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Royal Anxiety

Gabriele Annan

9 June 1994
The Queen 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 341 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 297 81211 4
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Divine Right: The Inglorious Survival of British Royalty 
by Richard Tomlinson.
Little, Brown, 357 pp., £17.50, June 1994, 0 316 91119 4
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... to the Windsors’ foreign cousins there are Willi, Nicky, Charlie (of Norway), Foxy (of Bulgaria), Missy and Mignon. The joke was exploited long ago in Cecil Beaton’s spoof My Royal Past, though Tomlinson’s account of pre and immediately post-war court life makes one think that Beaton hardly exaggerated at all. Tomlinson’s chronicle starts around the turn of the century, when thrones began to ...
20 September 1984
Notes from New York, and Other Poems 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £4.50, March 1984, 0 19 211959 1
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The Cargo 
by Neil Rennie.
TNR Productions, 27 pp., January 1984
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Collected Poems 1943-1983 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 383 pp., £14.95, April 1984, 0 85635 498 8
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... solitary repast. Such persons have little delight in the glory of our country ...’ This admonition (especially the last sentence) is what I try to hold in mind when I give my sense of Charles Tomlinson’s poetry. Those who have been aghast at the churlish reviews of Tomlinson’s Poetry and Metamorphosis – Charles Martindale, who protested at Tom Paulin’s review in the LRB, and Richard Swigg ...

Kelpers

Claude Rawson

17 June 1982
St Kilda’s Parliament 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 87 pp., £3, September 1981, 0 571 11770 8
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Airborn/Hijos del Aire 
by Octavio Paz and Charles Tomlinson.
Anvil, 29 pp., £1.25, April 1981, 0 85646 072 9
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The Flood 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 19 211944 3
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Looking into the Deep End 
by David Sweetman.
Faber, 47 pp., £3, March 1981, 0 571 11730 9
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Independence 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 28 pp., £5, December 1981, 0 907540 05 8
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... is subjected to an extremely deft and somewhat mean-spirited reversal. The volume as a whole gives a sense of substantial and sensitive gifts embarrassed by a strange sporadic uneasiness. Charles Tomlinson and Octavio Paz collaborated in producing ‘the first Western renga’, a Japanese name for a poem by several poets writing alternating parts. That first experiment was quadrilingual, and Airborn is ...

Boarder or Day Boy?

Bernard Porter: Secrecy in Britain

15 July 1999
The Culture of Secrecy in Britain 1832-1998 
by David Vincent.
Oxford, 364 pp., £25, January 1999, 0 19 820307 1
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... It was Richard Crossman who described secrecy as ‘the British disease’. As with other alleged vices anglais – strikes, spanking and sodomy spring to mind – this seems on the surface to be unfair. Other ...
3 May 2017
... of ‘criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country’ to be part of the IHRA definition and to be a sufficient safeguard of free speech. A recent opinion obtained from Hugh Tomlinson QC, a prominent human rights lawyer, by a group of NGOs concerned with Palestine and Israel, concludes that the IHRA definition is unclear and confusing (it could be suggested, in fact, that it is ...

Terms of Art

Conor Gearty: Human Rights Law

11 March 2010
The Law of Human Rights 
by Richard​ Clayton and Hugh Tomlinson.
Oxford, 2443 pp., £295, March 2009, 978 0 19 926357 8
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Human Rights Law and Practice 
edited by Anthony Lester, David Pannick and Javan Herberg.
Lexis Nexis, 974 pp., £237, April 2009, 978 1 4057 3686 2
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Human Rights: Judicial Protection in the United Kingdom 
by Jack Beatson, Stephen Grosz, Tom Hickman, Rabinder Singh and Stephanie Palmer.
Sweet and Maxwell, 905 pp., £124, September 2008, 978 0 421 90250 3
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... has been a price to pay – an explosion in human-rights-based litigation. This short act, containing 16 rights of a largely civil and political character, has generated the 2090 pages of Clayton and Tomlinson, the 889 pages of Lester, Pannick and Herberg and the 813 pages of Beatson, Grosz, Hickman, Singh and Palmer. These books are all squarely aimed at barristers seeking to express the interests of ...

Skimming along

Ross McKibbin

20 October 1994
The Major Effect 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 500 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62273 1
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... is clear which at present is the more important to Mr Major. But this is not to deny the two meanings. When I watched him paying tribute to Billy Wright on an ITV programme, evoking (as, according to Richard Holt and Alan Tomlinson in their essay, he often does) the lost world of a handful of heroes – Wright himself, Nat Lofthouse, Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews – it was impossible, even allowing for a ...

