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Liber Amoris

Christopher Hitchens

28 May 1992
The Russian Girl 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 296 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 0 09 174536 5
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... propositions make it vitally necessary to ask, of everything: ‘Is it any good?’ and ‘Is it nice, or is it nasty?’ (Amazingly, he himself answers in the affirmative when these questions concern, of all crappy things, Science Fiction.) Generally, though, the interrogation is more discriminating than it sounds. To be more specific, life and judgment can ...

Martial Art

Bruce Robbins: Pierre Bourdieu

20 April 2006
Science of Science and Reflexivity 
by Pierre Bourdieu, translated by Richard Nice.
Polity, 168 pp., £14.99, September 2004, 9780745630601
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... in Education, Society and Culture, co-written with Jean-Claude Passeron (who translated Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy into French), the class assumptions evident in this vocabulary of evaluation, which is supposed to be neutral and objective, are shown also to prevail in the culture of the written examination, which tends to reward a ...

Stinking Rich

Jenny Diski: Richard Branson

16 November 2000
Branson 
by Tom Bower.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 1 84115 386 9
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... energy left in it, the Princess of Wales timed her exit impeccably. It is tempting to think that Richard Branson also understood, if only unconsciously, that public adulation is likely to tire and turn into its own opposite. Blonde, blue-eyed, apparently artless – like the Princess – he took what seemed to be life-threatening risks by boat and ...
20 October 1994
Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for America’s Future 
by Richard Bernstein.
Knopf, 367 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 41156 9
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... In his new book, Richard Bernstein – one of the best reporters at the New York Times – offers some detailed descriptions, and some solid criticisms, of a serious nuisance. Unfortunately, he then tries to inflate this nuisance into a dangerous monster. He offers a lot of useful information about what one segment of the American Left has been doing recently, and his analyses are very acute ...

Del Ponte’s Deal

Geoffrey Nice: Milosevic’s Trial

16 December 2010
Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic 
by Judith Armatta.
Duke, 545 pp., £26.99, August 2010, 978 0 8223 4746 0
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... running his own defence and who died before judgment was given. Armatta dedicates her book to Sir Richard May, an English circuit judge who presided over the trial until just before the end of the prosecution case in February 2004, and died shortly afterwards. Despite this, most of her critical comments are directed at the judges’ failure to reform matters ...

Diary

Anne Enright: Boys’ Aliens and Girls’ Aliens

21 September 1995
... driving across Brooklyn Bridge who subsequently wrote to Hopkins. It was also witnessed by Dan and Richard, two security officers who were driving to the airport when their car inexplicably cut out. Their passenger, they claim, was none other than Pérez de Cuéllar. Serious believers might wish that Hopkins would stop telling this story after Jim Schnabel ...

Go to the Devil

David Carpenter: Richard II

22 July 2010
Richard II: Manhood, Youth and Politics, 1377-99 
by Christopher Fletcher.
Oxford, 336 pp., £24.95, August 2010, 978 0 19 959571 6
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... By far the most striking image of Richard II is the one found in the great portrait of him, crowned and enthroned, which still survives in Westminster Abbey. Painted in the 1390s, when the king was in his twenties, it gives him a slightly boyish, even feminine appearance, with red cheeks, full lips and a small goatee beard ...

Show People

Hugh Barnes

21 February 1985
So Much Love 
by Beryl Reid.
Hutchinson, 195 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 09 155730 5
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Knock wood 
by Candice Bergen.
Hamish Hamilton, 223 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780241113585
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... Show people pretend to be other people most of the time, they act out fictional lives. It’s nice work and reasonably well-paid. Also, if Beryl Reid and Candice Bergen are to be believed, they get to meet a regular mixture of super-rotters and superstars in far-flung corners of the world. But it must be devilishly frustrating ...

Someone Else

Peter Campbell

17 April 1986
In the American West 
by Richard Avedon.
Thames and Hudson, 172 pp., £40, October 1985, 0 500 54110 8
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Photoportraits 
by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Thames and Hudson, 283 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 500 54109 4
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... The first picture in Richard Avedon’s folio is captioned ‘Alan Silvey, drifter, Route 93, Chloride, Nevada’. Such photographs were taken in the Dustbowl fifty years ago. But this is art, not documentation. We have learned a lot about photography since the Thirties, and now no one believes that truth is simple – ‘all photographs are accurate ...
7 January 1993
The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer 
by Derek Pearsall.
Blackwell, 365 pp., £19.95, September 1992, 1 55786 205 2
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A Wyf ther was: Essays in Honour of Paule Mertens-Fonck 
edited by Juliette Dor.
University of Liège, 300 pp., June 1992, 2 87233 004 6
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Hochon’s Arrow: The Social Imagination of 14th-Century Texts 
by Paul Strohm.
Princeton, 205 pp., £27.50, November 1992, 0 691 06880 1
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... Taverner’, thus seems to have kept a pub in Ipswich, while his great-great-grandson, Richard Duke of Suffolk, nicknamed ‘Blanche Rose’, was accepted as King of England – but, alas, only by the French, and only till he was killed in battle at Pavia. There is an irony, on which Derek Pearsall ends his book, in the extirpation of the Chaucer ...

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 ...

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 ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Have you seen their sandals?

2 July 2014
... around anybody wearing a coloured sock. One man came along the street wearing red braces under a nice grey suit and the Japanese went into overdrive. The guy stopped, put on his shades, sucked in his cheeks, they went bam, bam, bam, and he walked on. The Warholian timeframe had shrunk to 15 seconds. Everybody interviews everybody. ‘What are all these ...

At the National Gallery

Richard Taws: Louis-Léopold Boilly

9 May 2019
... the property developer responsible for Centre Point, and haven’t been shown before (there’s a nice affinity in the fact that towards the end of his life Boilly abruptly gave up painting to speculate in property). In both subject matter and style they betray the influence of Northern European genre painting, rather than the austere classical models ...

Unreal Food Uneaten

Julian Bell: Sitting for Vanessa

13 April 2000
The Art of Bloomsbury 
edited by Richard Shone.
Tate Gallery, 388 pp., £35, November 1999, 1 85437 296 3
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First Friends 
by Ronald Blythe.
Viking, 157 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 670 88613 0
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Bloomsbury in France 
by Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright.
Oxford, 430 pp., £25, December 1999, 0 19 511752 2
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... a story with a strong mixture of ingredients: sex, friendships, betrayals, glam connections, nice locations, eccentric personalities, the odd suicide, a touch of politics, more sex ... Functioning as a haut-bourgeois soap, it affords a nice cue for moralising – ‘he shouldn’t have done that’; ‘she should have ...

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