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Flossing

Andrew O’Hagan: Pukey poetry anthologies, 4 November 2004

Poems to Last a Lifetime 
edited by Daisy Goodwin.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 717707 0
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All the Poems You Need to Say I Do 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Picador, 197 pp., £10, October 2004, 0 330 43388 1
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... is what plucks the comedy from this dark drama: it is a story that shows dumbing-down in freefall. Peter Forbes edited Poetry Review between 1986 and 2002, so you’d be right to label him a friend to modern poetry. His magazine never shifted many copies but it always exhibited high standards: make way, then, with sniffles and genuflections, for All the ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies, 3 February 2000

The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... chosen through a proportional-representation formula too complex to be explained here, or to Peter Forbes’s Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry, a platitudinously introduced but brilliantly chosen collection of poems that manage, in the editor’s words, to ‘capture the flavour of the century with something like ...

Wharton the Wise

D.A.N. Jones, 4 April 1985

The Missing Will 
by Michael Wharton.
Hogarth, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2666 3
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... For 27 years Michael Wharton has written the ‘Peter Simple’ column in the Daily Telegraph. He was only 43 when he secured this good, steady job and now he has published an autobiographical account of his 43 apprentice years – dissident, drifting, bohemian years, marked by a lack of will-power, what the Greeks called aboulia ...

Games-Playing

Patrick Parrinder, 7 August 1986

The Golden Gate 
by Vikram Seth.
Faber, 307 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13967 1
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The Haunted House 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 139 pp., £8.95, June 1986, 0 330 29175 0
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Whole of a Morning Sky 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 156 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 86068 774 0
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The Piano Tuner 
by Peter Meinke.
Georgia, 156 pp., $13.95, June 1986, 0 8203 0844 7
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Tap City 
by Ron Abell.
Secker, 273 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 436 00025 3
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... version of the supersession of Cheddi Jagan’s government by the People’s National Congress of Forbes Burnham. Grace Nichols delicately suggests the way in which these events impinge on an ordinary, middle-of-the-road black family on the margins of politics. Gem’s sister, Dinah, becomes a civil servant employed by the Marxist regime, and the ‘seeds of ...

Middle Positions

John Hedley Brooke, 21 July 1983

Archetypes and Ancestors: Palaeontology in Victorian London 1850-1875 
by Adrian Desmond.
Blond and Briggs, 287 pp., £15.95, October 1982, 0 85634 121 5
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Evolution without Evidence: Charles Darwin and ‘The Origin Species’ 
by Barry Gale.
Harvester, 238 pp., £18.95, January 1983, 0 7108 0442 3
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The Secular Ark: Studies in the History of Biogeography 
by Janet Browne.
Yale, 273 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 300 02460 6
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The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinsm 
by Brain Leith.
Collins, 174 pp., £7.95, December 1982, 0 00 219548 8
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... of Lamarck. The point that Desmond brings out so well – drawing on the work of Martin Rudwick, Peter Bowler and Michael Bartholomew – is that Darwin’s Origin of Species actually caught Huxley on the wrong foot. If the future of scientific naturalism was, after all, to be bound up with an evolutionary theory, there was a respect in which Huxley had ...

Light Entertainment

Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture, 8 November 2012

... told me that he was always surrounded by them in Broadcasting House. The actor and director Bryan Forbes, who would go on to direct Whistle Down the Wind and The Stepford Wives, remembered the help he got from Gamlin. Forbes wrote to him at the BBC – at the time Forbes’s name was John ...

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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... 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’s Voice-over, three years on from his Collected Poems, has 58; Cat’s Whisker by Philip Gross (three years on) 41; Jouissance by William Scammell (two ...

Quarrelling

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 29 October 1987

Tears before Bedtime 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12326 7
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In the Pink 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Bloomsbury, 164 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7475 0050 9
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... marriage to go, people were telling each other that they had already separated. Her former lover, Peter Quennell, eager for bad news, invited her to lunch at the Etoile and asked about her sex life. But that day she didn’t feel like doing Connolly down, so Quennell soon got bored and asked for the bill. While Cyril dined out on their quarrels, his ...

