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19 March 1981
The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound 
by Michael Alexander.
Faber, 247 pp., £7.95, April 1979, 0 571 10560 2
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Ezra Pound and the Pisan Cantos 
by Anthony Woodward.
Routledge, 128 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 7100 0372 2
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Ezra Pound and the Cantos: A Record of Struggle 
by Wendy Stallard Flory.
Yale, 321 pp., £12.60, July 1980, 0 300 02392 8
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Ezra Pound and His World 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Thames and Hudson, 127 pp., £5.95, February 1981, 0 500 13069 8
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End to Torment: A Memoir of Ezra Pound with Poems from Ezra Pound’s H.D. Book 
edited by Norman Holmes Pearson and Michael​ King.
Carcanet, 84 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 0 85635 318 3
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... scholars, notably Hugh Kenner, but also (and strangely, considering his origins in the neo-Augustan ‘Movement’ of the Fifties) Donald Davie, who kept the subject respectable, the interest alive. MichaelAlexander suggests that ‘indifference and bafflement are today more common than hostility,’ and that may be so. But there has been some excellent work done on Pound recently: Richard Sieburth’s ...

The Nephew

David Thomson

19 March 1981
Charmed Lives 
by Michael​ Korda.
Penguin, 498 pp., £2.50, January 1981, 0 14 005402 2
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... This book suggests how an odd mixture of Hungarian nerve, social bluff and show-business instinct once commanded the British cinema. In Michael Korda’s telling, however, the panorama of picture-making is not always alight with understanding or information. The author may have been born on the night in 1933 when his uncle Alexander Korda ...

Watermonster Blues

William Wootten: Edwin Morgan

18 November 2004
Edwin Morgan: Inventions of Modernity 
by Colin Nicholson.
Manchester, 216 pp., £40, October 2002, 0 7190 6360 4
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Beowulf 
translated by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 118 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 588 5
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Cathures 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 617 2
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... clear that he is as much a poet of la même chose as the poet of changes. He began his translation of Beowulf in the late 1940s; it was first published in 1952. Recent versions by Seamus Heaney and MichaelAlexander might have made the need for the republication of Morgan’s less urgent for anyone who just wants to get hold of a good modern Beowulf, but as an early and defining Morgan poem it remains ...

Concierge

John Lanchester

16 November 1995
Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... talents in mid-career (Charles Tomlinson, Douglas Dunn) to new Best of Young British megastars (W.N. Herbert, Robert Crawford). But the fact relevant to Pound’s current standing is the one in MichaelAlexander and James McGonigal’s Introduction: Sons of Ezra could not find a British publisher. Pounds have always been a dodgy stock, of course, but still ... Audens, on the other hand, have long ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Shuffling Off into Obscurity

4 May 2016
... between what politicians care about and what the voters experience, this was a fatal mismatch. Swinson lost her seat, as did all the Lib Dems in Scotland bar one. Perhaps the biggest victim was Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury and the other hero of Laws’s account, after Clegg and Laws himself (‘March 2014: David Laws announces fairer funding for English schools’). Alexander was ‘an ...

Barclay’s War

David Chandler

19 March 1981
The Commander: A Life of Barclay de Tolly 
by Michael​ Josselson and Diana Josselson.
Oxford, 275 pp., £12.95, June 1980, 0 19 215854 6
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... Nor did he enjoy the mystique of the veteran Kutusov, detested by the Tsar and with the stigma of Austerlitz on his reputation, but set over Barclay’s head as supreme commander (after Tsar Alexander) as the crisis of the 1812 campaign was reached after the abandonment of Smolensk. Of course, Kutusov’s reputation with posterity owes much to Tolstoy’s portrait in War and Peace, where the ...

