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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 ...

Wigs and Tories

Paul Foot, 18 September 1997

Trial of Strength: The Battle Between Ministers and Judges over Who Makes the Law 
by Joshua Rozenberg.
Richard Cohen, 241 pp., £17.99, April 1997, 1 86066 094 0
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The Politics of the Judiciary 
by J.A.G. Griffith.
Fontana, 376 pp., £8.99, September 1997, 0 00 686381 7
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... for the brave and decent Mr Justice Collins. Yet Andrew Collins QC was sharply criticised by the Scott Report for not disclosing documents vital to the defence of six men charged with illegally exporting fuses to Iraq. Another judge who simply could not believe that Parliament, in the shape of Peter Lilley, could contemplate starving asylum seekers to death ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... The most remarkable aspect of the Scott Report is its simplicity. The famous length and the differing interpretations to which it has been subjected since its publication suggest a learned and complex treatise full of ambiguity and complex allusion, a sort of political bible with Sir Richard Scott in the role of the Yahweh/ Saviour and Robin Cook and Ian Lang fighting it out to play St Paul ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... direction of Heaton were half full in the morning and nobody spoke. When I arrived at the house of Paul Wakefield I immediately saw a picture of his handsome younger brother on the coffee table. ‘He was my bodyguard,’ Paul said. ‘He was always quite tough, but brave. He was my hero and he always will be.’ ...

Remembering the taeog

D.A.N. Jones, 30 August 1990

People of the Black Mountains. Vol. II: The Eggs of the Eagle 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 330 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3564 6
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In the Blue Light of African Dreams 
by Paul Watkins.
Heinemann, 282 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 09 174307 9
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Friedrich Harris: Shooting the hero 
by Philip Purser.
Quartet, 250 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 7043 2759 7
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The Journey Home 
by Dermot Bolger.
Viking, 294 pp., £13.99, June 1990, 0 670 83215 4
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Evenings at Mongini’s 
by Russell Lucas.
Heinemann, 262 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 434 43646 1
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... have stayed with one period for a longer space, adding long footnotes, in the manner of Walter Scott. Paul Watkins’s book is more like a historical novel, more of a storyteller’s work. In the Blue Light of African Dreams is an offputting title: it sounds like a Modern Jazz suite or a Proms first (and ...

Big Books

Adam Mars-Jones, 8 November 2018

... language of Callimachus, after all), was expected to buy a very big book indeed: Liddell and Scott’s monumental lexicon, big enough to afford the linguistic granularity you need to write Greek prose in the style of Demosthenes’ orations, with citations to corroborate every word used. A schoolboy could lift Liddell and ...

A, E♭, C, B

Paul Driver: Robert Schumann, 21 February 2008

Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician 
by John Worthen.
Yale, 496 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 300 11160 6
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The Cambridge Companion to Schumann 
edited by Beate Perrey.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £19.99, June 2007, 978 0 521 78950 9
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Schumann’s Late Style 
by Laura Tunbridge.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £50, October 2007, 978 0 521 87168 6
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... on Schumann’s debt to Romantic aesthetics, particularly as epitomised by the novels of Johann Paul Friedrich Richter (Jean Paul). Nicholas Marston, writing on Schumann’s heroes Schubert, Beethoven and Bach, quotes the 19-year-old composer telling Wieck: ‘when I play Schubert, it’s as if I were reading a novel ...

Siding with Rushdie

Christopher Hitchens, 26 October 1989

The Rushdie File 
edited by Lisa Appignanesi and Sara Maitland.
Fourth Estate/ICA, 268 pp., £5.95, July 1989, 0 947795 84 7
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CounterBlasts No 4: Sacred Cows 
by Fay Weldon.
Chatto, 43 pp., £2.99, July 1989, 0 7011 3556 5
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Salman Rushdie and the Third World: Myths of the Nation 
by Timothy Brennan.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, September 1989, 0 333 49020 7
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... elsewhere, the favoured colonial minority was always the Islamic one. Perhaps this was because, as Paul Scott has one of his characters say in The Raj Quartet, the British ‘prefer Muslims to Hindus (because of the closer affinity that exists between God and Allah than exists between God and the Brahma)’. The character is Harry Coomer or Hari ...

Cityscapes

Stephen Wall, 1 September 1988

Quinn’s Book 
by William Kennedy.
Cape, 289 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 224 02580 5
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In the Country of Last Things 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 188 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 0 571 14965 0
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... arresting initial display of their subject’s narrative potential. The technique goes back to Scott, and William Kennedy’s Quinn’s Book is orthodox enough in providing a sensational set-piece in its opening pages. He hasn’t deserted his habitual location of the town of Albany but has gone back to how it was in 1849, the date of a freak accumulation ...

Freedom

Lyndall Gordon, 18 September 1980

Olive Schreiner: A Biography 
by Ruth First and Ann Scott.
Deutsch, 383 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 233 97152 1
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... for a buried self, relate to a person who presents herself directly, without a mask? First and Scott record the events and emotions of Schreiner’s life with minute fidelity, but the living, brilliant-eyed woman escapes yet another attempt to pin her down. Her openness remains too disconcerting; her positions, which defy categorisation, seem to these ...

Diary

Max Hastings: Letters from the Front, 10 September 2015

... in France. In 1975 he was moved to write to the historian Michael Howard by exasperation with Paul Fussell’s newly published The Great War and Modern Memory. Fussell, an American critic and veteran of World War Two, suggested that what had happened to those who fought in France was so uniquely dreadful that it defied adequate interpretation by ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern, 20 July 2000

... its aftermath the Festival Hall, the National Film Theatre and, on the other side of Giles Gilbert Scott’s Waterloo Bridge, the new National Theatre. The next came in 1977, with the foundation of the Coin Street Action Group when, reacting against a decline in public housing and the proliferation of office blocks, the inhabitants of the area to the east of ...

Diary

Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... inquiry by a barrister, Lewis Hawser QC. Hawser did for James Hanratty what another barrister, Scott Henderson, had done for Timothy Evans, who was wrongly convicted of the murder of his child. By concentrating on minute differences of detail in witness statements, he managed to dispense with all the people in Rhyl who quite plainly saw James Hanratty on ...
The Sea of Fertility 
by Yukio Mishima.
Secker/Penguin, 821 pp., £18, July 1985, 0 436 28160 0
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Mishima on Hagakure 
by Yukio Mishima.
Penguin, 144 pp., £2.95, May 1985, 0 14 004923 1
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The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima 
by Henry Scott Stokes.
Penguin, 271 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 14 007248 9
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... of the 18th-century code of samurai ethics, and The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima by Henry Scott Stokes, and Secker and Warburg Mishima’s tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility, in one attractive volume. At this year’s Cannes Film Festival an American film, Mishima, by Paul Schrader caused considerable controversy; and ...

Cutting it short

John Bayley, 3 November 1983

Alexander Pushkin: Complete Prose Fiction 
by Paul Debreczeny, translated by Walter Arndt.
Stanford, 545 pp., $38.50, May 1983, 0 8047 1142 9
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The Other Pushkin: A Study of Alexander Pushkin’s Prose Fiction 
by Paul Debreczeny.
Stanford, 386 pp., $32.50, May 1983, 0 8047 1143 7
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... his admirable study – his ‘other Pushkin’ is the storyteller and novelist, not the poet – Paul Debreczeny quotes Pushkin’s comments on Shakespeare’s characterisation. They go hand in hand with inconclusiveness, and show why it is that though Shakespeare had to finish the play, his characters never do. They are not completed by their dramatic ...

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