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8 March 1990
Dr Faustus 
by Christopher Marlowe, edited by Roma Gill.
Black, 109 pp., £3.95, December 1989, 0 7136 3231 3
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Renaissance Magic and the Return of the Golden Age: The Occult Tradition and Marlowe, Jonson and Shakespeare 
by John Mebane.
Nebraska, 309 pp., £26.95, July 1989, 0 8032 3133 4
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Robert Fludd and the End of the Renaissance 
by William Huffman.
Routledge, 252 pp., £30, November 1989, 0 415 00129 3
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Prophecy and Power: Astrology in Early Modern England 
by Patrick Curry.
Polity, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1989, 0 7456 0604 0
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... the full extent of Newton’s covert interest in alchemy: he conducted experiments for nearly thirty years, and left alchemical manuscripts totalling some 650,000 words. In Prophesy and Power, PatrickCurry explores another item in the occultist repertoire – astrology – and effectively overturns the accepted view that astrology had become marginalised by the end of the 17th century. In many ...

Bananas

Jane Campbell

20 April 1995
The Death of Old Man Rice: A Story of Criminal Justice in America 
by Martin Friedland.
New York, 423 pp., $29.95, October 1994, 0 8147 2627 5
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... invited his valet Charlie Jones to join him. The valet, who later confessed that he had Chloroformed his employer, refused: ‘I told him that I was afraid of bananas and wouldn’t try any.’ Dr Curry, who attended the body, found that the 84-year-old man had died of natural causes. Worry about the Galveston hurricane, which had taken place a fortnight before, in August 1900, had exacerbated his ...

Plato Made It Up

James Davidson: Atlantis at Last!

19 June 2008
The Atlantis Story: A Short History of Plato’s Myth 
by Pierre Vidal-Naquet, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Exeter, 192 pp., £35, November 2007, 978 0 85989 805 8
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... of the greatest. The title suggested a programme that would have something to do with the lost underwater kingdom described in great detail by Plato in the Timaeus and Critias. But the reality was Patrick Duffy with webbed hands and fluorescent green contact lenses, painfully painted on. Sole survivor of Atlantis, he used his special powers, notably the ability to survive high atmospheric pressure, to ...

Crapper

Thomas Lynch

21 March 1996
... Maxims, La Rochefoucauld Don Paterson and I were crossing the Wolfe Tone Bridge in Galway contemplating Thomas Crapper. This was at early o’clock in the morning on our way back from an awful curry at the only Indian restaurant open in Galway in the wee hours. The night was mild, and our thoughts drifted towards talk of Crapper as the air behind us burned with the elemental fire of flatulence ...

Utopian about the Present

Christopher Turner: The Brutalist Ethic

4 July 2019
Alison and Peter Smithson 
by Mark Crinson.
Historic England, 150 pp., £30, June 2018, 978 1 84802 352 9
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Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing 
by John Boughton.
Verso, 330 pp., £9.99, April, 978 1 78478 740 0
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... not in accordance with grand, abstract ideologies but from the particularities of the East End. Alison Smithson identified, and made romantic, ‘the children overturning wrecked cars, the smell of curry on the stairs of rejected tenements, oddments of past character’. The architect wanted, in her words, ‘to knit together what is good in the surroundings by the insertion of a new building. To ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman

19 March 1998
Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... he became increasingly unsure whether he’d taken his sabbatical in Palm Springs or up on the bleak, north Norfolk coast. Some edge of the golf course, out of season resort like Sheringham – where Patrick Hamilton dried out, on a regimen of no booze before lunchtime, Hopalong Cassidy novels, and the occasional glimpse from behind net curtains of schoolgirls on horseback. They should have known the ...

Light Entertainment

Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture

8 November 2012
... den. Many of the men who worked there were getting their own way in the national interest, and the best (or worst) of them combined the secrecy of Whitehall with the languor of Fitzrovia. It was Patrick Hamilton in conversation with George Smiley down a blind alley off Rathbone Place, with froth sliding down the insides of pint tumblers and lipsticked fags in every ashtray. Men such as Gamlin ...

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