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On the Game

Kathryn Tidrick

22 December 1994
Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer 
by Patrick French.
HarperCollins, 440 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 00 215733 0
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... clap their hands to drive off evil spirits. He then imposed on the Tibetans a ‘treaty’ of such punitive rigour that it was promptly disowned by the British Government. What possessed him? As French’s book fascinatingly reveals, Younghusband was indeed possessed, by an extreme and addled version of the Imperial philosophy. Though it required another forty years (the rest of his life) for his ...

French​ Air

John Sutherland

12 November 1987
The Foul and the Fragrant: Odour and the French​ Social Imagination 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Miriam Kochan.
Berg, 307 pp., £18, November 1986, 0 907582 47 8
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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer 
by Patrick​ Süskind, translated by John Woods.
Penguin, 263 pp., £3.95, September 1987, 0 14 009244 7
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The Double Bass 
by Patrick​ Süskind, translated by Michael Hofmann.
Hamish Hamilton, 57 pp., £8.95, September 1987, 9780241120392
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... to any male, irrespective of class. In the pattern of the mentalités school of history, The Foul and the Fragrant is a ragbag of a book which surrounds and probes the subject of ‘Odour and the French Social Imagination’ from all sorts of different directions. One approach is physiological. It is the peculiarity of the nose to be physically adjacent to the brain, which explains the sub-verbal ...
2 December 1993
Patrick​ Hamilton: A Life 
by Sean French.
Faber, 327 pp., £20, November 1993, 0 571 14353 9
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... Stalinist, alcoholic, sexually ambivalent, Patrick Hamilton had all the prerequisites of a successful Thirties writer. That his success was uneven would seem simply another sign of the times, the mark of an epoch grimly wedded to failure. His work ...

Inventing Africa

Caroline Moorehead

18 September 1980
Fantastic Invasion 
by Patrick​ Marnham.
Cape, 271 pp., £6.50, May 1980, 0 224 01829 9
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Images of Africa 
by Naomi Mitchison.
Canongate, 139 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 903937 70 0
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... We owe much to your country,’ the Anglican archbishop of Uganda told Patrick Marnham shortly before being shot in 1977. ‘We need you, and not just your knowledge; we need your fellowship. Most people here know this. What we have become, you made us.’ The tragedy of this ...

Bogey Man

Richard Mayne

15 July 1982
Camus: A Critical Study of his Life and Work 
by Patrick​ McCarthy.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 241 10603 6
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Albert Camus: A Biography 
by Herbert Lottman.
Picador, 753 pp., £3.95, February 1981, 0 330 26262 9
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The Narcissistic Text: A Reading of Camus’s Fiction 
by Brian Fitch.
Toronto, 128 pp., £12.25, April 1982, 0 8020 2426 2
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The Outsider 
by Albert Camus, translated by Joseph Laredo.
Hamish Hamilton, 96 pp., £5.95, April 1982, 0 241 10778 4
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... many myths about Camus. One of the most persistent, first propagated in Britain by Cyril Connolly’s Introduction to the 1946 translation of L’Etranger, was that he ‘played a notable part in the French Resistance Movement’. The much-photographed figure in a trench coat, with Humphrey Bogart features, certainly looked like Hollywood’s idea of an underground hero. In fact, Camus derailed no more ...

Promenade Dora-Bruder

Adam Shatz: Patrick​ Modiano

21 September 2016
So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood 
by Patrick​ Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron.
MacLehose, 160 pp., £8.99, September 2016, 978 0 85705 499 9
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... In​ 1966, a young writer named Patrick Modiano published his first short story, a satire set in a summer concentration camp called ‘Saint-Tropez-Ravensbrück’. Surrounded by ‘charming Kapos’, the inmates – ‘children of Himmler ...

Eagle v. Jellyfish

Theo Tait: Edward St Aubyn

2 June 2011
At Last 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 266 pp., £16.99, May 2011, 978 0 330 43590 1
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... Edward St Aubyn began writing his Patrick Melrose novels in 1988. He finished At Last, the fifth and supposedly final book in the series, late in 2010. St Aubyn is a terrific prose stylist and, end to end, these 800 or so pages, covering ...

On Rosemary Tonks

Patrick​ McGuinness: Rosemary Tonks

1 July 2015
... Tonks claimed Baudelaire and Rimbaud as her inspirations. While this is true in obvious ways – the allure of city life, the exoticisation of its underside (what she calls, in a line that evokes Patrick Hamilton, ‘the flavour beneath the flagstones’ of London), the push-pull of fascination and disgust – what emerges most strongly from reading her is that she shares their fascination with decay ...

