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28 September 1989
The Brideshead Generation: Evelyn Waugh and his Friends 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 523 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 297 79320 9
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Osbert: A Portrait of Osbert Lancaster 
by Richard Boston.
Collins, 256 pp., £17.50, August 1989, 0 00 216324 1
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Ackerley: A Life of J.R. Ackerley 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 465 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 09 469000 6
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... of burial, and the tour de force is also a sober labour of love. This Waugh has affiliations with Richard Boston’s Osbert Lancaster, the portrait of a connoisseur of social oddity who also loved it steadily and whole. Boston is discriminatingly informative about Lancaster’s achievement as artist and cartoonist, and ...

Bypass Variegated

Rosemary Hill: Osbert Lancaster

21 January 2016
Osbert Lancaster’s Cartoons, Columns and Curlicues: ‘Pillar to Post’, ‘Homes Sweet Homes’, ‘Drayneflete Revealed’ 
by Osbert Lancaster.
Pimpernel, 304 pp., £40, October 2015, 978 1 910258 37 8
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... politely inquired: ‘Do you wish to pass me on the left or on the right?’ The incident, which Richard Boston recounts in his biographical memoir of Lancaster, captures something essential about a man who, as a cartoonist and writer excelled in capturing types, human and architectural, yet himself remained hard to typify. Georgian (Town) Pillar ...
7 November 1985
The Inman Diary: A Public and Private Confession 
edited by Daniel Aaron.
Harvard, 1661 pp., £35.95, March 1986, 0 674 45445 6
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... On 5 December 1963, the day Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, a man in Boston named Arthur Inman, having made several earlier attempts on his own life, managed to put a bullet through his head. A variety of chronic ailments and complaints had made him an invalid for nearly all of his 68 years, and except for brief excursions in his ancient chauffeur-driven Cadillac, he had since 1919 confined himself to an apartment building in downtown Boston named Garrison Hall ...

I am a false alarm

Robert Irwin: Khalil Gibran

3 September 1998
Kahlil Gibran: Man and Poet 
by Suheil Bushrui and Joe Jenkins.
One World, 372 pp., £18.99, August 1998, 1 85168 177 9
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Prophet: The Life and Times of Kahlil Gibran 
by Robin Waterfield.
Allen Lane, 366 pp., £20, August 1998, 0 7139 9209 3
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... father had been brought low by the intrigues of his enemies did the family emigrate to Boston. There, Gibran grew up to become a major artistic and political figure. In Paris he knew Debussy, while Rodin went so far as to acclaim him as ‘the Blake of the 20th century’. As it happened, Gibran could remember not only his previous reincarnation as ...

The Nominee

Andrew O’Hagan: With the Democrats

19 August 2004
... from what is now the Czech Republic, and whose grandson, John Kerry, returned to his native Boston this week to accept the Democratic nomination for president. Frederick Kerry made and lost three fortunes in America, but losing the last one had left him without a name: consequently, around lunchtime on 23 November 1921, he walked into the men’s room ...
25 March 1993
Malcolm X 
directed by Spike Lee.
May 1993
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By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of ‘Malcolm X’ 
by Spike Lee and Ralph Wiley.
Vintage, 314 pp., £7.99, February 1993, 0 09 928531 2
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Malcolm X: The Great Photographs 
compiled by Thulani Davis and Howard Chapnick.
Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 168 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 1 55670 317 1
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... it is secretly abandoned. In the midst of all the appearances of fidelity to the way it was in Boston and Harlem (and Lansing, Michigan, where Malcolm grew up, where the Klan hounded his family, where his father was killed), the film shifts us into dream time, its only location is a movie world. It bears the same sort of relation to the history of civil ...

All he does is write his novel

Christian Lorentzen: Updike

4 June 2014
Updike 
by Adam Begley.
Harper, 558 pp., £25, April 2014, 978 0 06 189645 3
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... six feet, impulsive and urban’. Not so stimulating, if we’re to take Updike’s word, were Richard Maple and many of his cousins. With Mary and the four Updike children as his most generous sources, Begley is able to trace the degree of autobiography present in Updike’s fiction. It’s in many places very high. When Mary and John separated after two ...

Superficially Pally

Jenny Turner: Richard Sennett

22 March 2012
Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-Operation 
by Richard Sennett.
Allen Lane, 323 pp., £25, February 2012, 978 0 7139 9874 0
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... not written into any contract: self-respect, stability, social standing. Work is ‘a road’, as Richard Sennett once wrote, ‘to the unification of the self’. Except that it doesn’t usually end up like that, which is the reason the next page of the Guardian has Jeremy Bullmore, a sage and doleful-looking ‘agony uncle’, fielding people’s problems ...

Too Fast

Thomas Powers: Malcolm X

25 August 2011
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention 
by Manning Marable.
Allen Lane, 592 pp., £30, April 2011, 978 0 7139 9895 5
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... near the corner of 135th Street and Seventh Avenue. He had recently been fired as fourth cook on a Boston-to-Washington dining car, and had yet to learn to want anything more than a good time. On any morning that summer, Little might have brushed shoulders with the slender, watchful Ralph Ellison, passing through the Harlem YMCA, where Little roomed for a time ...

Do It and Die

Richard Horton

20 April 1995
Soundings 
by Abraham Verghese.
Phoenix, 347 pp., £18.99, May 1994, 1 897580 26 6
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... and chose infectious diseases as the easiest route to achieve his goal. He and Rajani moved to Boston, where the élite of US medicine fight among themselves for huge reputations and lucrative private practice. They endured a roach-infested apartment for a while but his ambitions waned in the face of slow and laborious laboratory research and he accepted ...

Paper or Plastic?

John Sutherland: Richard Powers

10 August 2000
Gain 
by Richard Powers.
Heinemann, 355 pp., £15.99, March 2000, 0 434 00862 1
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... already the author of his major works. The Foundation nonetheless took a big punt on the genius of Richard Powers, who was awarded his MacArthur in 1989, aged only 32. I haven’t checked, but he is probably the youngest novelist ever to win a fellowship. Generally unknown in 1989, and temperamentally reticent, he has lately divulged something of his personal ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bio Insecurity

5 November 2009
... flew into the World Trade Center: if they wish ‘to carry out a bioweapons attack in the US’, Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers has said, ‘their simplest means of acquiring access to the materials and the knowledge would be to send individuals to train within programmes involved in biodefence research.’ Background checks are carried out on ...

On Roy Fisher

August Kleinzahler

28 June 2017
... on the South Side from James Farrell’s trilogy; the block of South Drexel where Bigger Thomas in Richard Wright’s Native Son killed and incinerated his rich employer’s daughter; Nelson Algren’s Division Street; the train station where Louis Armstrong was met by King Oliver’; and the Panther Room of the Sherman Hotel, which was a notable touring venue ...
5 October 2016
American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 
by Alan Taylor.
Norton, 704 pp., £30, November 2016, 978 0 393 08281 4
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... including Joe McCarthy and George Wallace. Not to mention more respectable types such as Richard Nixon, whose ‘Southern strategy’ offered a blueprint for mobilising white resentment over the gains of the Civil Rights movement. (That ‘respectable’ and ‘Nixon’ can be included in the same sentence illustrates how far our political standards ...
6 November 1980
Authority 
by Richard Sennett.
Secker, 206 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 436 44675 8
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... merely of order, but of an expressive energy which makes order and freedom itself worth having? Richard Sennett believes that it is. As he has explained in what he has written about Chicago and about the bewildered self-contempt of blue-collar workers in Boston in the late 1960s, and as he has most elaborately argued in ...

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