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6 April 1995
The Davies​ Report: The ‘Great Battle’ in Swansea 
by Michael Davies.
Thoemmes, 139 pp., £3.99, October 1994, 1 85506 366 2
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... Maclean were supported in their indignation by almost all their students, and by some of their colleagues, including Colwyn Williamson, who had been lecturing in philosophy in Swansea since 1967, and Michael Cohen, a former Tory voter described by Sir MichaelDavies as a ‘careful and reasonable sort of person’. In early 1990, all four lecturers, Hunt, Maclean, Williamson and Cohen, formally ...

Holy Boldness

Tom Paulin: John Bunyan

16 December 2004
Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent 
by Richard Greaves.
Stanford, 693 pp., £57.50, August 2002, 0 8047 4530 7
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Theology and Narrative in the Works of John Bunyan 
by Michael Davies.
Oxford, 393 pp., £65, July 2002, 0 19 924240 2
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The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ 
by Isabel Hofmeyr.
Princeton, 320 pp., £41.95, January 2004, 0 691 11655 5
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... tries to analyse the power of ‘Bishop Bunyan’. He reduces one of the most powerful, charismatic and influential writers and preachers of his age to a dull and worthy figure. Both Greaves and MichaelDavies appear to accept, and even collude with, Bunyan’s diminished presence in contemporary British culture. Bunyan, however, remains an enduring presence in Ulster Protestantism. In a lecture ...
10 January 1991
51 Soko: To the Islands on the Other Side of the World 
by Michael​ Westlake.
Polygon, 258 pp., £8.95, September 1990, 0 7486 6085 2
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Behind the Waterfall 
by Chinatsy Nakayama.
Virago, 213 pp., £12.99, November 1990, 1 85381 269 2
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Dirty Faxes, and Other Stories 
by Andrew Davies.
Methuen, 243 pp., £13.99, October 1990, 0 413 63270 9
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... I was very sorry when he went home. It diminished the hilarity of the shires. In one way or another Yoshi kept coming to mind as I puzzled, eased, or intermittently ground and grinned my way through Michael Westlake’s 51 Soko – an ingenious, teasing, complex, at times impenetrable, often brilliantly parodic book, with a title that reads disconcertingly like a personal number-plate or a cosmetic ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Ageing Crims

3 June 2015
... immigrants – five foot four inches, to be exact – and he moved in a world of thieves and chancers that blended very naturally with the world of other folk heroes in the Glasgow of the 1920s. Michael O’Hagan was the kind of hard man feared and admired in equal measure, and, to this day, such men are spoken about as decent ordinary sorts who bring the spirit of the people along with them on ...
6 December 1990
Stick it up your punter! The Rise and Fall of the ‘Sun’ 
by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 434 12624 1
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All played out: The True Story of Italia ’90 
by Pete Davies.
Heinemann, 471 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 434 17908 6
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Gazza! A Biography 
by Robin McGibbon.
Penguin, 204 pp., £3.99, October 1990, 9780140148688
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... most of them in the South and Midlands. It’s constantly asserted that what the Sun says doesn’t matter, since hardly anybody believes it. (Consider the grotesque recent headline on the subject of Michael Heseltine’s political advisers: ‘THE ADULTERER, THE BUNGLER AND THE JOKER’.) This misses the point. Say that only one person in ten gives any credence to the Sun’s urgings: while the paper is ...
11 June 1992
Judge for yourself 
by James Pickles.
Smith Gryphon, 242 pp., £15.99, April 1992, 1 85685 019 6
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The Barrister’s World 
by John Morison and Philip Leith.
Open University, 256 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 335 09396 5
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Advocates 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 305 pp., £15, April 1992, 0 19 811948 8
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... supermarket check-out. The Renshaw case, as it happens, is the subject of about the only conscious revelation in Pickles’s book. ‘I have not been able to reveal until now that it was Mr Justice MichaelDavies who suggested that I jail Renshaw for seven days,’ he writes. ‘He asked how long I proposed to give her, and I said 21 days. “No, make it seven,” he said, and I did.’ There is not a ...

Vicarious Sages

Michael​ Mason

3 November 1983
John Forster: A Literary Life 
by James Davies.
Leicester University Press, 318 pp., £25, June 1983, 0 7185 1164 6
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Mr George Eliot: A Biography of George Henry Lewes 
by David Williams.
Hodder, 288 pp., £12.95, June 1983, 0 340 25717 2
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Johnnie Cross 
by Terence de Vere White.
Gollancz, 153 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 575 03333 9
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... which has not made the difficult project of embracing their careers any more attractive. The two books which have taken up these long-standing biographical challenges do so in very different ways. Dr Davies has written the more orthodox book for the situation: it puts the presenting of a full range of information on a new subject (and this is a carefully researched study) before the achievement of a ...

