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In Weimar

Richard Hollis, 26 September 2019

... to create an open space suited to party rallies. On May Day 1937, Rudolf Hess laid the foundation stone of the Hall of the People’s Community, with standing room for two thousand. It is now a shopping centre. The huge administrative building for the local party remains, occupied by the Thuringian state government. Weimar is a place of memories and ...


W.R. Mead, 16 October 1980

The English Heartland 
by Robert Beckinsale and Monica Beckinsale.
Duckworth, 434 pp., £18, June 1980, 0 7156 1389 8
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The English Village 
by Richard Muir.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £8.50, May 1980, 0 500 24106 6
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... professionals must be included Robert and Monica Beckinsale; among the self-confessed amateurs, Richard Muir. The Beckinsales – one native to the north Cots-wolds and the other to the Vale of the White Horse – present what is for them the English heartland. Richard Muir, nostalgic for the Nidderdale hamlet of ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: Hepworth, 27 August 2015

... so as to place her works ‘alongside those of Brancusi, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Pollock, Rothko or Richard Serra’. What else to expect from curators capable of insisting that the true home of modern art was St Ives or Yorkshire? ‘Pretending that it was is complacent, insular and either intellectually dishonest or genuinely stupid.’ How dishonest are ...

Fraud Squad

Ferdinand Mount: Imposters, 2 August 2007

The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Continuum, 363 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 1 85285 478 2
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A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson 
by Frances Welch.
Short Books, 327 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 1 904977 71 1
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The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York 
by David Baldwin.
Sutton, 220 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 7509 4335 2
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... hard to think of any respect in which the Claimant resembled Roger. He was already 13 and a half stone, in contrast to the wraithlike Roger, and was to reach massive proportions, 28 stone 4 lbs, by 1871. Though Roger was half-French and had grown up in France, the Claimant couldn’t speak a word of the language. Roger ...

Everything but the Glue

Richard Fortey: A Victorian sensation, 22 August 2002

Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception and Secret Authorship of ‘Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation’ 
by James Secord.
Chicago, 624 pp., £22.50, February 2002, 0 226 74410 8
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... their own author. In aristocratic circles authorship was attributed to one of their own – Sir Richard Vyvyan was a popular candidate at fashionable metropolitan soirées when the sensation was at its height, and the name of Prince Albert was, according to one account, also suggested. In ecclesiastical circles any one of a number of free-thinking radicals ...

Fire: a song for Mistress Askew

David Harsent, 19 December 2013

... bald accounts of martyrdom; the mechanics at work, their gift of transformation. Torchlight and stone. She stripped to her shift unbidden and climbed up to the machine; when it took hold she was lifted clear of the bed, her body hard strung, the wrench and crack of ...

Snap Me

Peter Howarth: ‘A Theory of 20th-Century Poetry’, 6 October 2016

Poetic Artifice: A Theory of 20th-Century Poetry 
by Veronica Forrest-Thomson, edited by Gareth Farmer.
Shearsman, 238 pp., £16.95, April 2016, 978 1 84861 445 1
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... of cheek. It makes the book’s death-of-the-author thesis look like a wink at the reader: the stone Buddha in Plath’s poem is smiling, after all. Artifice, for Forrest-Thomson, is less a way to disappear than to maintain one’s poise, holding life safely apart for a moment and stylising it. Midway through the final chapter, a discussion of Dadaist ...

Jack and Leo

John Sutherland, 27 July 1989

The Letters of Jack London 
edited by Earle Labor, Robert Leitz and Milo Shepard.
Stanford, 1657 pp., $139.50, October 1988, 0 8047 1227 1
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by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 572 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 241 12190 6
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... The Book of Jack London was needed. In 1934, Charmian was approached by a young biographer, Irving Stone, who had just produced his popular biography of Van Gogh, Lust for Life. Charmian liked Stone’s technicolour vision of the tormented painter and gave the go-ahead.’ Stone took as ...

Whinny Moor

Blake Morrison, 2 April 1987

... life, the old man gave them to the soul to protect its feet whilst crossing the thorny moor. Richard Blakeborough, Wit, Character, Folklore and Customs of the North Riding of Yorkshire (1911) I was back walking on Lothersdale Moor, through ling, blackthorn and blips of sheepshit, over dry-stone walls and up ...

In Good Estate

Eamon Duffy, 2 January 1997

Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets: Kingship and the Representation of Power 1200-1400 
by Paul Binski.
Yale, 241 pp., £45, May 1995, 0 300 05980 9
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... the Pope to have his son Edmund made King of Sicily, and in Northern Europe by having his brother Richard of Cornwall crowned King of the Romans and thus, nominally at least, heir to the Imperial throne. The Abbey, therefore, was designed to underpin and promote Henry III’s regality. Binski, however, emphatically rejects the widely-held view that ...

Chucky, Hirple, Clart

David Craig: Robert Macfarlane, 24 September 2015

by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 241 14653 8
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... Some of his entries could be queried or supplemented. For example, chucky for a ‘small flat stone’ is certainly used in Aberdeen as well as in Galloway – I was taught it by my Scots-speaking aunt. Hirple for ‘limp’ is common in Scotland as well as in Northern Ireland, and clairt for ‘mud’ is usually spelled ‘clart’ (clairt is not given ...

More Fun

Tom Jaine, 7 July 1994

The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in Society 
by Richard Rudgley.
British Museum, 160 pp., £14.95, October 1993, 0 7141 1736 6
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... One of the aims of anthropology,’ Richard Rudgley says, ‘is to understand the self by way of the other.’ Are we to take it that if the Koryaks of Siberia had a high old time on the fly-agaric – or on the recycled urine of a fly-agaric consumer – we too should stock up on magic mushrooms? Rudgley maintains that humans have ‘a universal need for liberation from the restrictions of mundane existence, satisfied by experiencing altered states of consciousness ...

Who is Stewart Home?

Iain Sinclair, 23 June 1994

... Aline of brightly painted stone cottages, out there at the end of the world, beyond Allihies in West Cork. The cottages have been extensively tampered with, knocked through, until they form a single unit, set square to the prevailing on-shore winds. The occupier, New York-born to a childhood in John Cheever commuting country, now reinvented as a Vietnam-vintage Irish citizen, removes all the offending oil paintings from the wall: jewelled landscapes in oil; lively, naive renderings of the headland on which the cottages have been built ...

The Fatness of Falstaff

Barbara Everett, 16 August 1990

... his protest that, unlike the compassionate cat, the dog did not ‘shedde one teare: he is a stone, a very pibble stone, and has no more pitty in him then a dog.’ The circularity is instructive. The clown is thinking through things more than philosophically difficult. The animal gains our and the fool’s feeling by ...

White Hat/Black Hat

Frances Richard: 20th-Century Art, 6 April 2006

Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism 
by Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois and Benjamin H.D. Buchloh.
Thames and Hudson, 704 pp., £45, March 2005, 0 500 23818 9
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... history of Picasso’s most famous painting – from obscure experiment to art-critical Rosetta Stone and blue-chip museum asset – while Buchloh meditates on the ways in which Russian avant-garde design helped invent postwar American fashion photography. After years lingering in Picasso’s studio, Krauss tells us, Demoiselles was bought, cheap, by the ...

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