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3 August 1995
The Social Organisation of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States 
by Edward Laumann, John Gagnon, Robert Michael and Stuart Michaels.
Chicago, 742 pp., £39.95, October 1994, 0 226 46957 3
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Sex in America: A Definitive Survey 
by Robert Michael, John Gagnon, Edward Laumann and Gina Kolata.
Little, Brown, 289 pp., £16.99, November 1994, 0 316 91191 7
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Sexual Behaviour in Britain: The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Life-Styles 
by Kaye Wellings, Julia Field, A.M. Johnson and Jane Wadsworth.
Penguin, 464 pp., £15, January 1994, 0 14 015814 6
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... In the early Eighties, Western governments, notably those of America, Britain and France, were anxious to assess the probable rate of growth and pathways of infection of Aids. They sponsored extensive sex surveys in order to find out, for example, the number of sexual partners an average male had in his lifetime and how many used safe sex. The British survey was carried out by four women, primarily trained in medical statistics, epidemiology and health care ...

Robert and Randy

Carey Harrison

27 June 1991
Curtain 
by Michael Korda.
Chapmans, 415 pp., £14.95, May 1991, 1 85592 005 0
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... In Michael Korda’s Curtain a thinly disguised Laurence Olivier puts at risk his marriage to a thinly disguised Vivien Leigh by having an affair with (stop me if you’ve heard this one) a no less thinly disguised Danny Kaye. Well! Well? As a piece of writing, the novel is aimed with charming accuracy at the station bookstall trade, where it should thrive ...
19 November 2019
... Michael​ Neve died on 9 October. I first met him in 1995, at a funeral. We had been taught Nietzsche by the same lecturer at Cambridge; that had been enough academia for me, but Michael had advanced (or, by his own account, stumbled haplessly) to the position of senior lecturer at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL ...
9 September 1993
The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered 
by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise.
Element, 286 pp., £14.95, November 1992, 0 85230 368 8
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... of a scholarly conspiracy, hinted at in the text, has recently been trumpeted by the journalists Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh in The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, which is largely a popularisation of Robert Eisenman’s theories. Unsurprisingly, Baigent and Leigh contribute an effusive blurb to this book. Eisenman for ...

Broken Nights

Michael Hofmann

3 April 2003
... Then morning comes, saying: ‘This was a night.’ Robert Lowell Broken knights. – No, not like that. Well, no matter. Something agreeably Tennysonian (is there Any other kind?) About ‘broken knights’. Sir Bors and Sir Bedivere. In my one-piece pyjamas – My it doesn’t matter suit, With necessarily non-matching – Matchless, makeless, makeles – Added top, I pad Downstairs to look At the green time On the digital microwave ...

Three Poems

Michael Hofmann

21 July 1994
... Summer For months the heat of love has kept me marching Robert Lowell I snap my boy’s bow in the morning, wash his stiffy at night, blow my brains out with music, anything from ‘Ballade von der sexuellen Hörigkeit’ to ‘Sexual Healing’. Je te veux. The vaunted sod under my feet is rolled up like a piece of turf or a blanket in my grenadier’s knapsack, along with a toothbrush and near-pristine candle end ...

Still Defending the Scots

Katie Stevenson: Robert the Bruce

10 September 2014
Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots 
by Michael Penman.
Yale, 443 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 300 14872 5
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... wants to be William Wallace.’ ‘No,’ Martin corrected him. ‘Alex Salmond wants to be Robert the Bruce.’ Wallace has been cast as ‘the people’s champion’, a role he played in the 1975 novel The Wallace by the prolific Nigel Tranter and, twenty years later, in Braveheart. But Martin was right that the appeal of Bruce would be significantly ...
18 September 1980
Selected Poems 
by Patricia Beer.
Hutchinson, 152 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 09 138450 8
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The Venetian Vespers 
by Anthony Hecht.
Oxford, 91 pp., £3.95, March 1980, 0 19 211933 8
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Nostalgia for the Present 
by Andrei Voznesensky.
Oxford, 150 pp., £3.50, April 1980, 0 19 211900 1
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Reflections on the Nile 
by Ronald Bottrall.
London Magazine Editions, 56 pp., £3.50, May 1980, 0 904388 33 6
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Summer Palaces 
by Peter Scupham.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3, March 1980, 9780192119322
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... delicate passages: as with Mayakovsky, they are mostly about animals. In a poem called ‘Lines to Robert Lowell’, for instance, there are these lines on Arthur Miller’s dog Hugo: You’re not a dachshund, you’re a slipper, a moccasin with a gaping sole, shabby with use. A certain Unknown Being puts you on his left foot and shuffles across the ...

Unaccommodated Man

Christopher Tayler: Adventures with Robert Stone

18 March 2004
Bay of Souls 
by Robert Stone.
Picador, 250 pp., £16.99, February 2004, 0 330 41894 7
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... Robert Stone was born in August 1937, nine months after Don DeLillo and three – we’re told – after Thomas Pynchon. Dog Soldiers, his second novel, made his name in the mid-1970s, and since then he has stubbornly held his ground on the upper slopes of American literary life. Fellowships, prizes, grants and commissions have rarely been in short supply, and his later books – from A Flag for Sunrise to Damascus Gate – have been much admired ...

War within wars

Paul Addison

5 November 1992
War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... As he looks forward to his 70th birthday Sir Michael Howard can also look back over a distinguished career which began with Wellington, Christ Church and the Coldstream Guards. In 1943, as Lieutenant Howard, fresh from the University, he led his platoon in a dangerous uphill charge against a German position north of Salerno ...

At Dia:Beacon

Hal Foster: Fetishistic Minimalist

5 June 2003
... Dia now also oversees the mother of all earthworks, Spiral Jetty, a great coil of rocks built by Robert Smithson into the Great Salt Lake in Utah in 1970. Initially directed by Heiner Friedrich, a German dealer who had exhibited such artists in Cologne and in New York, Dia was funded by his wife, Philippa de Menil, daughter of Dominique de Menil, a major ...
9 June 1994
Robert Surtees and Early Victorian Society 
by Norman Gash.
Oxford, 407 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 19 820429 9
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... to report on the world is still very fashionable, and in that sense Norman Gash’s book on Robert Surtees goes against the grain of present-day literary analysis. It does not go against the traditional grain of writing about Surtees, a novelist who has almost always been praised simply as a reporter of the English scene in the mid-19th century, even on ...

The Other Half

Robert Melville

4 July 1985
Kenneth Clark: A Biography 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 310 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 9780297783985
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... Suddenly I thought: ‘My God, he’s going to speak to me!’ ‘Am I right in thinking you’re Robert Melville?’ he said. ‘My name is Clark.’ ‘Indisputably, Sir Kenneth,’ I answered. I remember the word I used, because as soon as I said it I realised that it was ludicrously inappropriate. And I went on quickly: ‘It’s a fine Pasmore, isn’t ...

Ediepus

Michael Neve

18 November 1982
Edie: An American Biography 
by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
Cape, 455 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 224 02068 4
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself 
by Jan Kerouac.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 233 97487 3
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... around. They are, no doubt, in their cars, and another poet of weirdness, New England weirdness, Robert Lowell, knew also about cars: ‘A savage servility slides by on grease.’ There are antique shops in Stockbridge, where antique seems to mean the day before yesterday. And grand white wooden houses, behind evergreen trees, houses which turn out to be ...

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