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Wolfing it

Angela Carter, 23 July 1987

Honey from a Weed: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades and Apulia 
by Patience Gray.
Prospect, 374 pp., £17.50, November 1986, 0 907325 30 0
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A Table in Provence: Classic Recipes from the South of France 
collected and illustrated by Leslie Forbes.
Webb and Bower/Joseph, 160 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 86350 130 3
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The Joyce of Cooking: Food and Drink from James Joyce’s Dublin 
by Alison Armstrong, foreword by Anthony Burgess.
Station Hill Press, 252 pp., $18.95, December 1986, 0 930794 85 0
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... cookery book in 1960, as part of my trousseau. It was called Plats du Jour, or Foreign Food by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd, a Penguin paperback with a seductive pink jacket depicting a large family at table – evidently not a British family, for its members, shirt-sleeved, aproned, some of them children, were uncorking bottles, slicing ...

Only More So

Rosemary Hill: 1950s Women, 19 December 2013

Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties 
by Rachel Cooke.
Virago, 368 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 1 84408 740 2
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... There was no shortage of female film critics, and architecture, as the journalist and food writer Patience Gray discovered, was considered by the mainstream press to be close enough to home-making to constitute a suitable subject for a woman, along with ‘youth … design and craftsmanship’. Gray found herself in ...

Chinese Leaps

Jon Elster, 25 April 1991

The Search for Modern China 
by Jonathan Spence.
Hutchinson, 876 pp., £19.95, May 1990, 0 09 174472 5
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Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1880s to the 1980s 
by Jack Gray.
Oxford, 456 pp., £35, April 1990, 0 19 913076 0
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... keys to otherwise puzzling patterns of behaviour. Among the persisting values discussed in Jack Gray’s Rebellions and Revolutions are those of collective responsibility, respect for the elderly, economic egalitarianism and outward conformity to the changing dictates of authority. Surprisingly, neither Spence nor ...

Peter Conrad’s Flight from Precision

Richard Poirier, 17 July 1980

Imagining America 
by Peter Conrad.
Routledge, 319 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 7100 0370 6
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... himself’. Why would a man already cartooned in Punch and burlesqued by Gilbert and Sullivan in Patience, which had opened in New York and other American cities months before his arrival, still ‘need’ America to ‘liberate’ him or to make him celebrated? In what sense is a man, not convicted of any crime until 1895, who was to marry in 1884 and ...

A Little of this Honey

Frank Kermode, 29 October 1987

Oscar Wilde 
by Richard Ellmann.
Hamish Hamilton, 632 pp., £15, October 1987, 0 241 12392 5
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... There were closer friends who shunned him: Beardsley, for instance, who owed him so much; John Gray, an early lover, for whose Silverpoints, prettiest of Nineties poetry-books, Wilde had paid; Lilly Langtry, to whom he had, at one time, brought a daily lily, and who claimed to have sent him money without having actually done so. Beerbohm did not spurn him ...

Beautiful People

Jonathan Coe, 23 July 1992

Brightness Falls 
by Jay McInerney.
Bloomsbury, 416 pp., £15.99, May 1992, 0 7475 1152 7
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The Lost Father 
by Mona Simpson.
Faber, 506 pp., £14.99, May 1992, 0 571 16149 9
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Out with the Stars 
by James Purdy.
Peter Owen, 192 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 7206 0861 9
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... the outset, but two of these novels are extremely long. Long novels make specific demands on our patience and attention, and in the end this can hardly help translating itself into a claim for their own importance: both Brightness Falls and The Lost Father constitute invitations to spend at least ten or twelve hours of our pressured lives listening to the ...

On Some Days of the Week

Colm Tóibín: Mrs Oscar Wilde, 10 May 2012

Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde 
by Franny Moyle.
John Murray, 374 pp., £9.99, February 2012, 978 1 84854 164 1
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The Picture of Dorian GrayAn Annotated, Uncensored Edition 
by Oscar Wilde, edited by Nicholas Frankel.
Harvard, 295 pp., £25.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 05792 0
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... martyr to a subversive cult.’ This was wrong: ‘His childish hints at strange sins in Dorian Gray and other works are mere rhetoric … His one great hatred was of dullness, which is very dangerous and can raise a whole nation in its defence.’ Ford Madox Ford, in an article written in 1939, agreed about Wilde’s essential harmlessness, but viewed his ...

‘You can have patience or you can have carnage’

Charles Glass: In Afghanistan, 18 November 2004

... discuss whether to give up foreign mujahidin who had lived among them for years. ‘You can have patience,’ General Mashud said, ‘or you can have carnage.’ Musharraf, at America’s insistence, chose carnage. He sent the troops in, and they were routed. Then, from the air, he managed to kill some prominent tribal warriors. No foreign fighters turned ...

