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16 October 1980
Three Honest Men: Edmund Wilson, F.R. Leavis, Lionel Trilling 
edited by Philip French.
Carcanet, 120 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 85635 299 3
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F.R. Leavis 
by William Walsh.
Chatto, 189 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 7011 2503 9
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... Can you name the author who set you thinking? For PhilipFrench, at a Bristol grammar school in the 1950s, the enlighteners were Edmund Wilson, F.R. Leavis and Lionel Trilling. For me, at a Wimbledon grammar school in the 1950s, Bertrand Russell filled the slot ...

Going on the air

Philip French

2 May 1985
Orwell: The War Broadcasts 
edited by W.J. West.
Duckworth/BBC, 304 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 7156 1916 0
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... It is unlikely that the governor of Lubianka gaol has ever boasted to visitors that his notorious dungeons were chosen as the setting for Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. But for over thirty years successive generations of BBC producers escorting guests through the labyrinthine corridors of Broadcasting House past doors bearing inscrutably coded designations have cheerfully informed them that ...

Bunnymooning

Philip French

6 June 1996
The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives 
by Sebastian Faulks.
Hutchinson, 309 pp., £16.99, April 1996, 0 09 179211 8
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... The smugness, torpor and repression of British life that my generation of undergraduates hated were epitomised in Julian Slade’s long-running musical Salad Days, the story of a pair of inane Cambridge graduate newly-weds living in London with a magic piano. It opened in the summer of 1954, a few months before I went up to Oxford, and featured a jolly song supposedly counselling against nostalgia ...

Regrets

Michael Wood

17 December 1992
The Art of Cinema 
by Jean Cocteau, André Bernard and Claude Gauteur, translated by Robin Buss.
Marion Boyars, 224 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 7145 2947 8
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Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures 
by Célia Bertin, translated by Mireille Muellner and Leonard Muellner.
Johns Hopkins, 403 pp., £20.50, August 1991, 0 8018 4184 4
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Jean Renoir: Projections of Paradise 
by Ronald Bergan.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 7475 0837 2
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Malle on Malle 
edited by Philip French.
Faber, 236 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16237 1
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Republic of Images: A History of French​ Film-Making 
by Alan Williams.
Harvard, 458 pp., £39.95, April 1992, 0 674 76267 3
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... class and time and culture and place. The gesture occurs at the end of Louis Malle’s Au revoir les enfants, 1987 – the year of the story is 1944 – but it has echoes and relatives everywhere in French films since the war, and in French fiction of the same period. At the close of Malle’s (and Queneau’s) Zazie dans le métro (novel 1959, film 1960), the little girl who has breezed through all ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inglourious Basterds’

10 September 2009
Inglourious Basterds 
directed by Quentin Tarantino.
August 2009
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... impressive. These people make you feel the Nazis have all the fun, and certainly the best lines. In the first of what Tarantino calls his ‘chapters’, we meet Colonel Landa taunting an unfortunate French farmer who has hidden a Jewish family in his house. Landa knows the family is there, the farmer knows he knows, and the only real question is how long Landa can string out his ghastly impersonation ...
21 November 1985
Money into Light 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 241 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 571 13731 8
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... script of The Emerald Forest towards the starting-line (Goldcrest backed the project first, spent $2m and then dropped out, whereupon Embassy Pictures stepped in), Boorman was also helping a young French director, Arnaud Selignac, on an entirely different type of picture, Nemo, a fantasy being shot in a huge inflatable dome in Paris. As PhilipFrench notes in a foreword to the diary, Boorman has made ...

The First Consort

Thomas Penn: Philip​ of Spain

5 April 2012
Philip​ of Spain, King of England: The Forgotten Sovereign 
by Harry Kelsey.
I.B. Tauris, 230 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84885 716 2
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... It always comes as something of a surprise to remember that thirty years before the Armada, Philip of Spain was king of the country he later attempted to invade. What was more, he had been a new kind of king, the consort of England’s first ruling queen, and one to whom England had violently ...
27 October 1988
Without the Bomb: The Politics of Nuclear Non-Proliferation 
by Mitchell Reiss.
Columbia, 337 pp., $35, January 1988, 0 231 06438 1
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Deep Black: The Secrets of Space Espionage 
by William Burrows.
Bantam, 401 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 593 01342 5
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Democracy and Deterrence: The History and Future of Nuclear Strategy 
by Philip​ Bobbitt.
Macmillan, 350 pp., £29.50, March 1988, 0 333 43537 0
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... India – have exploded nuclear devices may have hastened the decline in their prestige. They are certainly not very obvious symbols of success. Is the man on the Lagos omnibus impressed by the Anglo-French nuclear forces or by the fact that the omnibus was made in Japan and his radio in Taiwan or Hong Kong? Nuclear weapons seem more like battleships in 1942, or cavalry regiments in 1916 – symbols of ...
12 July 2017
... If the world​ of experimental poetry makes you think of pseudy dudes in black 501s and Doc Martens, then I would prescribe a small daily dose of Philip Terry, for whom being experimental chiefly means being thoughtfully rebellious and funny. In his translation of Dante’s Inferno (2014), Terry is guided through the hell that is the University of ...

