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Jungle Joys

Alfred Appel Jr: Wa-Wa-Wa with the Duke, 5 September 2002

... and college syllabuses and the pass Stein gets for her persistent, primitivist racialism. (‘Rose had the simple, promiscuous unmorality of the black people,’ she writes, typically, in ‘Melanctha’.) The racial reading of ‘Black and Tan Fantasy’ and gloss on ‘St Louis Blues’ are of course blatantly ‘literary’, which doesn’t go against ...

Bear, Bat, or Tiny King?

Deborah Friedell: The Rorschach Test, 2 November 2017

The Inkblots 
by Damion Searls.
Simon and Schuster, 406 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 4711 3041 0
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... determined by colour instead of form – would be thinking that a particular red blot looks like a rose, though it didn’t seem rose-like to Rorschach. He decided that depressed subjects rarely offered colour responses, unlike ‘imbeciles’ or epileptics, although not offering any colour responses didn’t necessarily ...

Sex’n’Love

Blake Morrison, 21 February 1991

The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... pieces of naughtiness and in Craig Raine’s image of an excited watering-can and a peculiar rose – and this is because, more than anything, the blue verse tradition is about being in control – of your verse-form as well as your feelings. There is no room in this tradition for a poem about sexual compulsion such as Ted Hughes’s ‘A Childish ...

Death of a Poet

Karl Miller, 22 January 1981

... the arts in modern times, and of Modernism itself. When these are combined with an early death – Lawrence is a further case in point – a powerful spell is cast.To care about Lennon, it is not necessary to have cared very deeply about the Beatles as flower-children, or to have warmed to their friendship with the Maharishi – there could never have been any ...

When in Bed

David Blackbourn, 19 October 1995

Reflections on a Life 
by Norbert Elias.
Polity, 166 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 7456 1383 7
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The Civilising Process 
by Norbert Elias.
Blackwell, 558 pp., £50, March 1994, 0 631 19222 0
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... account of his three years there is austere. There is no mention of Erich Fromm, Leo Löwenthal, Paul Tillich, even of Adorno, a close friend, although there are two excellent anecdotes, one of Elias attending a Hitler rally disguised as a monocled Aryan, another of him removing files on left-wing students just before the Nazis arrived. In the spring of 1933 ...

Among the Flutterers

Colm Tóibín: The Pope Wears Prada, 19 August 2010

The Pope Is Not Gay 
by Angelo Quattrocchi, translated by Romy Clark Giuliani.
Verso, 181 pp., £8.90, June 2010, 978 1 84467 474 9
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... of the church spire – pointing upward into the sunset where it loses itself so lovingly in the rose-coloured clouds; and which, all the same, at first sight, to a stranger alighting in the village, looks somehow better, nobler, more dignified, with more meaning behind it, and with, what we need, more love than the other buildings, however sanctioned they ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... the law, doomed upholder of vanishing virtues; ‘hard, isolate, stoic and a killer’ in D.H. Lawrence’s description of the original of the breed, James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking. ‘In a lonely street, in lonely rooms, puzzled but never quite defeated’ was how Chandler himself imagined Marlowe’s future. The frontiersman and the private ...

Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

No Mate for the Magpie 
by Frances Molloy.
Virago, 170 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 86068 594 2
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The Mysteries 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 229 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 9780571137893
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Ukulele Music 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 103 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 40986 0
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Hard Lines 2 
edited by Ian Dury, Pete Townshend, Alan Bleasdale and Fanny Dubes.
Faber, 95 pp., £2.50, June 1985, 0 571 13542 0
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No Holds Barred: The Raving Beauties choose new poems by women 
edited by Anna Carteret, Fanny Viner and Sue Jones-Davies.
Women’s Press, 130 pp., £2.95, June 1985, 0 7043 3963 3
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Katerina Brac 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 47 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13614 1
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Skevington’s Daughter 
by Oliver Reynolds.
Faber, 88 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13697 4
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Rhondda Tenpenn’orth 
by Oliver Reynolds.
10 pence
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Trio 4 
by Andrew Elliott, Leon McAuley and Ciaran O’Driscoll.
Blackstaff, 69 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 333 4
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Mama Dot 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, August 1985, 0 7011 2957 3
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The Dread Affair: Collected Poems 
by Benjamin Zephaniah.
Arena, 112 pp., £2.95, August 1985, 9780099392507
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Long Road to Nowhere 
by Amryl Johnson.
Virago, 64 pp., £2.95, July 1985, 0 86068 687 6
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Mangoes and Bullets 
by John Agard.
Pluto, 64 pp., £3.50, August 1985, 0 7453 0028 6
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Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars 
by Ron Butlin.
Secker, 51 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 07810 4
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True Confessions and New Clichés 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 135 pp., £3.95, July 1985, 0 904919 90 0
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Works in the Inglis Tongue 
by Peter Davidson.
Three Tygers Press, 17 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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Wild Places: Poems in Three Leids 
by William Neill.
Luath, 200 pp., £5, September 1985, 0 946487 11 1
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... are (retrogressively) infatuated with the past, don’t square up with 20th-century practice. Lawrence and Joyce held onto their roots even in exile, and there was always MacDiarmid, whose ‘Gairmscoile’ stands the Modernist argument on its head: It’s soon’, no’ sense, that faddoms the herts o’ men, And by my sangs the rouch auld Scots I ken ...

