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Cervantics

Robin Chapman, 18 September 1986

Don Quixote 
by E.C. Riley.
Allen and Unwin, 224 pp., £18, February 1986, 0 04 800009 4
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Don Quixote – which was a dream 
by Kathy Acker.
Paladin, 207 pp., £2.95, April 1986, 0 586 08554 8
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... helpful in persuading booksellers that here was a book they might risk having on their shelves. Robin Denniston of the Oxford University Press then very generously wrote on the book’s behalf to a number of leading literary editors suggesting that this was a novel worth sending out for review. The book was widely noticed, and liked as well. Reviews helped ...

Maria Isabel

Graham Hough, 22 January 1981

The Duchess’s Diary 
by Robin Chapman.
Boudicca Books, 126 pp., £3.95, February 1980, 0 9506715 0 9
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The Interceptor Pilot 
by Kenneth Gangemi.
Boyars, 127 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 7145 2699 1
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Judgment Day 
by Penelope Lively.
Heinemann, 167 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 434 42738 1
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Voyovic 
by Niall Quinn.
Wolfhound, 163 pp., £5.95, December 1980, 0 905473 61 2
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... duchess who thereafter plays a considerable part in their adventures. In The Duchess’s Diary Robin Chapman imagines her to have been an actual person, who had met not the fictitious Quixote but the real Cervantes; and the diary, supposedly translated from the original MS, tells her story. The first book of Don Quixote came out in 1605, the second ...

Andante Capriccioso

Karl Miller, 20 February 1986

The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha 
by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Tobias Smollett.
Deutsch, 846 pp., £15, January 1986, 0 233 97840 2
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... of Smollett’s footnoting, corrigenda and rambling syntax. This was The Duchess’s Diary by Robin Chapman,3 whom I last saw, many years ago on the Cambridge undergraduate stage, in Jacobean doublet and hose. And now here he is with a Duke Jeronimo. It is as if he has yet to change back – such is his feeling for the ways of 17th-century Spain, for ...

Walking backward

Robert Taubman, 21 August 1980

Selected Works of Djuna Barnes 
Faber, 366 pp., £5.50, July 1980, 0 571 11579 9Show More
Black Venus’s Tale 
by Angela Carter.
Next Editions/Faber, 35 pp., £1.95, June 1980, 9780907147022
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The Last Peacock 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 370 30261 3
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The Birds of the Air 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 7156 1491 6
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... all along withholds more than it reveals. T. S. Eliot maintained: ‘As with Dostoevski and George Chapman, one feels that the action is hardly more than the shadow-play of something taking place on another plane of reality.’ I can’t see any grounds for positing another plane of reality, except the sheer vagueness of what takes place on this one. There are ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation, 7 September 2016

... 1980s. They hold their own with more famous photos, taken on and around the Beat scene by Harold Chapman, Fred McDarrah and John Cohen. The photographer Robert Frank is in another league; a dozen prints from The Americans, first published in Paris in 1958 with texts by Beauvoir, Steinbeck, Faulkner and others, hang alongside the Kerouac ms. Frank’s ...

Cowboy Coups

Phillip Knightley, 10 October 1991

Smear! Wilson and the Secret State 
by Stephen Dorrill and Robin Ramsay.
Fourth Estate, 502 pp., £20, August 1991, 9781872180687
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... the Spectator, can be explained in terms of his mischievous iconoclasm. But what are we to make of Chapman Pincher, who does not seem to mind the fact that the secret state regarded him as ‘a contact who could be used to plant leaks’. Did Mr Pincher never think of asking himself why the secret state wished to plant these leaks? Or did he know and ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1996, 2 January 1997

... Trinder the longest lived. 1 October. I have just finished reading A Passionate Prodigality by Guy Chapman, one of the books belonging to Francis Hope that I picked up in the summer. From its less than snappy title it would be hard to guess what the book is about and this perhaps explains why, so far as I’m aware, it has no reputation. Originally published ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... the magnate, George Walker; once, according to James Morton, an ‘ally’ of Billy Hill and Eddie Chapman, later a frequently puffed adornment of the Thatcherite open market culture.) There is nothing new in the concept, quality tailoring bonded over primal naughtiness. It has been spelled out frequently in the underground literature that shadows the ...

Elizabethan Spirits

William Empson, 17 April 1980

The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age 
by Frances Yates.
Routledge, 224 pp., £7.75, November 1979, 9780710003201
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... danger from the horse-play of the Middle Spirits. Scot remarks that people used to be afraid of Robin Goodfellow (but now they are only afraid of witches, he goes on), and Robin had never been thought a killer. It is rather a hard matter to assess. ‘They laugh and are glad and are terrible,’ says The Immortal ...

The Things We Throw Away

Andrew O’Hagan: The Garbage of England, 24 May 2007

... mentality.’ ‘We just want to save resources,’ said Martin, with a sigh. ‘It’s more of a Robin Hood model – we’re stealing from the corporations. We found a bin today with fifty or sixty cartons of milk inside.’ Everything Alf and Martin own is in the van. They sleep in the back and they don’t have sex with anyone. I asked Alf if there ...

Vermin Correspondence

Iain Sinclair, 20 October 1994

Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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... genre hack’s best hope of getting into newsprint. There was, for example, fulsome coverage for Robin Cook (Derek Raymond) once he had gone; local colour pieces (memory tapes from the Coach and Horses) outweighing the tepid inches of a life-time’s review space. Cook, that most civilised of men, most troubled of writers, was one of the last to sustain a ...

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