Giving Hysteria a Bad Name

Jenny Diski: At home with the Mellys

17 November 2005
Take a Girl like Me: Life with George 
by Diana Melly.
Chatto, 280 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 0 7011 7906 6
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Slowing Down 
by George Melly.
Viking, 221 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 0 670 91409 6
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... out dancing. Then Patrick got measles and I had to stop work. The money ran out and I sent Patrick, now two, to live with my aunt in Essex. After leaving Patrick, I went to live with a writer called MichaelAlexander who took me to Afghanistan. Several ‘engagements’ (author’s inverted commas) on and she is living with Johnnie, but he wanted a child of his own before Patrick returned to live with ...
9 July 1987
Speak, Memory 
by Vladimir Nabokov.
Penguin, 242 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008623 4
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The Russian Album 
by Michael​ Ignatieff.
Chatto, 191 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3109 8
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The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff 
prepared in association with by Sonja Sinclair.
Toronto, 265 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 8020 2556 0
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A Little of All These: An Estonian Childhood 
by Tania Alexander.
Cape, 165 pp., £12.50, March 1987, 0 224 02400 0
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... her own past with the same retrospective fervour that I now do her image and my past. Thus, in a way, I inherited an exquisite simulacrum – the beauty of intangible property, unreal estate.’ Michael Ignatieff was born in Canada in the 1940s. ‘My friends,’ he remarks a little sheepishly at the start of his book, ‘had suburban pasts or pasts they would rather not talk about. I had a past of ...

Death of the Hero

Michael​ Howard

7 January 1988
The Mask of Command 
by John Keegan.
Cape, 366 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780224019491
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... when he communicates with the men he commands and which makes his authority effective. It will be different in different epochs, as society and technology develop. Keegan presents four examples: Alexander the Great, a ‘heroic’ commander; the Duke of Wellington, an ‘anti-heroic’ commander; Ulysses S. Grant, a supremely unheroic commander; and a little surprisingly, Hitler, a man seldom thought ...
17 April 1980
Race, Sex and Class under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and their Critics 
by Kenneth Ballhatchet.
Weidenfeld, 199 pp., £9.50, January 1980, 0 297 77646 0
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Queen Victoria’s Maharajah: Duleep Singh 1838-1898 
by Michael Alexander and Sushila Anand.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £9.95, February 1980, 0 297 77656 8
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... It is a commonplace assumption among modern historians that minority rule has always had to rely on devices to preserve social distance. These have usually consisted of distinctions of dress, comportment and speech, and of restrictions on commensality and connubium. In Western societies they have operated within the cultural framework of class. Kenneth Ballhatchet takes the equally familiar notion ...

Mark Antony’s Last Throw

Michael​ Kulikowski: Hellenistic Navies

25 October 2012
The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies 
by William Murray.
Oxford, 356 pp., £30, January 2012, 978 0 19 538864 0
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... Wars and lost Athens the Peloponnesian War, after its Sicilian expedition ended in a naval debacle. Triremes seem to have enjoyed a continuous history into late antiquity, but after the death of Alexander the Great, the kings and kinglets who competed for his legacy began to build much bigger ships, and the reason for this is more difficult to explain. The basic trieres was a ‘three’, but literary ...
15 September 1983
George Borrow: Eccentric 
by Michael​ Collie.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £19.50, November 1982, 0 521 24615 6
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A World of his Own: The Double Life of George Borrow 
by David Williams.
Oxford, 178 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 19 211762 9
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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East 
by Alexander​ Kinglake and Jan Morris.
Oxford, 279 pp., £2.95, November 1982, 0 19 281361 7
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Eothen 
by Alexander​ Kinglake and Jonathan Raban.
Century, 226 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 7126 0031 0
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... The cool, courteous Alexander Kinglake and the hot, contentious George Borrow are two of the best-liked and most influential travel writers of the 19th century. They were contemporaries for much of their long lives (Borrow died ...

Mistrial

Michael​ Davie

6 June 1985
The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. Among the three hundred-odd reporters present, besides Mencken, were Damon Runyon, Ford Madox Ford, Edna Ferber, Alexander Woollcott, Heywood Broun, Walter Winchell and Joseph Alsop, who was required to write no less than ten thousand words a day for the Herald Tribune. Celebrities who dropped by included Ginger Rogers ...
1 August 1996
Washington Babylon 
by Alexander​ Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.
Verso, 316 pp., £31.95, May 1996, 1 85984 092 2
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... and sponsor regulation of the family relations of the poor. Like Gingrich and Bob Dole, Clinton proposes to help poor children by ending their entitlement to even minimal welfare support. Although Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein twice call Clinton a Republican president, even the view that he has signed the Contract with America does not go far enough for them. Neither Reagan nor Gingrich, in ...

At the National Gallery

Nicola Jennings: Bartolomé Bermejo

12 September 2019
... the only one to master the illusionistic techniques pioneered by Jan Van Eyck, Bartolomé Bermejo’s small but spectacular body of work is little known. The National Gallery acquired the panel Saint Michael Triumphant over the Devil (below) from the sale of the Luton Hoo estate contents in 1995. In common with three of the four early works from Spain already in the gallery’s collection, the Bermejo ...

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