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Ministry of Apparitions

Malcolm Gaskill: Magical Thinking in 1918

4 July 2019
A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination and Faith during the First World War 
by Owen Davies.
Oxford, 284 pp., £20, October 2018, 978 0 19 879455 4
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... ironic that the Great War’s most famous supernatural story was the creation of Arthur Machen when there were so many real reports of supernatural phenomena on the front line. In A Supernatural War, OwenDavies leads us from the conflict into a haunted world filled with magical thinking and uncanny experiences. ‘The greatest virtue [of history],’ the historian Tom Griffiths has written, ‘is ...

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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... 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 – have made considerable efforts to dispel such feelings of uncase by stressing how smart and cheerful she, was how little her drug addiction appeared to affect her. Such ...

Hobohemianism

Blake Morrison

30 June 2011
The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp 
by W.H. Davies.
Amberley, 192 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 1 84868 980 0
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... According to W.H. Davies, tramps often buried surplus items of clothing or footwear by the side of the road, knowing they could retrieve them should they pass the same way again. In his second volume of autobiography, Later ...

Doughy

John Sutherland: Conrad’s letters

4 December 2003
The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. VI: 1917-19 
edited by Laurence Davies, Frederick R. Karl and Owen​ Knowles.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £80, December 2002, 0 521 56195 7
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... correspondence does not fill in the earlier years with any greater precision, it does inform every aspect of his writing life. The first volume of the Collected Letters, edited by Karl and Laurence Davies (who has assumed first billing in the sixth volume), came out four years later. If one compares the contents of this sixth volume with the corresponding section of Karl’s Life it is clear that any ...

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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... 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 Michael Davies 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 given many ...

Strange, Angry Objects

Owen​ Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades

17 November 2016
A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... Houses, Schools, Universities, Transport, Energy, Industry and Commerce, Health, and Leisure. Her judgments are well considered, the historical detail is abundant, and the photographs by James Davies are remarkable in their often eerie glamour. However, this is very much the official story, coming from someone who, given that her business has been the listing of buildings of exceptional quality ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies

26 January 2012
An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... will reject entertainment, and without entertainment no propaganda film is worth a dime.’ This was the time of the pro-Soviet political memoir Mission to Moscow by the American ambassador Joseph E. Davies. It quickly became a film dedicated to the good of mutual understanding, Davies played with avuncular benignity by Walter Huston, and the film introduced by Davies himself. The movies actually ...
22 January 1981
Ireland: Land of Troubles 
by Paul Johnson.
Eyre Methuen, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 413 47650 2
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Acts of Union 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 221 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 571 11648 5
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Neighbours 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Faber, 96 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 571 11645 0
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Ireland: A History 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £9.95, December 1980, 0 297 77855 2
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... of Sicily, the Basque country or Corsica which might illuminate Ireland’s long relationship with England. Painstaking work since the 1950s by a broad range of scholars such as R.B. McDowell, Owen Dudley Edwards, F.S.L. Lyons and Patrick O’Farrell has profoundly altered our understanding: not only have ancient myths been invalidated, but the structure of a genuinely Irish history now exists ...

Made for TV

Jenny Diski

14 December 1995
Fight & Kick & Bite: The Life and Work of Dennis Potter 
by W. Stephen Gilbert.
Hodder, 382 pp., £18.99, November 1995, 0 340 64047 2
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Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen 
by John Cook.
Manchester, 368 pp., £45, October 1995, 0 7190 4601 7
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... stylish and far less deferential than Cook’s. He acknowledges Potter’s blankness about half the population, and does not pretend that archetypal symbolism can account for it. He quotes Gareth Davies, who directed several early Potter plays: ‘All these women you write,’ Davies said to him, ‘they’re always somebody’s mother or somebody’s wife or somebody’s mistress, that’s all they ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors

15 August 2019
... Neal Ascherson, Mary Beard, Jonathan Coe, Tom Crewe, William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Parry, David ...
20 June 1985
Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... after Stalingrad in fear of Soviet reprisals. In May 1945, British officers had the grim task of handing Cossacks camping in Austria back to the Soviet forces and almost certain death. Major Davies wept as he carried out his orders, but heartless German concentration camp guards could equally well claim they had merely ‘carried out orders’. The detail given by Botting, by Whiting and, more ...

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