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Brigid Brophy, 2 October 1980

Deliberate Regression 
by Robert Harbison.
Deutsch, 264 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 233 97273 0
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... Something is amiss with Robert Harbison’s sentences. They seem to consist almost wholly of last-minute additions. The way out of the impasse brought on by the decay of religion available to Wilson was an authorised version of Ruskin’s symbolic correspondence, authorised by duplicated evidence from the distant past excavated by science, and institutionalised by the artist in specific forms, like the Brighton chalice, also a calyx, a flower on its stem, attempting to work a magic which would inhere in a thing not just in one’s method for contemplating it ...

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