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Huw should be so lucky

Philip Purser, 16 August 1990

Sir Huge: The Life of Huw Wheldon 
by Paul Ferris.
Joseph, 307 pp., £18.99, June 1990, 0 7181 3464 8
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... of the ritual, had he known about it, can only be a matter for speculation, but as recounted by Paul Ferris in Sir Huge the episode quaintly anticipates the row which has broken out over the publication of this biography, and brought such champions of Wheldon’s reputation as Sir Denis Forman, Ludovic Kennedy and Melvyn Bragg trumpeting into the ...

Falling Stars

Alan Coren, 5 November 1981

Richard Burton 
by Paul Ferris.
Weidenfeld, 212 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77966 4
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Peter Sellers 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77965 6
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... from other sources than grief in no way invalidates the findings of the experiment. Had I been Paul Ferris, I should certainly have waited until Burton had popped his Gucci clogs: not only would such patience have been rewarded by an exponential expansion of the little-old-lady market (not to say the dirty-old-lady market), it might also have resulted ...

A Terrible Thing, Thank God

Adam Phillips: Dylan Thomas, 4 March 2004

Dylan Thomas: A New Life 
by Andrew Lycett.
Weidenfeld, 434 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 297 60793 6
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... Kingsley Amis called Dylan Thomas’s life, the life told by Thomas’s first thorough biographer Paul Ferris, ‘a hilarious, shocking, sad story’. Thomas was very important to the Amis-Larkin club partly because he seemed determined not to be seen to be taking anything, including himself, too seriously. In 1941, Larkin refers to Thomas coming to the English Club at Oxford: ‘Hell of a fine man: little, snubby, hopelessly pissed bloke who made hundreds of cracks and read parodies of everybody in appropriate voices ...

Every Open Mouth a Grave

Thomas Jones: Joshua Ferris, 21 August 2014

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour 
by Joshua Ferris.
Viking, 337 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 0 670 91773 0
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... The narrator​ of Joshua Ferris’s new novel is a rich, white, garrulous, sexist, misanthropic New Yorker with a troubled childhood, now in early middle age, wondering what the point of it all is. But Paul O’Rourke has one redeeming feature: he’s a dentist. Which means that rather than pondering the mysteries of the universe and his place in it while staring into space, he instead thinks about the meaning of life, or more often the lack of it, as he’s peering into the brightly lit mouths of his patients: My last patient of the day was a five-year-old complaining of a loose tooth ...

Luminous/Numinous

Paul Joannides, 10 January 1983

... have employed darkness to set off a light show. Thus even in 1941, Spielberg’s only flop, the ferris wheel rolling down the pier, and the grid of lights of a city seen night (a motif also used in E.T.) from the low-flying fighter, remain memorable. And the little space-ships soaring over Richard Dreyfus’s car in Close Encounters are like animated Gabos ...

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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... theorised about how Jones might have used his hypnotic powers to gain control of Rice, but then Dr Ferris, principal of the School of Hypnotism, admitted that he could have been mistaken and that Jones might not have been a pupil after all. Undeterred, the Herald continued to run hypnotism stories. Jones was followed everywhere by the press, complaining after ...

Everything is good news

Seamus Perry: Dylan Thomas’s Moment, 20 November 2014

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The New Centenary Edition 
edited by John Goodby.
Weidenfeld, 416 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 297 86569 8
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Under Milk Wood: The Definitive Edition 
edited by Walford Davies and Ralph Maud.
Phoenix, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 724 5
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Collected Stories 
by Dylan Thomas.
Phoenix, 384 pp., £8.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 730 6
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A Dylan Thomas Treasury: Poems, Stories and Broadcasts 
Phoenix, 186 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 726 9Show More
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... labelled himself. But he could have escaped the legend to which he had devoted such energies. As Paul Ferris’s excellent biography established some time back, while Thomas was certainly in a bad way, his death was down to a medical blunder. He wasn’t martyred by the barbarians of the Inland Revenue: by the time he died Thomas was on the verge of ...

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