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Paliography

John Sutherland, 15 September 1988

The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie Collins: Women, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... Tryphena Sparks, Trollope and Kate Field, James and his obscure hurt. So when Monica Jones follows Philip Larkin’ s request by burning his diaries do we feel resentment because the destruction will set an eternal gap between reader and poem? Or is it something lower – frustration at not having served up on some not too distant Sunday the ‘secret ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’, 6 February 2014

... up through Thomas Wolfe, and on to anyone you care to name, sliding to an elegant halt with Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland. Largely it’s the names, not the work. You almost get the impression that Arthur Miller might have written After the Fall there, but it was mostly done in Connecticut; or that Kerouac might have written On the Road there, but ...

Distraction v. Attraction

Barbara Everett: Ashbery, Larkin and Eliot, 27 June 2002

... in a letter written in 1932 – about his difficulties over Mourning Becomes Electra, Eugene O’Neill lamented his lack of a great language adequate to his tragic subject: ‘By way of self-consolation, I don’t think, from the evidence of all that is being written today, that great language is possible for anyone living in the ...

Anglo-America

Stephen Fender, 3 April 1980

The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in England, 1894-1914 
by Stanley Weintraub.
W.H. Allen, 408 pp., £7.95, November 1979, 0 491 02209 3
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The Americans: Fifty Letters from America on our Life and Times 
by Alistair Cooke.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £5.95, October 1979, 0 370 30163 3
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... to America, which has been fashionable ever since Stephen Spender’s Love-Hate Relations. Philip Toynbee, in the Observer, came right out with it: ‘by now it is hard to see any reason why an American writer or artist should wish to settle either in Paris or London.’ Then, of course, it was another matter. James, Whistler, Sargent, Mark Twain, Bret ...
Djuna Barnes 
by Philip Herring.
Viking, 416 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 670 84969 3
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... Barnes later said that she loved her grandmother Zadel ‘as a child usually loves its mother’, Philip Herring quotes letters to her from Zadel which say things like ‘Pink Tops are simply gasping with love!’ (‘Pink Tops’ are Zadel’s breasts) and feature cartoons of naked women on top of one another. He also claims that Barnes may have been raped ...

Self-Positioning

Stefan Collini: The Movement, 25 June 2009

The Movement Reconsidered: Essays on Larkin, Amis, Gunn, Davie and Their Contemporaries 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 336 pp., £18.99, May 2009, 978 0 19 955825 4
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... that when the former chairman of Faber, Charles Monteith, encountered the suggestion that one of Philip Larkin’s poems was indebted to Théophile Gautier, he was ‘incredulous’. To Monteith, the idea that Larkin might have been influenced by a foreign poet was ‘ludicrous’. ‘He had fallen,’ Raine comments, ‘for the propaganda – Larkin’s ...

Refugees from the Past

James Meek: Jameson on Chandler, 5 January 2017

Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 87 pp., £12.99, July 2016, 978 1 78478 216 0
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... novels Raymond Chandler wrote between 1939 and 1953 featuring the Los Angeles private detective Philip Marlowe, and the best-known film adaptation of any of them, the 1946 movie of the first book, The Big Sleep, have helped to shape the perception of what America was like in the 1940s and early 1950s. The film is dark and menacing – Fredric Jameson writes ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... the indispensable Eisenhowerist who naturally writes of the WSC-Eisenhower relationship, to Philip Ziegler, the tactful Mountbatten biographer who does for WSC and the monarchy, the contributors cover almost every imaginable WSC facet and interface, sometimes with considerable factual detail. The late D.J. Wenden provides chapter and verse and lots of ...

On the Window Ledge of the Union

Colin Kidd: Loyalism v. Unionism, 7 February 2013

Belfast 400: People, Place and History 
edited by S.J. Connolly.
Liverpool, 392 pp., £14.95, November 2012, 978 1 84631 634 0
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Ulster since 1600: Politics, Economy and Society 
edited by Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw.
Oxford, 355 pp., £35, November 2012, 978 0 19 958311 9
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The Plantation of Ulster: Ideology and Practice 
edited by Eamonn O Ciardha and Micheál O Siochrú.
Manchester, 269 pp., £70, October 2012, 978 0 7190 8608 3
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The End of Ulster Loyalism? 
by Peter Shirlow.
Manchester, 230 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 0 7190 8476 8
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... such perceptions. After the flight to the Continent in 1607 of the harassed Gaelic earls – Hugh O’Neill, Second Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O’Donnell, First Earl of Tyrconnell, along with Cúchonnacht Maguire, Lord of Fermanagh – the Plantation of 1609 was designed to bring civility to these rude parts. The new king, James VI and I, had already attempted ...

Erasures

Colm Tóibín: The Great Irish Famine, 30 July 1998

... child, after several applications for relief in vain; Mary Connell, found dead by a rick of turf; Philip M’Gowan’s wife and daughter; Bryan Flanagan, found dead by the road side; Widow Davy’s daughter; Andrew Davy. KILTURRA ELECTORAL DIVISION – John May and son; Pat Marren, Widow Corlely, John O’Hara, John Healy’s two daughters.What interests me ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland, 17 July 1980

Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... can be publicly disclosed. Philby makes an appearance in The Baby Sitters and a thinly disguised Philip Agee in Moscow Gold. Both put Ellison onto important leads. As with the Bond books, Salisbury delivers the requisite doses of sex, sadism and snobbery; there is much good living, genitals encounter genitals and genitals encounter electrodes at regular ...

Seductress Extraordinaire

Terry Castle: The vampiric Mercedes de Acosta, 24 June 2004

‘That Furious Lesbian’: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta 
by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 210 pp., £16.95, June 2004, 0 8093 2579 9
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Women in Turmoil: Six Plays 
by Mercedes de Acosta, edited by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 252 pp., £26.95, June 2003, 0 8093 2509 8
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... older sister Rita. Rita Lydig – her second husband was a wealthy New York businessman, Philip Lydig – was like one of Edith Wharton’s spoiled anti-heroines: sexy, insane, theatrical, improvident and entrancingly beautiful. She appears – a wanton in Worth gowns – in countless memoirs of Old New York. Men held her in near-cultic ...

In the Sorting Office

James Meek, 28 April 2011

... 1980s, now talks cheerfully about the union hiring a lobbyist who used to work for William Hague, Philip Snape, to press its anti-privatisation case with the coalition. Context has changed too. Even as the old empire of Britain’s postal bureaucrats began to crumble with the split-off of British Telecom under Margaret Thatcher in 1981, a greater threat to ...

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