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Remember the Yak

Michael Robbins: John Ashbery, 9 September 2010

Planisphere 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £12.95, December 2009, 978 1 84777 089 9
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... In the morning hope flushes the city anew. I guess it was just that I always thought of snow at the wrong times and defeatism came    charging through the barricades. It always knew where to find me. Funny, few can now remember how water came in pails once, and sails were free for anyone who needed them for a boat. Ashbery is thinking of ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: The films of Carol Reed, 19 October 2006

Odd Man Out 
directed by Carol Reed.
September 2006
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... police cars, dark shapes behind torches and headlights, advance slowly through the thickly falling snow towards Johnny and Kathleen, is a kind of diagram of a world without charity in this sense, or a picture of the death of charity. ‘I know no other film image,’ Dai Vaughan says in his BFI Classics book on Odd Man Out, ‘which conveys such utter ...

At the Orangerie

Michael Hofmann: Marc and Macke, 20 June 2019

... foxes, a deer such electrically gracile deer, a dog such a dog as Marc’s 1911 Dog Lying in the Snow, off-white in a jagged puddle of whiter snow under rocks and trees; the head resting thoughtfully, perhaps a little sadly, on the left forepaw; the long body tinged with buttery gold and edged and shadowed with violet and ...

Household Sounds

Michael Irwin, 22 November 1979

The Old Jest 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Hamish Hamilton, 167 pp., £4.95
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The Goosefeather Bed 
by Diana Melly.
Duckworth, 139 pp., £5.95
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The Snow Man 
by Valerie Kershaw.
Duckworth, 159 pp., £5.95
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Spring Sonata 
by Bernice Rubens.
W.H. Allen, 215 pp., £4.94
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... main characters should be mutually defining. Since both are fragmentary, definition is lost. The Snow Man is a first novel that displays a promising blend of technical competence and raw energy. In form, it is a curious hybrid: a thriller with a Lawrentian substructure. Christie, the heroine, not long married, newly pregnant, unhappy with the devitalising ...

The Ramsey Effect

Kieran Setiya, 18 February 2021

Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers 
by Cheryl Misak.
Oxford, 500 pp., £25, February 2020, 978 0 19 875535 7
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... different. Logic’s necessity is more profound. It’s impossible for a contradiction like ‘Snow is white and snow is not white’ to be true, and this necessity seems absolute. ‘Laws of logic’ don’t function like laws of nature, keeping reality in line, since if they did we could ask why those laws could not be ...

The Ticking Fear

John Kerrigan: Louis MacNeice, 7 February 2008

Louis MacNeice: Collected Poems 
edited by Peter McDonald.
Faber, 836 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 571 21574 4
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Louis MacNeice: Selected Poems 
edited by Michael Longley.
Faber, 160 pp., £12.99, April 2007, 978 0 571 23381 6
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I Crossed the Minch 
by Louis MacNeice.
Polygon, 253 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 1 84697 014 6
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The Strings Are False: An Unfinished Autobiography 
by Louis MacNeice, edited by E.R. Dodds.
Faber, 288 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23942 9
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... flings himself into everyday pleasures he cannot escape time and its paradoxes. Here is ‘Snow’, his best-known poem from the 1930s: The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was Spawning snow and pink roses against it Soundlessly collateral and incompatible: World is suddener than we fancy it. World ...

Pissing in the Snow

Steven Rose: Dissidents and Scientists, 18 July 2019

Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science 
by Audra J. Wolfe.
Johns Hopkins, 302 pp., £22, January 2019, 978 1 4214 2673 0
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... Hungarian Gypsy music and dragged his male guests out to gaze at the moon while pissing in the snow.In the early Cold War years, ex-communist scientists were especially useful to the propaganda campaign. Haldane kept quiet, simply not renewing his Party card, eventually favouring Gandhian non-violence and moving to India. But others were angrily ...

The Excavation

Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann, 4 January 2001

... undeterred, and he sent for a new engineer, and he went on building. Four months later, with the snow already in deep piles on the streets, he was forced to call a halt. But when the first swallows arrived, so did Herr Bardach. We went on building. On a hot July day, the work was finally finished. But the money was finished too. Creditors came. Invoices ...

