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Diary

Paul Barker: Bellamy’s Dream, 19 May 1988

... That you should be startled by what I shall tell you is to be expected,’ Dr Leete tells Julian West as he stirs from his slumbers. ‘Your appearance is that of a young man of barely thirty, and your bodily condition seems not too greatly different from that of one just roused from a somewhat long and profound sleep, and yet this is the tenth day of September in the year 2000, and you have slept exactly 113 years, three months and 11 days ...

Good Schools

Tessa Blackstone, 2 December 1982

The Changing Anatomy of Britain 
by Anthony Sampson.
Hodder, 476 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780340209646
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An English Education: A Perspective of Eton 
by Richard Ollard.
Collins, 216 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 00 216495 7
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Survival Programmes in Britain’s Inner Cities 
Open University, 224 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 335 10111 9Show More
Liverpool 8 
by John Cornelius.
Murray, 177 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 7195 3975 7
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The Other Britain 
edited by Paul Barker.
Routledge, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 9780710093080
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... odd little book about Liverpool 8. Rather more can be discovered from the book edited by Paul Barker, The Other Britain. Liverpool 8 is a series of vignettes about people and places in and around Toxteth by a graduate of Liverpool Art College, who now teaches and lives in the area. It is copiously illustrated with his own drawings ...
Founders of the Welfare State 
edited by Paul Barker.
Gower, 138 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 435 82060 5
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The Affluent Society 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 233 97771 6
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... it lies in conscience about poverty – social conscience reinforced by patrician prudence. Paul Barker’s collection of essays shows how eclectic were the founders of the Welfare State. It is scarcely worth disputing the paternity claims between the Asquith government of 1905-1914 and the Attlee government of 1945-1951. War and coalition were ...

Frayed Edges

Tessa Hadley: Pat Barker, 19 November 2015

Noonday 
by Pat Barker.
Hamish Hamilton, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 241 14606 4
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... Pat Barker​ has written about war, mostly the First World War, again and again. In her new novel, Noonday, the last book in a trilogy, she takes characters forged in the first war, in Life Class (2007) and Toby’s Room (2012), on into the second – or into the second phase of one long conflict. They are middle-aged in the London Blitz ...

Bumming and Booing

John Mullan: William Wordsworth, 5 April 2001

Wordsworth: A Life 
by Juliet Barker.
Viking, 971 pp., £25, October 2000, 9780670872138
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The Hidden Wordsworth 
by Kenneth Johnston.
Pimlico, 690 pp., £15, September 2000, 0 7126 6752 0
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Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s 
by David Bromwich.
Chicago, 186 pp., £9.50, April 2000, 0 226 07556 7
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... that is good,’ Robert Southey wrote (the declaration is emblazoned on the dust-jacket of Juliet Barker’s new Life). Yet any sense of this – of the subtle, elementary qualities of Wordsworth’s verse – is rarely apparent to those who study him, and rarely apparent in the throng of books and articles and theses that continue to be devoted to ...

Female Relationships

Stephen Bann, 1 July 1982

When things of the spirit come first 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Patrick O’Brian.
Deutsch, 212 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 0 233 97462 8
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Union Street 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 266 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 9780860682820
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Lady Oracle 
by Margaret Atwood.
Virago, 346 pp., £3.50, June 1982, 0 86068 303 6
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Bodily Harm 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 302 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02016 1
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Hearts: A Novel 
by Hilma Wolitzer.
Harvester, 324 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 9780710804754
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Pzyche 
by Amanda Hemingway.
Faber, 236 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 571 11875 5
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December Flower 
by Judy Allen.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7156 1644 7
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... satisfactory solutions. The gallery of individual female portraits is also the form chosen by Pat Barker for her first publication, Union Street. But it is hardly necessary to point out that the philosophical purpose of Mme de Beauvoir, and her use of the rhetoric of liberation, are very far indeed from the conception of a work like this. Pat ...

Gaol Fever

David Saunders-Wilson, 24 July 1986

Prisons and the Process of Justice 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 217 pp., £5.95, June 1986, 0 19 281932 1
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Growing out of Crime: Society and Young People in Trouble 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Penguin, 189 pp., £3.95, January 1986, 0 14 022383 5
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... had been inspired by the careers of Jimmy Boyle, John McVicar, ‘Dirty Den’ of EastEnders, and Paul Barber, one of the ‘Brothers McGregor’ who also spent some time inside, and who recently claimed in the Sun: ‘Jailed turned me into a star.’ Burglary, theft, blackmail, arson, extortion, violence – including rape – have become socially ...

If It Weren’t for Charlotte

Alice Spawls: The Brontës, 16 November 2017

... attribution to Charlotte’s Belgian teacher, Constantin Héger, is laughable: it’s signed ‘Paul Hegér’ (Paul Emmanuel, a character with strong affinities to Héger, is the love-interest in Villette). The date given is 1850; Charlotte left Brussels in 1844. The accent is in the wrong place: Hegér not Héger. It ...

