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Carré on spying

John Sutherland, 3 April 1986

A Perfect Spy 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 463 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 9780340387849
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The Novels of John le Carré 
by David Monaghan.
Blackwell, 207 pp., £12.50, September 1985, 0 631 14283 5
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Taking sides: The Fiction of John le Carré 
by Tony Barley.
Open University, 175 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 335 15251 1
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John le Carré 
by Peter Lewis.
Ungar, 228 pp., £10.95, August 1985, 0 8044 2243 5
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A Servant’s Tale 
by Paula Fox.
Virago, 321 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 86068 702 3
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A State of Independence 
by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 158 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 571 13910 8
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... clear whether Barley sees le Carré as a representative or as a critic of wishy-washy liberalism. Lewis’s first chapter speculates shrewdly on why Cornwell should call himself le Carré and where the name comes from. The author once claimed it was taken from a London shop front he happened to pass on a bus. Subsequently he admitted he’d told so many lies ...

Old Western Man

J.I.M. Stewart, 18 September 1980

C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences 
edited by James Como.
Collins, 299 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 9780002162753
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... York. He tells us in an introduction: ‘Now several societies exist for the purpose of studying Lewis’s thoughts; film rights to several of his books have been purchased, and filmed documentaries of his life have been produced; both popular and scholarly books on Lewis are being published with increasing frequency (so ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis, 11 September 2008

... Wyndham Lewis’s Modernism refuses a provincial label. His intellectual toughness and taste for self-promotion and polemic were foreign to the amateurishness that, he believed, vitiated Bloomsbury’s insular Post-Impressionism. Vorticism, the movement he set up with Pound and others around 1913 after a break with Roger Fry, would probably have had a short life even if the war had not intervened ...

The Biographer’s Story

Jonathan Coe, 8 September 1994

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers 
by Roger Lewis.
Century, 817 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7126 3801 6
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... What exactly do we know about Peter Sellers? There have been at least half a dozen biographies before this one, and through them the outline of his career has become pretty familiar. We know that he was born in 1925, the only son of a Jewish mother, that his parents worked in a touring theatre company, and that during the war he joined the RAF and performed in Ralph Reader’s Gang Shows ...

The Meaning of Silence

Peter Medawar, 2 February 1984

Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony 
by Lewis Thomas.
Viking, 168 pp., $12.95, November 1983, 0 670 70390 7
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... Lewis Thomas’s latest book is a collection of 24 short essays of which the first has to do with the gravest problem confronting mankind – the Bomb. In this essay his fans see a different Lewis Thomas – angry where he was once urbane, grim rather than gay, for no aspect of the bomb is at all funny and upon this subject Thomas is unrelievedly grave ...

Seeing Things

John Bayley, 18 July 1996

The World, the World 
by Norman Lewis.
Cape, 293 pp., £18.99, April 1996, 0 224 04234 3
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Omnibus: ‘A Dragon Apparent’, ‘Golden Earth’, ‘A Goddess in the Stones’ 
by Norman Lewis.
Picador, 834 pp., £9.99, January 1996, 0 330 33780 7
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... their penises. He looks like a sales rep, come to show them a new line in tupperware. But Norman Lewis has always maintained a low profile when it comes to exploring. His admirable series of travel books and travel novels, informative, neatly written, and full of a dry detached humour, make Lawrence of Arabia or Bruce Chatwin, even Wilfred Thesiger and Freya ...

Osler’s Razor

Peter Medawar, 17 February 1983

The Youngest Science 
by Lewis Thomas.
Viking, 256 pp., $14.75, February 1983, 9780670795338
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... Lewis Thomas is a physician, a scientist, a medical administrator, and a man of letters whose previous books, The Lives of a Cell (1974) and The Medusa and the Snail (1979), and occasional writing for the New England Journal of Medicine have brought him a large following. The Youngest Science will meet his fans’ highest expectations ...

Orwell and Biography

Bernard Crick, 7 October 1982

... mean a memorial or a panegyric, it can mean a hatchet job, it can simply mean a good read (Wyndham Lewis once said that good biographies are like novels); or it can mean something scholarly, academic, definitive: a dull attempt to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – as far as that is possible. I have no wish to say that popular ...

Hitting the buffers

Peter Wollen, 8 September 1994

Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900-1916 
by Christopher Butler.
Oxford, 318 pp., £27.50, April 1994, 0 19 811746 9
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... work’ as probably preventing them from ‘coming to terms with the early work of Wyndham Lewis’. As a result, they ‘ceased to be in the vanguard at the very point at which they had produced a potentially powerful and accommodating theory for its art.’ In the summer of 1913, however, Wyndham Lewis was still ...

At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell: The Futurists, 25 June 2009

... deliver. When it was all still new its inadequacy was recognised by those closest to it. Wyndham Lewis (unlike Marinetti, a painter as well as a writer) characterised Vorticism – despite its manifest connections with Futurism – in terms of opposition to it and to much besides: by Vorticism we mean (a) ACTIVITY as opposed to the tasteful PASSIVITY of ...

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 ...

Slipper Protocol

Peter Campbell: The seclusion of women, 10 May 2001

Harems of the Mind: Passages of Western Art and Literature 
by Ruth Bernard Yeazell.
Yale, 314 pp., £22.50, October 2000, 0 300 08389 0
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... to a new style not of life but of decoration – can be seen in the paintings of John Frederick Lewis. Yeazell gives more space to reproductions of his paintings and drawings than to those by Ingres or Delacroix, and with reason: Lewis, who lived in the Ottoman quarter of Cairo from 1841 to 1851, was formidably ...

Hierophants

Stefan Collini: C. Day-Lewis, 6 September 2007

C. Day-LewisA Life 
by Peter Stanford.
Continuum, 368 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 8264 8603 5
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... in Roy Campbell’s spiteful caricature ‘MacSpaunday’ (MacNeice, Spender, Auden and Day-Lewis), a composite creature marked by its blend of glib Marxism, shameless self-advertising and large quantities of indifferent verse. As the popular label for the period suggests, Auden was from the start the dominating presence, and poetically he increasingly ...

Chemical Common Sense

Miroslav Holub, 4 July 1996

The Same and Not the Same 
by Roald Hoffmann.
Columbia, 294 pp., $34.95, September 1995, 0 231 10138 4
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... writing by active scientists – have crystallised: the belletristic essay, such as the work of Lewis Thomas, Carl Sagan, Alan Lightman or Harold Morowitz, which reveals the elegance and spirit of science; the scientific discourse that is interesting to the broad public because of its ‘human’ dimension, as in the immense, neo-Darwinian undertaking of ...

World’s End

John Ryle, 13 October 1988

The Missionaries 
by Norman Lewis.
Secker, 245 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 0 436 24595 7
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... style more personal and episodic and its condemnation of the missionaries more unequivocal. Norman Lewis is a writer of unusual anthropological sensibility with an honourable record in the field: government policy in Brazil was changed as a result of the international protests which followed his campaigning article in the Sunday Times on the massacres of ...

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