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Christopher Ricks

2 December 1982
T.S. Eliot: The Critical Heritage 
edited by Michael Grant.
Routledge, 408 pp., £25, July 1982, 0 7100 9226 1
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... to wonder whether it is the original author (in the following case, Harriet Monroe) or the editor (Michael Grant) or you yourself who must be getting giddy: ‘While stating nothing, it suggests everything that is in his rapidly moving mind, in a series of shifting scenes which fade in and out of each other like the cinema. The form, with its play of ...
4 April 1991
A Traveller’s Alphabet: Partial Memoirs 
by Steven Runciman.
Thames and Hudson, 214 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 9780500015049
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... head of the British Council at Ankara for help. He was the ancient historian and fellow of Trinity Michael Grant, and he put Runciman’s name forward. He got to know every inch of the city, an advantage when he came to write his lecture on the last days of Constantinople. He is not a spell-binder on the rostrum, but that lecture brings tears to the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn

5 March 2015
... movies the plot doesn’t quite say what it seems to. Her rebellion, like the rebellion of Cary Grant in the same film, is not against wealth or comfort but against an idea of work that is more a religion than an ethic, a mentality that abolishes the very notions of leisure and fun. Both of them lack what the ...

Two Poems

Michael Hofmann

26 July 2017
... Young Mental Drylaw), and the streets on Fridays are blustery with witty drunks, and beautiful grant-maintained schoolgirls tuck into beastly food with savage appetites. I want to have wooden shutters and specimen plants, Georgian casements (the only artefact I’d countenance from two millennia), and ten fine days a year, fossicking at home in a ...

‘Mmmmm’ not ‘Hmmm’

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn

11 September 2003
Kate Remembered 
by A. Scott Berg.
Simon and Schuster, 318 pp., £18.99, July 2003, 0 7432 0676 2
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... clearly you don’t have the brains of a seven-year-old.’ There is the dinner party for Michael Jackson at Hepburn’s New York townhouse, where the singer is silent on all topics except the pleasure he has in watching his pet boa constrictor eat small rodents. And there is the saga of Warren Beatty, with Berg’s help, recruiting Hepburn for Love ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘North by Northwest’

9 July 2009
North by Northwest 
directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
July 1959
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... including Hitchcock himself narrowly missing a bus. This busy city feeling continues as Cary Grant, playing the ad man Roger Thornhill, appears dictating notes to his secretary. They start to walk uptown, then take a taxi. He gets out at the Plaza, meets some business associates in the Oak Room. Then everything shifts into an entirely different ...
18 September 1980
Selected Poems 
by Patricia Beer.
Hutchinson, 152 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 09 138450 8
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The Venetian Vespers 
by Anthony Hecht.
Oxford, 91 pp., £3.95, March 1980, 0 19 211933 8
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Nostalgia for the Present 
by Andrei Voznesensky.
Oxford, 150 pp., £3.50, April 1980, 0 19 211900 1
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Reflections on the Nile 
by Ronald Bottrall.
London Magazine Editions, 56 pp., £3.50, May 1980, 0 904388 33 6
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Summer Palaces 
by Peter Scupham.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3, March 1980, 9780192119322
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... short poems are the two free translations from Horace, the hardy-perennial ‘Application for a Grant’ and the wonderfully up-to-date ‘An Old Malediction’ – in which Hecht finds a new sinister diminutive for the cock-teasing Pyrrha: Piranha! But these poems, it seems to me, are hardly more than by-products of the two long poems in the book: the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Innocents’

9 January 2014
The Innocents 
directed by Jack Clayton.
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... I mean. She had been in love with Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity, swooned over Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember, and sung and danced with Yul Brynner in The King and I. This is a way of saying she wasn’t the twenty-year-old girl of ‘The Turn of the Screw’, had not lived what James called ‘a small, smothered life’, and was most ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Lodger’

30 August 2012
The Lodger 
directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
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... for lynching (or justice, to make a distinction Hitchcock thought was barely tenable). If Cary Grant, in North by Northwest, has a corpse in his arms and a knife in his hands, how can we not assume he is the killer? Do we think he just happened to be there, happened to grasp the knife after the fact? We do, as a matter of fact, but that’s because we’re ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Big Short’

18 February 2016
The Big Short 
directed by Adam McKay.
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... And that it may not matter what ain’t so as long as everyone else thinks the way you do. Michael Lewis, in the book the movie is based on, calls ‘not knowing’ a ‘talent’. ‘Their ignorance seems incredible,’ he says. ‘They’ in this case are traders who don’t know that sub-prime mortgages, waiting to default, make up 95 per cent of ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Gone Girl’

22 October 2014
Gone Girl 
directed by David Fincher.
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... is a version of Hitchcock’s Suspicion, where a sullen Ben Affleck takes over from a suave Cary Grant. He is Nick Dunne, a writer who is not writing. His wife has disappeared on their fifth wedding anniversary, and the question is whether he has killed her. There are signs of violence in the house, but they look as if they might have been arranged to look ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Awful Truth’

24 May 2018
... new print. Everything depends here on the difference between being caught out in a lie, as Cary Grant is, and caught out in a truth, as Irene Dunne is. This is the phrase Dunne herself uses: ‘You come home and caught me in a truth – and it seems there’s nothing less logical than the truth.’ They are Jerry and Lucy Warriner, happily married, indeed ...

Four-Day Caesar

Mary Beard: Tacitus and the Emperors

22 January 2004
Tacitus: Histories I 
edited by Cynthia Damon.
Cambridge, 324 pp., £17.99, December 2002, 0 521 57822 1
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... else of the Annals might look like. But something must be better than the ever popular Penguin by Michael Grant (‘When Rome was first a city, its rulers were kings’), which over its fifty years of publication has probably launched more misapprehensions of the character of Tacitus and his historical rhetoric than any other single book. For all its ...

Death of the Hero

Michael Howard

7 January 1988
The Mask of Command 
by John Keegan.
Cape, 366 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780224019491
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... a ‘heroic’ commander; the Duke of Wellington, an ‘anti-heroic’ commander; Ulysses S. Grant, a supremely unheroic commander; and a little surprisingly, Hitler, a man seldom thought of as a military commander at all but in practice a ‘false hero’ whose personal control of the German Armed Forces was no less complete than that which Alexander ...

Maggie’s Hobby

Nicholas Hiley

11 December 1997
New cloak, Old dagger: How Britain’s Spies Came in from the Cold 
by Michael Smith.
Gollancz, 338 pp., £20, November 1996, 0 575 06150 2
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Intelligence Power in Peace and War 
by Michael Herman.
Cambridge, 436 pp., £50, October 1996, 0 521 56231 7
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UK Eyes Alpha 
by Mark Urban.
Faber, 320 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 571 17689 5
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... population. Fear of the Left was indeed so strong that in 1918 the Prime Minister was advised to grant the secret services £1,000,000 invested in the War Loan, to protect their finances against any postwar Labour government. As Michael Smith describes, these problems were exacerbated by the budget cuts which followed the ...

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