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Vlad the Impaler

Inga Clendinnen: Hairy Humbert, 10 August 2000

Nabokov’s Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings 
edited by Brian Boyd and Michael Pyle.
Allen Lane, 783 pp., £25, March 2000, 0 7139 9380 4
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Nabokov’s Blues: The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius 
by Kurt Johnson and Steve Coates.
Zoland, 372 pp., £18, October 1999, 1 58195 009 8
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... Brian Boyd, Nabokov’s biographer, has composed it in association with the lepidopterist Robert Pyle; the translations from Russian are by Dmitri Nabokov. Nonetheless, doubt rises early. We are immediately confronted by Philippe Halsman’s photograph of the most-famous-butterfly-hunter-in-the-world ready to swipe, the gaze for once directed straight at ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Quiet American, 14 November 2002

... of the films showing at the London Film Festival later this month is The Quiet American, starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser, directed by Philip Noyce, and based on Graham Greene’s novel. (It isn’t the first time the book’s been adapted for the screen: Mankiewicz made a version in 1958 which Greene, who anyway tended to have a very low opinion of ...

The Second Resolution Question

Owen Bennett-Jones: Post-Invasion Iraq, 1 June 2017

Iraq: The Cost of War 
by Jeremy Greenstock.
Heinemann, 467 pp., £25, November 2016, 978 1 78515 125 5
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... legally necessary. Wilmshurst’s line manager, the Foreign Office’s chief legal adviser, Sir Michael Wood, shared her view that a second resolution was legally necessary. But Wood did not resign. He briefly considered it, he told Chilcot, but decided not to follow Wilmshurst. ‘Questions of conscience are very individual questions,’ he told the ...

Hillside Men

Roy Foster: Ernie O’Malley, 16 July 1998

Ernie O’Malley: IRA Intellectual 
by Richard English.
Oxford, 284 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 01 982059 3
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... 1918.’ At 20, he joined the brotherhood of freedom-fighters, who now became his closest family. Michael Collins, for whom O’Malley retained a certain sardonic respect, sent him to London to buy arms, and posted him around the Irish countryside to organise and train Volunteer groups. O’Malley found his ideal comrades among the South Tipperary ...

Speaking British

Thomas Jones, 30 March 2000

The Third Woman 
by William Cash.
Little, Brown, 318 pp., £14.99, February 2000, 0 316 85405 0
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Greene on Capri: A Memoir 
by Shirley Hazzard.
Virago, 149 pp., £12.99, January 2000, 1 86049 799 3
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... for cinematography – and the scene is much the most powerful in the film. It almost makes Michael Nyman’s hyperbolic score (the music in Planet of the Apes is subtle by comparison) tolerable. In all such scenes of epiphany (Charlton Heston breaking down at the sight of the half-buried Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes is ...

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