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My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... an energy that it would not otherwise espouse. Here is the unreconstructed ‘engine of comedy’, Rex Martin (‘the famous farting novelist’) and his diminutive son, Felix. Here is ‘Jillian Burnes’, a transsexual romancer. But these knockabout cartoons are absorbed into a chiaroscuro of the forgotten, denizens of the deep recalled and ...

Hitler’s Belgian Partner

Robert Paxton, 27 January 1994

Collaboration in Belgium: Léon Degrelle and the Rexist Movement 
by Martin Conway.
Yale, 364 pp., £30, October 1993, 0 300 05500 5
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... dwindled rapidly, however, when the Catholic hierarchy made its disapproval public. Now, thanks to Martin Conway’s sensible judgments, and thorough researches in both Belgian and German sources, we know a great deal about what became of Rex and Degrelle under German occupation. The subject of collaboration often generates ...

Life after Life

Jonathan Rée: Collingwood, 20 January 2000

An Essay on Metaphysics 
by R.G. Collingwood, edited by Rex Martin.
Oxford, 439 pp., £48, July 1998, 0 19 823561 5
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The New Leviathan 
by R.G. Collingwood, edited by David Boucher.
Oxford, 525 pp., £17.99, March 1999, 0 19 823880 0
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The Principles of History 
by R.G. Collingwood, edited by W.H. Dray and W.J. van der Dussen.
Oxford, 293 pp., £48, March 1999, 0 19 823703 0
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... The motor vessel Aclinous left Birkenhead on 22 October 1938. It was an ordinary Dutch cargo ship making a routine journey to what was then the Dutch East Indies, and on this occasion it was also carrying a sick and lonely passenger: an experienced amateur sailor who was hoping that a sea voyage and a few months sailing around the Malay Archipelago would help restore his health and peace of mind ...

Rose’s Rex

David Cannadine, 15 September 1983

King George V 
by Kenneth Rose.
Weidenfeld, 514 pp., £12.95, July 1983, 0 297 78245 2
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... sentimentality which, at the Queen’s behest and with her all-too-active co-operation, Theodore Martin lavished on the Prince Consort; still less the ‘feline skill’ of Sidney Lee who, disregarding the advice of Edward VII, ‘Stick to Shakespeare, Mr Lee, there’s money in Shakespeare,’ produced a double-decker biography of his late majesty; least of ...

Goings-On at Eagle Lake

Christopher Tayler: Barry Hannah, 29 November 2001

Yonder Stands Your Orphan 
by Barry Hannah.
Atlantic, 336 pp., £9.99, September 2001, 1 903809 16 9
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... well known outside the United States. His picaresque, autobiographical first novel, Geronimo Rex – a disorganised redneck version of The Adventures of Augie March – won the William Faulkner Prize and a nomination for the National Book Award when it came out in 1976. His 1978 short-story collection, Airships, was even more successful, winning two ...

They would have laughed

Ferdinand Mount: The Massacre at Amritsar, 4 April 2019

Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre 
by Kim A. Wagner.
Yale, 325 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... his body carried on a gun carriage draped in the Union flag, from the Guards’ Chapel to St Martin-in-the-Fields. Wagner underplays the extraordinary fact of this rite, normally reserved for a national hero, being accorded to a disgraced temporary brigadier. Only Collett puzzles over who could have given permission for this and fingers those notorious ...

Yesterday

Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... the context and mood of the time – Wodehouse agreeably exploiting British pastoral illusions, Rex Warner, in his parable The Aerodrome, warning us against a parochialism that could be dangerous in a hostile and regimented world, and so on. And now the business of making everything hang together, not only in the arts but in the political present and its ...

How’s the vampire?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 November 1990

King Edward VIII: The Official Biography 
by Philip Ziegler.
Collins, 654 pp., £20, September 1990, 0 00 215741 1
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... styled ‘HRH’. Strange, then, that anti-Establishment figures like Churchill and Kingsley Martin and Beaverbrook, a sort of distillate of the Rex Mottram set, should have been ‘King’s Men’ of a kind in 1936 and have staked some part of their careers on defending this ugly little gargoyle. But perhaps not so ...

Indoor Raincoat

Lavinia Greenlaw: Joy Division, 23 April 2015

So This Is Permanence: Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks 
by Ian Curtis, edited by Deborah Curtis and Jon Savage.
Faber, 304 pp., £27, October 2014, 978 0 571 30955 9
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... were at a loss. I had never been anywhere that felt so solid and so empty. The band’s producer, Martin Hannett, drew on Joy Division’s centrifugal tendency and pushed the band’s music into arrangements that were broken down, unproductive and full of disused space. It was the sound of their city but it could have been describing the entire country. The ...

Newtopia

Christopher Hitchens, 24 August 1995

To Renew America 
by Newt Gingrich.
HarperCollins, 260 pp., £18, July 1995, 9780060173364
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... new Speaker. The advance was $4.6 million: not bad for an untried new writer. The row was not of Martin Amis proportions – this is not a very literary town – but there were some ugly whispers about conflict of interest. Mr Gingrich himself agreed to waive the advance in exchange for a share of royalties that will probably net him about the same. Nobody ...

Cinematically Challenged

Adam Mars-Jones, 19 September 1996

The Cinema of Isolation 
by Martin Norden.
Rutgers, 385 pp., $48, September 1994, 0 8135 2103 3
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... consideration of disability in film. Like many a cultural archaeologist coming upon a rich site, Martin Norden does what Schliemann did at Troy and sinks his shafts in haste, turning up many treasures but profoundly disturbing the strata in the process. Norden lists a vast number of early silent films featuring people with disabilities – slapstick ...

He, She, One, They, Ho, Hus, Hum, Ita

Amia Srinivasan: How Should I Refer to You?, 2 July 2020

What’s Your Pronoun? Beyond He and She 
by Dennis Baron.
Liveright, 304 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 63149 604 2
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... by royal decree in every English school for three hundred years, explained that in phrases like Rex et Regina beati, ‘the blessed King and Queen’, the adjective beati is plural (agreeing in number with Rex et Regina) and masculine (agreeing in gender with Rex), because ‘the ...

Do put down that revolver

Rosemary Hill, 14 July 2016

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House between the Wars 
by Adrian Tinniswood.
Cape, 406 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 224 09945 5
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... what Tinniswood calls an ‘outsider’s house’ like nothing before. The interior had murals by Rex Whistler, lapis lazuli panels in the dining room and there was ‘one of the most dramatic bathing pools in England’: ‘flanked by raised quadrant pools and balustraded steps and fountains’, it seemed to float over the landscape. This was architecture as ...
Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years 
by Brian Boyd.
Chatto, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7011 3701 0
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... found Nabokov ‘rich in what is given to few writers and poor in what is given to most men’. Martin Seymour-Smith, reviewing Laughter in the Dark, described Nabokov as ‘a kind of Satanic Mantovani, coming into cruel close-up on your screens at the end of the compelling torment to ask (the question mark ironic): “You have been distressed by my ...

A Susceptible Man

Ian Sansom: The Unhappy Laureate, 4 March 1999

Living in Time: The Poetry of C. Day Lewis 
by Albert Gelpi.
Oxford, 246 pp., £30, March 1998, 0 19 509863 3
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... have been, according to A. Alvarez, ‘a professional patrician’, but he was also, according to Martin Dodsworth, guilty of ‘artistic parasitism’. In his capacity as Poet Laureate, according to Julian Symons, even ‘the task of producing semiofficial occasional poems that were also of poetic interest defeated him.’ The Times obituary summed him up in ...

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