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Just like Mother

Theo Tait: Richard Yates

6 February 2003
Collected Stories 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 474 pp., £17.99, January 2002, 0 413 77125 3
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Revolutionary Road 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 346 pp., £6.99, February 2001, 0 413 75710 2
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The Easter Parade 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 226 pp., £10, January 2003, 0 413 77202 0
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... Richard Yates faced some formidable obstacles: a broken home, tuberculosis, rampant alcoholism, divorce (twice), lack of recognition and manic depression – a combination that sent him, as he put it, ‘in and out of bughouses’. Even his triumphs seemed only to cause further distress. Though his first novel, Revolutionary Road (1961), was a critical success, sales were wretched, and he spent most of his working life in its shadow ...

Mistrial

Michael Davie

6 June 1985
The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... The greatest story since the Resurrection was how Mencken described the 1935 trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. Among the three hundred-odd reporters present, besides Mencken, were Damon Runyon, Ford Madox Ford, Edna Ferber, Alexander Woollcott, Heywood Broun, Walter Winchell and Joseph Alsop, who was required to write no less than ten thousand words a day for the Herald Tribune ...
3 October 1996
The Story of the Night 
by Colm Tóibín.
Picador, 312 pp., £15.99, September 1996, 0 330 34017 4
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... Colm Tóibín’s frustrating new novel starts from a pleasingly skewed perspective: its narrator Richard Garay (less often, Ricardo) was brought up in Buenos Aires, child of an Argentinian businessman and an English woman who never adjusted to her new surroundings and clung in imagination to a country she had left in the early Twenties ...

Trips

Graham Coster

26 July 1990
In Xanadu: A Quest 
by William Dalrymple.
Collins, 314 pp., £14.95, July 1989, 0 00 217948 2
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The Gunpowder Gardens 
by Jason Goodwin.
Chatto, 230 pp., £14.95, March 1990, 0 7011 3620 0
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Silk Roads: The Asian Adventures of André and Clara Malraux 
by Axel Madsen.
Tauris, 299 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 1 85043 209 0
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At Home and Abroad 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Chatto, 332 pp., £14.95, February 1990, 0 7011 3620 0
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Great Plains 
by Ian Frazier.
Faber, 290 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 14260 5
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... and the occasional nuclear missile silo, part of Frazier’s territory is already familiar as Richard Ford country, the featureless far horizon behind the plangent, spacy tales collected in Rock Springs. Frazier’s deadpan wit is often very nice. Here he speculates on the now-abandoned anti-ballistic missile system command centre at ...

Stifled Truth

Wyatt Mason: Tobias Wolff and fictions of the self

5 February 2004
Old School 
by Tobias Wolff.
Bloomsbury, 195 pp., £12.99, February 2004, 0 7475 6948 7
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... and brothers’. Most were written by established names, among them Frank Conroy, Stuart Dybeck, Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Stone and Amy Tan. Those writers known partly for formal experimentation whose work Wolff did include (among them Lorrie Moore, Denis Johnson and Mary Robison) did not, in the stories Wolff selected, engage with the ...

Veering Wildly

Kirsty Gunn: Jayne Anne Phillips

30 July 2014
Quiet Dell 
by Jayne Anne Phillips.
Cape, 445 pp., £18.99, April 2014, 978 0 224 09935 6
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... 1983 issue of Granta that introduced a new kind of writing from the US that the then editor Bill Buford labelled ‘dirty realism’, taking in Richard Ford, Raymond Carver, Bobbi Ann Mason and so on), has always belonged to her and her alone. ‘For me,’ she has written, this ‘no man’s land, a deeply specific ...
21 March 1991
... seems that the likes of Edward Larocque Tinker, Robert P. Swierenga and Colonel John S. ‘Rip’ Ford have all made valuable contributions to our knowledge of the cowboy world, and Richard Slatta’s Cowboys of the Americas* sets out to illuminate the structures and processes behind the historical underpinning behind those ...

Is it a crime?

