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Sacred Peter

Norman MacCaig, 19 June 1980

Sacred Keeper 
by Peter Kavanagh.
Goldsmith Press, 403 pp., £4.40, May 1979, 0 904984 48 6
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Dead as Doornails 
by Anthony Cronin.
Poolbeg Press, 201 pp., £1.75, May 1980, 9780905169316
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The Macmillan Dictionary of Irish Literature 
edited by Robert Hogan.
Macmillan, 815 pp., £2, February 1980, 0 333 27085 1
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... My acceptance of an offer to review the Kavanagh book landed me in a mess of puzzles. Peter Kavanagh, the poet’s brother, starts straight off, sentence one, by announcing: ‘When I write about Patrick Kavanagh I write as a partisan, as his alter ego, almost as his evangelist.’ And if you think that’s a dubious basis for a biography, what about this? As far as possible I shall avoid writing of him as a brother since my interest in him was mainly as a poet ...

On not liking Tsvetaeva

Clarence Brown, 8 September 1994

Marina Tsvetaeva: Poetics of Appropriation 
by Michael Makin.
Oxford, 355 pp., £40, January 1994, 0 19 815164 0
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Tsvetaeva 
by Viktoria Schweitzer, translated by Robert Chandler, H.T. Willetts and Peter Norman.
Harvill, 400 pp., £20, December 1993, 0 00 272053 1
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...                               One woman Makes the rest look down. Wallace Stevens I’ve never much liked Tsvetaeva. A churlish way to begin: I do so simply because I think that, in not liking her very much, I am at one not only with much of her posterity but with almost all her contemporaries. On the way to hazarding some unpopular views, it is not bad to begin with one that is, if unacknowledged, widespread ...

Jacob and Esau

Giles Merritt, 24 November 1988

Upwardly Mobile 
by Norman Tebbit.
Weidenfeld, 280 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79427 2
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Reflect on things past: The Memoirs of Lord Carrington 
Collins, 406 pp., £17.50, October 1988, 9780002176675Show More
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... Lord Carrington and Norman Tebbit must be the Jacob and Esau of the Tory Party. Peter Carrington is beyond question a smooth man, and Tebbit is, if not hairy, certainly very prickly. They are also chalk and cheese politically, even though both have in their time been chairman of the Conservative Party ...
The New Select Committees: A Study of the 1979 Reforms 
edited by Gavin Drewry.
Oxford, 410 pp., £25, September 1985, 9780198227854
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Commons Select Committees: Catalysts for Progress? 
edited by Dermot Englefield.
Longman, 288 pp., £15, May 1984, 0 582 90260 6
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British Government and the Constitution: Text, Cases and Materials 
by Colin Turpin.
Weidenfeld, 476 pp., £25, September 1985, 0 297 78651 2
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Parliament in the 1980s 
edited by Philip Norton.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £19.50, July 1985, 0 631 14056 5
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... The new select committee system was launched in 1979 with a characteristic flourish by Norman St John Stevas, then Leader of the House of Commons. MPs were ‘embarking upon a series of changes that could constitute the most important Parliamentary reforms of the century’. The proposals were ‘intended to redress the balance of power’ – as between Parliament and the executive – ‘to enable the House of Commons to do more efficiently the job it has been elected to do ...

1086, 1886, 1986 and all that

John Dodgson, 22 May 1986

Domesday: 900 Years of England’s Norman Heritage 
edited by Kate Allen.
Millbank in association with the National Domesday Committee, 192 pp., £3, March 1986, 0 946171 49 1
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The Normans and the Norman Conquest 
by R. Allen Brown.
Boydell, 259 pp., £19.50, January 1985, 0 85115 427 1
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The Domesday Book: England’s Heritage, Then and Now 
edited by Thomas Hinde.
Hutchinson, 351 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 09 161830 4
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Domesday Heritage 
edited by Elizabeth Hallam.
Arrow, 95 pp., £3.95, February 1986, 0 09 945800 4
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Domesday Book through Nine Centuries 
by Elizabeth Hallam.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.50, March 1986, 0 500 25097 9
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Domesday Book: A Reassessment 
edited by Peter Sawyer.
Arnold, 182 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 7131 6440 9
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... in 1066, conveniently ominous for the tapestry’s mendacious propaganda on behalf of the Norman Conquest. 1986 sees another remarkable periodic manifestation: this year is the 900th anniversary of Domesday Book, and centennial celebrations are in progress. Domesday Book consists of two volumes compiled in 1086: a parchment folio, Great Domesday ...