A Few Pitiful Traitors

David Drake: The French​ Resistance

4 May 2016
Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French​ Resistance 
by Robert Gildea.
Faber, 593 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 571 28034 6
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Occupation Trilogy: ‘La Place de l’etoile’, ‘The Night Watch’, ‘Ring Roads’ 
by Patrick​ Modiano, translated by Caroline Hillier, Patricia Wolf and Frank Wynne.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 1 4088 6790 7
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... Two political forces​ dominated post-Liberation France: Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French and head of the provisional French government until January 1946; and the French Communist Party (PCF), at that point the biggest and most popular party in the country. As Robert Gildea explains in his perceptive new book, each constructed a myth about France’s behaviour during ...

Funny Old Fame

Patrick​ Parrinder

10 January 1991
Things: A Story of the Sixties, 
by Georges Perec, translated by David Bellos and Andrew Leak.
Collins Harvill, 221 pp., £12.50, July 1990, 0 00 271038 2
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Parcours Peree 
edited by Mireille Ribière.
Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 162 pp., frs 125, July 1990, 2 7297 0365 9
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by Philippe Sollers, translated by Barbara Bray.
Columbia, 559 pp., $24.95, December 1990, 0 231 06546 9
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... Once upon a time, before the Channel Tunnel was built, there were two contemporary French novelists. Georges Perec died in 1982 at the age of 45, and nobody in England who was not a French specialist had ever heard of him. With Philippe Sollers it was different. Editor of the avant-garde theoretical journal Tel Quel, and associate of literary and psycho-analytic thinkers such as ...


Patrick​ Mauriès: Halfway between France and Britain

3 November 1983
... main aspects. It is that of a naive Continental keen on a particular kind of literature, and on the sector of British culture which is associated with it. And it is that of the représentatif (as the French say – apologetically, it always seems) of a no less particular fringe of the Parisian intelligentsia (another catch-phrase). Contemporary British culture can also be said to have two main aspects ...

World’s End

John Sutherland

1 October 1987
The Day of Creation 
by J.G. Ballard.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 575 04152 8
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The Playmaker 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 310 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 340 34154 8
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In the Skin of a Lion 
by Michael Ondaatje.
Secker, 244 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 436 34009 7
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The House of Hospitalities 
by Emma Tennant.
Viking, 184 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 670 81501 2
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... later Governor) Arthur Phillip, reaching Botany Bay nine months later. Finding the environment inclement, they promptly moved a little way along the coast to Sydney Cove, site of the later city. The French had also landed, and to establish a national presence the little British community indulged in what displays of ‘pomp’ they could manage, including, it would appear, this play production ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Patrick​ Keiller

7 June 2012
... Until at length a swift cut. To what? Another shot of another combine harvester, labouring up and down another field, diagonally, this time accompanied by a blue tractor. This pairing of views in Patrick Keiller’s 2010 film Robinson in Ruins – glimpsed again as part of his current installation at Tate Britain (on display until 14 October) – is almost too typical to be true and must, among other ...

Notes for ‘Anatole’s Tomb’

Stéphane Mallarmé, translated by Patrick​ McGuinness: A Translation by Patrick McGuinness

14 November 2002
... an object is to eliminate three-quarters of a poem’s pleasure . . . to suggest it, this is the dream,’ he wrote, and this dictum has come to stand for many of the ambitions and achievements of French Symbolism. Yet, unlike many of his Symbolist contemporaries, Mallarmé was not a poet of vagueness, of half-tones and pastel shades (like Verlaine), or of the intermittently perceived, imprecisely ...


Patrick​ Wormald

19 November 1981
Roman Britain 
by Peter Salway.
Oxford, 824 pp., £19.50, August 1981, 9780198217176
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Roman Britain 
by Malcolm Tood.
Fontana, 285 pp., £2.95, May 1981, 0 00 633756 2
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... who had opposed Roman conquest. On the other hand, literary culture did not apparently take root: we have nothing from the pens of known British provincials before the Christian writers, Pelagius and Patrick, from the last years of the province’s history. A simple comparison of the English and French languages shows that Romanitas was eventually lost to Britannia in ways that it was not to Gallia. Yet ...

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