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Mystery and Imagination

Stephen Bann, 17 November 1983

The Woman in Black 
by Susan Hill and John Lawrence.
Hamish Hamilton, 160 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 241 10987 6
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Legion 
by William Peter Blatty.
Collins, 252 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 00 222735 5
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The Lost Flying Boat 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Granada, 288 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 246 12236 6
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Snow, and Other Stories 
by Antony Lambton.
Quartet, 134 pp., £6.95, September 1983, 0 7043 2407 5
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New Islands, and Other Stories 
by Maria Luisa Bombal, translated by Richard Cunningham, Lucia Cunningham and Jorge Luis Borges.
Faber, 112 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 571 12052 0
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The Antarctica Cookbook 
by Crispin Kitto.
Duckworth, 190 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7156 1762 1
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Sole Survivor 
by Maurice Gee.
Faber, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 571 13017 8
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... page of this fine collection is without some comparable finesse of style, and the two translators, Richard and Lucia Cunningham, have worked hard for the marvellous combined effect of limpidity and obscurity which Maria Luisa Bombal creates. Crispin Kitto’s The Antarctica Cookbook is more of a confidence trick than ...

Grendel gongan

Richard North, 10 October 1991

The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature 
by Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £30, June 1991, 0 521 37438 3
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... Faculty in Oxford. In a recent piece in the Oxford Magazine called ‘Reading English’ Valentine Cunningham proposes the abolition of compulsory Old English as part of a reform of the post-Medieval syllabus. Those who think as he does appear to see Old and Modern as implacable rivals, or at least as de rigueur alternatives. It is a spurious logic that makes ...

Entryism

Jacqueline Rose: ‘Specimen Days’, 22 September 2005

Specimen Days 
by Michael Cunningham.
Fourth Estate, 308 pp., £14.99, August 2005, 0 00 715605 7
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... At the centre of Michael Cunningham’s new novel, in the second of its three tales, Cat, a black woman police investigator in New York, has the job of receiving and recording the calls of people threatening to blow themselves and others to pieces. Only because these deranged stories have become too familiar does she miss the one who really means it, a young boy, who, without forewarning or apparent motive, goes up to a stranger in Central Park, embraces him and explodes ...

One Cygnet Too Many

John Watts: Henry VII, 26 April 2012

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England 
by Thomas Penn.
Penguin, 448 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 0 14 104053 0
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... at the end of his Wars of the Roses tetralogy: while Henry VII may have been as murderous as Richard III, he was nothing like as charming. Francis Bacon was ready to praise Henry’s politic wisdom in the 1622 biography that was to frame perceptions of the king until late in the 20th century, but he could not disguise the price of Henry’s determination ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White, 19 July 2012

Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... never have been published at all had it not been for the intercession of the poet and translator Richard Howard, who was introduced to White by a friend who had met Howard at a West Village pick-up bar. Howard liked White’s manuscript, suggested revisions and eventually persuaded Random House to publish it. The publisher demanded that the ending be changed ...

Handbooks

Valerie Pearl, 4 February 1982

The Shell Guide to the History of London 
by W.R. Dalzell.
Joseph, 496 pp., £12.50, July 1981, 0 7181 2015 9
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... in 1764. Woodcut illustrations, scanty before the 19th century, can be found as early as 1681 in Richard Burton’s Historical Remarques. The great age of the London guidebook began, however, in the middle of the 19th century, as David Webb has shown in the London Journal (1980, No 2). One important development illustrates nicely that odd relationship ...

Rain, Blow, Rustle

Nick Richardson: John Cage, 19 August 2010

No Such Thing As Silence: John Cage’s 4'33" 
by Kyle Gann.
Yale, 255 pp., £16.99, April 2010, 978 0 300 13699 9
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... Depression, convinced his future lay in music. In 1933 he sent a clarinet sonata to the pianist Richard Buhlig who, impressed by its maturity, sent it on to the composer Henry Cowell, then a major figure in the American avant-garde and an outspoken advocate of non-Western musical traditions. He liked the piece enough to include it in a concert programme and ...

Top Grumpy’s Top Hate

Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes, 18 February 1999

Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... very much older before I gathered that there was something not quite right about T.E. Lawrence. Richard Aldington’s Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Enquiry, which came out in 1955, denounced its subject as a bastard (literally), a liar, a charlatan and a pervert. It also disparaged the importance and the achievements of the Arab revolt, mocked ...

