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Cold Feet

Nicholas Mosley, 8 November 1979

The Tragedy of Leon Trotsky 
by Ronald Segal.
Hutchinson, 445 pp., £12.50
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... There are still questions of enduring interest that remain to be asked about Trotsky. Why did he not come to power, instead of Stalin, after Lenin’s death in 1924; and if he had, how different would the history of Russia, and of the world, have been? Was there something in his nature, or is there something in the nature of power, that makes it impossible to imagine seriously that he could have assumed this kind of power? Isaac Deutscher’s massive and authoritative biography, written during the 1950s and 1960s, however brilliant, was too scholarly, and too much in the Marxist tradition, to give emphasis to such hypothetical questions ...

Dark Tom

Christopher Ricks, 1 December 1983

Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley 1933-1980 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 323 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 436 28852 4
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Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Fontana, 274 pp., £2.50, October 1983, 0 00 636644 9
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... is pathetic, when not tragic; and always, at the same time, comic.’ The life of Sir Oswald Mosley was pathetic, tragic and comic, and his son’s humane deliberated biography is itself a notable contribution to ‘The Literature of Fascism’ which T.S. Eliot was judging with that sentence in 1928. In 1928 Oswald ...

Attila the Hus

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 4 November 1982

Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 436 28849 4
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... Nicholas Mosley’s parents, Cynthia Curzon and Oswald Mosley, were married in the Chapel Royal, St James’s on 11 May 1920: ‘Cimmie’s wedding dress had a design of green leaves in it, in defiance of a superstition that green at a wedding was unlucky: there was also a superstition that it was unlucky to be married in May ...


Jonathan Coe, 12 July 1990

Hopeful Monsters 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 551 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 436 28854 0
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... enterprises has, for the last 11 years, been taking shape more or less under cover of secrecy. Nicholas Mosley’s Catastrophe Practice, published in 1979, was the first of a series of five highly intelligent novels, ostensibly concerned with the shifting relationships of a small group of characters, and linked less by narrative than by a patchwork of ...

In Praise of Follett

John Sutherland, 16 October 1980

The Key to Rebecca 
by Ken Follett.
Hamish Hamilton, 311 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 241 10492 0
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Joshua Then and Now 
by Mordecai Richler.
Macmillan, 435 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 333 30025 4
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Loosely Engaged 
by Christopher Matthew.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 09 142830 0
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Imago Bird 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 185 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 9780436288463
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A Quest of Love 
by Jacquetta Hawkes.
Chatto, 220 pp., £6.50, October 1980, 0 7011 2536 5
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... may well be sequelised from now to Xmas 2000. An ingenuous youth – Bert – is also the hero of Nicholas Mosely’s Imago Bird. Mosley also employs the monologue-journal form of narration and this work is a sequel. Hereafter, all resemblance ceases. Imago Bird is no slot-filler and it forms the second part of a quite ...

Dialectical Satire

Paul Edwards, 18 September 1986

The Madhouse 
by Alexander Zinoviev, translated by Michael Kirkwood.
Gollancz, 411 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 9780575037304
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by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 298 pp., £11.95, August 1986, 0 436 28853 2
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Missing Persons 
by David Cook.
Alison Press/Secker, 184 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 436 10675 2
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Only by Mistake 
by P.J. Kavanagh.
Calder, 158 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 7145 4084 6
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... by completing his knowledge of self and world, thus returning to Eden by the back door. Judith, Nicholas Mosley’s latest novel, takes Kleist’s essay, with its switchback logic that equates god with puppet, as one of its main sources of meaning. Part of the book is set in an ashram in India (squalid hippy camp or Garden of Eden?) run by a ...


Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows, 7 October 1993

... aesthetic experience. Probably the most successful ‘experimental’ novelist of the period was Nicholas Mosley – but he wasn’t labelled as experimental. Which is something else: whenever I was described as an ‘experimental novelist’ I cringed. An ‘experimental novel’ has to be a failed novel. If it worked, no one would invoke the ...

On Nicholas Moore

Peter Howarth: Nicholas Moore, 24 September 2015

... In the manuscript of her lecture, a cancelled sentence names the missing; first on her list is Nicholas Moore. Not just the publishers, but pretty much everything else had failed for Moore. The son of the Cambridge philosopher G.E. Moore, he had begun to publish poems in his teens. Though his father had sounded out the Hogarth Press, ...

Bonfire in Merrie England

Richard Wilson: Shakespeare’s Burning, 4 May 2017

... chimney, funneling the flames’. ‘Great crowds gathered to see the spectacle,’ according to Nicholas Fogg in his history of Stratford: ‘At four o’clock in the afternoon the roof fell in, and by the following morning the building was a blackened shell.’Afterwards a telegram arrived from George Bernard Shaw: ‘You must be ...

Sorrows of a Polygamist

Mark Ford: Ted Hughes in His Cage, 17 March 2016

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 662 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 00 811822 8
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... of Gaudete is in fact in prose – detailing the exploits of an Anglican clergyman, the Reverend Nicholas Lumb, who convinces all the women in his parish that he is to impregnate one of them with a child who will grow up to be the next Messiah. Actually, it’s more complex than that: the book’s Argument explains that the rampant reverend who proves so ...

Do come to me funeral

Mary Beard: Jessica Mitford, 5 July 2007

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford 
edited by Peter Sussman.
Weidenfeld, 744 pp., £25, November 2006, 0 297 60745 6
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... her sisters Diana and Unity, who were busy falling in love with both Fascism and Fascists (Oswald Mosley and Adolf Hitler respectively), Decca, as she was always called, was a would-be Communist, who scratched the hammer and sickle onto the windowpanes of the parental home with a diamond ring. Together, Mitford and Romilly ran off (or back, in his case) to ...

A Cousin of Colonel Heneage

Robert Crawford: Was Eliot a Swell?, 18 April 2019

The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume VIII: 1936-38 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 1100 pp., £50, January 2019, 978 0 571 31638 0
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... Emily Hale, the old flame with whom Eliot visited Burnt Norton, Andrew Eliot, Sir Thomas Elyot, or Nicholas Ferrar who in 1626 established the religious community at Little Gidding in Cambridgeshire; but these names are suppressed within the poems, ghosting them. The insistent names are place names. The people, like the dancers of ‘East Coker’, have been ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... on the bandwagon. But the press ignored this. ‘The story was in the bag before I even spoke,’ Nicholas Holgate, Kensington and Chelsea Council’s town clerk, told me. ‘As a civil servant for 24 years and a local government officer for eight and a half years I was trained to be impartial, objective and evidence-driven. None of that was evident in the ...

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