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Nicholas Penny: The Art World, 14 December 2017

The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... else had got it wrong, which is not very endearing. Often he’s just rating his predecessors: ‘Newman is the best painter in the country’ (1964); ‘Pollock’s a greater artist than anyone working at the time or since’ (1967); ‘Pollock, Newman, Rothko and Still were the best painters’ (1993).Another style of ...

Conservative Chic

Michael Mason, 6 May 1982

The Politics of Culture and Other Essays 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 245 pp., £8.95, October 1981, 0 85635 362 0
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... or wordbutchers, and abuse of language, whether from ignorance or obfuscation, leads, as Newman persuasively argues, to a deterioration of moral values and standards of living. If this infelicitous piece of prose is all that his spleen about the decay of English brings him to then let us have Norman Mailer any day. The other line of defence for ...

Muldoon – A Mystery

Michael Hofmann, 20 December 1990

Madoc – A Mystery 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 261 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14489 6
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... philosophers have names similar or identical to the names of actors in the drama: Putnam, Lewis, Newman, Clarke and Hartley. The whole spooky procedure recalls the celebrated episode when Coleridge and Wordsworth were eavesdropped-on in the West Country, and were heard to speak of the sinister ‘Spy Nozy’ (the philosopher Spinoza): there is the same mad ...

Severnside

David Cannadine, 21 March 1985

Elgar, the Man 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Allen Lane/Viking, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 7139 1532 3
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Edward Elgar: A Creative Life 
by Jerrold Northrop Moore.
Oxford, 841 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 315447 1
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Spirit of England: Edward Elgar in his World 
by Jerrold Northrop Moore.
Heinemann, 175 pp., £10.95, February 1984, 0 434 47541 6
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The Elgar-Atkins Friendship 
by E. Wulstan Atkins.
David and Charles, 510 pp., £15, April 1984, 0 7153 8583 6
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... was quite extraordinarily complex, cross-grained and contradictory; his delight in what Ernest Newman called ‘public mysterification’ was as revealing as it was perverse; and his creative output has meant very different things to different people of different generations. The result is a personality easily evoked in part, but rarely encapsulated in ...

Certainties

Donald Davie, 20 May 1982

In Defence of the Imagination 
by Helen Gardner.
Oxford, 197 pp., £12.50, February 1982, 0 19 812639 5
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... For pity’s sake, are we talking about the university as conceived in the head of John Henry Newman, or about the sorry actualities in which Frank Kermode and I and until lately Helen Gardner have severally earned our keep? We may believe indeed that the Oxford English Faculty maintained, while Dame Helen was a member of it, a standard of considerate ...

Sisters come second

Dinah Birch: Siblings, 26 April 2012

Thicker than Water: Siblings and Their Relations 1780-1920 
by Leonore Davidoff.
Oxford, 449 pp., £35, November 2011, 978 0 19 954648 0
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... in failure. For most of her adult life, she needed the financial support of her brother William Michael. The Brontë sisters also tried to set up a school – a regular ploy among educated women without money or husbands in the mid-Victorian period. They too failed. Then Emily and Anne died. Charlotte didn’t have a well-funded and well-disposed brother to ...

Excellence

Patrick Wright, 21 May 1987

Creating excellence: Managing corporate culture, strategy and change in the New Age 
by Craig Hickman and Michael Silva.
Allen and Unwin, 305 pp., £12.50, April 1985, 0 04 658252 5
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Intrapreneuring: Why you don’t have to leave the corporation to become an entrepreneur 
by Gifford Pinchot.
Harper and Row, 368 pp., £15.95, August 1985, 0 06 015305 9
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The IBM Way: Insights into the World’s Most Successful Marketing Organisation 
by Buck Rodgers.
Harper and Row, 224 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 06 015522 1
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Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage 
by Richard Foster.
Macmillan, 316 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 333 43511 7
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Ford 
by Robert Lacey.
Heinemann, 778 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 434 40192 7
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Company of Adventurers: The Story of the Hudson’s Bay Company 
by Peter Newman.
Viking, 413 pp., £14.95, March 1986, 0 670 80379 0
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Augustine’s Laws 
by Norman Augustine.
Viking, 380 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 9780670809424
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Peak Performers: The New Heroes in Business 
by Charles Garfield.
Hutchinson, 333 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 09 167391 7
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Going for it: How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur 
by Victor Kiam.
Collins, 223 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 00 217603 3
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Take a chance to be first: The Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success 
by Warren Avis.
Macmillan, 222 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 02 504410 9
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The Winning Streak 
by Walter Goldsmith and David Clutterbuck.
Weidenfeld/Penguin, 224 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 297 78469 2
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The Roots of Excellence 
by Ronnie Lessem.
Fontana, 318 pp., £3.95, December 1985, 0 00 636874 3
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The New Management of Local Government 
by John Stewart.
Allen and Unwin, 208 pp., £20, October 1986, 0 00 435232 7
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... of Oftel smiles up in soft brown light as he dangles in the mirror on a green office wall. Michael Meyer of Emess Lighting is dissected by the blinds that cut across him and then reassembled from outside – his shirtsleeved figure looming like a target in the formulaic eye of some Hollywood assassin. As for London and Scottish Marine Oil’s Chris ...

