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Richard Altick, 29 October 1987

George Scharf’s London: Sketches and Watercolours of a Changing City, 1820-50 
by Peter Jackson.
Murray, 154 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 7195 4379 7
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... Whether by happy accident or design, the publication of Peter Jackson’s George Scharf’s London coincided with the opening of a notable exhibition at the Museum of London called simply ‘Londoners’. Although Scharf’s oeuvre is most readily classified as topographical art, his sketches are as descriptive of the everyday Londoners who went about their lawful pursuits in the decades between 1820 and 1850 as they are of sides of the emerging metropolis which down to that time were largely neglected by the best-known London iconographers ...

Blame it on the boogie

Andrew O’Hagan: In Pursuit of Michael Jackson, 6 July 2006

On Michael Jackson 
by Margo Jefferson.
Pantheon, 146 pp., $20, January 2006, 0 375 42326 5
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... Since being acquitted of child molestation charges last summer, Michael Jackson has been hanging out in Bahrain, enjoying the hospitality of the ruler’s poptastic son Sheikh Abdullah. Jackson is said to have become a Muslim (which is sure to please his critics on Good Morning America), but evidence would suggest he has yet to get the hang of Islamic custom ...

In the City

Peter Campbell: Public sculpture, 22 May 2003

... Philip Ward-Jackson’s Public Sculpture of the City of London* is the seventh volume of Public Sculpture of Britain. It does for public sculpture (but not sculpture inside churches or galleries) what Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner do for the buildings the sculpture is on (or near) in The Buildings of England volume on The City of London ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

David Jackson: Russia and the Arts , 19 May 2016

... icon, Russian artists were mostly occupied with importing Western academic conventions. Under Peter the Great and his successors, the Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great, Russia’s Imperial Academy of Arts produced artists – however great their technical ability and however great their talent – who were ultimately indistinguishable from their ...

‘Derek, please, not so fast’

Ferdinand Mount: Derek Jackson, 7 February 2008

As I Was Going to St Ives: A Life of Derek Jackson 
by Simon Courtauld.
Michael Russell, 192 pp., £17.50, October 2007, 978 0 85955 311 7
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... at a horrific rate, that onto the scene charged the exotic figure of Flying Officer Derek Jackson. He had already flown 60 sorties as a navigator with 604 Squadron, resulting in 11 combats, five enemy bombers destroyed, with four more damaged. He was also a lecturer in spectroscopy at Oxford, part-owner of the News of the World, a rampant ...

Our Founder

John Bayley: Papa Joyce, 19 February 1998

John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father 
by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello.
Fourth Estate, 493 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 85702 417 6
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... and at present a praiser of his own past.’ No wonder that two veteran Joyceans, John Wyse Jackson of the Chelsea Press, editor of Flann O’Brien and Oscar Wilde, and the Dublin social historian Peter Costello, should have been inspired to produce a full-length biography of, so to speak, Our Founder. It is in its ...

Say hello to Rodney

Peter Wollen: How art becomes kitsch, 17 February 2000

The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of the Kitsch Experience 
by Celeste Olalquiaga.
Bloomsbury, 321 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7475 4535 9
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... shell that served as his hermitage, but encased in his glass sphere by the Iminac Company of Lake Jackson, Texas, he’d been preserved against decay. In effect, he had become – simultaneously – mummy, exhibit and bibelot, a quintessentially kitsch object which entranced its discoverer, fond admirer and future theorist. Rodney provoked in her reveries of ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’, 19 December 2019

Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... to Ian)? Was Barbara Skelton having an affair with the Polish war artist Feliks Topolski when Peter Quennell came onto the scene, still married to his third wife, Glur, but making Topolski so jealous that the men resorted to fisticuffs over Barbara? What made Janetta, still married to Hugh Slater, fall in love with Kenneth Sinclair-Loutit, and would that ...

Impossible Desires

Adam Smyth: Death of the Book, 7 March 2024

Bibliophobia: The End and the Beginning of the Book 
by Brian Cummings.
Oxford, 562 pp., £37.99, February 2022, 978 0 19 284731 7
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... blocks of black ink that delete, or nearly delete, every appearance of the word ‘pope’, from Peter the First on. The deletions are meticulous and they read like controlled rage: a careful and unswerving attempt to erase a memory. They were made in the early years of the Protestant Reformation; in 1535 Henry VIII demanded that his subjects strike out all ...