Scenes from British Life

Hugh Barnes, 6 February 1986

Stroke Counterstroke 
by William Camp.
Joseph, 190 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 7181 2669 6
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Redhill Rococo 
by Shena Mackay.
Heinemann, 171 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 434 44046 9
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Striker 
by Michael Irwin.
Deutsch, 231 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 233 97792 9
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... wasn’t even surprising thirty years ago when made by a novelist who had no sense of humour. C.P. Snow’s Corridors of Power is a chore to read now, at least as far as the young are concerned. They don’t care very much that it struck a chord among a mandarin élite which was rapidly becoming disillusioned. Nevertheless, in the course of that novel ...

Mini-Whoppers

Patrick Parrinder, 7 July 1988

Forty Stories 
by Donald Barthelme.
Secker, 256 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 436 03424 7
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Tiny Lies 
by Kate Pullinger.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, April 1988, 0 224 02560 0
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Ellen Foster 
by Kaye Gibbons.
Cape, 146 pp., £9.95, May 1988, 0 224 02529 5
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After the War 
by Frederick Raphael.
Collins, 528 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 00 223352 5
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... five hundred pages it aspires to the status of a grand social saga à la Margaret Drabble or C.P. Snow. Michael Jordan, sensitive and Jewish, has his first introduction to English mores at a boarding-school evacuated to the coast of North Devon. After the war he grows up to become a successful TV dramatist not unlike ...

Fading Out

John Redmond, 2 November 1995

The Ghost Orchid 
by Michael Longley.
Cape, 66 pp., £7, May 1995, 0 224 04112 6
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... land of transplanted urban dream kingdoms, a paradise for poets who do not wish to be disturbed. Michael Viney’s documentary, The Corner of the Eye, opens with a slow sweep across this landscape, a picture of distances fringed with purple and a few tawny cows nosing through the foreground, then switches to a little white cottage in the midst of it all, and ...

He wants me no more

Tessa Hadley: Pamela Hansford Johnson, 21 January 2016

Pamela Hansford Johnson: Her Life, Works and Times 
by Wendy Pollard.
Shepheard-Walwyn, 500 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 0 85683 298 7
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... they vaguely knew the name but couldn’t place it – until I said she was married to C.P. Snow and then they vaguely remembered that too. They were much clearer about him: the two cultures argument, and Leavis’s vituperation, and some novels revolving around Cambridge colleges. Someone had read one of those novels long ago but couldn’t remember ...

Locke rules

Ian Hacking, 21 November 1991

Locke. Vol. I: Epistemology 
by Michael Ayers.
Routledge, 341 pp., £90, September 1991, 0 415 06406 6
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Locke. Vol. II: Ontology 
by Michael Ayers.
Routledge, 341 pp., £90, September 1991, 0 415 06407 4
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... I imagine, formed our several ideas of what an argument is. But Locke – Locke plods. Aside from Michael Ayers, how many contributors to this issue of the Review, reviewers or reviewees, have read Locke’s Essay, word for word, from beginning to end? Fewer, perhaps, than would like to admit it. But Locke rules. No matter how briefly he is skimmed or how ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Sisters Brothers’, 9 May 2019

... back in the seat than can be comfortable. The West includes grasslands, rocky crags, forests, snow-capped mountains – all shot, apparently, as American dreams should be, in Spain and Romania. The brothers encounter cultural innovations that surprise them and move them: a toothbrush, a water closet. We see western towns being built, patches of desert ...

After the Movies

Michael Wood: Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, 4 December 2008

Histoire(s) du cinéma 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... text, voice-over, moving pictures, stills, paintings, engravings, cartoons. We see the witch in Snow White and the corpses piled up at Auschwitz and Ravensbrück; plenty of Goya, Seurat, Manet; Kim Novak almost drowning in Vertigo, the old major dying in The Magnificent Ambersons; Ivan the Terrible and Stalin; Hitler in one frame immediately followed by ...

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