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Many-Modelled

Ian Hamilton, 20 June 1996

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 632 pp., £35, February 1996, 0 19 211789 0
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... time, salutes were guaranteed from Privates Lawrence, Pound and Eliot; even from Lance-Corporal Lewis. And in the Army, you got paid: paid every week, not just when you happened to get lucky – which, in Ford’s book-writing life to date, had not been very often. By 1915, Ford had published over forty books – novels, poems, historical ...

Make mine a Worcester Sauce

John Bayley, 23 June 1994

Richard Hughes 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Deutsch, 491 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 233 98843 2
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... of aspiring young poets and playwrights – and afterwards at the Adelphi Theatre in London by Lewis Casson, husband of the young Sybil Thorndike: he was producing a series of short Grand Guignol plays, and she saw herself in the melodramatic role of the eldest sister. The interest of The Sisters’ Tragedy, the idea for which Hughes had probably picked up ...

‘Come, my friend,’ said Smirnoff

Joanna Kavenna: The radical twenties, 1 April 1999

The Radical Twenties: Aspects of Writing, Politics and Culture 
by John Lucas.
Five Leaves, 263 pp., £11.99, January 1997, 0 907123 17 1
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... the strategy favoured by the Futurists, Egoists and Vorticists: Pound, Richard Aldington, Wyndham Lewis, Dora Marsden, Hilda Doolittle. Pound ‘took on’ technology: ‘what the analytical geometer does for space and form’ he compared to what ‘the poet does for the states of consciousness’; ‘as the abstract mathematician is to science so is the poet ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... it’s true that Keith Douglas was always conscious of Isaac Rosenberg behind his shoulder, Alun Lewis of Edward Thomas. But the idea of modern warfare as one thing and of poetic response to it as another seems, in retrospect, almost Churchillian in its fixedness. Back then, although we loved the old rogue for the rodomontade and sheer cheek of his ...

Double-Barrelled Dolts

Ferdinand Mount: Mosley’s Lost Deposit, 6 July 2006

Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism 
by Stephen Dorril.
Viking, 717 pp., £30, April 2006, 0 670 86999 6
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Hurrah for the Blackshirts! Fascists and Fascism between the Wars 
by Martin Pugh.
Pimlico, 387 pp., £8.99, March 2006, 1 84413 087 8
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... people, he had found, are frightened of anger; he cultivated his natural ferocity.’ Nancy Mitford, although persuaded by her husband, Peter Rodd, to don a black shirt and gush in print on behalf of TPOF (The Poor Old Führer), was already marshalling the Union Jack Shirts for her novel Wigs on the Green. But it was not until 1938 that ...

Good Books

Marghanita Laski, 1 October 1981

The Promise of Happiness 
by Fred Inglis.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £17.50, March 1981, 0 521 23142 6
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The Child and the Book 
by Nicholas Tucker.
Cambridge, 259 pp., £15, March 1981, 0 521 23251 1
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The Impact of Victorian Children’s Fiction 
by J.S. Bratton.
Croom Helm, 230 pp., £11.95, July 1981, 0 07 099777 2
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Children’s Literature. Vol. IX 
edited by Francelia Butler, Samuel Pickering, Milla Riggio and Barbara Rosen.
Yale, 241 pp., £17.35, March 1981, 0 300 02623 4
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The ‘Signal’ Approach to Children’s Books 
edited by Nancy Chambers.
Kestrel, 352 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 7226 5641 6
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... Great Tradition. (‘The great children’s novelists,’ Inglis begins unequivocally, ‘are Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Arthur Ransome, William Mayne and Philippa Pearce.’) What they may be charged with is not treating this fact with the seriousness it deserves: not, indeed, considering even the possibility that it might ...

