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On Hunger Strike

Omar Robert Hamilton: On Hunger Strike

8 October 2014
... After​ the shock and awe tactics of the Rabaa massacre last summer, when Egypt’s military regime murdered around a thousand supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, the rolling counter-revolution has played out mostly within the justice system, between police stations, prisons and courtrooms. The system is self-contained and unaccountable: graduates of the Police Academy are automatically granted a law degree and can move fluidly from police station to prosecutor’s office to judge’s bench ...

We’ll win or lose it here

Robert F. Worth: Lessons from Tahrir Square

20 September 2017
The City Always Wins 
by Omar Robert Hamilton.
Faber, 312 pp., £14.99, August 2017, 978 0 571 33517 6
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Chronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of Egypt 
by Yasmine El Rashidi.
Tim Duggan, 181 pp., £11.70, June 2017, 978 0 7704 3729 9
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... 2011 revolt has already produced two novels that are diametrically opposed in their approach. Omar Robert Hamilton’s The City Always Wins is a kinetic, docudrama-style retelling of the protest movement as seen by its young vanguard. It is interspersed with real tweets and newspaper quotes, and flaunts its true-to-life cachet: it is dedicated to Alaa ...
6 October 2011
... Richard Hamilton, who died on 13 September at the age of 89, invented the idea of Pop art, along with his colleagues in the Independent Group, more than 50 years ago. In ‘Persuading Image’, a lecture he gave in 1959, Hamilton argued, well before it was a commonplace, that consumer society depends on the manufacturing of desire through design, forever updated by the forced obsolescence of style ...
19 May 1983
Robert Lowell: A Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 527 pp., £12.50, May 1983, 0 571 13045 3
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... Robert Lowell is not difficult to represent as the mad poet and justified sinner of the Romantic heritage. He is the dual personality who breaks the rules, kicks over the traces: he did this in the course of a series of manic highs which came and went from maturity, if not before, until the end of his life in 1977 at the age of 60 ...

At Inverleith House

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton

14 August 2008
... Richard Hamilton’s ‘Protest Pictures’ have turned the galleries of Inverleith House in Edinburgh into a time-machine.* News events from the last fifty years flash up in every room, from a drug bust and a student murder in the 1960s, through the Troubles in the 1970s and 1980s, to the Gulf debacles of the last two decades ...

After-Lives

John Sutherland

5 November 1992
Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 09 174263 3
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Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 273 pp., £27.50, June 1992, 0 19 811276 9
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The Last Laugh 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 131 pp., £10.99, December 1991, 0 7011 4583 8
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Trollope 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 551 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 09 173896 2
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... A man of many literary parts, Ian Hamilton came to biography late and triumphantly with his life of the dead but still warm Robert Lowell. Riding high, he went on to attempt an unauthorised life of the aged but very much alive J.D. Salinger and was comprehensively outfoxed by the second most reclusive man in American letters ...

Extraordinarily Graceful Exits from Power

Nicholas Guyatt: George Washington’s Reticence

17 November 2005
His Excellency George Washington 
by Joseph J. Ellis.
Faber, 320 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 571 21212 3
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... to the members of his cabinet. (‘Pablo’ for the hapless Paul O’Neill; ‘Z-Man’ for Robert Zoellick.) George Washington, on the other hand, was so aloof that even his contemporaries tried to make light of the fact. According to one story, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Alexander ...

At the Hayward

Hal Foster: ‘The Painting of Modern Life’

1 November 2007
... as the 1960s began, Rugoff continues, artists associated with Pop and photorealism – Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Richard Artschwager, Vija Celmins and Malcolm Morley – turned again to photography, not only as a source of images but as a way to convey the look of consumer society, already processed as so much of it was through ...
27 October 1988
In Search of J.D. Salinger 
by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 222 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 434 31331 9
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... for a change – wrong. Now consider a more sophisticated version of the Robinson technique. Ian Hamilton, noted biographer of Robert Lowell, writes to J.D. Salinger and informs him that he has become Hamilton’s latest subject: would the notoriously reclusive novelist mind answering ...

Enisled

John Sutherland: Matthew Arnold

19 March 1998
A Gift Imprisoned: The Poetic Life of Matthew Arnold 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £17.99, March 1998, 0 7475 3671 6
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... of card-carrying Arnoldians might have seemed rather daunting. As he tells us in his Preface, Ian Hamilton ‘several years ago ... had the idea of trying to write a full-scale biography of Matthew Arnold’. Since then the ambition has narrowed into something more purposive. His interest, Hamilton came to realise, was ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Trip to Echo Spring’

12 September 2013
... heavy drinking and writing was forged. When I thought of poetry I thought of drink. There was Robert Burns, after all, and his skirling, birling Tam O’Shanter. There was Hugh MacDiarmid and his drunk man looking at the thistle. And there were all those Scots poets meeting in Milne’s Bar in Edinburgh, pouring whisky down their necks and poison in one ...

Magical Orange Grove

Anne Diebel: Lowell falls in love again

10 August 2016
Robert Lowell in Love 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Massachusetts, 288 pp., £36.50, December 2015, 978 1 62534 186 0
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... In the summer​ of 1935, when he was 18, Robert Lowell and two friends from St Mark’s School – Blair Clark and Frank Parker – rented a house in Nantucket. Under Lowell’s direction, they studied the Bible (with special attention to the Book of Job) and ate cereal with raw honey and ‘badly’ cooked eels ...

A Hammer in His Hands

Frank Kermode: Lowell’s Letters

22 September 2005
The Letters of Robert Lowell 
edited by Saskia Hamilton.
Faber, 852 pp., £30, July 2005, 0 571 20204 7
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... Writing letters was not the work Robert Lowell thought himself born to do, but what with one thing and another – good friends, a lively mind, deep troubles – he wrote a great many of them, demonstrating at considerable length ‘the excitement of his intelligence and the liveliness of his prose’. These are the words of Saskia Hamilton, the poet who has undertaken the arduous and complicated task of editing this selection ...

Tomorrow is here again

Anne Wagner: The First Pop Age

11 October 2012
The First Pop Age 
by Hal Foster.
Princeton, 338 pp., £20.95, October 2011, 978 0 691 15138 0
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... soup cans (‘Because I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day’), asked Robert Indiana if Pop was ‘easy art’ (‘Yes’), and sought Jim Dine’s views on whether Pop offers social commentary (‘I’m certainly not changing the world … if it’s art, who cares if it’s a comment?’). He also asked Lichtenstein: ‘Is Pop art ...

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