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Kisses for the Duce

Richard J. Evans: Letters to Mussolini

7 February 2013
Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy 
by Christopher Duggan.
Bodley Head, 501 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84792 103 1
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The Fascist Party and Popular Opinion in Mussolini’s Italy 
by Paul Corner.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, July 2012, 978 0 19 873069 9
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... success enjoyed by Mussolini. In The Fascist Party and Popular Opinion in Mussolini’s Italy, Paul Corner paints a very different picture, arguing that corruption and mismanagement had made the Fascist Party deeply unpopular by 1939. And other sources used by Duggan himself reveal a more complex situation than the letters and diaries he quotes seem ...
24 April 1997
... chuckle Halfway between a revelation and a peep. Goodbye, Francis – see you soon See you soon, Paul – you cry out. In my car at your gate I perch in the dark Under the orange streetlight a gnat in an Astra Facing downhill to The Great Wall of China – Your local corner takeaway – and the Scots pines High above the ...

Upstaging

Paul Driver

19 August 1993
Shining Brow 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 86 pp., £5.99, February 1993, 0 571 16789 6
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... take the pains to learn the métier and is lucky enough to find a composer he can believe in’. Paul Muldoon, who ranks with Auden as a poet for whom the intricacies of verse and rhyme are endless and masterable, and who lives in America, as Auden did, has written a libretto for a composer of whom I confess I haven’heard. He is Daron Aric Hagen, and ...

At the Coppermill

Paul Myerscough: Simply Botiful

14 December 2006
... the kitchen; a man with his back turned, masturbating in the shower; a small figure slumped in the corner of the bedroom, head and torso covered in a black bin-bag. (You could see the plastic moving as he breathed, which didn’t stop some people kicking him to find out ‘if he was real’.) Entering the second house brought a shock. It was the same as the ...

Diary

Alexei Sayle: The 006 from Liverpool to London

19 January 1984
... tremendously boring trips, under the generic title Great Bus Journeys of the World. In this series Paul Theroux takes the London Transport Number 19 from his house down to the shops. Michael Frayn goes on a sight-seeing tour round Sheffield, and Michael Palin pays five quid to go to India on an old Leeds Corporation double-decker. And I, in a bus-ride down ...

Sevenyearson

Michael Hofmann

22 September 1994
Walking a Line 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 105 pp., £5.99, June 1994, 0 571 17081 1
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... Everybody knows – Paul Muldoon said it on the radio recently – that writing poetry can only get harder the more you keep at it. Against that is the belief, or perhaps the determination, that it shouldn’t. That instead of the diminishing returns, spending twice the time saying half as much twice as cumbrously/flashily/winsomely, one should use craft and expertise to overthrow the stiflement and self-importance of craft and expertise – to be as uninhibited and fresh and airy as a beginner ...
17 July 1980
... Sassoon resort to a series of smouldering footnotes, where he is repeatedly told to stand in the corner for ‘reductionism’ and other lapses from the problematic. There are (it may be more relevant to note) political undercurrents in operation here, as much as among the various items in Gramsci and Marxist Theory. One might say, in this case, between a ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Cold fish at the royal household

20 November 2003
... and the last of the Windsors will be preparing for exile in Bermuda, or some other far-flung corner of their former realm: Port Stanley, say, or Balmoral. Paul Burrell will have packed their bags for them one last time. The ‘irony’ of which, as Burrell would say (the only words that he misuses more often are ...
21 February 1985
Modern Times 
by Peter York.
Heinemann, 128 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 434 89260 2
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Face Value: The Politics of Beauty 
by Robin Tolmach Lakoff and Raquel Scherr.
Routledge, 312 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 0 7100 9742 5
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... nothing, literally nothing ... which hasn’t been thought out by the square men, there’s no corner undesigned.’ Though Covent Garden’s style is archaic/nostalgic, its real ancestry goes back only to 1955, when Disneyland opened south of Los Angeles. This, the first of the ‘theme parks’, had to be built from scratch. But in older cities, the ...

At the Serpentine

Paul Myerscough: Cy Twombly

20 May 2004
... bottom of the frame, forming a horizon across its middle; in others, they collect in the left-hand corner, or the right; the rest of the yellowing paper is left blank. Twombly is famous for leaving parts of his surfaces untouched. He’s fascinated by the way the mark and the blank surface articulate one another: the canvas isn’t ‘canvas’ until it’s ...
17 August 1989
Intellectuals 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79395 0
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CounterBlasts No 1: God, Man and Mrs Thatcher 
by Jonathan Raban.
Chatto, 72 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3470 4
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... some intellectuals have been thought to have difficulty in changing their socks. Bertrand Russell, Paul Johnson reports, was unable to make himself a cup of tea. The term came to currency with the classifications employed in the Marxist system, and has been used to deplore the scarcity in this country of a certain someone supposedly thick on the European ...

All their dreaming’s done

James Francken: Janet Davey

8 May 2003
English Correspondence 
by Janet Davey.
Chatto, 199 pp., £12.99, January 2003, 0 7011 7364 5
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... a week away from his wife – his marriage has begun to harden – Jerry notices the sign for Paul and Sylvie’s hotel. He expects the stop-off will be a let-down – ‘these places could be dire, unless you had a taste for noting minute degrees of deadness’ – but he pulls over, done in by the mountain roads, running on fumes and far too tired to ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Adam Elsheimer

2 November 2006
... of bright stars spreads to the Milky Way, which strikes across the sky from the top left corner. The wedge of trees which rises from right to the left is pitch black, but two other sources of light push back the darkness. In the centre foreground a mother and child on an ass are lit by the torch carried by a bearded man who holds his hand out towards ...

Thoughts about Boars and Paul Celan

Lawrence Norfolk: The Ways of the Boar

6 January 2011
... appear at nine months and grow outward from between the fourth pre-molar (or wolf-tooth) and the corner incisor in the lower jaw. They may reach a foot in length, although eight inches is more common. Xenophon warns of their heat: the angrier the boar the hotter they become. The tusks of the boar of Kalydon, displayed first in the temple of Athene at Tegea ...

Going Native

A.N. Wilson: Theroux’s portait of Naipaul

13 May 1999
Sir Vidia’s Shadow: A Friendship across Five Continents 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 376 pp., £17.99, December 1998, 0 241 14046 3
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... almost at a sitting. This was certainly not because of any previous obsession with either V.S. Naipaul or Paul Theroux. True, I regard Naipaul as one of the most enthralling writers of our time, even though the subjects he has covered – India, Africa, the putrefaction of the ...

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