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On the library coffee-table

Clive James, 17 March 1983

An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration 
by Mario Praz, translated by William Weaver.
Thames and Hudson, 396 pp., £35, March 1982, 0 500 23358 6
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Degas 
by Keith Roberts.
Phaidon, 48 pp., £10.50, March 1982, 0 7148 2226 4
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Monet at Argenteuil 
by Paul Tucker.
Yale, 211 pp., £15, April 1982, 0 300 02577 7
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... they trained is now mainly in the universities, and that mainly means the American universities. Paul Hayes Tucker’s Monet at Argenteuil is the kind of rock-solid scholarly contribution which Phaidon might once have published but could today only republish. Professor ...

The Style It Takes

Mark Ford: John Cale, 16 September 1999

What’s Welsh for Zen? The Autobiography of John Cale 
by Victor Bockris.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 7475 3668 6
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... Dylan Thomas poems, however, is well beyond the competence of other stars in the firmament, even Paul McCartney. There have been various, normally embarrassing attempts by rock groups, or ex-members of rock groups going solo, to explore musical ‘concepts’ and create ‘avant-garde’ albums, but Cale moved in the other direction, from the world of La ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Alexander Hamilton’s Worst Idea, 24 October 2019

... in this direction (the mainstream media call it ‘isolationist’) – among them, Senator Rand Paul and the conservative TV news host Tucker Carlson. In the absence of his third sacked national security adviser, John Bolton, the role of empire-minder has been taken over by Democrats and the anti-Trump media. (Richard ...

In the Studebaker

Laura Quinney: ‘With a stink and a stink’, 23 October 2003

Moy Sand and Gravel 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 90 pp., £14.99, October 2003, 0 571 21535 1
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... Everyone who reads Paul Muldoon will be dazzled by his linguistic exuberance. He follows the lead of Pope and Byron, engaging in many of the displays of wit that they engage in, particularly an exotic vocabulary and inventive rhyme. He loves terms of art, slang, botanical names, the names of foodstuffs and fabrics, rare words, proper names and place names ...

Strawberries in December

Paul Laity: She Radicals, 30 March 2017

Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Verso, 512 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 1 78478 588 8
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... to prevailing conventions took courage. In Boston, Daniell and Nicol became involved with Benjamin Tucker, an outspoken supporter of women’s emancipation and an ‘individualist anarchist’ (he argued for private property rather than common ownership). Daniell contributed stories and poems to his journal, Liberty; according to Rowbotham, the ‘mystical ...

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Andrew O’Hagan: If something happens to me…, 5 May 2005

... She looked away and crumpled up the paper and put it on the fire. I was ten years old when John Paul II came to power. My granny instantly adored him, loving his feudal side without reservation and simply ignoring the freedom-upholding aspect. The only thing she was truly agnostic about was politics: she never mentioned that, and her only concern when it ...

Grand Gestures

Janette Turner Hospital, 25 May 1995

A River Town 
by Thomas Keneally.
Sceptre, 330 pp., £15.99, March 1995, 9780340610930
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... but as Australians, a lucky people, fiercely independent, with hope and initiative in their tucker bags. In spite of plague and hard times, grand gestures toward a new age were definitely in order, and on 1 January 1901, federation of the six colonies as the Commonwealth of Australia took place. An editorial in the Worker (Brisbane) on 5 January 1901 ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... and last words in the book come from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and those on the jacket from Paul McCartney, so that Fraser is effectively handed over to showbiz. In reality, showbiz was in the margin of his life. He was a creative figure in the art world whose motivation for dealing was neither profit nor fame but a fascination with art and artists and ...

Fielding in the dock

Claude Rawson, 5 April 1990

Henry Fielding: A Life 
by Martin Battestin and Ruthe Battestin.
Routledge, 738 pp., £29.50, October 1989, 0 415 01438 7
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New Essays 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin.
Virginia, 604 pp., $50, November 1989, 0 8139 1221 0
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The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding. The True Patriot, and Related Writings 
edited by W.B. Coley.
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An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, and Related Writings 
edited by Malvin Zirker.
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The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register Office 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Bertrand Goldgar.
Oxford, 446 pp., £50, December 1988, 0 19 818511 1
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Fielding and the Woman Question: The Novels of Henry Fielding and the Feminist Debate 1700-1750 
by Angela Smallwood.
Harvester, 230 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 7108 0639 6
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... anxiety and grief which readers conveyed to Richardson or to Dickens over the fate of Clarissa or Paul Dombey (whose death ‘threw a whole nation into mourning’) is disconcertingly replicated in popular responses to radio and TV soap-operas. What Flaubert was to extol as novelistic ‘illusion’ has obvious affinities with the hoax and other forms of ...

‘Damn right,’ I said

Eliot Weinberger: Bush Meets Foucault, 6 January 2011

Decision Points 
by George W. Bush.
Virgin, 497 pp., £25, November 2010, 978 0 7535 3966 8
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... from Bush World are here Missing in Action. Entirely absent, or mentioned only in passing, are Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Yoo, Elliott Abrams, Ahmed Chalabi, Ayad Allawi, Rick Santorum, Trent Lott, Tom DeLay, Richard Armitage, Katherine Harris, Ken Mehlman, Paul O’Neill, Rush Limbaugh. Barely appearing at all ...

Aviators and Movie Stars

Patricia Lockwood: Carson McCullers, 19 October 2017

Stories, Plays and Other Writings 
by Carson McCullers.
Library of America, 672 pp., £33.99, January 2017, 978 1 59853 511 2
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... a bust of Brahms, the water oiling itself between brown riverbanks. Under the tutelage of Mary Tucker, perhaps the first woman she ever loved romantically, she practised the piano for hours a day, repeating the same tricky passages until she was a general menace to the neighbourhood. After a bout of rheumatic fever in her mid-teens, she resolved to trade ...
Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 320 pp., $24.95, May 1996, 0 520 20407 7
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... mammy-singing disciples included not only Eddie Cantor, George Burns, George Jessel and Sophie Tucker, but the future movie mogul Harry Cohn, the young Walter Winchell and his own older brother. Signed by the Shubert Brothers in 1911, Jolson was the first product of the bastard forms of vaudeville and minstrel show to be legitimised on Broadway’s Great ...

The Right Kind of Pain

Mark Greif: The Velvet Underground, 22 March 2007

The Velvet Underground 
by Richard Witts.
Equinox, 171 pp., £10.99, September 2006, 9781904768272
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... New York composer LaMonte Young, was the band’s violist and played bass guitar. Maureen ‘Mo’ Tucker, a self-taught teenage percussionist, played standing up, without cymbals or pedals, and was one of only a very few female drummers in rock. Sterling Morrison, the band’s fine second guitarist, has always been underappreciated, partly because he ...

Diary

Tom Nairn: Australian Blues, 18 November 2004

... Between 1991 and 1996, it was the Australian Labor Party governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating that prepared the ground for today’s seemingly unshakeable Liberal hegemony. Both the relationship of the left to neoliberal capitalism, and the trajectory of ‘Third Way’ politics, are wildly different in the Antipodes. This is another part of ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... territory itself with Kim Jong-un, the president brings along one of his favourite Fox News hosts, Tucker Carlson, as well as Ivanka. Carlson says of North Korea: ‘It’s a disgusting place, obviously. So there’s no defending it. On the other hand, you’ve got to be honest about what it means to lead a country. It means killing people.’*Two major hotel ...

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