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Talking More, Lassooing Less

Michael Rogin, 19 June 1997

American Original: A Life of Will Rogers 
by Ray Robinson.
Oxford, 288 pp., $30, January 1997, 0 19 508693 7
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... Will Rogers died in 1935 the most loved man in America. Ray Robinson, who was 14 years old, remembers the news reaching his summer camp by radio and spreading like wildfire from bungalow to bungalow. No death since Abraham Lincoln’s (the kidnapping and killing of the Lindbergh child aside) had moved the country so much ...

The Koreans and their Enemies

Jon Halliday, 17 December 1992

Korea Old and New: A History 
by Carter Eckert, Ki-baik Lee, Young Ick Lew, Michael Robinson and Edward Wagner.
Harvard, 454 pp., £11.95, September 1991, 0 9627713 0 9
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The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World 
by Anthony Daniels.
Hutchinson, 202 pp., £16.99, April 1991, 9780091741532
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... Over the past year evidence has been emerging that the Japanese kidnapped more than 200,000 young women into sex slavery during their occupation of East Asia. Those so enslaved were termed ‘comfort women’, about 80 per cent of whom were Korean. Some were as young as 12, hauled out of their schools, often under a quota system, and carted off to army barracks and outposts all the way from Manchuria to the South Pacific ...

Jokes

Donald Davie, 11 June 1992

In the Circumstances: About Poems and Poets 
by Peter Robinson.
Oxford, 260 pp., £35, May 1992, 0 19 811248 3
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... It seems now that there was always something odd about Peter Robinson’s being the editor, in 1985, of Geoffrey Hill: Essays on His Work, from the Open University Press. Robinson’s sensibility, particularly as one had encountered it in his poems, pointed away from the aloofness of Hill’s attitude to his public, and away from Hill’s lofty and recherché diction, towards something plainer, more demotically awkward, more (the word presented itself) Wordsworthian ...

Rongorongo

John Sturrock: The Rosetta Stone, 19 September 2002

Keys of Egypt 
by Lesley Atkins and Roy Atkins.
HarperCollins, 335 pp., £7.99, September 2001, 0 00 653145 8
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The Rosetta Stone: The Story of the Decoding of Hieroglyphics 
by Robert Solé and Dominique Valbelle, translated by Steven Rendall.
Profile, 184 pp., £7.99, August 2002, 1 86197 344 6
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Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World’s Undeciphered Scripts 
by Andrew Robinson.
McGraw Hill, 352 pp., £25.99, June 2002, 0 07 135743 2
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The Man who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris 
by Andrew Robinson.
Thames and Hudson, 168 pp., £12.95, April 2002, 0 500 51077 6
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... better to read the summary expertly given in The Rosetta Stone, or, best of all, in Andrew Robinson’s lucid and well illustrated chapter on hieroglyphics in Lost Languages (whose many line drawings are at once valuable and deceptive, since they make the signs displayed look a great deal easier to identify than they are in the worn and ...

Who didn’t kill Carl Bridgewater?

Stephen Sedley, 9 October 1986

Murder at the Farm: Who killed Carl Bridgewater? 
by Paul Foot.
Sidgwick, 273 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 283 99165 8
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... and the stakes were high. Vincent Hickey named his accomplices at Chapel Farm: his cousin Michael Hickey, aged 16 but already an experienced minor criminal, and Jimmy Robinson, a man in his mid-forties with a mixed career of regular work and crime whose letters from prison, quoted by Foot, show intelligence and a ...

Pound and the Perfect Lady

Donald Davie, 19 September 1985

Pound’s Artists: Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts in London, Paris and Italy 
by Richard Humphreys.
Tate Gallery, 176 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 946590 28 1
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Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters 1909-1914 
edited by Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz.
Faber, 399 pp., £25, January 1985, 0 571 13480 7
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... Carpenter, predictably, finds the three essayists – Richard Humphreys, John Alexander and Peter Robinson – ‘taking a rather solemn approach to the whole thing’; whereas, he assures us, Pound’s exertions on behalf of these arts partook ‘more than a little of the amiable joke’. Before it is through, Pound’s centenary year will bring on ...

