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Fyodor, Anna, Leonid

Dan Jacobson: Leonid Tsypkin, 9 May 2002

Summer in Baden-Baden 
by Leonid Tsypkin, translated by Roger Keys and Angela Keys.
New Directions, 146 pp., $23.95, November 2001, 0 8112 1484 2
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... The force and originality of Leonid Tsypkin’s writing can be conveyed only by way of sustained quotation. Thus: I was on a train, travelling by day, but it was winter-time – late December, the very depths – and to add to it the train was heading north – to Leningrad – so it was quickly darkening on the other side of the windows – bright lights of Moscow stations flashing into view and vanishing again behind me like the scattering of some invisible hand – each snow-veiled suburban platform with its fleeting row of lamps melting into one fiery ribbon – the dull drone of a station rushing past, as if the train were roaring over a bridge – the sound muffled by the double-glazed windows with frames not quite hermetically sealed into fogged-up, half-frozen panes of glass – pierced even so by the station-lights forcefully etching their line of fire – and beyond, the sense of boundless snowy wastes – and the violent sway of the carriage from side to side – pitching and rolling – especially in the end corridor – and outside, once complete darkness had fallen and only the hazy whiteness of snow was visible and the suburban dachas had come to an end and in the window along with me was the reflection of the carriage with its ceiling-lights and seated passengers, I took from the suitcase in the rack above me a book I had already started to read in Moscow and which I had brought especially for the journey ...

Resentment

John Sutherland, 21 March 1991

Francesca 
by Roger Scruton.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 236 pp., £13.95, February 1991, 9781856190480
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Slave of the Passions 
by Deirdre Wilson.
Picador, 251 pp., £14.99, February 1991, 0 330 31788 1
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The Invisible Worm 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 182 pp., £12.95, February 1991, 1 85619 041 2
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The Secret Pilgrim 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 335 pp., £14.95, January 1991, 0 340 54381 7
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... There are many Roger Scrutons and it is not easy to reconcile them: barrister, aesthetician, champion of Senator Joseph McCarthy, teacher at Birkbeck College (an institution with a tradition of proletarian outreach), editor of the ultra-Tory Salisbury Review foxhunter. And novelist. Fortnight’s Anger (1981) was hard-going – a murky tale of adolescent sexuality full of sentences like: ‘Her hands trembled on his face and neck ...

Diary

Elaine Showalter: My Year of Living Dangerously, 2 April 1998

... bodyguards?’ asked my London landlord, peering hopefully over my shoulder as I picked up the keys. It was an early warning of how great a disappointment I would be to my British friends. UK newspaper reports of American reactions to my book Hystories, published in March last year, had mentioned threats of assassination, and had described me as requiring ...

Mother’s Prettiest Thing

Jenny Diski, 4 February 2016

... the crisis was over and Peter was pronounced living for a day or two more. We, Doris’s staples, Roger, Chloe, Christopher and I, took it in turns to wait outside the ICU, to be called, although we all said we were doing it for Doris not Peter, who had failed to draw any warmth from us. What was his quality of life? The big question from the doctor who made ...

Into Thin Air

Marina Warner: Science at the Séances, 3 October 2002

The Invention of Telepathy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 334 pp., £35, June 2002, 0 19 924962 8
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... investigators during the last three decades of the 19th century, the period dealt with in Roger Luckhurst’s study. Photography was of inestimable importance in disseminating the performance of the mediums, as well as offering a deep metaphor for the relation between external matter and immaterial thought. While the interplay between psychology and ...

I, too, write a little

Lorna Sage: Katherine Mansfield, 18 June 1998

The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol I 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 310 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 48 4
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The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol II 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 355 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 49 2
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... of some hotel without a proprietor who has all his work cut out to enter the names and hand the keys to the wilful guests.’ What this means, however, is that the quest for the elusive one true self is becoming more urgent than ever before: ‘Is it not possible that the rage for confession, autobiography, especially for memories of early childhood is ...
... sense, again. There was usually comedy lurking in it somewhere. I remember Doris ringing while Roger and I were in the middle of a furious argument about the details of how the two of us would split up our treasures. House, child, hi-fi. It was clear from my voice that something was up, so I told her what she had unwittingly parachuted into. ‘Oh, for ...

Caretaker/Pallbearer

James Wolcott: Updike should stay at home, 1 January 2009

The Widows of Eastwick 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2008, 978 0 241 14427 5
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... undergone the indignity of having his work rejected, his relationship tapered; his byline, like Roger Angell’s, is one of the magazine’s most comforting standbys. A writer’s true adversaries are those that eat from the inside. It’s the rust that accretes, the synapses that no longer fire, the fading of acuity – the deep wide focus necessary to ...

Is Wagner bad for us?

Nicholas Spice, 11 April 2013

... experience. Michael Tanner speaks of its ‘qualifications for religious status’; while for Roger Scruton, Tristan und Isolde offers nothing less than ‘a sacrificial consolation for the imperfect loves of those who witness it’.In the early days, the expressionistic intensity of Tristan und Isolde produced violent reactions in its audiences. The ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Finding My Métier, 4 January 2018

... funny and immensely soothing. It’s perhaps why I go to sleep with a very uncomfortable bunch of keys in my pyjama pocket.17 July. I’m perhaps getting jaded, but listening to the Proms I found the two Elgar symphonies, No. 1 on Friday, No. 2 yesterday, both strident and unmoving as done by Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle. Then I remember that the ...

The Suitcase

Frances Stonor Saunders, 30 July 2020

... and the stale vapours of the past. It is fastened by two rusty lockable latches, but there are no keys, so it may have to be prised open. I haven’t tried. It is very heavy and I loaded it into my car with difficulty. My mother, who was with me that day, was unusually quiet as I drove her home. She simply said: ‘If you open that suitcase you’ll never ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... and packed a nappy bag and wrapped her son in a blanket. Her purse was in the nappy bag and her keys were in her hand. It wasn’t easy to go down: she had not long ago had a hip operation, and she’d never really wanted to be in a tower. She said she always dreamed of living in a place with a garden. But she went down the stairs holding her son and was ...

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