Putin’s Rasputin

Peter Pomerantsev, 20 October 2011

... taming the powerful oligarchs overnight. ‘You’re only a photograph away from the cover of Forbes to a jail cell,’ the picture said, and it would have been Surkov’s business to make sure the image was distributed as widely as possible. Eight years later, Khodorkovsky is still behind bars, but the image now says something more like: ‘While I am ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... every appearance of relish. Maybe he did do that in public – the Derek and Clive dialogues with Peter Cook left very little to the imagination, so it’s not unlikely.23 March. Barry Cryer brings a good deal of old-fashioned joy into my life, as I’m sure he does for many others. His phone calls always begin, ‘It’s your stalker,’ after which without ...

Body History

Roy Porter, 31 August 1989

The Body and the French Revolution: Sex, Class and Political Culture 
by Dorinda Outram.
Yale, 197 pp., £22, May 1989, 0 300 04436 4
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Victorian Suicide: Mad Crimes and Sad Histories 
by Barbara Gates.
Princeton, 190 pp., £19.95, September 1988, 0 691 09437 3
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Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the 18th and 20th Centuries 
by Ludmilla Jordanova.
Harvester, 224 pp., £19.95, April 1989, 9780745003320
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Family, Love and Work in the Lives of Victorian Gentlewomen 
by Jeanne Peterson.
Indiana, 241 pp., $39.95, May 1989, 0 253 20509 3
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... body, and eyebrows are being raised. ‘What sort of history is the history of the body?’ asks Peter Biller in a recent review, voicing scepticism about the genre itself: even ‘a moderate example of body history’, he concludes, ‘can principally incarnate a certain blindness towards the past.’ Do academics feel similarly hesitant about studying more ...

English Art and English Rubbish

Peter Campbell, 20 March 1986

C.R. Ashbee: Architect, Designer and Romantic Socialist 
by Alan Crawford.
Yale, 500 pp., £35, November 1985, 0 300 03467 9
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The Laughter and the Urn: The Life of Rex Whistler 
by Laurence Whistler.
Weidenfeld, 321 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 297 78603 2
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The Originality of Thomas Jones 
by Lawrence Gowing.
Thames and Hudson, 64 pp., £4.95, February 1986, 0 500 55017 4
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Art beyond the Gallery in Early 20th-century England 
by Richard Cork.
Yale, 332 pp., £40, April 1985, 0 300 03236 6
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Alfred Gilbert 
by Richard Dorment.
Yale, 350 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 300 03388 5
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... taken up in hope,’ Crawford says, ‘were always turned against him.’ In 1898 he married Janet Forbes. Her letters, blessedly direct after Ashbee’s, show what the arts-and-crafts life was like for someone who could not escape on a lecture tour when things became dull at home. He kept a distance between himself and emotion which is almost unbelievable. Of ...

Forget the Klingons

James Hamilton-Paterson: Is there anybody out there?, 6 March 2003

Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life 
by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart.
Ebury, 369 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 187927 2
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XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It 
by Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin.
Weidenfeld, 191 pp., £12.99, August 2002, 1 84188 193 7
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... and the Book of Genesis), it could not conceivably support life. The Manx naturalist Edward Forbes coined the word ‘azoic’ to describe this self-evidently lifeless zone. By the 1870s he and other oceanographers were eating their words as improved sampling technology retrieved abundant evidence that, in cheerful defiance of human preconceptions, even ...

‘This in no wise omit’

Tom Bingham: Habeas Corpus, 7 October 2010

Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire 
by Paul Halliday.
Harvard, 502 pp., £29.95, March 2010, 978 0 674 04901 7
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... It is the same at Quebec and in London.’ The first chief justice of New South Wales, Sir Francis Forbes, spoke of ‘a high prerogative writ, and so much the right of the subject, as to render it compulsory on the judges’. It is this writ, generally known simply as habeas corpus, which has been hailed as ‘the Great Writ of Liberty’, the ‘stable ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... in memory had put it somewhere north of Oxford Street, Portman Square possibly. In fact it was in Forbes House in Belgrave Square: not knowing London I took Knightsbridge to be Oxford Street. Of the exhibition I recall only the two huge blackamoors at the foot of the staircase in the entrance and the music that was playing throughout (the notion of music in ...

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