Inside the system

Paul Foot, 7 December 1989

... different from those which were heard by the jury at Stafford Crown Court in 1979. Jimmy Robinson had said at trial he was in bed with his lover at the time of the murder – but no witness appeared to back him up. At the appeal his lover’s daughter (at the time a girl of 13, now a woman of 23) fully backed his alibi. The judges said they did not ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Some Like It Hot’, 22 November 2018

... Gene Phillips’s Some Like It Wilder (2010) that the actor with the gun is the son of Edward G. Robinson, famous among many other reasons for playing the title role in Little Caesar, although I did, like most people, pick up the reference when Raft asks young Robinson where he got the ‘cheap trick’ of tossing a coin ...

The Case for Geoffrey Hill

Tom Paulin, 4 April 1985

Geoffrey Hill: Essays on his Work 
edited by Peter Robinson.
Open University, 259 pp., £18, March 1985, 0 335 10588 2
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... that fable in his second volume inevitably attaches a disabling reminder of the Dunciad to Peter Robinson and his assembled chorus of scholars. There is something cosy and desperate in their yawping enterprise. It could be that Ricks, in his essay ‘Tenebrae and At-One-Ment’, is deliberately baiting ‘the current scientism and theoreticity’, but his ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... on £46,000 a year, Mandelson borrowed £373,000 (eight times his MP’s salary) from Geoffrey Robinson, an industrialist Blair put in the Treasury after New Labour’s victory. Robinson’s fortune had been inflated by dealings with Robert Maxwell, the Channel Island tax havens and a legacy from a satirically named ...

Journey to Arezzo

Nicholas Penny: The Apotheosis of Piero, 17 April 2003

Piero della Francesca 
by Roberto Longhi, translated by David Tabbat.
Sheep Meadow, 364 pp., £32.50, September 2002, 1 878818 77 5
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... Gallery. Piero della Francesca was a figure of special interest for both John Charles Robinson, an agent for South Kensington as well as for private collectors, and Charles Eastlake, the first director of the National Gallery, because of the extreme rarity of his portable pictures. There was only one work by him in any public – or indeed any ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... and periodically subject to extreme physical abuse, the Marlowe of the novels, unlike Edward G. Robinson’s insurance investigator in Double Indemnity, is trapped in the dark underside of American life and never acquires the insurance man’s protective armour, his forceful, single-minded menace. But whereas in Woman in the Window Lang directed ...

Snakes and Leeches

Rosemary Hill: The Great Stink, 4 January 2018

One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Yale, 352 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 300 22726 0
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... the press and kept the specialist scandal sheets in business. One of the most entertaining was Robinson v. Robinson and Lane. Henry Robinson had read his wife Isabella’s diary and found that not only did she dislike him intensely but she had recorded in considerable detail a ...

Non-Persons

Michael Ignatieff, 8 May 1986

The Silent Twins 
by Marjorie Wallace.
Chatto, 230 pp., £10.95, February 1986, 0 7011 2712 0
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... they tried to write themselves into existence as separate selves. They were like a schizoid Robinson Crusoe, their island a cramped upstairs bedroom in a North Wales semi. When, like Crusoe, they discovered the self needed its Friday, they began stalking the American boys at the nearby airbase, eventually offering up their virginities to a loathsome ...

A Djinn speaks

Colm Tóibín: What about George Yeats?, 20 February 2003

Becoming George: The Life of Mrs W.B. Yeats 
by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 808 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 19 811232 7
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... smile to herself and sit back again.’ When George’s daughter Anne was born in 1919 and son Michael in 1921, the sisters became enthusiastic babysitters and general chroniclers of their brother’s household. ‘I think George enjoys the thrill she gets when she gives her name in shops,’ Lolly wrote. ‘Mrs W.B. Yeats.’ Lily thought her ...

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