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Tough Morsels

Peter Rudnytsky, 7 November 1991

The Freud-Klein Controversies 1941-45 
edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner.
Routledge, 958 pp., £100, December 1990, 0 415 03170 2
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... this crucial 17-page document is missing from The Freud-Klein Controversies, and in a footnote Pearl King explains that no copy was attached to the minutes of the meeting of 9 February 1944 at which it had been presented. It can, however, be found in the Klein Archives, and I would urge the editors to rectify their oversight by publishing it in the ...

Love’s Labours

Valerie Pearl, 8 November 1979

King Charles II 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 524 pp., £8.95
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... somewhat romantic view of Charles II’s many affairs of the heart and her warm sympathy for the King, it is a doubly apt admission. The book is much more, however, than an account written around the royal harem. It is a portrait drawn from the absorption of many sources. No biographer of the supposedly indolent yet Merry Monarch (rightly shown here to be ...

New-Model History

Valerie Pearl, 7 February 1980

The City and the Court 1603-1643 
by Robert Ashton.
Cambridge, 247 pp., £10.50, September 1980, 0 521 22419 5
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... the financial and administrative strains of Charles’s war policy exacerbated relations between King and Parliament during the first five years of his reign, thus demonstrating the disruptive effect of war on Early Modern society which has been elaborated by Michael Howard and other historians. Ashton doesn’t examine the implications of the change in ...


Mary Wellesley: The Wyldrenesse of Wyrale, 26 April 2018

... of Gawain and three other untitled poems of the late 14th century. These works were later called Pearl, Patience and Cleanness by editors. They are thought to be the work of the same person on the basis of their style. (Some scholars also add another, Saint Erkenwald, which survives in British Library Harley MS 2250.)The manuscript is unprepossessing. It is ...

Beckett’s Buttonhook

Robert Taubman, 21 October 1982

Ill seen ill said 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 59 pp., £4.95, August 1982, 0 7145 3895 7
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by John Fowles.
Cape, 192 pp., £6.95, October 1982, 9780224029384
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Sounding the terriotory 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 307 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 9780571119622
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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant 
by Anne Tyler.
Chatto, 303 pp., £7.50, September 1982, 0 7011 2648 5
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... the far-flung allusion – for instance, to the statue of Memnon at Thebes, to Michelangelo and to King Lear. It will give more work to the scholars who have already erected a monument to Beckett. He belongs with the generation of writers, like Joyce and Eliot, whose work requires such attention. What is not so obscure in Ill seen ill said is the presence of ...

Joint-Stock War

Valerie Pearl, 3 May 1984

The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors 1547-1603 
by D.M. Palliser.
Longman, 450 pp., £13.95, April 1983, 0 582 48580 0
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After the Armada: Elizabethan England and the Struggle for Western Europe 1588-1595 
by R.B. Wernham.
Oxford, 613 pp., £32.50, February 1984, 0 19 822753 1
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The Defeat of the Spanish Armada 
by Garrett Mattingly.
Cape, 384 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 224 02070 6
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The First Elizabeth 
by Carolly Erickson.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 333 36168 7
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The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: Essays in Honour of Gordon Donaldson 
edited by Ian Cowan and Duncan Shaw.
Scottish Academic Press, 261 pp., £14.50, March 1983, 0 7073 0261 7
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... English have their houses made of sticks and dirt but they fare commonly so well as the king.’ This was possibly a traveller’s tale swelled by English patriotism, but in good times it contained some truth, and that it could be uttered and believed in its day is itself significant. Dr Palliser shows that one reason for low taxation was ...

Didn’t you just love O-lan?

Deborah Friedell: Pearl Buck, 22 July 2010

Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck’s Life in China 
by Hilary Spurling.
Profile, 340 pp., £15, April 2010, 978 1 86197 828 8
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... Pearl Buck was the favourite novelist of both my grandmothers, which like their shingle haircuts and their trust in authority, their Coca-Cola brisket, has always seemed an example of the unassimilable foreignness of their lives to mine. An entire generation fell in love with Buck: they made her dozens of books international bestsellers and gave her the Nobel Prize ...

