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Speak for yourself, matey

Adam Mars-Jones: The Uses of Camp, 22 November 2012

How to Be Gay 
by David Halperin.
Harvard, 549 pp., £25.95, August 2012, 978 0 674 06679 3
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... played at the expense of an absent or imagined woman seems up to date, though the passage is from Quentin Crisp’s The Naked Civil Servant, published in 1968. At the heart of How to Be Gay is an analysis of scenes from two famous films, Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945) and Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981), which present two versions of ...

Tied to the Mast

Adam Mars-Jones: Alan Hollinghurst, 19 October 2017

The Sparsholt Affair 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 454 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 1 4472 0821 1
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... at the time The Swimming-Pool Library was published. It doesn’t seem too bad a bargain, if Quentin Crisp was right about tolerance being the result of boredom rather than enlightenment, to have your activities greeted with a yawn rather than a howl of protest. It’s highly unlikely that Hollinghurst, as a citizen, hankers after the rolling back ...

At the Scuderie del Quirinale

Peter Campbell: Antonello da Messina, 8 June 2006

... the pucker of a mouth – being recorded so early. A couple of hundred years before Frans Hals and Quentin de La Tour began to catch smiles in direct marks in paint and pastel Antonello was doing it in a finical small-brush style that gives every eyelash, every whisker its mark. His control was remarkable; as you move away from the picture and the ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gainsborough, 28 November 2002

... this talent wasn’t necessarily combined with other painterly abilities. Gainsborough and Maurice-Quentin de La Tour were both reckoned remarkable getters of likeness, and both had significant weaknesses, or lack of interest, in other departments. Contemporaries claim again and again that their portraits seem to put you in the presence of a person, not a ...

Enemy of the Enemies of Truth

Frank Kermode: The history of the footnote, 19 March 1998

The Footnote: A Curious History 
by Anthony Grafton.
Faber, 241 pp., £12.99, December 1997, 0 571 17668 2
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... really were is said to have originated in his deep disappointment at discovering that Scott’s Quentin Durward was unreliable as history. Grafton has a lot to say about Ranke, a scholar of such amazing resource that other learned historians look illiterate beside him. Though not a great lover of footnotes, which may still in his day have seemed a shade ...

Vermin Correspondence

Iain Sinclair, 20 October 1994

Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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... delegates, all capable of keeping their eyes to the front, on the platform – no droolers, no crisp packets. By Saturday afternoon, a certain mid-term weariness is evident (so many readings survived, so many still to come); the post-traumatic shock of being allowed into the showpiece. King’s College, the part the grockles are never allowed to photograph ...

My Heroin Christmas

Terry Castle: Art Pepper and Me, 18 December 2003

... dope after one of these farcical heists and, when he refused to rat on his dealer, was sent to San Quentin, where he spent five brutalising years. He was released in 1966 – middle-aged, chap-fallen, penniless and still addicted, his numerous scars and track marks supplemented with a conglomeration of scary and absurd prison tattoos. He describes these droll ...

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