Anglophobics

Douglas Johnson

25 April 1991
The Battle of France: Six weeks which changed the world 
by Philip​ Warner.
Simon and Schuster, 275 pp., £16, April 1990, 0 671 71030 3
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The Last War between Britain and France 1940-1942 
by Warren Tute.
Collins, 334 pp., £16, January 1990, 0 00 215318 1
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Darlan 
by Hervé Coutau-Bégarie and Claude Huan.
Fayard, 873 pp., frs 190, May 1989, 2 213 02271 2
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... in Western Europe had not yet got under way, so that it was called ‘the phoney war’, the drôle de guerre or the twilight war, an English journalist, with Labour sympathies, visited a number of French factories. He subsequently called on the minister responsible for industrial production, and posed the question of whether or not French workers were being obliged to work unjustifiably long hours ...

Unusual Endowments

Patrick Collinson

30 March 2000
Philip​ Sidney: A Double Life 
by Alan Stewart.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, February 2000, 0 7011 6859 5
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... but attached to a diplomatic mission, something more serious than a mere Grand Tour. He was a participant in the often menacing jollifications which accompanied the finalisation of an Anglo-French treaty and a marriage alliance with the house of Navarre. In early August the French King made him a gentleman of his bedchamber, which carried the title of baron. But by the end of the month he was ...
3 July 1986
The Prose Works of Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke 
edited by John Gouws.
Oxford, 279 pp., £40, March 1986, 0 19 812746 4
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... Four hundred years ago, on 17 October 1586, Sir Philip Sidney died at the age of 31 of a wound sustained in a skirmish at Zutphen, where his forces had fought for the Dutch cause against Spanish domination of the Netherlands. It was one of the great ...

Joint-Stock War

Valerie Pearl

3 May 1984
The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors 1547-1603 
by D.M. Palliser.
Longman, 450 pp., £13.95, April 1983, 0 582 48580 0
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After the Armada: Elizabethan England and the Struggle for Western Europe 1588-1595 
by R.B. Wernham.
Oxford, 613 pp., £32.50, February 1984, 0 19 822753 1
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The Defeat of the Spanish Armada 
by Garrett Mattingly.
Cape, 384 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 224 02070 6
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The First Elizabeth 
by Carolly Erickson.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 333 36168 7
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The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: Essays in Honour of Gordon Donaldson 
edited by Ian Cowan and Duncan Shaw.
Scottish Academic Press, 261 pp., £14.50, March 1983, 0 7073 0261 7
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... and industrial prominence. As Dr Palliser says: Politically, a state which had been reduced almost to a pawn in the Habsburg-Valois struggle in the 1550s recovered sufficiently to threaten Philip II, the most powerful ruler in Western Europe. Culturally, a land once considered backward and even barbarous by Italians became famous for its music, drama and literature. By the end of the century ...

Mad Monk

Jenny Diski: Not going to the movies

6 February 2003
The New Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 963 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 316 85905 2
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Nobody’s Perfect: Writings from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Anthony Lane.
Picador, 752 pp., £15.99, November 2002, 0 330 49182 2
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Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film 
by Peter Wollen.
Verso, 314 pp., £13, December 2002, 1 85984 391 3
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... McCabe and Mrs Miller, California Split, Nashville, Chinatown, The Long Goodbye, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, Carrie, The Fury, The French Connection, The Exorcist, Klute, The Parallax View, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Annie Hall, American Graffiti, Star Wars, Harold and Maude, Two-Lane Blacktop, Five Easy Pieces, The King ...

End of Empire

Philip​ Towle

22 February 1990
... In 1956 Soviet tanks crushed the Hungarian Uprising. At the same time the British and French tried and failed to capture the Suez Canal and to topple the Egyptian leader, Colonel Nasser. Thirty-three years later, the Soviet Union watched as one East European Communist government after ...

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