Churchill has nothing to hide

Paul Addison, 7 May 1987

Road to Victory: Winston Churchill 1941-1945 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1417 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 434 29186 2
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... the task in 1968. This time he accompanies Churchill on the long march from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour to VE Day. The book has all the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessors. It is a superbly researched chronicle, almost wholly devoid of explicit historical interpretation. It is more like a compilation of source materials, expertly edited with ...

King of Razz

Alfred Appel Jr: Homage to Fats Waller, 9 May 2002

... Modernists such as Picasso begot paper collage, wood assemblage and metal sculpture. ‘I’m king of the ragpickers!’ Picasso proclaimed gleefully around 1930, after he had created Woman in a Garden, his first welded tin and scrap iron sculpture, proof that machines and Tin Can Alley do not ‘rule the world’, as Leopold Bloom laments over noisy ...

‘You have a nice country, I would like to be your son’

Bee Wilson: Prince Bertie, 27 September 2012

Bertie: A Life of Edward VII 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 608 pp., £30, August 2012, 978 0 7011 7614 3
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... Bertie – now 21 – ‘shows more and more how totally, totally unfit he is for ever becoming King!’ Neither Victoria nor the constitution could prevent him from ascending to the throne on her death. It didn’t matter. Bertie – this generally amiable but foolish and corpulent cigar-smoking, tiger-shooting adulterer – was a perfectly respectable ...

Short Cuts

Adam Shatz: The Four-Year Assault, 21 January 2021

... who turned out at his rallies, who made him feel like a populist leader, like a patriot, like a king, like a billionaire – like all the things he wasn’t, except in his imagination. ‘Very special’, he called them on 6 January, as they rioted in the Capitol. The Republicans, like his wives, were always temporary partners whom he’d used (just as ...

High on His Own Supply

Christopher Tayler: Amis Recycled, 11 September 2003

Yellow Dog 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 340 pp., £16.99, September 2003, 0 224 05061 3
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... East End gangster, and in his hot youth Xan was a little bit tasty, too; his first marriage – to Pearl O’Daniel, another East Ender – was a chaos of infidelities and coke-fuelled fistfights. Now, though, Xan is comprehensively reformed. He has undergone a nightmare divorce from Pearl – which means he doesn’t see as ...

Public Enemy

R.W. Johnson, 26 November 1987

Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover 
by Richard Gid Powers.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £16.95, August 1987, 0 02 925060 9
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... which ended under Richard Nixon, began under Woodrow Wilson. That Hoover persecuted Martin Luther King is notorious, but Hoover was also the man who drove Marcus Garvey out of America. Similarly, the Hoover who turned his malign attention upon the anti-Vietnam War movement was the same man who had, half a century before, hounded Emma Goldman and John Reed ...

Bohumil Hrabal

James Wood: The life, times, letters and politics of Czech novelist Bohumil Hrabal, 4 January 2001

Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Michael Henry Heim.
Harvill, 103 pp., £6.99, May 1998, 1 86046 215 4
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Too Loud a Solitude 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Michael Henry Heim.
Abacus, 112 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 0 349 10262 7
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I Served the King of England 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Paul Wilson.
Picador, 256 pp., £6.99, May 1990, 0 330 30876 9
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Closely Observed Trains 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Edith Partiger.
Abacus, 128 pp., £5.99, May 1990, 0 349 10125 6
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Total Fears: Letters to Dubenka 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by James Naughton.
Twisted Spoon Press, 203 pp., $13.50, June 1998, 80 902171 9 2
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... one of my feet or maybe even my neck.’ And there is Ditie, the picaresque hero of I Served the King of England, a waiter in a Prague hotel, who once served the Emperor of Ethiopia, and worked with a head waiter who once served the King of England. Ditie is usually wrong about everything – he marries a German athlete ...

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