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Diary

Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows, 7 October 1993

... Angela Carter, Eva Figes, Giles Gordon, Wilson Harris, Rayner Heppenstall, even hasty, muddled Robert Nye, Ann Quin, Penelope Shuttle, Alan Sillitoe (for his last book only. Raw Material indeed), Stefan Themerson, and (coming) John Wheway (stand by): and if only Heathcote Williams would write a novel’. In 1968 Penguin published Writing in England ...

And That Rug!

Michael Dobson: Images of Shakespeare, 6 November 2003

Shakespeare’s Face: The Story behind the Newly Discovered Portrait 
by Stephanie Nolen.
Piatkus, 365 pp., £18.99, March 2003, 0 7499 2391 1
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Imagining Shakespeare: A History of Texts and Visions 
by Stephen Orgel.
Palgrave, 172 pp., £25, August 2003, 1 4039 1177 0
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Shakespeare in Art 
by Jane Martineau et al.
Merrell, 256 pp., £29.95, September 2003, 1 85894 229 2
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In Search of Shakespeare 
by Michael Wood.
BBC, 352 pp., £20, May 2003, 9780563534778
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... a likeness of a pseudonym). But even here there are some odd lapses of judgment: Bate credits Robert Nye with the notion that the simile of the eddy in The Rape of Lucrece is based on observation of Clopton Bridge in Stratford, when Nye actually lifted the idea from Caroline Spurgeon’s important Shakespeare’s ...

Turbulence

Walter Nash, 9 November 1989

The Mezzanine 
by Nicholson Baker.
Granta, 135 pp., £10.95, September 1989, 0 14 014201 0
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The Memoirs of Lord Byron 
by Robert Nye.
Hamish Hamilton, 215 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 241 12873 0
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All you need 
by Elaine Feinstein.
Hutchinson, 219 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 09 173574 2
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The woman who talked to herself 
by A.L. Barker.
Hutchinson, 186 pp., £11.95, October 1989, 0 09 174060 6
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Restoration 
by Rose Tremain.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 241 12695 9
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... the amusing discovery of a how-d’ye-do as we come to know Him and Her. In the case of Robert Nye’s The Memoirs of Lord Byron, it is less a question of discovering an interesting personality than of retrieving or rehabilitating one. The basis of the fiction here is a historical fact – that after his death, Lord Byron’s Memoirs were ...
Selected Poems 1964-1983 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 262 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 14619 8
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Terry Street 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 62 pp., £3.95, November 1986, 0 571 09713 8
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Selected Poems 1968-1983 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 109 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 571 14603 1
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Essential Reading 
by Peter Reading and Alan Jenkins.
Secker, 230 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 436 40988 7
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Stet 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 40 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 436 40989 5
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... of Lesley Dunn in 1981 (of which, curiously, only 21 are included here) have been compared by Robert Nye to the poems written by Thomas Hardy after the death of his wife, and by Jonathan Raban to In Memoriam. The subject is a precarious one for poetry, and Dunn has not always succeeded in avoiding the pitfalls. Poems like ‘Dining’ and ...

Thousands of Little White Blobs

Daniel Pick, 23 November 1989

The Crowd and the Mob: From Plato to Canetti 
by J.S. McClelland.
Unwin Hyman, 343 pp., £35, December 1988, 0 04 320188 1
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... Some of the most interesting and best-researched work in this field, like the studies by Robert Nye and Susanna Barrows, is scrupulous to avoid both the reduction of crowds to mythology and the perpetuation of élitist generalisations about so-called mass society and its inevitable horror, mediocrity or vulgarity. It is a difficult position to ...

Lauraphobia

Jenny Turner, 10 March 1994

In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding 
by Deborah Baker.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £25, October 1993, 9780241128343
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... dressed in a different way – The quids’ idea of a holiday. ‘The Quids’ was admired by Robert Graves, who wrote a letter to Riding, inviting her to visit him and his wife in London. Riding would stay with Graves, first in London, then in Majorca, first in a ménage à trois, then as sole proprietor, for 14 years, from 1926 to 1940. London literary ...

Gurney’s Flood

Donald Davie, 3 February 1983

Geoffrey Grigson: Collected Poems 1963-1980 
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 419 4Show More
The Cornish Dancer 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 64 pp., £4.95, June 1982, 0 436 18805 8
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 420 8
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses: A Critical Collection 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 437 2
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Collected Poems of Ivor Gurney 
edited by P.J. Kavanagh.
Oxford, 284 pp., £12, September 1982, 0 19 211940 0
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War Letters 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 271 pp., £12, February 1983, 0 85635 408 2
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... Both phrases are perfectly clear, yet each is as far as possible from what the insufferable Robert Nye commends in the diction of Grigson: ‘how close that idiom comes to living speech’. Much virtue in that ‘living’! For Gurney, the life that there is in English speech has been injected into it by lonely, learned and masterfully artificial ...