Every three years

Blake Morrison

3 March 1988
Fifty Poems 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 51 pp., £4.95, January 1988, 0 571 14920 0
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A Various Art 
edited by Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville.
Carcanet, 377 pp., £12.95, December 1987, 0 85635 698 0
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Between Leaps: Poems 1972-1985 
by Brad Leithauser.
Oxford, 81 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 19 282089 3
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Eldorado 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 71 pp., £4.50, October 1987, 0 905291 88 3
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Disbelief 
by John Ash.
Carcanet, 127 pp., £6.95, September 1987, 0 85635 695 6
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The Automatic Oracle 
by Peter Porter.
Oxford, 72 pp., £4.95, November 1987, 0 19 282088 5
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Voice-over 
by Norman MacCaig.
Chatto, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 7011 3313 9
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... your mouth opens.’ Though the poems let slip an underlying story, they have no narrative as such and work as separate units. At worst, they read like a cross between R.D. Laing’s case-notes and Richard Aldington’s Imagism. At best, they have a force and integrity which none of the other poets associated with the Review, and few poets since, have come close to matching. The problem, as Hamilton ...
21 April 1988
William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion 
by Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor, John Jowett and William Montgomery.
Oxford, 671 pp., £60, February 1988, 0 19 812914 9
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Disowning Knowledge in Six Plays of Shakespeare 
by Stanley Cavell.
Cambridge, 226 pp., £25, January 1988, 0 521 33032 7
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A History of English Literature 
by Alastair Fowler.
Blackwell, 395 pp., £17.50, November 1987, 0 631 12731 3
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... which are more interesting to scholars than to the world at large – for example, the second and third parts of Henry VI, which we are now invited to refer to as The First Part of the Contention and Richard Duke of York – 1 Henry VI comes later, after Titus Andronicus. The two parts of Henry IV are similarly split by The Merry Wives, which shows how fiercely attentive to chronology we are required to ...

Concierge

John Lanchester

16 November 1995
Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard​ Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... XI dell’era Fascista”.’ This ambivalence runs through Sons of Ezra, which has pieces by a range of poets from grand old men (Morgan, Donald Davie) to established talents in mid-career (Charles Tomlinson, Douglas Dunn) to new Best of Young British megastars (W.N. Herbert, Robert Crawford). But the fact relevant to Pound’s current standing is the one in Michael Alexander and James McGonigal’s ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames

25 June 2009
Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... for its illustrations by A.S. Forrest, a succession of poignant tableaux like a village hall pageant. The Thames underwrites a narrative of royal escapes, murdered princelings, futile rebellion. Richard II is rowed downstream to confront Wat Tyler and his peasant army. Unable to call on anything as formidable as the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group, the boy king refuses to step ...

Who will stop them?

Owen Hatherley: The Neo-Elite

22 October 2014
The Establishment and How They Get Away with It 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 335 pp., £16.99, September 2014, 978 1 84614 719 7
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... 2400 a month, courtesy of the taxpayer, and once claimed £400 of public money for food in a single month, quite legitimately in each case. Another example, more drastic, from the Conservatives: ‘Richard Benyon is Britain’s wealthiest parliamentarian, worth around £110 million. Despite having … applauded the government for “reforming Labour’s something for nothing welfare culture”, Benyon ...

Grand Old Sod

Paul Driver: William Walton

12 December 2002
The Selected Letters of William Walton 
edited by Malcolm Hayes.
Faber, 526 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 571 20105 9
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William Walton: Muse of Fire 
by Stephen Lloyd.
Boydell, 332 pp., £45, June 2001, 9780851158037
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William Walton, the Romantic Loner: A Centenary Portrait Album 
by Humphrey Burton and Maureen Murray.
Oxford, 182 pp., £25, January 2002, 0 19 816235 9
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... alone. The Biblical cantata has a similar power. No one could sit, as I did earlier this year, in the Royal Festival Hall during a performance by the Philharmonia and London Symphony Chorus under Richard Hickox and not be shattered into submission. Belshazzar’s Feast takes Elgarian oratorio by its neck and flings it into the 20th century. But it is dramatically broken-backed. Its performing forces ...

Entrepreneurship

Tom Paulin: Ted Hughes and the Hare

29 November 2007
Letters of Ted Hughes 
edited by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 756 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 571 22138 7
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... Plath still managed to communicate with each other and two months after he left her, they visited Ireland hoping to find a house where she could spend the winter (their difficult stay is recounted by Richard Murphy in his autobiography The Kick). Hughes’s letters appear cheerful and engaged and free of guilt. At this time, curiously, he concocts a plan to send poems out under one or two pseudonyms. He ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson

14 January 2002
... Clive James. Clive gave the whole thing a bit of a lift. I picked him up from a piece in the New Statesman about Ezra Pound. It was very lively so he was recruited.He wrote on Elizabeth Bishop and Richard Wilbur for the ‘Review’. And on Lowell? No, I don’t think on Lowell, but he wrote well on those two and others. He wrote various things in the later issues. I’d certainly moved to London by ...

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