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Bunnymooning

Philip French, 6 June 1996

The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives 
by Sebastian Faulks.
Hutchinson, 309 pp., £16.99, April 1996, 0 09 179211 8
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... and sordid, of respectable diplomacy. Jeremy was the first person I came across who admired Ian Fleming, and I still have an edition of Live And Let Die that he plucked from the ex libris shelf of Boots Library for a shilling in 1956 and presented to me on the spot. Two other things were in the air – death and drink, which in Jeremy’s case went hand in ...

Fancy Dress

Peter Campbell: Millais, Burne-Jones and Leighton, 15 April 1999

Millais: Portraits 
by Peter Funnell and Malcolm Warner.
National Portrait Gallery, 224 pp., £35, February 1999, 1 85514 255 4
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John Everett Millais 
by G.H. Fleming.
Constable, 318 pp., £20, August 1998, 0 09 478560 0
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Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer 
by Stephen Wildman and John Christian.
Abrams, 360 pp., £48, October 1998, 0 8109 6522 4
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Frederic Leighton: Antiquity, Renaissance, Modernity 
edited by Tim Barringer and Elizabeth Prettejohn.
Yale, 332 pp., £40, March 1999, 0 300 07937 0
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... The trouble is, Millais’s judgment, in whatever spirit it was made, has been that of posterity. Peter Funnell’s essay in the catalogue of the exhibition now at the National Portrait Gallery quotes Arthur Symons, writing in 1896, a few months after Millais’s death: ‘a finer promise than any artist of his time’ was wasted. His later pictures were done ...

Brooke’s Benefit

Anthony Powell, 16 April 1981

... who kept body and soul together on a minute stipend by writing facetious novels under the name of Peter Priggins. The Brookes’ wine shop – always known as the Office – was at Folkestone. They themselves lived at Sandgate, a more socially eligible strip of coast to the west. They also possessed an inland cottage at Bishopsbourne in the Elham ...

Medawar’s Knack

N.W. Pirie, 27 September 1990

A Very Decided Preference: Life with Peter Medawar 
by Jean Medawar.
Oxford, 256 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217779 6
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The Threat and the Glory: Reflections on Science and Scientists 
by Peter Medawar, edited by David Pyke.
Oxford, 291 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217778 8
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... Jean Taylor met Peter Medawar when they were students. When she married him she therefore knew that he was an extremely able biologist, but she cannot have foreseen what an energetic polymath she was attaching herself to. Medawar’s ability led at first to frequent moves to better jobs, with consequent house-hunting, and to much travel, on which she accompanied him, to lecture and attend conferences ...

Complete with spats

A.N. Wilson, 27 May 1993

Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul 
by Barbara Reynolds.
Hodder, 398 pp., £25, March 1993, 0 340 58151 4
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... knowledge of, and evident affection for, Sayers’s fiction – the detective stories about Lord Peter Wimsey especially. And now, she comes forward with what will surely rank as the definitive biography of Sayers. It is not a book which contains any surprises for those of us who have read the previous biographies. Indeed, Dr Reynolds gives us rather ...
High Fidelity 
by Nick Hornby.
Gollancz, 256 pp., £14.99, April 1995, 0 575 05748 3
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... Rob Fleming is 35 years old, nearly 36. He lives in North London, in a one-bedroom conversion flat in Crouch End. His girlfriend, Laura, is a lefty lawyer who would like to be working for a legal aid firm but finds herself, to her dismay, with a flash job in the City instead. Laura has this very morning walked out on Rob, with a carrier bag in one hand and a hold-all in the other ...

At the Villa Medici

Peter Campbell: 17th-Century Religous Paintings, 30 November 2000

... hieratic. Decorum is at the heart of this approach. Champaigne was born in Brussels but was not a Fleming in spirit. His Angel of the Annunciation stands, rather than kneels or flies. No one is seen in a pose they could not hold. The drawing is firm and correct, the play of light is worked out as much as observed, but with such authority that his painting ...

Casual Offenders

J.S. Morrill, 7 May 1981

The Justice and the Mare’s Ale 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £8.50, March 1981, 0 631 12681 3
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... and of the tireless (and for a long time ineffectual) efforts of one local magistrate, Sir Daniel Fleming of Rydal Hall, to secure their conviction. It is an extraordinary story very well told, largely in the words of the original depositions and other papers in the public records and in the extensive ...

Extraordinary People

Anthony Powell, 4 June 1981

The Lyttelton – Hart-Davis Letters 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 185 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 7195 3770 3
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... careers of pupils, who included Aldous Huxley, J.B.S. Haldane, George Orwell, Cyril Connolly, Peter Fleming, John Bayley – a literary macédoine to which several other ingredients could be added. As it fell out, I had myself no dealings with Lyttelton at school, knowing him only by sight. He had the air of being young for his age, a ...

Astrid, Clio and Julia

Alan Bell, 17 July 1980

The Wanton Chase 
by Peter Quennell.
Collins, 192 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 00 216526 0
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... of his portraits are of the beau monde: Lady Cunard and Nancy, Lord Berners, the Duff Coopers, Mrs Fleming and her successive husbands Lord Rothermere and Ian Fleming (who ‘good-naturedly accepted me, no doubt because I was neither a wild bohemian nor a rampant homosexual’). Much of this is ground that others have gone ...

Wounding Nonsenses

E.S. Turner, 6 February 1997

The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Hodder, 531 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 340 63804 4
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... in Piers Court, where he corresponds with wealthy, witty ladies (Mitford takes turns with Ann Fleming and Diana Cooper) who keep him au fait with the doings of vile bodies in the world from which he has withdrawn. The postal service is so good that a letter from Mitford in postwar Paris telling of the latest liaison dangereuse can be on his desk the next ...

A Bit of a Lush

Christopher Tayler: William Boyd, 23 May 2002

Any Human Heart 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 504 pp., £17.99, April 2002, 9780241141779
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... Paris brings a meeting with James Joyce. His wartime boss at Naval Intelligence is, of course, Ian Fleming, who sends him to keep an eye on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the Bahamas – and so on. In his opening preamble Mountstuart announces that he has made ‘no excisions designed to conceal errors of judgment (“;The Japanese would never dare to ...

At the V&A

Esther Chadwick: Opus Anglicanum, 5 January 2017

... Edward III in the 1330s; Giles Avenel of Brussels, who made pieces for the Black Prince; and the Fleming Stephen Vyne, whose recommendation from the duc de Berry secured him work with Richard II. (The remarkable number of known names attests to these craftsmen’s prestige, although it’s rare that individual pieces can be attached to a particular ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... the last war it was Connolly and Koestler and Spender, William Plomer, Alun Lewis, Dylan Thomas, Peter Quennell. Some still have life or fame or both, some not: but then, not now, was their moment. Was Connolly himself any good as a writer? The question means little because the point of Connolly turned out to be Connolly not producing the masterpieces which ...

Hoping to Hurt

Paul Smith, 9 February 1995

The Cultivation of Hatred 
by Peter Gay.
HarperCollins, 685 pp., £25, April 1994, 0 00 255218 3
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... Peter Gay’s The Cultivation of Hatred completes his Freudian psychoanalysis of the bourgeois 19th century by bringing aggression to bear alongside the forces of sexuality which form the subject of the preceding volumes, Education of the Senses and The Tender Passion. That aggression and sexuality are intimately associated, at once intermingled and opposed, Gay has no doubt, pointing to the ‘provocative oxymorons like “sweet cruelty”, the “voluptuousness of revenge” and “cruel tenderness” ’, in which Heine and others registered their sense of the ambiguity of the relationship ...

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