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Collapses of Civilisation

Anthony Snodgrass, 25 July 1991

Centuries of Darkness 
by Peter James.
Chatto, 434 pp., £19.99, April 1991, 9780224026475
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... yet we can see that the two halves would actually fit together. The gap should not be there. What Peter James – the main author and incidentally the designer of the jacket – and his four collaborators seek to prove is, put simply, that the entire early history of the civilised world has been similarly distorted. An intrusive, imaginary gap, partly of ...

How not to do it

John Sutherland, 22 July 1993

The British Library: For Scholarship, Research and Innovation: Strategic Objectives for the Year 2000 
British Library, 39 pp., £5, June 1993, 0 7123 0321 9Show More
The Library of the British Museum: Retrospective Essays on the Department of Printed Books 
edited by P.R. Harris.
British Library, 305 pp., £35, June 1993, 0 7123 0242 5
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... technology: less 2000 than 2001. The first plate shows ‘Analyst/Programmer Peter James at work on the British Library Online Catalogue’. Peter James’s head is cropped to give a central prominence to his hands on the keyboard and the all-important screen which displays ...

Faking the Canon

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Forging the Bible, 6 February 2014

Forgery and Counter-Forgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics 
by Bart Ehrman.
Oxford, 628 pp., £27.50, January 2013, 978 0 19 992803 3
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... of genuine letters written by Paul of Tarsus, they call themselves Paul when they are not Paul, Peter when they are not Peter, James when they are not James, Jude when they are not Jude. Sometimes they put in circumstantial detail to make their claims ...

Inside Out

John Bayley, 4 September 1980

The Collected Ewart 1933-1980 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 412 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 09 141000 2
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Selected Poems and Prose 
by Michael Roberts, edited by Frederick Grubb.
Carcanet, 205 pp., £7.95, June 1980, 0 85635 263 2
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... comfortable volume there is a poem called ‘It’s hard to dislike Ewart’. Too true, as Clive James or Peter Porter might say, possibly with a certain wry exasperation. Generally speaking, our fondness and admiration for poets does go with a potential of patronage or dislike, a pleasure in our sense of the absurdities ...
... makes that clear. It sensibly concentrates on the work of a few photographers in particular, James Jarché, Edward Malindinc and Reuben Saidman, who worked for the picture papers that supplied Britain with a serial documentary self-portrait. Their work was often reproduced in the interlocking boxes and circles of composite picture pages, and the ...

Peter Conrad’s Flight from Precision

Richard Poirier, 17 July 1980

Imagining America 
by Peter Conrad.
Routledge, 319 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 7100 0370 6
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... they intended to find. Though he doesn’t mention Rosenberg, or any other critic for that matter, Peter Conrad, Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford, is convinced that a similar destiny was in store for the English writers of the 19th and 20th centuries who ‘imagined’ America during their visits to it. They imagined it not freely but in obedience to various ...

Beyond the Human

Jamie McKendrick: Dante’s Paradiso, 26 March 2009

Paradiso 
by Dante, translated by Robin Kirkpatrick.
Penguin, 480 pp., £12.99, October 2007, 978 0 14 044897 9
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Paradiso 
by Dante, translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander.
Anchor, 915 pp., $19.95, September 2008, 978 1 4000 3115 3
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... isn’t mistaken, for Dante himself undergoes an intense viva on the Christian virtues by Saints Peter, James and John. Beatrice begins one typical lesson by saying ‘secondo mio infallibile avviso’ (‘in my infallible opinion’) but her teaching is not only administered with smiles: she puts on a whole firework ...

Peter opened Paul the door

Leofranc Holford-Strevens: The Case for Case, 9 July 2009

The Oxford Handbook of Case 
edited by Andrej Malchukov and Andrew Spencer.
Oxford, 928 pp., £85, November 2008, 978 0 19 920647 6
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... what Latin grammarians call dativus commodi vel incommodi. Polish uses the dative both when Peter opens a tin of sardines for Paul and when he opens the door for him, Paul being in either instance enabled to perform an action. English uses the dative only when the action Paul is enabled to perform will be carried out on the direct object, so that ...

Secession

Michael Wood, 23 March 1995

The Stone Raft 
by José Saramago, translated by Giovanni Pontiero.
Harvill, 263 pp., £15.99, November 1994, 0 00 271321 7
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... to know, God says; Christ insists. ‘Very well, then’: God starts with the terrible ends of Peter, Andrew and James. It almost comes as a surprise to learn that, among those close to Christ when alive, John and Mary Magdalene will die natural deaths. Not so Philip, or Thomas, or Matthew (‘the details of whose death ...

Carnival Time

Peter Craven, 18 February 1988

The Remake 
by Clive James.
Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 224 02515 5
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In the Land of Oz 
by Howard Jacobson.
Hamish Hamilton, 380 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12110 8
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... want to overdetermine to the point of absurdity, but it seems fairly obvious that what Clive James represents is a kind of stylised distortion of what Britain sees itself as: a kind of self-possessed jokey coarseness, very smart and very educated, a sort of sharp-talking deified moron – who then has to be defined (surprise, surprise) as Australian. He ...

White Lies

James Campbell: Nella Larsen, 5 October 2006

In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Colour Line 
by George Hutchinson.
Harvard, 611 pp., £25.95, June 2006, 0 674 02180 0
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... she said. “I thought maybe you were just another wop or something.”’ Twenty years earlier, James Weldon Johnson, a black man who served as American consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua during the Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft administrations, opened his novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) with the sentence: ‘I know that in ...
Goldenballs 
by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... It was for services ‘to exports and ecology’ that Sir James Goldsmith was nominated for a peerage, and then demoted to a knight by the Scrutiny Committee, in what is bitterly remembered as the Wilson Honours List. Was there a connection between Sir James’s elevation and his year-long battle to punish Private Eye and jail its editor, Richard Ingrams – an effort which was supported by Wilson and Lady Falkender, both victims of Ingrams’s harassment, and which petered out in a relatively painless settlement in 1976? Ingrams’s theory is that there was such a connection ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Peter Doig, 6 March 2008

... Peter Doig painted Echo Lake in 1998. A man stands on the far side of a stretch of dark water. He is quite a way off, but you can see that he wears a white shirt and a dark tie. His hands are raised to his face. Is it to keep the light out of his eyes as he looks at you? Or is it to project his voice as he shouts? A police car, lights on, is parked behind him ...

Peter Wright, Judges and Journalists

R.W. Johnson, 3 September 1987

... diplomatic intrigues, particularly when they involve characters as colourful as Edgar Hoover or James Angleton. Wright describes how Angleton ingeniously contrived to enjoy simultaneously his three main hobbies of drinking, smoking and fishing. Having bought a stretch of river, he buried bottles of Jack Daniels at regular intervals in the river bed, so that ...

Diary

Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... the Criminal Cases Review Commission, will draft a public statement on the A6 murder, for which James Hanratty was hanged in 1962. The Commission chairman, Sir Frederick Crawford, has hinted to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee that the statement will be sensational. The Hanratty case has intrigued and obsessed me for almost all my adult life. In ...

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