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Getting Ready to Exist

Adam Phillips, 17 July 1997

A Centenary Pessoa 
edited by Eugénio Lisboa and L.C. Taylor.
Carcanet, 335 pp., £25, May 1995, 9780856359361
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The Keeper of Sheep 
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Edwin Honig and Susan Brown.
Sheep Meadow, 135 pp., $12.95, September 1997, 1 878818 45 7
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The Book of Disquietude 
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Richard Zenith.
Carcanet, 323 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 301 7
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... have been finished, and is, in fact, a compilation made by others. It is, his excellent translator Richard Zenith writes, ‘a depository ... various books (yet ultimately one book), with various authors (yet ultimately one author)’. The narrator of most of the book – a series of diary entries and reflections, mostly undated and without context ...

I haven’t been I

Colm Tóibín: The Real Fernando Pessoa, 12 August 2021

Pessoa: An Experimental Life 
by Richard Zenith.
Allen Lane, 1088 pp., £40, July, 978 0 241 53413 7
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... 1933, remembered leaving a café with Pessoa, and walking with him for a few blocks. Hourcade had, Richard Zenith writes, ‘this uncanny sensation: that the poet, as soon as he disappeared around the corner of a downtown street, had really disappeared, and would be nowhere in sight were he to run after him’.In 1934, a year before his death, Pessoa ...

Conversations with Myself

Michael Wood: Fernando Pessoa, 19 July 2018

The Book of Disquiet 
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Serpent’s Tail, 413 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78125 864 4
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... English four times in one year: in 1991, by Margaret Jull Costa, Alfred MacAdam, Ian Watson and Richard Zenith. The last of these texts started out as The Book of Disquietude, but the longer word was soon dropped. As Jull Costa says, desassossego can be rendered as ‘unease/disquiet/unrest/turmoil/anxiety’. The prefix ‘desas’ means what ...


Richard Rudgley: Plant obsessions, 15 July 1999

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession 
by Susan Orlean.
Heinemann, 348 pp., £12.99, April 1999, 0 434 00783 8
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The Tulip 
by Anna Pavord.
Bloomsbury, 438 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 7475 4296 1
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Plants of Life, Plants of Death 
by Frederick Simoons.
Wisconsin, 568 pp., £27.95, September 1998, 0 299 15904 3
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... the field and in the marketplace, orchids inspired fervour and frenzy. Orchidodelirium reached its zenith in Victorian England, where it echoed the outbreak of Dutch tulipomania in the 1630s. The Tulip, written by a modern high priestess of the cult, is destined to achieve Biblical status. The illustrations are superb and both the author (for hunting them ...


Andrew Saint: Goodbye to the Routemaster, 26 January 2006

... Underground too costly to expand. Buses, however, were profitable, with passenger numbers at their zenith. At its zenith too, in industry and architecture, was the ideal of cyclical development. Design, manufacture, test, assess in use, report, redesign: the wheel went round and round. But it relied on captive markets and ...

Imperial Project

Richard Drayton, 19 September 1996

Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens 
by Ray Desmond.
Harvill/Royal Botanical Gardens, 466 pp., £25, November 1995, 1 86046 076 3
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... crammed into closets. But by 1900, the influence and reputation of Kew had already reached their zenith. Like that of Britain itself, its pre-eminence was about to diminish. In the Edwardian period it was a victim of the immaturity of both university science and the apparatus of colonial administration. By the early decades of this century, while it ...
The Invasion Handbook 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 201 pp., £12.99, April 2002, 0 571 20915 7
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... schemer), George V, Trotsky, Stresemann, Hitler, Speer, Churchill, Heidegger, Benjamin, Dowding, Richard Hillary and the Duke of Windsor, who was very thick with Hitler and had an expensive wedding present from him. There are quite a number of others whom I have to admit I know nothing about except what is here more or less obliquely conveyed. Some of the ...

Stanley and the Women

Tony Gould, 25 July 1991

Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 411 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 09 462420 8
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Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 499 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 09 470220 9
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Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley 
by John Bierman.
Hodder, 401 pp., £17.95, January 1991, 0 340 50977 5
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... of William Grant Stairs and memoirs of Alice Pike Barney’; he also pays generous tribute to Richard Hall’s earlier biography, ‘a model of hard-nosed and painstaking investigation’. Hall was the first to reveal Stanley’s secret engagement to Alice Pike. Unfortunately, his excitement over this discovery led him to make the tactical error of ...

