, Harrison courts it, pushing poetry to the brink of banality in the manner of the Lyrical Ballads, trying always for the maximum both of ...

On the State of the Left

W.G. Runciman, 17 December 1981

The Forward March of Labour Halted? 
by Eric Hobsbawm, Ken Gill and Tony Benn.
Verso, 182 pp., £8.50, November 1981, 0 86091 041 5
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... Raymond Williams but Bernard Dix of NUPE and Jack Adams, Convenor at BL, Longbridge; not only Martin Jacques, editor of Marxism Today, but Peter Carter, UCATT regional organiser; not only Royden Harrison, professor of social history at Warwick, but Jack Jones and Stan Newens MP; not only Robin Blackburn of New Left ...

All together

Humphrey Carpenter, 7 December 1989

The Safest Place in the World: A Personal History of British Rhythm and Blues 
by Dick Heckstall-Smith.
Quartet, 178 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7043 2696 5
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Mama said there’d be days like these: My Life in the Jazz World 
by Val Wilmer.
Women’s Press, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 7043 5040 8
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Lenya: A Life 
by Donald Spoto.
Viking, 371 pp., £15.95, September 1989, 0 670 81211 0
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... was when they were under the dual (and somewhat divided) control of Brian Epstein and George Martin, both of whom had set out to manufacture a marketable product rather than inspire great musical achievements. A recent biography of Epstein emphasised the four musicians’ profound relief when at last they allowed themselves to break up (‘I’m not a ...

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