Ranklings

Philip Horne, 30 August 1990

Henry James and Edith Wharton: Letters 1900-1915 
edited by Lyall Powers.
Weidenfeld, 412 pp., £25, May 1990, 9780297810605
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... repetitious parenthetical irrelevancies from James, which leave the old man ‘dazed’, she loses patience and insists James ‘ask him where the King’s Road is’. This, a little less elaborately, he does, and the old man says: ‘Ye’re in it.’ The ineffectual James of this narrative, though, is not necessarily pure matter of fact. A couple of chapters ...

Lucky Boy

Kevin Kopelson, 3 April 1997

Shine 
directed by Scott Hicks.
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Shine: The Screenplay 
by Jan Sardi.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £7.99, January 1997, 0 7475 3173 0
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The Book of David 
by Beverley Eley.
HarperCollins, 285 pp., £8.99, March 1997, 0 207 19105 0
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Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott 
by Gillian Helfgott, with Alissa Tanskaya.
Penguin, 337 pp., £6.99, January 1997, 0 14 026546 5
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... Shine isn’t one of those homoerotic-homophobic works, like Billy Budd or The Picture of Dorian Gray, that feels compelled to punish its pin-ups, it will only allow Helfgott to find redemption in the loving arms of women: (Catherine Susannah Prichard, a writer; Beryl Alcott, an organist; Sylvia, a wine bar owner; and Gillian (Lynn Redgrave), an ...

Copyright

John Sutherland, 2 October 1980

Copyright: Intellectual Property in the Information Age 
by Edward Ploman and L. Clark Hamilton.
Routledge, 248 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 7100 0539 3
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... very tricky passage) the work has only a latent protection, but one which will wait, with infinite patience, until publication, when the various copyright clocks start from zero. Copyright inheres, not in the work’s ideas or techniques, but in the precise form of words which make it up. While it is protected, the copyright work is conceived of platonically ...

On the highway

Jonathan Coe, 24 March 1994

Desperadoes 
by Joseph O’Connor.
Flamingo, 426 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 00 224301 6
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Resurrection Man 
by Eoin McNamee.
Picador, 233 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 330 33274 0
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Stir-Fry 
by Emma Donoghue.
Hamish Hamilton, 232 pp., £9.99, January 1994, 0 241 13442 0
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... ingenuity, of wrenching the national literature back onto the Modernist highway, as Alasdair Gray was able to do for the Scottish novel with Lanark. Whether this theory holds water or not, Bolger argues convincingly that the build-up to the recent explosion of Irish writing is literary-historical and has nothing to do with politics. Hence he undermines ...

Blunder around for a while

Richard Rorty, 21 November 1991

Consciousness Explained 
by Daniel Dennett.
Little, Brown, 514 pp., $27.95, October 1991, 0 316 18065 3
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... to several scientific disciplines. Usually philosophy, as Hegel put it, ‘paints its gray on gray’ only when some other area of culture has done all the hard work. But for once it may be different. Psychologists and computer scientists may find that the philosophers have actually broken some exciting ...

Veni, vidi, video

D.A.N. Jones, 18 August 1983

Dangerous Pursuits 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Secker, 192 pp., £7.50, June 1983, 0 436 44086 5
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Monimbo 
by Robert Moss.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 297 78166 9
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The Last Supper 
by Charles McCarry.
Hutchinson, 427 pp., £8.96, May 1983, 0 09 151420 7
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Heartburn 
by Nora Ephron.
Heinemann, 179 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 434 23700 0
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August 1988 
by David Fraser.
Collins, 235 pp., £8.50, July 1983, 0 00 222725 8
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The Cure 
by Peter Kocan.
Angus and Robertson, 137 pp., £5.95, July 1983, 9780207145896
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... with Chloe had discovered in him dangerous virtues. Thoughtfulness, a degree of constancy, even patience itself.’ Salaman moralises further: A little good in a really bad person puts him just about on the same level as everybody else. The totally evil man is closed, self-contained, psychopathic, cannot be breached with normal appeals to ...

‘I thirst for his blood’

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Henry James, 25 November 1999

Henry James: A Life in Letters 
edited by Philip Horne.
Penguin, 668 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 7139 9126 7
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A Private Life of Henry James: Two Women and His Art 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Chatto, 500 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6166 3
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... mundane matters, such as James’s relations with the literary market; and here the artist’s patience was evidently not inexhaustible. A 1909 letter to his agent, James Brand Pinker, reads in full: ‘I am greatly obliged to you for what you have done, with Putnam, for the “Bench of Desolation”, & am quite content, as a pis aller, with the £75. But ...

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