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Paul and Penny

Julian Symons, 25 October 1990

Paul ScottA Life 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hutchinson, 429 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 09 173984 5
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Paul Scott’s Raj 
by Robin Moore.
Heinemann, 246 pp., £18.50, October 1990, 0 434 47588 2
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... enough he was out. I saw instead a harassed long-nosed man in a blue suit who said his name was Paul Scott, and that he was the company secretary. Things were in a bit of a muddle, but he would see what could be done. I can’t remember whether I ever got my money, but Scott had good reason to look harassed, ‘with ...

The Matter of India

John Bayley, 19 March 1987

... or it can make pseudo-epic. Does J.G. Farrell take the Celtic line in The Siege of Krishnapur, and Paul Scott follow a more plodding and literal Anglo-Saxon formula in the four-novel sequence of The Raj Quartet?There might be something in that. I suspect, for one thing, that those who cannot read Tolkien find ...

Booker Books

Frank Kermode, 22 November 1979

... respect of professional critics, who are favoured: V.S. Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, David Storey, Paul Scott, Iris Murdoch, for instance. Beyond that it isn’t easy to see much significance in the list – perhaps there’s a nostalgia for the old Empire (Scott, J.G. Farrell, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, plus Nadine ...


Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... study, that Appleyard chooses, or is compelled, to make some independent valuations. Speaking of Paul Scott, J.G. Farrell and V.S. Naipaul in relation to the death of Empire, he expresses a special enthusiasm for the last-named. Then come people for whom he has apparently no more than a cautious respect, but who are important because of their period ...

Resistance to Torpor

Stephen Sedley: The Rule of Law, 28 July 2016

Entick v. Carrington: 250 Years of the Rule of Law 
edited by Adam Tomkins and Paul Scott.
Hart, 276 pp., £55, September 2015, 978 1 84946 558 8
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... When​ the Earl of Bute resigned as prime minister in April 1763 it looked as if the North Briton, a paper whose vituperative attacks had dogged his administration, had achieved its ambition and would now cease publication. But a week later George III opened the new Parliament with a speech from the throne which, by its support for the peace terms being negotiated with France, reignited the wrath of the North Briton’s flamboyant co-editor John Wilkes and his backers in the City, prompting the publication of another withering issue, number 45 ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell, 2 December 2010

J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... Jim to his friends – turns out to have had more in common with J.G. Ballard than with Paul Scott, George MacDonald Fraser, M.M. Kaye and other writers of 1970s bestsellers with imperial themes. Like the empty swimming-pools and weed-choked concrete landscapes that appear again and again in JGB’s imagined futures, the collapsing buildings ...

Booze and Fags

Christopher Hitchens, 12 March 1992

Tobacco: A History 
by V.G. Kiernan.
Radius, 249 pp., £18.99, December 1991, 0 09 174216 1
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The Faber Book of Drink, Drinkers and Drinking 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 554 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 571 16229 0
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... of Greta Garbo blowing out a match in The Flesh and the Devil, and vibrates as he recalls Paul Henreid taking a smoke from his own lips and passing it to Bette Davis (Now, Voyager). With approval, he cites the mass meeting of young women at Teheran University; every pouting lip framing a cigarette in protest at a Khomeini fatwah against smoking for ...


Jenny Diski: On Meeting the Creatives, 22 February 1996

... anger, I do not ask the subsidiary question about why then he doesn’t just walk on the ground. Paul Scott Makela galvanises and alarms the audience on the final morning with a viewing of the video he designed for Michael Jackson’s ‘Scream’, the song Jackson released after the child abuse allegations fell away. Makela acknowledged that $7.5 ...

Licence to kill

Paul Foot, 10 February 1994

Spider’s Web: Bush, Saddam, Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit 
by Alan Friedman.
Faber, 455 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 17002 1
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The Unlikely Spy 
by Paul Henderson.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1597 2
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... Iraq. Machon is an important witness, but only a small cog in the conspiracy, which, as the Scott Inquiry hearings are beginning tentatively to reveal, was just as ‘wide-ranging’ and ‘sophisticated’ as the US operation from which it took its lead. Saddam sought to build up his links with Britain, which had so many historical associations with ...

The Aestheticising Vice

Paul Seabright: Systematic knowledge, 27 May 1999

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed 
by James C. Scott.
Yale, 464 pp., £25, May 1998, 0 300 07016 0
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... Apart from anything else, it is deeply unfair that it should. In Seeing like a State, James Scott is definitely in storytelling mode, though he seems unaware of the narrative biases that result. (It makes me curious to know what he’s like when he travels by air, which as an anthropologist he must do quite often.) He has two kinds of story to tell in ...
Fatalism and Development: Nepal’s Struggle for Modernisation 
by Dor Bahadur Bista.
Longman, Madras
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... feature of such societies. In particular, anyone familiar with India from the pages of Kipling, Paul Scott, V.S. Naipaul or Varindra Vittachi will recognise a good deal of Bista’s world. We might expand Bista’s argument to say that certain structural features of a society with little experience of competitive, individualistic capitalism, suddenly ...


Bruce Bawer, 2 May 1985

Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald 
by James Mellow.
Souvenir, 569 pp., £15.95, February 1985, 0 285 65001 7
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Home before Dark: A Personal Memoir of John Cheever 
by Susan Cheever.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 297 78376 9
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... Scott Fitzgerald – who was renowned in his lifetime as much for his escapades with Zelda as for his contribution to literature – would doubtless be gratified to know how profoundly most literate citizens of the English-speaking world now admire The Great Gatsby, Tender is the night, and a number of his short stories ...

Dancing in Her Doc Martens

Lorna Scott Fox, 18 September 1997

Monsieur Shoushana’s Lemon Trees 
by Patricia Duncker.
Serpent’s Tail, 197 pp., £9.99, August 1997, 1 85242 572 5
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... of the timid Cambridge student who falls in love with the subject of his thesis – French writer Paul Michel, a malign blend of Dany Cohn-Bendit and Guy Hocquenghem – and carries him off from an asylum, struck me above all as daring to be improbable. Not because this couldn’t happen, nor because of any objection to the post-psychological and ...

Per Ardua

Paul Foot, 8 February 1996

In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... as much as any other single factor to the sense of public outrage which led eventually to the Scott inquiry. The astonishing nature of that inquiry, too – above all its access to information which has traditionally been kept secret – owes not a little to his persistence. The Scott Report will soon be out. It is ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Hanging out at River Cottage HQ, 14 December 2006

... Burroughs at Slabsides, his retreat in the Hudson Valley. In the 1960s troupes of hippies visited Scott Nearing, author of Living the Good Life, at Forest Farm in Maine, in search of spiritual enlightenment. (They were gobsmacked by how cleanly he lived and how hard he worked.) F-W’s appeal is less countercultural – barristers and City workers attend his ...

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