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Can I have my shilling back?

Peter Campbell, 19 November 1992

Epstein: Artist against the Establishment 
by Stephen Gardiner.
Joseph, 532 pp., £20, September 1992, 9780718129446
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... are not unresolved in this way, nor are Degas’s, or Moore’s come to that, or even David Smith’s. It can be argued that this lack of poise is a positive thing, part of Epstein’s style, but it seems probable that, at best, it will in the end be judged a provincialism, akin to Hogarth’s ramshackle perspective. Although Gardiner insists ...
... a row of portraits by Lamb, Coldstream and John because of its linear clarity and bite, and a Matthew Smith holds your eye by force of juicy paint and saturated colour alone. Yet thin paint in the work of Stanley Spencer and Paul Nash is part of an Englishness (or rather of two sorts of Englishness) which, even in the context of this kind of ...

The One-Eyed World of Germaine Greer

Brigid Brophy, 22 November 1979

The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work 
by Germaine Greer.
Secker, 373 pp., £12.50, November 1979, 1 86064 677 8
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... sins committed by men seem not to be sins at all when committed by women. Ms Greer relates that Matthew Smith is recorded to have married a fellow painter. ‘We hear nothing more of her,’ says Ms Greer accusingly. A few pages on, Ms Greer herself tells us that the new ‘wife’ who ‘sweetened the last months of Rosa Bonheur’s life’ was her ...

Meaningless Legs

Frank Kermode: John Gielgud, 21 June 2001

Gielgud: A Theatrical Life 1904-2000 
by Jonathan Croall.
Methuen, 579 pp., £20, November 2000, 0 413 74560 0
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John G.: The Authorised Biography of John Gielgud 
by Sheridan Morley.
Hodder, 510 pp., £20, May 2001, 0 340 36803 9
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John Gielgud: An Actor’s Life 
by Gyles Brandreth.
Sutton, 196 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 7509 2752 6
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... April of his effects: chandeliers, Persian carpets, paintings including a Dufy, a Nicholson and a Matthew Smith, drawings by Fuseli and Samuel Palmer and his distinguished cousin Edward Gordon Craig, objects of all sorts along with much fine furniture. By the time they come to the end of their task, readers of these books can no more than their authors ...

Admiring

Stephen Wall, 26 March 1992

Surviving: The Uncollected Writings of Henry Green 
edited by Matthew Yorke.
Chatto, 302 pp., £18, February 1992, 0 7011 3900 5
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Pack my bag 
by Henry Green.
Hogarth, 242 pp., £9.99, February 1992, 0 7012 0988 7
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Loving 
by Henry Green.
Harvill, 225 pp., £6.99, February 1992, 0 00 271185 0
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... filled in by Surviving, a book of Green’s uncollected writings edited by his grandson Matthew Yorke, and rounded off with a touching if too brief memoir by Sebastian Yorke. John Updike contributes a gracefully enthusiastic introduction. For Green, writing fiction was so demanding – partly because he could only work at it in the evenings and at ...

Knobs, Dots and Grooves

Peter Campbell: Henry Moore, 8 August 2002

Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations 
edited by Alan Wilkinson.
Lund Humphries, 320 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 85331 847 6
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The Penguin Modern Painters: A History 
by Carol Peaker.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 124 pp., £15, August 2001, 0 9527401 4 1
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... of applied art and romantic landscape, and of what now looks like late Post-Impressionism – Matthew Smith, Duncan Grant, Frances Hodgkins, Victor Pasmore – there were more eccentric talents of various sizes, like Stanley Spencer and David Jones, who were very English (or very Welsh) and not international at all. In drawings of wrapped sculpture ...

Landlocked

Lorna Sage: Henry Green, 25 January 2001

Romancing: The Life and Work of Henry Green 
by Jeremy Treglown.
Faber, 340 pp., £25, September 2000, 0 571 16898 1
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... might have been that Dahl (who anyway loved a put-down) shared a friend with Green, the painter Matthew Smith, whose work he did know and like. For surely Dahl could have had little time for an avant-garde writer like Green? Besides, Green was just the kind of Eton-and-Oxford Englishman who had made him feel so alien and unappreciated in the London ...