The Passing Show

Ian Hacking, 2 January 1997

On Blindness: Letters between Bryan Magee and Martin Milligan 
Oxford, 188 pp., £16.99, September 1995, 0 19 823543 7Show More
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... distinguish and tell which is the globe, which the cube?’ The old philosophers thought not, but Richard Gregory and subsequent workers have told more complex stories about recovery from blindness. We do not need philosophers to become engrossed. The one non-spiritual goal of Christ’s ministry was the curing of blindness, and every evangelist describes ...

In Your Guts You Know He’s Nuts

Thomas Sugrue: Barry Goldwater, 3 January 2008

The Conscience of a Conservative 
by Barry Goldwater.
Princeton, 144 pp., £8.95, June 2007, 978 0 691 13117 7
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... so archaic, so self-confounding, so remote from the basic American consensus, ever got so far?’ Richard Hofstadter asked. Graffiti artists shared the intelligentsia’s disdain and defaced Goldwater’s campaign billboards, appending the word ‘Wing’ to his slogan ‘In Your Heart You Know He’s Right.’ Others added the coda: ‘In Your Guts You Know ...

You can’t put it down

Fintan O’Toole, 18 July 1996

The Fourth Estate 
by Jeffrey Archer.
HarperCollins, 550 pp., £16.99, May 1996, 0 00 225318 6
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Tickle the Public: One Hundred Years of the Popular Press 
by Matthew Engel.
Gollancz, 352 pp., £20, April 1996, 9780575061439
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Newspaper Power: The New National Press in Britain 
by Jeremy Tunstall.
Oxford, 441 pp., £35, March 1996, 0 19 871133 6
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... out for their quintessentially Post-Modern character. One was the fall of a Tory junior minister, Richard Spring, exposed by your old friends at the News of the World for taking part in a three-in-a-bed sex session. This was a political ‘event’ supposedly ‘reported’ by newspapers and television. But the event itself occurred only in order to be ...


John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare, 6 February 1986

... typescript takes me back to my desk. Here is the eminent re-editor of the Oxford Apocrypha, Richard Proudfoot, arguing that Edward III’s Shakespearean. Oh best and wisest OUP editors, who think even Timon collaborative, reconsider this play, and do not leave it outside the canon, doomed to be read only by dons. Finally, delay is impossible and I ...


Gillian Darley: Lutyens, 17 April 2003

The Architect and His Wife: A Life of Edwin Lutyens 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 524 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7201 0
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Edwin Lutyens, Country Houses: From the Archives of ‘Country Life’ 
by Gavin Stamp.
Aurum, 192 pp., £35, May 2001, 1 85410 763 1
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Lutyens Abroad 
edited by Andrew Hopkins and Gavin Stamp.
British School at Rome, 260 pp., £34.95, March 2002, 0 904152 37 5
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... he christened Wrennaissance. He was mortified to lose, especially since one of the judges was Richard Norman Shaw, the living architect he most admired. But if Lutyens had been known solely for the unexceptional commercial offices and banks he produced in the interwar period, as he struggled to keep offices in London and India and support his family, he ...

You are the we of me

Joyce Carol Oates: The Autobiography of Carson McCullers, 2 September 1999

Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers 
edited by Carlos Dews.
Wisconsin, 256 pp., £19.95, September 1999, 0 299 16440 3
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... of 29. Though she continued to write, and sometimes to write very well after this, she reached the zenith of her career in the previous five years, when she wrote The Ballad of the Sad Café and The Member of the Wedding. These works of fiction, set in Georgia, confirmed her early promise and established her as perhaps the leading writer of her ...

Perfectly Mobile, Perfectly Still

David Craig: Land Artists, 14 December 2000

by Andy Goldsworthy.
Thames and Hudson, 203 pp., £35, August 2000, 0 500 51026 1
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... at this time. What does link them, inside their luxuriant variety? The most austere among them, Richard Long, makes his works by walking, shuffling, treading. Many of them have probably been seen only by his camera. He fashioned a circle in the gibber-desert of the Hoggar region of the Sahara by clearing the gravel and shingle, leaving the dusty sand. He ...

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