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Patrick Wright: The Moral of Brenley Corner, 6 December 2018

... and a Swiss beer tanker before ‘scything down’ a telegraph pole, and crashing through the wall of his bungalow garden, scattering twenty tons of onions as it went. The same week as that unwanted encounter with European produce, a near disaster was suffered by 23 French holidaymakers, some of whom suffered facial cuts as their Dover-bound coach ...

A Book of Evasions

Paul Muldoon, 20 March 1980

Visitors Book 
Poolbeg Press, 191 pp., £5.50, November 1979, 0 905169 22 0Show More
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... which this same blurb rails in its insistence on ‘new times’ bringing ‘new images’. Patrick Skene Catling’s ‘The Right Spot’ is the tale of an American professor of geology, Kevin J. O’Driscoll, who retires with his wife to a quiet corner of the old sod – West Cork, to be exact – where they buy a charmingly ethnic cottage. There’s ...

For Want of a Dinner Jacket

Christopher Tayler: Becoming O’Brian, 6 May 2021

Patrick O’Brian: A Very Private Life 
by Nikolai Tolstoy.
William Collins, 608 pp., £10.99, October 2020, 978 0 00 835062 8
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... decided to give another writer he’d spotted a chance to fill the gap in the market. He wrote to Patrick O’Brian, who duly signed a contract headed: ‘Untitled novel about an 18th-century naval adventurer’.Hill’s attention had been caught by a chance reading of The Golden Ocean (1956), a novel for teenagers which made it clear that O’Brian knew his ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: ‘Watercolour’, 3 March 2011

... real differences. A typical oil painting is an object, a substantial piece of work displayed on a wall. Its colour is strong, the paint may be thick, may even stand proud of the picture surface. A watercolour remains firmly in its two dimensions, is often not intended for a wall and may be a topographic or scientific ...

A Likely Story

Frank Kermode, 25 January 1996

Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 
by Michael Auping, John Elderfield and Susan Sontag, edited by Marla Price.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £28, October 1995, 0 500 09256 7
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Howard Hodgkin 
by Andrew Graham-Dixon.
Thames and Hudson, 192 pp., £24.95, October 1994, 0 500 27769 9
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... than a man, subsisted on boiled eggs, cooked 50 at a time while he was boiling his glue, studied a wall on which sick persons had used to spit, imagining that he saw there fantastic cities and combats of horses. Moreover he would never suffer his fruit trees to be pruned or trained, and so on. Vasari improves the story by arguing that there was method in ...

Omnipresent Eye

Patrick Wright: The Nixon/Mao Show, 16 August 2007

Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Murray, 384 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 7195 6522 7
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... on some of the trips for the sake of the photo opportunities. He smiled obligingly at the Great Wall, declaring that ‘a people who could build a wall like this certainly have a great past to be proud of and a people who have this kind of a past must also have a great future.’ He attended a performance of one of Madame ...

Cracker Culture

Ian Jackman, 7 September 2000

Irish America 
by Reginald Byron.
Oxford, 317 pp., £40, November 1999, 0 19 823355 8
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Remembering Ahanagran: Storytelling in a Family’s Past 
by Richard White.
Cork, 282 pp., IR£14.99, October 1999, 1 85918 232 1
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From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish 
by Eamon Wall.
Wisconsin, 139 pp., $16.95, February 2000, 0 299 16724 0
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The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America 
edited by Michael Glazier.
Notre Dame, 988 pp., £58.50, August 1999, 0 268 02755 2
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... Before he became Senator for New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was an academic and the author, with Nathan Glazer, of Beyond the Melting Pot: The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians and Irish of New York City, published in 1963. Moynihan’s chief contribution was the chapter on the New York Irish, a lament which begins: ‘New York used to be an Irish city ...

Getting on

Paul Addison, 9 October 1986

On Living in an Old Country 
by Patrick Wright.
Verso, 262 pp., £5.95, September 1985, 0 86091 833 5
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Religion and Public Doctrine in Modern England. Vol. II: Assaults 
by Maurice Cowling.
Cambridge, 375 pp., £30, November 1985, 0 521 25959 2
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... Here are two books about the relationship of the English to their past. According to Patrick Wright, England is a reactionary society burdened by a false mystique of national identity. To dissolve that mystique must be one of the first priorities of democratic socialists in establishing an alternative society with a renewed faith in its capacity for progress ...

Oh, My Aching Back

Roy Porter, 2 November 1995

The History of Pain 
by Roselyne Rey, translated by Elliott Wallace and J.A. Cadden , and S.W. Cadden.
Harvard, 394 pp., £25.50, October 1995, 0 674 39967 6
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... recent years has been the ‘gate’ theory of pain developed in the Sixties by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall. Discarding the old mechanical ‘fire-alarm’ theory as simplistic, they argued that controls operate all the way from the nerve endings to the brain. When messages from the nerve ends reach the spinal cord, a fine-tuning takes place ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’, 15 December 2011

... The main feature of Private Eye: The First Fifty Years, at the V&A until 8 January, is a large wall plastered with the magazine’s covers. A monumental celebration, on a grand scale, of a scruffy little rag whose production values, to this day, owe much to its memorable antecedent, the British Railways lavatory roll ...

Seeing double

Patrick Hughes, 7 May 1987

The Arcimboldo Effect 
by Pontus Hulten.
Thames and Hudson, 402 pp., £32, May 1987, 0 500 27471 1
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... of the visitor turning his head upside down, or the Emperor taking the picture off the wall, seem less likely than using the magic of the mirror. Barthes says of the Cook: ‘In rhetoric this figure is called a palindrome.’ But a palindrome – ‘T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I’d assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on ...


Patrick Mauriès: Halfway between France and Britain, 3 November 1983

... reader sets foot in a British bookshop, the impact is powerfully bizarre – as he stumbles into a wall of memoirs and recollections. It’s as if the minutest ghost, returned to haunt the literary scene, can enchant the greedy English customer. Let us consider now the extraordinary importance of biography for the British. To a Lacanian analyst I owe the ...

Looking for Someone to Kill

Patrick Cockburn: In Baghdad, 4 August 2005

... a dangerous business. Problems start even before you reach the first checkpoint in the perimeter wall. As we approached, a blue-uniformed Iraqi policeman, with US troops standing beside him, waved at us frantically. He was trying to warn us that if we didn’t get out of the car fifty yards in front of the checkpoint to hold up our ID cards the troops would ...

Helping Bush Win Re-Election

Patrick Cockburn: Iraq’s disintegration, 7 October 2004

... was a suicide bomber. Squatting on the floor of the hospital corridor with his back against the wall while the bodyguard talked about the assassination was a depressed looking middle-aged man. His name, he said, was Jamal Gafuri. The previous day his son Khalid had been in Haifa Street, a tough Sunni neighbourhood and bastion of the resistance, where he was ...


Patrick McGuinness: Oxford by Train, 17 June 2021

... The low-slung, Nordic-looking offices of the Oxford Mail are spoiled by a yellowish-grey brick wall and a car barrier across the front. It too is down to be demolished. There’s a video game company, Rebellion, and a company that makes beamlines and monochromators for laboratories. There’s a coffee roastery, more car hire firms, roofing contractors, a ...

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