The Last Intellectual

Rosemary Hill: The Queen Mother’s Letters, 6 December 2012

Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother 
edited by William Shawcross.
Macmillan, 666 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 230 75496 6
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... painting that was neither easy nor conventional. She became a patron of living artists including Matthew Smith and the Neo-Romantics, writing of Paul Nash’s Landscape of the Vernal Equinox, that it was ‘slightly “magic” … it changes towards evening in a most mysterious manner.’ Meanwhile the stilted relations within the royal family ...

What most I love I bite

Matthew Bevis: Stevie Smith, 28 July 2016

The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith 
edited by Will May.
Faber, 806 pp., £35, October 2015, 978 0 571 31130 9
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... of a sailing ship on the rough sea coming suddenly alive and sucking in the children?’ Stevie Smith asked, reviewing C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 1952. She liked depictions of people who disappeared into the objects of their gaze; a couple of years earlier, her poem ‘Deeply Morbid’ told the story of Joan, an office girl who goes to ...

Diary

Matthew Hughes: The Man Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, 9 August 2001

... of skulduggery emerged. In 1992, Conor Cruise O’Brien and the Australian diplomat George Ivan Smith, both of whom were working for the UN in the Congo in the early 1960s, wrote to the Guardian arguing that Hammarskjöld had been the victim of a kidnap that went wrong. The following year, in another letter to the Guardian, Bengt Rosio, the former Swedish ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Fastsellers, 22 March 2001

... For example: the top five consolidated publishing groups – Bertelsmann, Pearson, News Corp, W.H. Smith and Holtzbrinck – were responsible for a whopping 49.3 per cent of sales in the General Retail Market in 2000; grim news for independents (News Corp’s figures include those of Fourth Estate, swallowed by HarperCollins last July), though in these ...

Stabbing the Olive

Tom McCarthy: Toussaint, 11 February 2010

Running Away 
by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, translated by Matthew Smith.
Dalkey, 156 pp., $12.95, November 2009, 978 1 56478 567 1
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La Vérité sur Marie 
by Jean-Philippe Toussaint.
Minuit, 204 pp., €14.50, September 2009, 978 2 7073 2088 9
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... For any serious French writer who has come of age during the last 30 years, one question imposes itself above all others: what do you do after the nouveau roman? Alain Robbe-Grillet, Claude Simon et compagnie redrew the map of what fiction might offer and aspire to, what its ground rules should be – so much so that some have found their legacy stifling ...

Diary

Ian Sansom: I was a teenage evangelist, 8 July 2004

... in restoring sight to the blind (Luke 4.19), casting out demons (Luke 9.1), cleansing lepers (Matthew 8.1-4), feeding thousands (Luke 9.10-17) and raising the dead (John 11.1-43), but I never quite managed any of those, and had to make do with speaking in tongues (Acts 2.4), having visions (Acts 2.17) and receiving words of wisdom (1 Corinthians ...

The First Hundred Years

James Buchan, 24 August 1995

John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier 
by Andrew Lownie.
Constable, 365 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 09 472500 4
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... us to prosperity and liberty but at the price of atomising our picture of the world. The labourer, Smith writes, is ‘not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private ...

Winner’s History

Howard Erskine-Hill, 20 August 1981

Some Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution 
by Christopher Hill.
Weidenfeld, 100 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 297 77780 7
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The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714 
by Christopher Hill.
Nelson, 296 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 0 17 712002 9
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... human thought … echoed from England all over Europe … Harrington, Locke, Newton, Hume and Adam Smith gave the lead to the whole of Europe. Richardson and Fielding, building on 17th-century spiritual autobiographies, and on the writings of Bunyan and Defoe, created the novel, the dominant literary form of the modern age.’ If we consider these claims, we ...

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