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4 December 1980
The Girl in a Swing 
by Richard Adams.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 7139 1407 6
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... The remarkable literary career of RichardAdams began only eight years ago, but it has already reached substantial dimensions. Watership Down in 1972 was followed by two other works of mystery and imagination, relying more or less heavily on the ...

Flying Costs

Richard Adams: The great Ryanair Disaster

2 September 2004
Aircraft 
by David Pascoe.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £14.95, September 2003, 1 86189 163 6
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Aviation Insecurity: The New Challenges of Air Travel 
by Andrew Thomas.
Prometheus, 263 pp., $21, May 2003, 1 59102 074 3
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Airline Survival Kit 
by Nawal Taneja.
Ashgate, 224 pp., £46.50, May 2003, 0 7546 3452 3
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Ryanair 
by Siobhán Creaton.
Aurum, 263 pp., £9.99, May 2004, 1 85410 992 8
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... The Maxim Gorky, a giant airliner built with money raised by the Union of Soviet Writers and Editors in 1934, was like nothing that had gone before it. The wings of the Tupolev-designed plane had a span of more than sixty metres, the same as a Boeing 747’s. It was driven by eight massive engines, generating between them 7000 horsepower. Its 11 cabins, connected by telephone lines and pneumatic tubes ...

Problems

Peter Campbell

1 October 1981
Early Disorder 
by Rebecca Josephs.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 186 pp., £5.50, September 1981, 0 571 12031 8
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A Star for the Latecomer 
by Bonnie Zindel.
Bodley Head, 186 pp., £3.95, March 1981, 0 370 30319 9
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Catherine loves 
by Timothy Ireland.
Bodley Head, 117 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 370 30292 3
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Jacob have I loved 
by Katherine Paterson.
Gollancz, 216 pp., £4.95, April 1981, 0 575 02961 7
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... from Ballet Shoes to Jean Rhys and then back to Ballet Shoes, as though they need, or relish, the contrast between bleak and comfortable moral universes. When adults turn to the children’s books of RichardAdams or K.M. Peyton it is because they, too, have an appetite for comfort. This is not to suggest that the bleak is true and the comfortable false. Jacob have I loved is the only one of these books ...
21 March 1991
The Journalist and the Murderer 
by Janet Malcolm.
Bloomsbury, 163 pp., £12.99, January 1991, 0 7475 0759 7
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... kiss-and-tell story, or it can take the indirect form of ‘publicity’, which, after all, equals money if it brings more readers/viewers/listeners to the subject’s work. Thus when Kirk Douglas or RichardAdams or Melvyn Bragg ‘agrees to see me’ shortly before their new book comes out, they are not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts but in hopes of a socking great plug. And even if I say ...

Hating

Patrice Higonnet

14 November 1996
Benjamin Franklin and his Enemies 
by Robert Middlekauf.
California, 276 pp., £19.95, March 1996, 0 520 20268 6
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... by bringing on Disease, absolutely shortens Life.’ ‘The cat in gloves catches no mice.’ ‘A watched pot never boils’. No one can wholly avoid hating ‘Old Daddy Franklin’, from whose Poor Richard’s Almanac these sayings come, especially if brought up to revere him in Public School, USA. Abraham Lincoln is the father of his people; George Washington, of his nation; but Benjamin Franklin – ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment

5 April 2007
The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard​ Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... In March 1776, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson visited Pembroke College, Oxford and called on the master, William Adams. According to Richard Sher, Boswell wrote in his journal how dismayed he had been to see in the master’s library a copy of the quarto edition of David Hume’s Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects of 1758 ...