Bang, Bang, Smash, Smash

Rosemary Hill: Beatrix Potter, 22 February 2007

Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature 
by Linda Lear.
Allen Lane, 584 pp., £25, January 2007, 978 0 7139 9560 2
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... that was so tight it gave her a headache. Difficulties with clothes occur in many of her books. Peter Rabbit’s expression of resigned discomfort as his mother buttons his coat up too tightly under his chin, Tom Kitten’s wide-eyed dismay as the buttons fly off his Sunday suit, and numerous accidents to pinafores are among the details that give the tales ...

Lament Addressed to the People

Peter Porter, 21 May 1998

... his own words to music. ‘Klage an das Volk’ is the last of his poems to survive. Elizabeth Norman McKay, in her biography of Schubert, describes it as a summary of his thoughts about the decline in aesthetic standards in Vienna at the time (1824). My translation sticks as far as possible to the stanza shape, rhyme scheme and metre of Schubert’s ...

Hitler and History

Hans Keller, 5 February 1981

Hitler 
by Norman Stone.
Hodder, 195 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 340 24980 3
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Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ in Britain and America: A Publishing History 1930-39 
by James Barnes and Patience Barnes.
Cambridge, 158 pp., £8.50, September 1980, 0 521 22691 0
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The Berlin Secession: Modernism and Its Enemies in Imperial Germany 
by Peter Paret.
Harvard, 262 pp., £10.50, December 1980, 0 674 06773 8
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German Romantic Painting 
by William Vaughan.
Yale, 260 pp., £19.95, October 1980, 0 300 02387 1
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... to reinvent: his The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. has been reviewed in these pages, nor are Norman Stone, James J. Barnes and Patience P. Barnes always less fanciful. And if Hitler’s personality remains an unanswered question, so too, does the history of National Socialism – which a book like Robert Harbison’s recent Deliberate Regression: The ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Norman Rockwell, 20 January 2011

... ones, places where the culture was popular not high, then a pile of the Saturday Evening Post with Norman Rockwell’s covers was likely to have been a solace, and an entertainment. In my case it was New Zealand. My wife remembers sharpening her wits on the Post’s ‘Perfect Squelch’ column. I found a pile of Posts in the alcove of the hospital where the ...

Catholics and Marxists

Malcolm Deas, 19 March 1981

Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere: The Churches in Latin America and South Africa 
by Edward Norman.
Oxford, 230 pp., £12.50, February 1981, 0 19 821127 9
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The Pope’s Divisions 
by Peter Nichols.
Faber, 382 pp., £10, March 1981, 0 571 11740 6
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... Edward Norman’s Reith Lectures reminded a surprised audience that His Kingdom is not of This World, and hinted that there was more than a little that was bogus about Third World theologians who sought to change that fundamental proposition. For this book he has brought together his Birkbeck Lectures at Cambridge and his Prideaux Lectures at Exeter to form a comparative account of ecclesiastical developments in Latin America and in South Africa ...

In Cambridge

Peter Campbell: The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, 18 August 2005

... ivy bush. The illuminations of the 12th-century Bury Bible or the mid-12th-century manuscript of Peter Lombard’s Magna glossatura on the Psalms are equally brilliantly coloured, but stranger, less sweet, more stylised and more exciting. In these, illuminated initials articulate the work as well as decorating it, identifying layers of text, commentary, and ...

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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... round 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 ...

At the Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Mies van der Rohe, 23 January 2003

... inn, a club and a school of art were built, first to the designs of E.W. Godwin, later to those of Norman Shaw and others. The art school was destroyed in the war and a few of the houses (the bigger ones in particular) have been replaced by blocks of flats or old people’s homes. But you can still drink your pint in the Tabard surrounded by De Morgan and ...

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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... to be exposed early to Greek or Latin, or even to their own language as it existed before the Norman Conquest, tend to find the notion of grammatical case baffling despite the survival in English of a genitive case (renamed possessive) and the distinction between subject and object pronouns in the first and third persons. Evidently, the alleged Irish ...

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 ...

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