Dependencies

Elizabeth Young

25 February 1993
The Case of Anna Kavan 
by David Callard.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, January 1993, 0 7206 0867 8
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... During the war Anna Kavan worked for nearly two years at the offices of Horizon. ‘Understandably, Connolly was never comfortable with Kavan,’ Michael Sheldon wrote in Friends of Promise, his book about Connolly. He was presumably referring to her heroin addiction. Friends and mentors over the years – Rhys Davies. Peter Owen, Brian Aldiss – ...
19 January 1989
Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael​ Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... adventitious purchasers for the first three of these books. Fred Bruemmer’s remarkable photographs follow the lives and the 4000-mile migrations of seals southwards from Greenland, and Brian Davies, founder twenty years ago of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, tells of his success in 1983 in persuading the EEC Governments to ban the import of baby seal products. By 1987 he had procured ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The life expectancy of a Roman emperor

3 June 2004
... than you might want to know about his (and many other politicians’) priorities. Media bosses, by contrast, seem not to be able to abandon ship quickly enough. Piers Morgan, like Greg Dyke and Gavyn Davies before him, was out of a job as soon as it was established that he had been responsible for misinforming the public about goings-on in Iraq. (In one sense, though not in the sense the cabinet would ...

Sterling and Strings

Peter Davies: Harold Wilson and Vietnam

20 November 2008
... repeatedly defended the American position in exchanges with the Soviet Union, the Commonwealth and Britain’s European allies. He also defended it in the House of Commons, and the foreign secretary, Michael Stewart, even appeared on television to defend American actions. At a televised ‘teach in’ in Oxford in June 1965, Stewart argued that ‘the future relationship between North and South could, in ...

Baby Face

John Bayley

24 May 1990
William Gerhardie: A Biography 
by Dido Davies.
Oxford, 411 pp., £25, April 1990, 0 19 211794 7
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Memoirs of a Polyglot 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 381 pp., £5.95, April 1990, 0 86072 111 6
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Futility 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 198 pp., £4.95, April 1990, 0 86072 112 4
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God’s Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age 1890-1940 
by William Gerhardie, edited by Michael​ Holroyd and Robert Skidelsky.
Hogarth, 360 pp., £8.95, April 1990, 0 7012 0887 2
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... William, too, was English in his own way, which may have been one of the things about him that Evelyn Waugh admired. He borrowed from him too. In this highly fascinating and erudite biography Dido Davies notes some of the echoes of Jazz and Jasper in Vile Bodies. Gerhardie’s Lord Ottercove, based on the ubiquitous literary model of Beaverbrook, shouts ‘Faster! Faster!’ like Agatha Runcible ...
2 February 1984
Come aboard and sail away 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 48 pp., £6, October 1983, 0 907540 37 6
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Children in Exile 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 24 pp., £5, October 1983, 0 907540 39 2
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‘The Memory of War’ and ‘Children in Exile’: Poems 1968-1983 
by James Fenton.
Penguin, 110 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 14 006812 0
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Some Contemporary Poets of Britain and Ireland: An Anthology 
edited by Michael​ Schmidt.
Carcanet, 184 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 85635 469 4
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Nights in the Iron Hotel 
by Michael​ Hofmann.
Faber, 48 pp., £4, November 1983, 0 571 13116 6
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The Irish Lights 
by Charles Johnston and Kyril Fitzlyon.
Bodley Head, 77 pp., £4.50, September 1983, 0 370 30557 4
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Fifteen to Infinity 
by Ruth Fainlight.
Hutchinson, 62 pp., £5.95, September 1983, 0 09 152471 7
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Donald Davie and the Responsibilities of Literature 
edited by George Dekker.
Carcanet, 153 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 9780856354663
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... and that style should slip the content straight down the reader’s throat, for content is what matters most. This may beg a lot more questions, but except to critics it is clear enough. When W.H. Davies says he saw the wind dragging the corn by her golden hair into a dark wood, the startling and exciting information goes straight inside us. Complex reactions then occur; theorists of rhetoric can ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Enough about Politics

15 April 1982
... Party that aspires to become respectable is a Labour Party doomed to decay. That is enough about politics, indeed too much. Instead, a warm welcome for a new book by that indefatigable tramper Hunter Davies. This one is A Walk along the Tracks,* an exploration of the disused railway lines which have now accumulated to 8,000 miles, with no doubt more to come. Some of these lines have been taken over by ...

His Greatest Pretend

Dinah Birch: The man behind Pan

1 September 2005
Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J.M. Barrie 
by Lisa Chaney.
Hutchinson, 402 pp., £20, June 2005, 0 09 179539 7
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... Barrie for a younger man. By then, Barrie’s interests had shifted to another family, where his need to be both uncommitted and watchfully involved could be more easily gratified. Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, the daughter of the rakish artist and novelist George du Maurier, was married to a handsome and respectable lawyer; she was delicately beautiful, vivacious and unavailable. Still more enticingly ...

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