I have nothing to say and I am saying it

Philip Clark: John Cage’s Diary, 15 December 2016

The Selected Letters of John Cage 
edited by Laura Kuhn.
Wesleyan, 618 pp., £30, January 2016, 978 0 8195 7591 3
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Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) 
by John Cage, edited by Richard Kraft and Joe Biel.
Siglio, 176 pp., £26, October 2015, 978 1 938221 10 1
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... first mention of Erik Satie comes in a letter from 1944 to the dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, Cage’s partner. Socrate, Satie’s piece for voice and piano, he enthuses, is ‘an incredibly beautiful work. There is no expression in the music or in the words, and the result is that it is overpoweringly expressive.’ Pre-empting many of ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... often met with at Catholic rather than Anglican services. The service is conducted by Father Kit Cunningham who talks about Anna, saying how she had summoned him to the bedside of her husband, Colin, and that just as he was coming into the room Colin died. He thereupon anointed Colin with Anna’s blessing, though Colin was not a believer, Anna saying ...

English Butter

David Trotter, 9 October 1986

Englishness: Politics and Culture 1880-1920 
edited by Robert Colls and Philip Dodd.
Croom Helm, 378 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 7099 0849 0
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The Character Factory: Baden-Powell and the Origins of the Boy Scout Movement 
by Michael Rosenthal.
Collins, 335 pp., £15, August 1986, 0 00 217604 1
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Oxford and Empire: The Last Lost Cause? 
by Richard Symonds.
Macmillan, 366 pp., £29.50, July 1986, 0 333 40206 5
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... the shadow of that period, and its meanings, that we still live.’ They choose as their epigraph Richard Shannon’s claim that ‘the characteristic “Englishness” of English culture was made then very much what it is now.’ The essays they have collected aim to describe the institutions, policies and symbols by and through which that ...

If my sister’s arches fall

Laura Jacobs: Agnes de Mille, 6 October 2016

Dance to the Piper 
by Agnes de Mille.
NYRB, 368 pp., £11.99, February 2016, 978 1 59017 908 6
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... Spring in collaboration with Aaron Copland and Isamu Noguchi. In 1945, John Cage and Merce Cunningham would marry their exploratory sensibilities. All these artists were struggling, in the words of Lincoln Kirstein, who co-founded the New York City Ballet, ‘to impose a native meaning on a recalcitrant alien dance tradition’. Agnes de Mille too ...

Incriminating English

Randolph Quirk, 24 September 1992

Language, Self and Society: A Social History of Language 
edited by Peter Burke and Roy Porter.
Polity, 358 pp., £45, December 1991, 0 7456 0765 9
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Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language 
by Richard Bailey.
Cambridge, 329 pp., £16.95, March 1992, 0 521 41572 1
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The Oxford Companion to the English Language 
edited by Tom McArthur and Feri McArthur.
Oxford, 1184 pp., £25, September 1992, 9780192141835
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The History of the English Language: A Source Book 
by David Burnley.
Longman, 373 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 582 02522 2
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The Cambridge History of the English Language. Vol. I: Beginnings to 1066 
edited by Richard Hogg and Norman Blake.
Cambridge, 609 pp., £60, August 1992, 9780521264747
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... or with hackneyed and misleading metaphors like ‘the language of clothes’. So I turn to Richard Bailey’s Images of English: exhilarating material drawn from the less gleaned acres of language history. On the controversies over post-Renaissance style, we have not only Gil, Bullokar and Puttenham but Camden, Carew and Verstegan. On the ...

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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... worked with Randolph S. on editing the C papers, here useful on C and social reform; the navalist Richard Ollard, who has written on the Churchill-impacted Admirals Fisher and Cunningham (and the Navy), John Grigg (and Lloyd George), etc. The platoon’s roll goes on, with Gordon A. Craig, America’s ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... Mary Peters; from subsidiary groupings such as Actors for Europe, which included Arthur Lowe and Richard Briers, and Writers for Europe, whose membership ranged from Agatha Christie to Tom Stoppard. Ogres such as Benn, Paisley and Powell were no match for these recruits. The 1975 referendum has attracted the attention of various political ...

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