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Putting on the Plum

Christopher Tayler: Richard Flanagan, 31 October 2002

Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish 
by Richard Flanagan.
Atlantic, 404 pp., £16.99, June 2002, 1 84354 021 5
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... Richard Flanagan trained as a historian, and his novels have often emphasised the redemptive power of memory. For his characters, though, remembering is a strenuous business. There are traps to be avoided and barriers to overcome – an obstacle course of crying jags, guilt-ridden stupors, deathbed hallucinations ...

Diary

Peter Craven: On the Demidenko Affair, 16 November 1995

... we had determined weeks before the Demidenko affair reached its final phase to give the prize to Richard Flanagan, for his magical-realist investigation of Tasmania’s history, The Death of a River Guide. Helen Demidenko published her novel, The Hand That Signed the Paper, in 1994, when she was 23. She claimed that, like the narrator of her book, she ...

Is his name Alwyn?

Michael Hofmann: Richard Flanagan’s Sticky Collage, 18 December 2014

The Narrow Road to the Deep North 
by Richard Flanagan.
Chatto, 448 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 7011 8905 1
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... bark their way ashore through the rushes. That’s how I felt reading the Tasmanian novelist Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize-winning and almost universally adored (some reviewers reached for their Tolstoy; others forbade any comparisons at all) Narrow Road to the Deep North: watching tourists hoaxed by polystyrene. It used to be that a novel would ...

Marketplace Atheism

Stephen Mulhall: The Soul Hypothesis, 11 September 2003

The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them 
by Owen Flanagan.
Basic Books, 384 pp., £13.50, August 2003, 0 465 02461 0
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... we would do well to consider the benefits of continuing to live with the ‘problem’. For Owen Flanagan, belief in a soul means believing that a person is an immaterial mental essence attached to, but independent of, a body. Without such a conception, he thinks that religious belief must founder; but he also thinks that a version of the same belief ...

Diary

Tim Hilton: Art Talk, 19 November 1992

... who changed, even further, the concept of what sculpture might be. Among such artists were Barry Flanagan, Richard Long, Bruce McLean, Gilbert and George and others. Many of these people disliked each other. While their individual careers developed they found that they could not teach in the same studios. By the early ...

C (for Crisis)

Eric Hobsbawm: The 1930s, 6 August 2009

The Morbid Age: Britain between the Wars 
by Richard Overy.
Allen Lane, 522 pp., £25, May 2009, 978 0 7139 9563 3
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... are essentially not about the past, but about the retrospect to it of some subsequent present. Richard Overy’s The Morbid Age demonstrates another, and less indirect, approach to the emotional texture of the past: the difficult excavation of contemporary popular reactions to what was happening in and around people’s lives – one might call it ...

Battle of Britain

Patrick O’Brian, 7 July 1988

The Spanish Armada 
by Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker.
Hamish Hamilton, 296 pp., £15, April 1988, 0 241 12125 6
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Armada 1588-1988 
by M.J. Rodriguez-Salgado.
Penguin and the National Maritime Museum, 295 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 14 010301 5
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Armada: A Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the Defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588-1988 
by Peter Padfield.
Gollancz, 208 pp., £14.95, April 1988, 0 575 03729 6
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Froude’s ‘Spanish Story of the Armada’, and Other Essays 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Sutton, 262 pp., £5.95, May 1988, 0 86299 500 0
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Ireland’s Armada Legacy 
by Laurence Flanagan.
Sutton, 210 pp., £9.95, April 1988, 9780862994730
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The Armada in the Public Records 
by N.A.M. Rodger.
HMSO, 76 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 11 440215 9
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The Spanish Armada: The Experience of War in 1588 
by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto.
Oxford, 300 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 19 822926 7
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... Spaniards found, of what quality soever. Torture may be used in prosecuting this enquiry.’ Sir Richard Bingham, Governor of Connaught, proudly claimed to have disposed of 1,100 survivors, virtually all ‘put to the sword’, and they unarmed. It is some comfort to know that Medina Sidonia reached home, coming into Santander on 21 September, his flagship ...

Thatcher’s Artists

Peter Wollen, 30 October 1997

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection 
by Norman Rosenthal.
Thames and Hudson, 222 pp., £29.95, September 1997, 0 500 23752 2
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... making ambitious claims for the importance of the work and explaining his choice of title. Next, Richard Shone, an associate editor of the Burlington Magazine, perhaps best known for his scholarly work on the Bloomsbury Group, gives a detailed chronicle of the careers of the artists, whom he describes as loosely ‘entwined’ in a single history. He sees ...

Damsons and Custard

Paul Laity: Documentary cinema’s unsung poet, 3 March 2005

Humphrey Jennings 
by Kevin Jackson.
Picador, 448 pp., £30, October 2004, 0 330 35438 8
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... with a civil defence warden cadging a light from a cab driver, followed by a shot of the statue of Richard I flourishing his sword outside the Houses of Parliament. It was a huge success, both in the States, where it was seen by Roosevelt at a private screening, and when later released in Britain. Heart of Britain followed, a montage which features the ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... to that king of the métier Leo Castelli, he was ‘a superb dealer’; among leading artists, Richard Hamilton says that ‘Robert’s was the best gallery I knew in London,’ Ellsworth Kelly that ‘he was a very courageous and flamboyant dealer,’ Claes Oldenburg that ‘Robert really had an eye for draughtsmanship. Very few dealers have.’ He also ...

A Bit Like Gulliver

Stephanie Burt: Seamus Heaney’s Seamus Heaney, 11 June 2009

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney 
by Dennis O’Driscoll.
Faber, 524 pp., £22.50, November 2008, 978 0 571 24252 8
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The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney 
edited by Bernard O’Donoghue.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £45, December 2008, 978 0 521 54755 0
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... Robert Hass and Robert Pinsky, but the most important new acquaintance was the novelist Thomas Flanagan, who later wrote The Year of the French. ‘When I landed in California,’ Heaney says, ‘my head was still basically wired up to English Literature terminals … When I left, thanks mostly to Tom’s brilliantly sardonic Hibernocentric thinking, I was ...

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