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See you in court, pal

John Lanchester: The Microsoft Trial, 30 September 1999

The Nudist on the Late Shift 
by Po Bronson.
Secker, 248 pp., £10, August 1999, 0 436 20477 0
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Infinite Loop: How Apple, the World’s Most Insanely Great Computer Company, Went Insane 
by Michael Malone.
Aurum, 598 pp., £18.99, April 1999, 1 85410 638 4
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Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet 
by Michael Woolf.
Orion, 364 pp., £7.99, June 1999, 0 7528 2606 9
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The Cathedral and the Bazaar: revised edition 
by Eric S. Raymond.
O'Reilly, 256 pp., £11.95, February 2001, 0 596 00108 8
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... and said: “No fair, I wanted to steal the TV set.”’ The striking thing about this – as Michael Malone points out in his ultra-detailed history of Apple, Infinite Loop – is that there isn’t a shred of truth in the idea that Gates had the GUI first. It was pure gorilla-think. ‘In his peculiar and dangerous manner, Gates didn’t look upon ...


Michael Dobson, 8 June 1995

Edmond Malone, Shakespearean Scholar: A Literary Biography 
by Peter Martin.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 521 46030 1
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... who has ever taken the slightest interest in Shakespeare and his times owes a great deal to Edmond Malone. It was Malone who in a single month, June 1789, discovered not only the papers of the theatrical entrepreneur Philip Henslowe, on which most of our knowledge of the working practices of the Elizabethan theatre is ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inherent Vice’, 5 February 2015

Inherent Vice 
directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
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... are some great performances here from Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston, Jena Malone, Owen Wilson. Phoenix is Doc Sportello, the private detective. His vast sideburns and crumpled denims make him look like a sheriff who has strayed from the old West and gone further west. Gone to pot too, as we might say, although he says he doesn’t do ...

Life of Brian

Kevin Barry, 25 January 1990

No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien 
by Anthony Cronin.
Grafton, 260 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 246 12836 4
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... fiction into the world of Europe. Beckett’s life in wartime Paris is not irrelevant to Molloy, Malone dies and The Unnamable, nor is Stuart’s in wartime Berlin to The Pillar of Cloud, Redemption and The Flowering Cross. Ten years earlier Brian O’Nolan, alias Flann O’Brien, had written At Swim Two Birds and The Third Policeman. These two works, of ...

Beware Kite-Flyers

Stephen Sedley: The British Constitution, 12 September 2013

The British Constitution: A Very Short Introduction 
by Martin Loughlin.
Oxford, 152 pp., £7.99, April 2013, 978 0 19 969769 4
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... orthodoxy, ‘a conceptual distinction between public law and private law’. Loughlin uses the Malone case as a barometer of the constitutional changes we have undergone. Malone was an antique dealer who was charged in 1977 with handling stolen property. At his first trial, which ended inconclusively, it emerged that the ...

Cardenio’s Ghost

Charles Nicholl: The Bits Shakespeare Wrote, 2 December 2010

The Arden Shakespeare: Double Falsehood 
edited by Brean Hammond.
Arden Shakespeare, 443 pp., £16.99, March 2010, 978 1 903436 77 6
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... The discoverer of this new information was the great Shakespearean editor and biographer Edmond Malone. He was initially a sceptic: he thought Theobald had tricked up an old play, perhaps by Philip Massinger, with Shakespearean touches. His own copy of Double Falsehood survives, tartly annotated, especially where he found genuine echoes of Shakespeare: he ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton, 20 September 2001

Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... thought, had died by his own hand in poverty and despair, neglected by the metropolitan world. Michael Suarez’s account here shows that Chatterton’s relations with the book trade after he arrived in London were far busier and more profitable than is commonly supposed. In the early summer of 1770 he was networking at Tom’s and the ...