Bevan’s Boy

John Campbell, 20 September 1984

The Making of Neil Kinnock 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 571 13266 9
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Neil Kinnock: The Path to Leadership 
by G.M.F. Drower.
Weidenfeld, 162 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 297 78467 6
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... Who to be the author of an anthology of the writings and sayings of Aneurin Bevan entitled What Nye said: each year the supposed publication date was authoritatively amended, although the book has never appeared. When asked about it by G.M.F. Drower, Kinnock prevaricated: It’s, er, in four cardboard boxes in the attic at the moment, having been moved ...

A Spanish girl is a volcano

John Pemble: Apostles in Gibraltar, 10 September 2015

John Kemble’s Gibraltar Journal: The Spanish Expedition of the Cambridge Apostles, 1830-31 
by Eric Nye.
Macmillan, 416 pp., £100, January 2015, 978 1 137 38446 1
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... and shot by a firing squad, two at a time. There were five British victims: four Gibraltarians and Robert Boyd, a young Irish officer of the Bengal Army who’d put up most of the cash, hoping for a glamorous alternative to service in India as a grandee in Torrijos’s Spain. He was better treated, though, than Lorca would be. The Spanish government allowed ...

Leading the Labour Party

Arthur Marwick, 5 November 1981

Michael Foot: A Portrait 
by Simon Hoggart and David Leigh.
Hodder, 216 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 340 27600 2
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... Labour prime minister. MacDonald was elected chairman and leader, as the press at the time, and Robert Mackenzie much later, stressed. MacDonald had the charisma, he had the contacts with the Left, and he profited from the general disenchantment with the war and those associated with it. That said, it is impossible to see the worthy Clynes as a ‘lost ...

Über-Tony

Ben Pimlott: Anthony Crosland, 3 September 1998

Crosland’s Future: Opportunity and Outcome 
by David Reisman.
Macmillan, 237 pp., £47.50, October 1997, 0 333 65963 5
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... Old Labour heroes that nobody mocks? Keir Hardie, G.D.H. Cole, Stafford Cripps, Gaitskell, even Nye Bevan, have become the subject of New Labour locker-room ribaldry. Yet to describe yourself as a ‘Crosland socialist’ still carries meaning. Maybe it is because of that sardonic smile, and an uneasy feeling that, if he were alive today, he would be doing ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... war.          GIVE ME GOOD PIGEONS! – A very large number of Great Commoners Built like Nye Bevan or Gambetta. Strong, rather than prettily melodious, clear and confident, this is the voice of Dunn at his best, homing in on subject-matter that is both universal and domestic. Dunn’s book is far from alone in its attention to home. Charles ...

You need a gun

Wolfgang Streeck: The A-Word, 14 December 2017

The H-Word: The Peripeteia of Hegemony 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 190 pp., £16.99, April 2017, 978 1 78663 368 2
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The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 179 pp., £14.99, April 2017, 978 1 78663 372 9
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... with preachers of the ‘white man’s burden’ school of belief in benevolent empire, among them Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, with their self-serving fairy tales about a post-Vietnam US internationalism organised around ‘complexity’, ‘interdependence’, ‘regime theory’ and ‘liberal institutionalism’. But ...

Prince of Darkness

Ian Aitken, 28 January 1993

Rupert Murdoch 
by William Shawcross.
Chatto, 616 pp., £18.99, September 1992, 0 7011 8451 5
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... as editor of the first newspaper he owned simply because he wrote too friendly an obituary of Nye Bevan. It is punctuated with the succession of lies he tells about his intentions towards many of the publications he buys up. It reaches a climax when he assures the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal that he has no intention of giving up his Australian ...

Good Fibs

Andrew O’Hagan: Truman Capote, 2 April 1998

Truman Capote: In which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career 
by George Plimpton.
Picador, 498 pp., £20, February 1998, 0 330 36871 0
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... book editors made themselves great by ignoring this advice. The best of them – Maxwell Perkins, Robert Giroux, Joe Fox, Bennett Cerf – allowed many brilliant young things to roll about on their front lawns, and some days they even took a drink in the company of these writers, or let their dogs loose to lick their fidgety, callused hands. A sad ...

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