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Two Poems

Les Murray, 16 February 1989

... were no leaders, but they were first into the dark on Dog Fox Field: Anna who rocked her head, and Paul who grew big and yet giggled small, Irma who looked Chinese, and Hans who knew his world as a fox knows a field. Hunted with needles, exposed, unfed, this time in their thousands they bore sad cuts for having gazed, and shuffled, and failed to field the lore ...

Avoid the Orient

Colm Tóibín: The Ghastly Paul Bowles, 4 January 2007

Paul Bowles: A Life 
by Virginia Spencer Carr.
Peter Owen, 431 pp., £19.95, July 2005, 0 7206 1254 3
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... Long before the sin of Orientalism was discovered, Paul Bowles had frequently been guilty of it, in word, in thought and in deed. In his first stories, for example, the natives are shining examples of naked otherness, created partly to refresh our view concerning the mixture of simplicity, guile and sexual beauty available in remote places ...

Thoughts about Boars and Paul Celan

Lawrence Norfolk: The Ways of the Boar, 6 January 2011

... also gefragt, wo ich meinen “Eber” herhaben mag,’ the Romanian-Jewish German-speaking poet Paul Celan wrote in a letter to the classicist Walter Jens in May 1961. ‘I’ve asked myself where I might have got my boar from.’ His query concerned the provenance of an image that had appeared in a poem published seven years earlier. Here, from Celan’s ...

His v. Hers

Mark Ford, 9 March 1995

In Touch: The Letters of Paul Bowles 
edited by Jeffrey Miller.
HarperCollins, 604 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 00 255535 2
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... The final section of Paul Bowles’s most famous novel, The Sheltering Sky, is prefaced by a quotation from Kafka that encapsulates the narrative trajectory of just about everything Bowles has ever written: ‘From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.’ With obsessive frequency Bowles’s short stories and novels feature characters propelled beyond the boundaries of their own cultural milieux towards realms they can neither control nor comprehend, and in which even their sufferings become meaningless ...

Football Mad

Martin Amis, 3 December 1981

The Soccer Tribe 
by Desmond Morris.
Cape, 320 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 9780224019354
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... Osmond when he spun the coin in the centre circle, resembled a grimacing Magwitch by half-time. Paul Mariner, a picture of pampered, hammy self-love at club level, reminded me, as he trudged from the park, of the standard, traumatically chinless mod who puts in depressingly regular appearances at South Coast magistrates’ courts after Bank Holiday ...

Screwdriver in the Eye

Paul Mendez: David Keenan, 7 October 2021

by David Keenan.
White Rabbit, 168 pp., £14.99, November 2020, 978 1 4746 1705 5
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Monument Maker 
by David Keenan.
White Rabbit, 808 pp., £25, August, 978 1 4746 1709 3
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... David Keenan’s​ first novel, This Is Memorial Device: An Hallucinated Oral History of the Post-Punk Scene in Airdrie, Coatbridge and Environs 1978-86 (2017), documents the rise and fall of a fictitious (though awesomely real) band called Memorial Device. Its members are from Keenan’s home town of Airdrie – about thirteen miles east of Glasgow – and the book takes the form of 26 testimonies from band members, friends, jilted lovers, relatives, hangers-on and rival acts ...

The Wall

Eliot Weinberger, 5 July 2012

... target, but the boy was apprehended by boat and arrested. 29 April 1966: 176 shots were fired at Paul Stretz, a West Berliner who, in an advanced state of inebriation, had decided to go for a swim in the Spandau Shipping Canal, in East Berlin territory. Mistaken for a border violator, four of the shots struck the target, who was destroyed. 18 August ...


Michael Burns, 23 February 1995

Animals and Human Society: Changing Perspectives 
edited by Aubrey Manning and James Serpell.
Routledge, 199 pp., £35, February 1994, 0 415 09155 1
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The Beast in the Boudoir: Pet-Keeping in 19th-Century Paris 
by Kathleen Kete.
California, 200 pp., £22.50, August 1994, 0 520 07101 8
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... from ancient hunters and herdsmen. Following domestication, write James Serpell and Elizabeth Paul, religious and secular ideologies reinforced ‘hierarchical notions of human separateness and superiority’, and the idea of animals as somehow equal with humans gave way to the world described in the Book of Genesis. Evolutionists and creationists may ...

Taking leave

Mark Edmundson, 2 March 1989

Borrowed Time 
by Paul Monette.
Collins Harvill, 342 pp., £12.50, October 1988, 0 00 271057 9
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... provoked a mixture of dread, anger and grief in many, if not most, gay people. Borrowed Time is Paul Monette’s elegy for his lover, Roger Horwitz, who died of illnesses stemming from Aids on 22 October 1986, and though the book contains its complement of anger and fear, it is chiefly a labour of grief. Monette pursues a pair of related objectives. He ...
Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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Wagner: Race and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... and calibre. One says all this about the bewildering richness of Wagner’s legacy with an eye on Paul Lawrence Rose’s Wagner: Race and Revolution, a book whose single-minded – albeit forceful and historically well-informed – account of the Wagner phenomenon renders the man and his operas pretty much as violent, revolutionary anti-semitism. Reading ...

What is going on in there?

Hilary Mantel: Hypochondria, 5 November 2009

Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives 
by Brian Dillon.
277 pp., £18.99, September 2009, 978 1 84488 134 5
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... it is a relief, however hellish the final destination, to be granted leave to remain. Daniel Paul Schreber is the least known of Dillon’s subjects, and we may fairly regard him as the one plunged deepest into the pit of hypochondriac delusion, since it was definitely not true that 240 Benedictine monks were living in his skull. Freud wrote him up in ...

Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig, 20 June 1985

Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... this: ‘all of her so lovely and never even been for a walk.’ Quite soon, she is contemplating Paul Treece, the Rupert Brooke figure, and thinking: ‘I wanted to kick him.’ Whom one meets is a matter of luck, as Polly reflects at the end of the novel; and the men who come her way – it could be Robinson Crusoe who is speaking – are ‘all duds or ...


Iain Sinclair: On the Promenade, 17 August 2006

... unknown (or too well-known) man. A book, In the Wake of a Deadad, would emerge. Even silence – Paul Auster, Dinos Chapman, Richard Wentworth – would be published. ‘No reply’ becomes part of the texture, along with hesitations, prevarications, confessions. Many of the respondents turn Kötting’s challenge back on themselves: their refusal to look ...

In Praise of Power

Alexander Nagel: Bernini the Ruthless, 3 January 2013

Bernini: His Life and His Rome 
by Franco Mormando.
Chicago, 429 pp., £22.50, December 2011, 978 0 226 53852 5
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... patrons. Scipione Borghese, Bernini’s first great supporter and client, persuaded his uncle Pope Paul V to make his lover Stefano Pignatelli a cardinal; and Antonio Barberini, Pope Urban VIII’s notorious nephew, was made a cardinal at the age of twenty, to howls of protest, and proceeded to populate the family palace – now famous for its collection of ...

Don’t blame him

Jenny Wormald, 4 August 1994

Elizabeth I 
by Wallance MacCaffrey.
Edward Arnold, 528 pp., £25, September 1993, 9780340561676
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... Elizabeth, and in Haigh’s case a refreshingly iconoclastic and often provocative one. Moreover, Paul Johnson’s Elizabeth I: A Study in Power and Intellect (1974) and Carolly Erickson’s The First Elizabeth (1983) may not be works by ‘professional historians’, but that does not mean that they are without research or without value. What ...

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