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Italianizzati

Hugh Honour, 13 November 1997

A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 
compiled by John Ingamells.
Yale, 1070 pp., £50, May 1997, 0 300 07165 5
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... well known and, at the age of 80, under constant demands for help, he passed his archive to the Paul Mellon Centre in London, which has now published it as this Dictionary, under the editorship of John Ingamells. The Dictionary is unique in its comprehensiveness. No traveller from the British Isles or the British colonies in America who was spotted anywhere ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: Summer in Donegal, 16 September 1999

... the hillside and are spreading over the lower meadow. Yes, the hill is coming down with hazel, as Paul Muldoon says. I’ve brought a bow saw with me and I begin cutting away some of the tall wands. Should I be disturbing this place? In among the stones, as I lift them, are a few large torpid worms which I put in the shopping bag I’ve brought. There’s a ...

In and Out of the Panthéon

Thomas Laqueur: Funerals, politics and memory in France, 20 September 2001

Funerals, Politics and Memory in Modern France 1789-1996 
by Avner Ben-Amos.
Oxford, 425 pp., £55, October 2000, 0 19 820328 4
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Monumental Intolerance: Jean Baffier, a Nationalist Sculptor in Fin-de-Siècle France 
by Neil McWilliam.
Pennsylvania State, 326 pp., £58.95, November 2000, 0 271 01965 4
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... actually dumped, however, until 21 September 1794, the day the body of the martyred radical Jean-Paul Marat entered. In 1797 the relatively conservative regime wanted to bring Mirabeau back, but his body was nowhere to be found. (This was not the only lost body: the hero of Verdun in 1792, General Nicolas-Joseph Beaurepaire, was supposedly sent to the ...

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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... or ‘beautiful new hat’ would win his interest. But it was mainly her literary friendship with Paul Bourget, and her beginnings as an author, with The Greater Inclination (1899) and The Valley of Decision (1902), that achieved this aim. ‘The explanation, of course, was that in that interval I had found myself’: Edith Wharton’s first ...

Shuffling off

John Sutherland, 18 April 1985

Death Sentences: Styles of Dying in British Fiction 
by Garrett Stewart.
Harvard, 403 pp., £19.80, December 1984, 0 674 19428 4
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Forms of Feeling in Victorian Fiction 
by Barbara Hardy.
Owen, 215 pp., £12.50, January 1985, 9780720606119
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Language and Class in Victorian England 
by K.C. Phillipps.
Basil Blackwell in association with Deutsch, 190 pp., £19.50, November 1984, 0 631 13689 4
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... crude rhetoric and subtle drama.’ Hardy’s extended discussions of the deaths of Nell and Paul Dombey are every bit as intelligent as Stewart’s, and designed to make a quite opposite point about troughs and peaks in Dickensian artistry. The terms ‘form’ and ‘feeling’ have been refrains in Hardy’s criticism for the last ten years. Her ...

He Tasks Me

Mark Ford: Marilynne Robinson, 9 October 2008

Home 
by Marilynne Robinson.
Virago, 325 pp., £16.99, September 2008, 978 1 84408 549 1
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... it requires. To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savours of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know anything so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing ...

Red Stars

John Sutherland, 6 December 1984

Wild Berries 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, translated by Antonia Bovis.
Macmillan, 296 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 333 37559 9
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The Burn 
by Vassily Aksyonov, translated by Michael Glenny.
Hutchinson, 528 pp., £10.95, October 1984, 0 09 155580 9
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Fellow Travellers 
by T.C. Worsley.
Gay Men’s Press, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 907040 51 9
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The Power of the Dog 
by Thomas Savage.
Chatto, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 3939 0
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The Fourth Protocol 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 448 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 09 158630 5
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The Set-Up 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 397 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30583 3
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... was to be man’s final transcendence of the material universe. Space capsule and wild Siberian berry fuse into a single life-enhancing image. Wild Berries tells how a team of scientists have come into the Taiga, to prospect for ‘cassiterite’ – a mineral which, one understands, is required for the advancement of Soviet science and civilisation. Under ...

Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... by newspaper revelations of the rockabilly’s marriage to his 14-year-old cousin. In 1961 Chuck Berry was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for statutory rape of another 14-year-old. Presley himself installed Priscilla at Graceland when she was still a schoolgirl, six years before they were married. When Alan Lomax, a researcher into American folk ...