The World of School

John Bayley, 28 September 1989

The Brideshead Generation: Evelyn Waugh and his Friends 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 523 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 297 79320 9
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Osbert: A Portrait of Osbert Lancaster 
by Richard Boston.
Collins, 256 pp., £17.50, August 1989, 0 00 216324 1
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Ackerley: A Life of J.R. Ackerley 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 465 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 09 469000 6
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... gone from the drink. Details in Brideshead often have the penetrating enchantment they possess in Lewis Carroll or in Kafka. The chapel at the great house, with its Art Nouveau glass and trappings, is based on the church at Madresfield, the Lygon house near Bristol. But that is mere corroborative detail: much more in keeping with true Waugh fantasy is ...

Owning Mayfair

David Cannadine, 2 April 1981

Survey of London. Vol. 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2. The Buildings 
edited by F.H.W. Sheppard.
Athlone, 428 pp., £55, August 1980, 0 485 48240 1
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... among the chic apartments and smaller houses of Chelsea and Knightsbridge. ‘Aristocracy,’ Nancy Mitford noted over twenty years ago, ‘no longer keeps up any state in London,’ and their once-great Mayfair houses, with their splendid décor, lavish furnishings, spectacular works of art, and retinues of servants, have also vanished, or been given ...

Loose Canons

Edward Mendelson, 23 June 1988

History and Value: The Clarendon Lectures and the Northcliffe Lectures 1987 
by Frank Kermode.
Oxford, 160 pp., £15, June 1988, 0 19 812381 7
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Nya 
by Stephen Haggard and Frank Kermode.
Oxford, 475 pp., £5.95, June 1988, 0 19 282135 0
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British Writers of the Thirties 
by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 530 pp., £30, February 1988, 0 19 212267 3
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... we do evil we at least are human. Kermode prefers the irrational hatreds and disgusts of Wyndham Lewis to the sober rationalisations of Lewis’s interpreters who ‘smooth him out’ into a principled critic of an unruly age. But he prefers even more the sacrificial transgressions of forbidden love. He sees in Christopher ...

Mother One, Mother Two

Jeremy Harding: A memoir, 31 March 2005

... Maureen to see Oliver! on the stage, I recognised a little of my absent mother in the character of Nancy. Margaret had suddenly grown up – and she’d become robust. Nancy faded from my imagination, but Maureen never quite gave her up: the strong girl with the heart of gold on whom misfortune scowls, in the guise of a ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... to say that ‘Peter Rose Pulham was a photographer and artist in vogue, briefly attracted to Nancy Stallybrass,’ and to square the right social brackets: ‘1936 Food Tour. Harry [Sir Henry d’Avigdor-Goldsmid], Betty [Fletcher-Mossop]’. It is judged unnecessary to give the source for (just after these sewer rats’): Misunderstood. The now retired ...

Sod off, readers

John Sutherland, 26 September 1991

Rude Words: A Discursive History of the London Library 
by John Wells.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1991, 0 333 47519 4
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Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English 
by Geoffrey Hughes.
Blackwell, 283 pp., £16.95, August 1991, 0 631 16593 2
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... of the Sixties, the everlasting financial crisis which seems finally to have been solved by Lewis Golden, the accountant on the white horse who Wells sees as a figure as heroic as Carlyle in the annals of the Library. All the other large and small circulating and subscription libraries of the Victorian and Edwardian eras – Boot’s, Mudie’s and ...

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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... Women are dancing, elemental, untroubled by the clock: compensations for the poet’s unease. Nancy Sharp, who went with him to the Hebrides, and who illustrated I Crossed the Minch, is praised for ‘living like a fugue and moving . . . Like the dazzle on the sea’. Being in love was about stopping time. In ‘Meeting Point’, an escalator pauses, a ...

American Breakdown

David Bromwich, 2 August 2018

... know what to do with. One symptom of the party’s incapacity was the House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s dismissive response to the New York primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: a young politician, resourceful at organising and irrepressibly energetic, who describes herself as a democratic socialist. Her triumph brought irrelevant ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... going altogether. So it was lucky that this time her eye happened to fall on a reissued volume of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. She picked it up. ‘Now. Didn’t her sister marry the Mosley man?’ Mr Hutchings said he believed she did. ‘And the mother-in-law of another sister was my mistress of the robes?’ ‘I don’t know about ...

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