Dead Man’s Coat

Peter Pomerantsev: Teffi, 2 February 2017

Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea 
by Teffi, translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Anne Marie Jackson and Irina Steinberg.
Pushkin, 352 pp., £16.99, May 2016, 978 1 78227 169 7
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Rasputin and Other Ironies 
by Teffi, translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Rose France and Anne Marie Jackson.
Pushkin, 224 pp., £8.99, May 2016, 978 1 78227 217 5
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Subtly Worded 
by Teffi, translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Anne Marie Jackson, Natalia Wase, Clare Kitson and Irina Steinberg.
Pushkin, 304 pp., £12, June 2014, 978 1 78227 037 9
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... How​ does a comic writer describe a world that has stopped being funny? What to say when the system you satirise is swept away, when parts of the population are killed, when the survivors become refugees, drifting away en masse but it’s unclear where to? Teffi was faced with these questions as she tried to make sense of revolution in St Petersburg, as she fled through the Civil War, as she crossed the Black Sea along with other refugees to start a new life in a place which would in turn be engulfed by fascism and war ...

Having it both Ways

Adam Phillips, 5 November 1992

Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety 
by Marjorie Garber.
Routledge, 443 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 415 90072 7
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... a transvestite in a cultural representation,’ she writes, ‘signals a category crisis.’ So in Peter Pan, the subject of one of the most telling chapters in the book, ‘category crises are everywhere,’ – crises about class, gender and the differences between adults and children. This simple point, that one category always suggests another, leads ...

The Waugh between the Diaries

Ian Hamilton, 5 December 1985

The Diaries of Auberon Waugh: A Turbulent Decade 1976-1985 
edited by Anna Galli-Pahlavi.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 207 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 233 97811 9
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... do if you’re a bachelor, or James Goldsmith, or a lesbian, or Welsh, or a good-looking nun, or Peter Parker, or a social worker, or a cat? You could always (well, not the cat) try taking Waugh to court. But who would want to stand up in the Old Bailey and declare himself not ‘the silliest man in England’? And who would wish to be measured and perhaps ...


Paul Delany, 15 April 1982

Rider Haggard: The Great Storyteller 
by D.S. Higgins.
Cassell, 266 pp., £12.95, August 1981, 0 304 30827 7
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by H. Rider Haggard.
Penguin, 300 pp., £1.50, January 1982, 0 14 005297 6
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The Best Short Stories of Rider Haggard 
edited by Peter Haining.
Joseph, 255 pp., £7.50, June 1981, 0 7181 2010 8
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... father sent him to Africa with a view to curing him of his infatuation with an older woman, Lilly Jackson. Before her lover could return, Lilly married someone else. D.S. Higgins argues persuasively that Haggard consoled himself with a native mistress: for the rest of his life he was haunted by remorse for this ‘secret sin’, though he still found room in ...

Doomed to Draw

Ben Jackson: Magnus Carlsen v. AI, 6 June 2019

The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match that Made Chess Great Again 
by Brin-Jonathan Butler.
Simon and Schuster, 211 pp., £12.99, November 2018, 978 1 9821 0728 4
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Game Changer: AlphaZero’s Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI 
by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan.
New in Chess, 416 pp., £19.95, January 2019, 978 90 5691 818 7
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... a runner, he would win the 100m and the 5k, but would be best-known for his marathons. His coach, Peter Nielsen, describes him as an ‘incredibly annoying opponent’ because he is happy to grind away for hours at positions most top players would accept as a tie. He often upbraids colleagues who agree to early draws, arguing that they should play out the ...

Post-Useful Misfits

Thomas Jones: Mick Herron’s Spies, 19 October 2023

The Secret Hours 
by Mick Herron.
Baskerville, 393 pp., £22, September, 978 1 3998 0053 2
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... who played George Smiley in the 2011 movie version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, was cast as Jackson Lamb, the compellingly repulsive head of Slough House, for the television adaptation, which has been on Apple TV+ since last year (two books down, six and counting to go). Alec Guinness inhabited the role of Smiley so completely in the 1970s BBC version ...

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