Got to go make that dollar

Alex Abramovich: Otis Redding, 3 January 2019

Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life 
by Jonathan Gould.
Crown, 544 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 0 307 45395 2
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... the grief that poisons his heart’ – the layers of meaning seemed to fold back on themselves. Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem ‘We Wear the Mask’ was still very famous; minstrelsy was still a going concern. What did it mean for black Americans to sing arias about clowns who cried beneath their made-up faces? And what did it mean that, in order to do ...

What the Twist Did for the Peppermint Lounge

Dave Haslam: Club culture, 6 January 2000

Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture 
by Sheryl Garratt.
Headline, 335 pp., £7.99, May 1999, 0 7472 7680 3
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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey 
by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.
Headline, 408 pp., £14.99, November 1999, 0 7472 7573 4
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Saturday Night For Ever: The Story of Disco 
by Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen.
Mainstream, 223 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 9781840181777
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DJ Culture 
by Ulf Poschardt.
Quartet, 473 pp., £13, January 1999, 0 7043 8098 6
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Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture 
by Simon Reynolds.
Picador, 493 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 0 330 35056 0
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More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction 
by Kodwo Eshun.
Quartet, 208 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 7043 8025 0
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... music. One of these venues – on the rue Huchette – called itself La Discothèque. Then Paul Pacine opened the Whiskey a Go-Go, where dancers would hit the floor accompanied by records played by disc jockeys on a phonograph. Pacine went on to open other clubs in Europe, while in Paris Chez Régine opened in 1960, catering to the self-styled ...

Cronyism and Clientelism

Peter Geoghegan, 5 November 2020

... party’s 2019 slogan, ‘Get Brexit Done’; the former Vote Leave director of communications, Paul Stephenson; and Ben Guerin, one half of Topham Guerin, the political consultancy firm that rebranded the Conservatives’ official Twitter account as a fact-checking service during a pre-election debate.*Johnson, the group agreed, needed a simple message ...

A Bloody Stupid Idea

James Butler: Landlord’s Paradise, 6 May 2021

Red Metropolis: Socialism and the Government of London 
by Owen Hatherley.
Repeater, 264 pp., £10.99, November 2020, 978 1 913462 20 8
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... to the generation of young men who are the victims and perpetrators of knife crime. Siân Berry, who is running as the Greens’ candidate in the mayoral election, commissions an annual report into London’s lost youth services. In 2020 it showed that £34 million has been lost from youth services budgets since 2011; 101 youth centres closed, 733 ...

Wham Bang, Teatime

Ian Penman: Bowie, 5 January 2017

The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference 
by Paul Morley.
Simon & Schuster, 484 pp., £20, July 2016, 978 1 4711 4808 8
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On Bowie 
by Rob Sheffield.
Headline, 197 pp., £14.99, June 2016, 978 1 4722 4104 7
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On Bowie 
by Simon Critchley.
Serpent’s Tail, 207 pp., £6.99, April 2016, 978 1 78125 745 6
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Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy 
by Simon Reynolds.
Faber, 704 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 571 30171 3
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... bit disappointing – they seem all too sensible, linear, stuck safely inside certain conventions. Paul Morley​ is best known for cheerleading the infectious ‘New Pop’ of the 1980s, and as a pithy postmodern interviewer. I worked (and played, and plotted) with him at the NME in the 1980s and still regard him with something beyond mere affection, but I ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee, 7 September 2006

‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... dead art – when the last five years had seen the Commodore recordings of Coleman Hawkins and Chu Berry and a year ahead lay Gillespie’s ‘Groovin’ High’ and ‘Dizzy Atmosphere’. In the same way, an affecting review of Shoeshine, in 1947, turns in its second part to lament that, after a promising start in this film and Open City and Paisan, the new ...

Ways to Be Pretentious

Ian Penman, 5 May 2016

M Train 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 253 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6768 6
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Collected Lyrics 1970-2015 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 303 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6300 8
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... was the very essence of rock’n’roll – but sometimes you had to wonder. An arthritic Chuck Berry on TotP, slobbering the playground snigger of ‘My Ding-a-Ling’? Rod Stewart jiggling his satiny wee buttocks like some bored old burlesque artist? Any of this doing it for you, kids? The backroom intimacy spotlit by Mapplethorpe and Smith looked deeply ...

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