P.N. Furbank

6 June 1985
Peterley Harvest: The Private Diary of David Peterley 
edited by Michael Holroyd.
Secker, 286 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 436 36715 7
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... enter into the phenomenon of Peterley Harvest, a novel composed by the librarian and bibliographer Richard Pennington and offered to the world by him and his first publisher – in what spirit it is for us to examine – as the genuine diary, covering the years 1930 to 1939, of a certain David Peterley, scion of an ancient landed family. Peterley’s diary and ...

Pity the monsters

Richard Altick

18 December 1980
The Elephant Man 
by Bernard Pomerance.
Faber, 71 pp., £2.25, June 1980, 0 571 11569 1
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The Elephant Man: the Book of the Film 
by Joy Kuhn.
Virgin, 90 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 9780907080091
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The Elephant Man 
by Christine Sparks.
Futura, 272 pp., £1.25, August 1980, 0 7088 1942 7
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The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences 
by Frederick Treves.
Star, 126 pp., £95, August 1980, 0 352 30747 1
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The Elephant Man and Other Freaks 
by Sian Richards.
Futura, 197 pp., £1.25, October 1980, 0 7088 1927 3
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The True History of the Elephant Man 
by Michael Howell and Peter Ford.
Allison and Busby, 190 pp., £6.95, March 1980, 0 85031 353 8
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... stories from which equally mediocre horror films have been made; and Michael Howell and Peter Ford’s The True History of the Elephant Man. The best of the lot is the last, a well-researched and level-headed biography that tells us considerably more about Joseph Merrick than we knew before. For example: Treves recorded that he carried about with him, as ...

Verbing a noun

Patrick Parrinder

17 March 1988
Out of this World 
by Graham Swift.
Viking, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 670 82084 9
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Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance 
by Richard Powers.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 297 79273 3
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The March Fence 
by Matthew Yorke.
Viking, 233 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 670 81848 8
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What is the matter with Mary Jane? 
by Daisy Waugh.
Heinemann, 182 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 0 434 84390 3
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... he called ‘Man of the 20th Century’. This grandiose scheme provides one of the sources of Richard Powers’s first novel. The title, Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance, refers to a photograph of young men in felt hats and starched collars walking along a country road, which Sander took in May 1914. Graham Swift is another novelist who, like ...

Save it for HBO

Jenny Diski: Stanley Fish and ‘The Fugitive’

17 March 2011
The Fugitive in Flight: Faith, Liberalism and Law in a Classic TV Show 
by Stanley Fish.
Pennsylvania, 152 pp., £16.50, November 2010, 978 0 8122 4277 5
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... action, but honourably engaged and ‘wanting nothing for himself’, and in that way just like Dr Richard Kimble, the honourable, though much more reluctantly engaged fugitive. David Janssen The series ran to 120 episodes, and was on US television from 1963 to 1967. The finale had the highest ratings of any TV show until the answer to the question of ...

In Soho

Peter Campbell: Richard Rogers Partnership

24 May 2001
... social implications of what he was suggesting: ‘The whole communication from Charing-Cross to Oxford Street will be a boundary, and complete separation between the Streets and the Squares occupied by the Nobility and Gentry, and the narrower streets and meaner houses occupied by mechanics and the trading part of the community.’ The plan ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home

24 May 2012
Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... devoted to Pound’s letters not only to fellow writers such as Wyndham Lewis, E.E. Cummings, Ford Madox Ford, Louis Zukofsky and William Carlos Williams, but also to various editors and patrons: to the somewhat mysterious Margaret Cravens, a Paris-based piano student from Madison, Indiana, who in 1910 bestowed on Pound ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies

26 January 2012
An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... are interesting. For example: Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, James Wong Howe, Dudley Nichols, Clifford Odets, Robert Rossen, John Garfield, Charlie Chaplin and Leo McCarey all attended a reception in July 1943 for the Soviet director and administrator Mikhail Kalatozov. At that time Russian and American propaganda methods dovetailed nicely, and everyone ...

Italianizzati

Hugh Honour

13 November 1997
A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 
compiled by John Ingamells.
Yale, 1070 pp., £50, May 1997, 0 300 07165 5
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... Rome, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. The Dictionary is the brain-child of Sir Brinsley Ford, a collector of 17th and 18th-century art, a patron of living British painters, and in many ways a reincarnation of the ideal virtuoso and Grand Tourist. He was first drawn to the subject by the Roman landscapes of ...

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