Flights from the Asylum

John Sutherland, 1 September 1988

Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 496 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 0 436 28461 8
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The Comforts of Madness 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 128 pp., £9.95, July 1988, 0 09 468480 4
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Sweet Desserts 
by Lucy Ellmann.
Virago, 154 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780860688471
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by Theodore Zeldin.
Collins Harvill, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 00 271302 0
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... Michael Moorcock’s novel honours the loonies of London. It seems there are more of them every year, especially since – by one of the more perverse acts of enlightenment – the asylums were emptied in the Seventies. One sees the London mad everywhere in the streets and parks: ranters, mutterers, arm-wavers. The quieter cases are charitably allowed into the public bars of seedy pubs; I once saw one huddled over his light ale with an antique mahogany-cased ECT apparatus perched beside him ...

On Needing to Be Looked After

Tim Parks: Beckett’s Letters, 1 December 2011

The Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1941-56 
edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 791 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 521 86794 8
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... over, he launches into Molloy, which he finishes in just six months, immediately begins Malone Dies, finished in 1948, takes a break from fiction to write Waiting for Godot (in four months), then writes The Unnameable, which he completes in January 1950. In three years, and all in French, this man who ‘simply can’t’ do so many ordinary things ...

Hoarder of Malt

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 7 January 1999

Shakespeare: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 479 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 19 811792 2
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £11.99, December 1998, 0 7190 5425 7
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... largely devoted to explaining their nature and their provenance. In the tradition of Edmond Malone and Sir Sidney Lee, Schoenbaum was minutely conversant with the written records of Shakespeare’s life and career, but this antiquarian proficiency was complicated by his equally formidable knowledge of the radically changing desires and assumptions which ...

Eric’s Hurt

David Craig, 7 March 1985

Eric Linklater: A Critical Biography 
by Michael Parnell.
Murray, 376 pp., £16, October 1984, 0 7195 4109 3
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... later, in the story ‘A Sociable Plover’, the central character, a writer called Torquil Malone whose ‘circumstances and life-views’, as Mr Parnell allows, ‘are so similar to Eric’s own’, flytes against the very same bugbears: ‘They talk – it’s all talk and criticism now: no writing is regarded, except the first flatulent puffs of ...

Whatever you do, buy

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s First Folio, 15 November 2001

The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book Vol. I: An Account of the First Folio Based on Its Sales and Prices, 1623-2000 
by Anthony James West.
Oxford, 215 pp., £70, April 2001, 0 19 818769 6
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... fetched by the Folio. It is true that Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, Capell, Dr Johnson, Steevens and Malone all did their bit for demand by treating themselves to copies at some time or another, but so did many other people far less qualified to savour its press-variants or tut-tut over its instances of mislineation. The book’s cost, moreover, has continued to ...

There are some limits Marlowes just won’t cross

Christopher Tayler: Banville’s Marlowe, 3 April 2014

The Black-Eyed Blonde 
by Benjamin Black.
Mantle, 320 pp., £16.99, February 2014, 978 1 4472 3668 9
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... and for the first time.’ Coming round after being blackjacked he can sound like Molloy or Malone: ‘Is that what I mean? What the hell do I care what I mean? Okay, better men than me have meant less.’ So it’s possible to see how commissioning a Marlowe novel from John Banville, whose agent represents the Chandler estate too, might have struck all ...

Lord Cupid proves himself

David Cannadine, 21 October 1982

Palmerston: The Early Years, 1784-1841 
by Kenneth Bourne.
Allen Lane, 749 pp., £25, August 1982, 0 7139 1083 6
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... recent Cabinet Ministers, only Ernest Bevin (two vols down, one to go) and Nye Bevan (canonised by Michael Foot) have received extended treatment, while the massive life of Churchill is unique in its Victorian dimensions. Today, the best way for a politician to guarantee this much-coveted form of life after death is to write it himself. And if he entertains ...


Marina Warner: Literary Diplomacy, 16 November 2017

... to forestall the worst. Writers keep asking, what might happen? The opening of Beckett’s Malone Dies expresses this stratagem most perfectly, being bleak and comical at the same time: ‘I shall soon be quite dead at last in spite of all.’ It’s striking, as always with Beckett, how the verbal architecture is so exact, adverbs and conjunctions ...

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