Writing Absurdity

Adam Shatz: Chester Himes, 25 April 2018

Chester B. Himes: A Biography 
by Lawrence P. Jackson.
Norton, 606 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 393 06389 9
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... a twenty-year sentence for armed robbery. Himes had already seen his share of troubles but, as Lawrence Jackson writes in his impressive biography, they ‘did not inspire him’ the way that ‘stumbling through the gore of two cell block tiers’ worth of burned-alive men’ did. After the fire, Himes began to write fiction on a typewriter he had bought ...

He knew he was right

John Lloyd, 10 March 1994

Scargill: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
HarperCollins, 296 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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... the labour movement? Would such an improvement have altered the course of Thatcher’s government? Paul Routledge answers some of these questions and finesses others. A long-serving labour correspondent, Routledge did much of his work at the Times. With Mick Costello of the Morning Star, he was the leader of the leftist tendency within the labour and ...

Angering and Agitating

Christopher Turner: Freud’s fan club, 30 November 2006

Freud’s Wizard: The Enigma of Ernest Jones 
by Brenda Maddox.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, September 2006, 0 7195 6792 0
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... have served Jones as his life’s motto’: his career was full of spectacular flops from which he rose unscathed. Though Maddox is too generous to interpret her motto in this way, Jones was also it seems a slippery character, ‘much hated’ by his colleagues, ‘spiteful, jealous and querulous … a fiery little man, with a staccato, military ...

Rolling Back the Reformation

Eamon Duffy: Bloody Mary’s Church, 7 February 2008

... All that time he remained, despite the mounting hostility of his arch-enemy Cardinal Caraffa, Pope Paul IV, a ‘power in Rome’. And in the conclave which eventually elected Julius III, Pole was offered the papacy by acclamation on the night of 4 December 1549, and next day came within one vote of formal election. There is every reason to think that had he ...

What We’re about to Receive

Jeremy Harding: Food Insecurity, 13 May 2010

... because they simply cannot go on. We are now entering a period of rapid transition’ (Felicity Lawrence, Eat Your Heart Out, 2008). ‘We depend just as much on our gas-guzzling, chilled plug-in, “just-in-time” food deliveries as ancient Romans did on foreign conquests, shipping and slaves – and our food system is no more secure, ethical or ...

Call me Ahab

Jeremy Harding: Moby-Dick, 31 October 2002

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale 
by Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
Northwestern, 573 pp., £14.95, September 2001, 0 8101 1911 0
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Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live in 
by C.L.R. James.
New England, 245 pp., £17.95, July 2001, 9781584650942
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Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival 
by Clare Spark.
Kent State, 744 pp., £46.50, May 2001, 0 87338 674 4
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Lucchesi and the Whale 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Duke, 104 pp., £14.50, February 2001, 9780822326540
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... from it – but they’ve fallen away from the natural world and been reassigned to human beings. Paul Keegan put this well in a remark about the changing temper of ‘nature writing’ in recent years. ‘The threatening in nature,’ he wrote, ‘has been exchanged for the idea of nature under threat’ (LRB, 20 July 1995). At the same time, Keegan ...

Former Lovers

Michael Mason, 6 September 1984

The Bourgeois Experience. Victoria to Freud Vol. I: Education of the Senses 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 608 pp., £18.50, March 1984, 0 19 503352 3
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Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd 
by Polly Longsworth.
Farrar, Straus, 449 pp., £18.50, September 1984, 0 374 10716 5
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The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds 
edited by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Hutchinson, 319 pp., £14.95, May 1984, 0 09 154170 0
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... the 19th century, but also sensually and emotionally. The theory is perhaps a pendant or sequel to Lawrence Stone (a historian whose taste for bringing his thesis into the foreground leads to a kind of sexual historiography very different from Gay’s). So far so good. The early industrial world has been given a sexual potentiality: but what of the ...

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