Cooking it up

Rupert Christiansen, 19 January 1989

Maria: Callas Remembered 
by Nadia Stancioff.
Sidgwick, 264 pp., £13.95, April 1988, 0 283 99645 5
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Callas at Juilliard: The Master Classes 
by John Ardoin.
Robson, 300 pp., £16.95, April 1988, 0 86051 504 4
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Callas as they saw her 
edited by David Lowe.
Robson, 264 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 9780860514961
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The Great Caruso 
by Michael Scott.
Hamish Hamilton, 322 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 241 11954 5
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Chaliapin 
by Victor Borovsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 630 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 241 12254 6
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... modern, the unsurpassed role model of any tenor who signs the Italian repertory. A third of Michael Scott’s decent but pedestrian biography is taken up with a discography and chronology; the other two thirds follow the familiar story down the familiar path – of the 18th child of poor Neapolitan parents whose musical apprenticeship took place in ...

Pop Eye

Hal Foster: Handmade Readymades, 22 August 2002

Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art 
by Michael Lobel.
Yale, 196 pp., £35, March 2002, 0 300 08762 4
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... outlines last. Thus, while a Lichtenstein might look industrially ready-made, it is actually, as Michael Lobel demonstrates in his careful study, a layering of mechanical reproduction (comic), handwork (drawing), mechanical reproduction again (projector) and handwork again (tracing and painting), to the point where distinctions between hand and machine are ...

Dubious Relations

Sander Gilman, 20 June 1985

The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess: 1887-1904 
edited by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.
Harvard, 505 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 674 15420 7
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... professor of the history of medicine at Tübingen; the draft translation was prepared by Lottie Newman, a confidant of Anna Freud; the archival work, outside of the material in the direct possession of the Freud Archives, was undertaken in Jerusalem by Peter Swales; and the draft notes were prepared for the simultaneous German edition of the letters by ...

Beefcake Ease

Miranda Carter: Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen, 14 January 2002

Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy 
by Damien Love.
Batsford, 208 pp., £15.99, December 2001, 0 7134 8707 0
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Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care 
by Lee Server.
Faber, 590 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 571 20994 7
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McQueen: The Biography 
by Christopher Sandford.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 00 257195 1
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... Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, James Coburn, and in England – and in a different, English way – Michael Caine, seldom did anything else. It was also a manner which could not always be easily distinguished from simple idleness. For the first 25 years of Mitchum’s career, his performances were routinely mocked – most consistently by Mitchum himself ...

Zeitgeist Man

Jenny Diski: Dennis Hopper, 22 March 2012

Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel 
by Peter Winkler.
Robson, 376 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84954 165 7
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... close, but I suspect that’s more the result of moribund acting. There isn’t any doubt about Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (one of the few good films I wish I’d never seen): as blank and merciless a psychopath as I’ve ever come across in the movies. But no one has ever been as repeatedly and consistently sinister, morally ...

Positively Spaced Out

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Building of England’, 6 September 2001

The Buildings of England: A Celebration Compiled to Mark 50 Years of the Pevsner Architectural Guides 
edited by Simon Bradley and Bridget Cherry.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 9527401 3 3
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... only one or two bees per bonnet. The Pevsnerian approach was different. In a witty essay, Michael Taylor, who drove Pevsner round Warwickshire, recalls the experience as stimulating and slightly nightmarish, ‘like viewing a video of a thousand years … of history … fast-forwarded’. Pevsner ‘robbed the word “specialist” of its meaning by ...

Utopian about the Present

Christopher Turner: The Brutalist Ethic, 4 July 2019

Alison and Peter Smithson 
by Mark Crinson.
Historic England, 150 pp., £30, June 2018, 978 1 84802 352 9
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Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing 
by John Boughton.
Verso, 330 pp., £9.99, April 2019, 978 1 78478 740 0
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... the importance of the street in forging social bonds. This was confirmed by Peter Willmott and Michael Young in their sociological study Family and Kinship in East London (1957), which looked at a close-knit working-class community against the backdrop of town planner Patrick Abercrombie’s scheme to clear slums and rehouse residents in ...

Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

... of two steel blocks each by Richard Serra (for obvious reasons neither will be moved anytime soon).Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic at the New York Times, calls the new design ‘smart, surgical, sprawling and slightly soulless’. I would take ‘slightly soulless’ over ‘aggressively spectacular’, and given the political controversies visited on ...

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