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In Flesh-Coloured Silk

Seamus Perry: Romanticism

4 December 2003
Metaromanticism: Aesthetics, Literature, Theory 
by Paul Hamilton.
Chicago, 316 pp., £17.50, August 2003, 0 226 31480 4
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... what made him definitively modern, anticipating generations of later writers, even those to whom he appeared (as Auden once succinctly put it) ‘a most bleak old bore’. The distinction of PaulHamilton’s formidable new book, Metaromanticism, is the success with which it translates these Romantic predicaments into contemporary terms, so as to make them feel wholly up-to-date. The subject is ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul​ Foot

20 February 1997
Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... House, but the discovering and publishing of it. The Cook Report team had not chosen the Insolvency Agency as their pretended target at random. The Minister of Trade in charge of the Agency was Neil Hamilton, the ambitious, dashing and very right-wing Tory MP for Tatton. For at least a year reporters at the Guardian had been trying to substantiate allegations by Mohamed Al Fayed, the proprietor of ...
27 October 1988
In Search of J.D. Salinger 
by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 222 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 434 31331 9
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... Most of us will probably have no difficulty in finding this crude, pushy and – let’s use the word for a change – wrong. Now consider a more sophisticated version of the Robinson technique. Ian Hamilton, noted biographer of Robert Lowell, writes to J.D. Salinger and informs him that he has become Hamilton’s latest subject: would the notoriously reclusive novelist mind answering some questions ...
17 October 1996
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... The abject surrender of Neil Hamilton, the ‘envelope man’ who changed the law so that he could sue the Guardian for libel, deprived the nation of an exhilarating and informative court case. When the Guardian alleged that Hamilton ...

Main Man

Michael Hofmann

7 July 1994
Walking Possession: Essays and Reviews 1968-1993 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 302 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 7475 1712 6
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Gazza Italia 
by Ian Hamilton.
Granta, 188 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 14 014073 5
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... There were three poets I had my eye on – probably all appalled to be mentioned in each other’s company, and by me: Joseph Brodsky, Tom Paulin and, most intimately though I knew him least, Ian Hamilton. When I sent him a copy of my first book, I realised I’d even purloined his initials for my title. I wasn’t of an age to have been reading, never mind submitting to, his magazines, The Review and ...

Every three years

Blake Morrison

3 March 1988
Fifty Poems 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 51 pp., £4.95, January 1988, 0 571 14920 0
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A Various Art 
edited by Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville.
Carcanet, 377 pp., £12.95, December 1987, 0 85635 698 0
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Between Leaps: Poems 1972-1985 
by Brad Leithauser.
Oxford, 81 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 19 282089 3
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Eldorado 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 71 pp., £4.50, October 1987, 0 905291 88 3
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Disbelief 
by John Ash.
Carcanet, 127 pp., £6.95, September 1987, 0 85635 695 6
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The Automatic Oracle 
by Peter Porter.
Oxford, 72 pp., £4.95, November 1987, 0 19 282088 5
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Voice-over 
by Norman MacCaig.
Chatto, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 7011 3313 9
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... levels in British poetry have increased dramatically. Most poets these days publish a new collection of thirty or forty poems every three or four years; some are more industrious than even that. Paul Durcan’s Going home to Russia, coming two years after The Berlin Wall Café contains 48 poems; Peter Redgrove’s In the Hall of the Saurians, one year after its predecessor, has 34; Norman MacCaig ...
3 April 1997
Once a Jolly Bagman: Memoirs 
by Alistair McAlpine.
Weidenfeld, 269 pp., £20, March 1997, 9780297817376
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... Usually there was something Greer could do, but he is uneasy about giving us the names of his supplicants. He is less squeamish about the man who ruined him – the debonair Tory MP for Tatton, Neil Hamilton. In the summer of 1988, Hamilton went on a freebee to the States paid for by the US Government. Stingily, the US taxpayer didn’t fork out for wives, so Ian Greer ‘fixed’ Christine Hamilton up ...

Inside the Head

John Barrell: The Corruption of Literary Biography

2 November 2000
Coleridge: Darker Reflections 
by Richard Holmes.
HarperCollins, 512 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 00 654842 3
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... principle to bear on the critical practice.’ Though the account of this chapter continues for a page or so, this arguable but highly contestable assertion – contested in particular by PaulHamilton – about the main crux in Coleridge’s most important critical work, is never returned to, explained, argued for, and the problems it involves never acknowledged. Equally oddly, Holmes’s account ...

Extraordinarily Graceful Exits from Power

Nicholas Guyatt: George Washington’s Reticence

17 November 2005
His Excellency George Washington 
by Joseph J. Ellis.
Faber, 320 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 571 21212 3
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... imagine two politicians with more different styles. George Bush invites world leaders to barbeques at his Texas ranch, and gives nicknames to the members of his cabinet. (‘Pablo’ for the hapless Paul O’Neill; ‘Z-Man’ for Robert Zoellick.) George Washington, on the other hand, was so aloof that even his contemporaries tried to make light of the fact. According to one story, at the ...

Does a donkey have to bray?

Terry Eagleton: The Reality Effect

25 September 2008
Accident: A Philosophical and Literary History 
by Ross Hamilton.
Chicago, 342 pp., £18, February 2008, 978 0 226 31484 6
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... bread and wine of the Eucharist are changed into the body and blood of Christ despite continuing to look and taste like bread and wine. In this way, one opaque doctrine was obscured by another. Ross Hamilton begins his impressively erudite study of the accidental with Aristotle’s distinction, and notes its influence on Catholic theology. But he overlooks a more interesting theological aspect of the ...

Dogface

Ian Hamilton

28 September 1989
Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul​ Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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... In a 1982 essay called ‘My War’ Paul Fussell described how – at the age of 20 – he became a full-time ironist: one who, by means of his experience in combat, had learned to perceive ‘some great gulf, half-comic and half-tragic ...

The Rupert Trunk

Christopher Tayler: Alan Hollinghurst

28 July 2011
The Stranger’s Child 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 565 pp., £20, June 2011, 978 0 330 48324 7
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... much that was wrong with the world, an episode that neither Marsh nor Mrs Brooke would have seen a need to publicise. In Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography (1992), Ian Hamilton quotes Brooke’s Rugby and Cambridge friend Geoffrey Keynes on the underlying causes of the Eddie-Ranee stand-off: Brooke’s unmanly physical beauty was often taken as an indication that he was ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blair on Blincoe?

21 March 2002
... and magazines. But a tip for twitchers (should there be any) would be to keep half an eye on the New Statesman. A couple of years ago, in an inspired piece of commissioning, they asked Christine Hamilton to review An Accidental MP, Martin Bell’s account of how he ended up wearing nothing but white suits. And now they’ve got Honor Fraser, a supermodel, to write about Nicholas Blincoe’s latest ...

Diary

Paul​ Laity: Henry Woodd Nevinson

3 February 2000
... Slade Coster Gang. They went to music halls, held parties with naked dancing girls and got into fights on Tottenham Court Road. It was a remarkable time at the Slade – his other classmates included Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, David Bomberg and William Roberts – and a revolutionary moment in British art. Even to express support for Roger Fry’s Post-Impressionist exhibitions was daring and radical ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: The World Cup

30 July 1998
... retail very happily (inc. turpentine, plus VAT) at £30, I’d say. From the very start of the World Cup, questions of personal rig-out seemed to be of central consequence. David Beckham’s Jean Paul Gaultier sarong, plus his newly blonde-streaked looks, may well have had something to do with Glenn Hoddle’s less than friendly treatment of him in England’s opening games. And this treatment may ...

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