I only want to keep my hand in

Owen Bennett-Jones: Gerry Adams

16 November 2017
Gerry AdamsAn Unauthorised Life 
by Malachi O’Doherty.
Faber, 356 pp., £14.99, September 2017, 978 0 571 31595 6
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... to the leaders of paramilitary groups, have chronicled what happened. One aspect of the conflict all these sources reveal is the extent of the British state’s confusion about how to deal with Gerry Adams. Police repeatedly raided Adams’s childhood home. When he was 23 the courts interned him for five years, beginning with a spell on a prison ship. A few months later he was released so that the RAF ...
15 May 1980
Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Film-Makers 
edited by Richard​ Roud.
Secker, 1120 pp., £25, February 1980, 9780436428302
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The Dream that Kicks: The Prehistory and Early Years of Cinema in Britain 
by Michael Chanan.
Routledge, 356 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 7100 0319 6
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... of low-grade melodramas by Samuel Fuller. So powerful is fashion, however, that sensible critics feel rather like the nervous citizens in High Noon when the new film schoolmen come riding into town. Richard Roud is a sensible critic, formerly the Guardian’s film reviewer and now Director of the New York Film Festival. ‘I tend to be wary,’ he says, ‘of systematic criticism and of any form of ...
21 February 1985
The Dark Hole Days 
by Una Woods.
Blackstaff, 127 pp., £3.50, December 1984, 0 85640 316 4
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Superior Women 
by Alice Adams.
Heinemann, 374 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 434 00631 9
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The Collected Stories 
by Frank Tuohy.
Macmillan, 410 pp., £12.95, December 1984, 0 333 38534 9
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The Apple in the Dark 
by Clarice Lispector, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Virago, 361 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 86068 605 1
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Family Ties 
by Clarice Lispector and Giovanni Pontiero.
Carcanet, 140 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 85636 569 6
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... and she had to tie off at least some of those maddening endless threads. Belfast lurches towards symbolism in the process, and begins to look like a writerly city. No such difficulties beset Alice Adams, whose world is writerly from the start. Superior Women is a kind of compendium not so much of American attitudes or American history as of attitudes to attitudes, so to speak – the hearsay version ...
10 May 1990
The Dictionary of National Biography: 1981-1985 
edited by Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 518 pp., £40, March 1990, 0 19 865210 0
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... done a bit of non-sinning in his time, so that when we are given the whole picture, he can be judged to have gone off the rails. In the present volume, however, it is hard to believe that John Bodkin Adams would have won a slot as a medical practitioner. Indeed, the Adams entry is something of a puzzle. He was acquitted of the murders he is famous for having been accused of, but his DNB biographer ...
6 September 2017
... With the help of a medium, he contacts the spirit of the German, but in the afterlife his rival says he doesn’t remember anyone named Persius. The Man who Met Himself (1919) by Donovan Bayley    Richard Panton falls down the stairs and is separated from his subliminal self, which takes the form of a midget. With this loss, Panton himself shrinks and becomes an identical midget. They argue. The ...
2 August 1984
The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard​ Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... to exactly how ‘texts’ should be read. The more fumbling reader would no more think of having theories about how to read books than about how to understand his friends. The Foreword to Robert M. Adams’s The Land and Literature of England gives some indication that this merely humane view of literature is now felt to be under threat. His bland intention is ‘to set forth the outlines of English ...

State Theatre

Peter Burke

22 January 1987
The Rome of Alexander VII: 1655-1667 
by Richard​ Krautheimer.
Princeton, 199 pp., £16.80, November 1985, 9780691040325
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Firearms and Fortifications: Military Architecture and Siege Warfare in 16th-century Siena 
by Simon Pepper and Nicholas Adams.
Chicago, 245 pp., £21.25, October 1986, 0 226 65534 2
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... are increasingly concerned with replacing the artifacts they study in their political settings. The advantages of this ‘political turn’ are clearly illustrated in a new study by Professor Richard Krautheimer. His interest in the iconography of architecture goes back a long way – he published an article on the subject in 1942. His well-known studies of Early Christian and Byzantine ...
5 October 2016
American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 
by Alan Taylor.
Norton, 704 pp., £30, November 2016, 978 0 393 08281 4
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... of the 1850s, white supremacist politicians of the Jim Crow era, and more recent hucksters and demagogues including Joe McCarthy and George Wallace. Not to mention more respectable types such as Richard Nixon, whose ‘Southern strategy’ offered a blueprint for mobilising white resentment over the gains of the Civil Rights movement. (That ‘respectable’ and ‘Nixon’ can be included in the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: The Killers', Criterion Collection

23 September 2015
... the Tarkovsky film end almost as soon as they start. The gangsters chat for a while in their sinister way, then go looking for their target, who is clearly not going to show up at the diner/bar. Nick Adams, the other person in the place, runs off to warn the victim. The victim scarcely reacts: it’s as if he has already accepted his own death. ‘There ain’t anything to do now,’ he says. ‘I got ...

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