Liza Jarrett’s Hard Life

Paul Driver, 4 December 1986

The Death of the Body 
by C.K. Stead.
Collins, 192 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 00 223067 4
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Kramer’s Goats 
by Rudolf Nassauer.
Peter Owen, 188 pp., £10.50, August 1986, 0 7206 0659 4
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Mefisto 
by John Banville.
Secker, 234 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 9780436032660
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The Century’s Daughter 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 284 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 9780860686064
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Love Unknown 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 202 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 241 11922 7
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... all its other merits ... helplessly and submissively depend’. Unfortunately, that one – Pat Barker’s The Century’s Daughter – is also a consciously ‘working-class’ fiction whose claim to reality-status might be found off-puttingly vehement. Still, her book, risking as it does a limiting categorisation and, inescapably, a caricaturing ...

Major and Minor

Frank Kermode, 6 June 1985

The Oxford Companion to English Literature 
edited by Margaret Drabble.
Oxford, 1155 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 19 866130 4
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... re-edited by Margaret Drabble, aided by an impressive list of experts. The original editor, Sir Paul Harvey, explained that his intention was to be useful to ordinary everyday readers. He offered the dates and brief biographies of a large number of English authors, listed the more important works of fiction, with sketches of their plots, and made a point of ...

Outbreak of Pleasure

Angus Calder, 23 January 1986

Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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Outposts 
by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... of a world revolution of the common man, aimed at a new world of plenty and security’. Paul Addison, in Now the war is over, an excellent book derived from a good TV series, sees Common Wealth as representing a ‘strand of socialist utopianism, to be found mainly among the professional middle classes, that ran through the Forties’. Yet ...

A Generous Quantity of Fat

Paul Henley: Yes, People Were Cooked, 2 September 1999

Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American South-West 
by Christy Turner and Jacqueline Turner.
Utah, 512 pp., $60, January 1999, 9780874805666
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Cannibalism and the Colonial World 
edited by Francis Barker and Peter Hulme.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £13.95, August 1998, 0 521 62118 6
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Cannibals: The Discovery and Representation of the Cannibal from Columbus to Jules Verne 
by Frank Lestringant, translated by Rosemary Morris.
Polity, 256 pp., £39.50, April 1997, 0 7456 1697 6
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Chronicles of the Guayakí Indians 
by Pierre Clastres, translated by Paul Auster.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 571 19398 6
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... the manuscript of the translation was lost. It was miraculously rediscovered by the translator, Paul Auster, twenty years later. This delay has resulted in some anachronisms, notably in certain turns of phrase and the evocation of obsolete anthropological theories (e.g. the Atchei are described as a ‘primitive Stone Age tribe’), but they do not detract ...

Writing the Night

Hugh Haughton, 25 January 1996

Selected Poems 
by David Gascoyne.
Enitharmon, 253 pp., £8.95, November 1994, 1 870612 34 5
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... in Alida Monro’s anthology Recent Poetry in 1933 alongside Yeats, Eliot, Auden and George Barker. Then, on leaving school, he published a novel, Opening Day, and before long his work could be found in the small magazines of his time such as Geoffrey Grigson’s New Verse and his friend Roger Roughton’s Contemporary Poetry and Prose, Browsing in ...

Just like Rupert Brooke

Tessa Hadley: 1960s Oxford, 5 April 2012

The Horseman’s Word: A Memoir 
by Roger Garfitt.
Cape, 378 pp., £18.99, April 2011, 978 0 224 08986 9
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... the expeditionary instinct that had Bryn and me angling our shoulders into the existential wind or Paul and me reconstituting ourselves around the thin spills of Old Holborn we smoked in liquorice papers, the sweetness offsetting the dark tobacco and the two together anchoring us after the night of non-being. They were dharma bums, mingling party life with a ...

Vendlerising

John Kerrigan, 2 April 1987

The Faber Book of Contemporary American Poetry 
edited by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 440 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 13945 0
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Selected Poems 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 348 pp., £16.95, April 1986, 0 85635 666 2
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The Poetry Book Society Anthology 1986/87 
edited by Jonathan Barker.
Hutchinson, 94 pp., £4.95, November 1986, 0 09 165961 2
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Two Horse Wagon Going By 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 85635 661 1
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... assimilate him to the picturesque. ‘The dead are cadmium blue,’ he declares in ‘Homage to Paul Cézanne’: ‘We spread them with palette knives in broad blocks and panes.’ To gaze into ‘panes’ as opaque as these is mortally to reflect. That a spiritual challenge should be found in the medium is entirely characteristic. Like Hopkins, Wright ...

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