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Jesus Christie

Richard Wollheim, 3 October 1985

J.T. Christie: A Great Teacher 
by Donald Lindsay, Roger Young and Hugh Lloyd-Jones.
Plume, 211 pp., £12.50, September 1984, 0 947656 00 6
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... at boys whose loutish views enraged him – though never very hard. Once he was knocked out when young Ribbentrop hurled back a Latin grammar and hit him on the forehead. When I arrived at Westminster, the headmaster was the Reverend Harold Costley-White. He was a large, extremely handsome man, silver-haired, highly mellifluous, somewhere between a bishop ...

Death to America Day

Roger Hardy, 15 September 1988

Europe and the Mystique of Islam 
by Maxime Rodinson, translated by Roger Veinus.
Tauris, 163 pp., £19.50, April 1988, 1 85043 104 3
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The Political Language of Islam 
by Bernard Lewis.
Chicago, 168 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 226 47692 8
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Islam and Revolution in the Middle East 
by Henry Munson.
Yale, 180 pp., £15.95, June 1988, 0 300 04127 6
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... when an American Navy diver was brutally murdered – an act for which Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a young Lebanese Shi’ite, is currently on trial in Frankfurt. The prospect of an end to the Gulf War may ease Muslim anger but is unlikely to end it. It sometimes seems that militant Islam was spawned by Ayatollah Khomeini, and hence that it is no more than a ...

Dangerous Faults

Frank Kermode, 4 November 1993

Shear 
by Tim Parks.
Heinemann, 214 pp., £13.99, August 1993, 0 434 57745 6
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... of the earlier books, one might have been content to speak merely of control of tone. In Loving Roger, for instance, the narrator is a young woman, Anna, though there are interpolated diary passages and letters by her young man. In this book the pleasure of the big bang at the end is ...

Underparts

Nicholas Spice, 6 November 1986

Roger’s Version 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 316 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 233 97988 3
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The Voyeur 
by Alberto Moravia, translated by Tim Parks.
Secker, 186 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 436 28721 8
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Dvorak in Love 
by Josef Skvorecky, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 322 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 7011 2994 8
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Moments of Reprieve 
by Primo Levi, translated by Ruth Feldman.
Joseph, 172 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2726 9
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... and thrust his hairy rump into his partner’s face, demanding that she kiss it, which she did. In Roger’s Version the roles are reversed. Now it is a young woman – Verna Ekelof – who exposes herself. She is standing only a few inches from where her uncle, Roger Lambert, is ...

Young and Old

John Sutherland, 15 October 1981

Life Stories 
by A.L. Barker.
Hogarth, 319 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 7012 0538 5
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Many Men and Talking Wives 
by Helen Muir.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 7156 1613 7
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Good Behaviour 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 9780233973326
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A Separate Development 
by Christopher Hope.
Routledge, 199 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7100 0954 2
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From Little Acorns 
by Howard Buten.
Harvester, 156 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7108 0390 7
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Fortnight’s Anger 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 85635 376 0
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... stories. The collection finishes with a sudden awareness of age. Ironically, she who had been young when youth was ‘practically a felony’ finds herself old when youth has usurped all privilege. The fact is not particularly resented: ‘it would serve only a maudlin purpose to question a way of life which, at the most liberal estimate, is ...

What else is new?

Jonathan Coe, 11 March 1993

The Long Night of White Chickens 
by Francisco Goldman.
Faber, 450 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16098 0
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... in Francisco Goldman’s impressive first novel comes near the end, when his hero-narrator, Roger Graetz, takes a bus journey up into the Guatemalan highlands and stops off in a village just as the Indians are packing up their market in a dirt plaza. Brooding over what he knows about the village – how the army has only recently allowed nuns and ...

Diary

Nicolas Freeling: On Missing the Detective Story, 11 June 1992

... monument; would make a fine pyramid of skulls but who would be bothered? ‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ shouted Edmund Wilson, exasperated, but it would barely be a mutter today. For who, sleepless in the guest bedroom in even the dankest of shires, is going to pounce gleefully upon Freeman Wills Crofts? But in 1930 – name to conjure with. Does ...
Talking Blues: The Police in their Own Words 
by Roger Graef.
Collins Harvill, 512 pp., £15, May 1989, 0 00 272436 7
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... attitudes of the British Police in recent years – almost all of it for the worse. I recall as a young reporter in Scotland covering the case of a teenage boy who had been beaten up by a policeman in Thurso, which is near John o’Groats. There was the most fearful hullabaloo based on the belief that this sort of thing could only happen in the wilderness of ...

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 ...

Mr Lion, Mr Cock and Mr Cat

Roger Lonsdale, 5 April 1990

A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... of religious truths to a dispersed public audience from the emotional intimacy dramatised in Young’s Night Thoughts. (The ‘Mr Fairly’ with whom Fanny Burney had what is for Guest a paradigmatic conversation about Young at Court in the 1780s was Col. Stephen Digby, the Queen’s Vice-Chamberlain.) It is a tribute ...

Out of a job in Aberdeen

Roger Penrose, 26 September 1991

The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell 
edited by P.M. Harman.
Cambridge, 748 pp., £125, November 1990, 0 521 25625 9
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... of Cartesian ovals, though Maxwell was originally unaware of Descartes’s work in this area. The young Maxwell devised ingenious ways of describing such curves with string, pins, paper and pencil. To gain a flavour of what it involved, try to imagine a device for drawing a curve in a plane, the curve being defined as the locus of points for which the sum of ...

Diary

John Sutherland: Sad Professor, 18 February 1999

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture 
by Roger Scruton.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £14.95, November 1998, 0 7156 2870 4
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... Like Diogenes in his tub, Roger Scruton has stripped himself of his professorship of aesthetics to rail, ungowned, against the age in which fate has deposited him. Scruton’s opposition to the times has two current manifestations: one is his lyrical advocacy of the feudal harmonies of the fox-hunt; the other is his hatred of ‘yoof’ culture ...

Did the self-made man fake it with Bohemian fossils?

Richard Fortey: Jacques Deprat, 25 November 1999

The Deprat Affair: Ambition, Revenge and Deceit in French Indochina 
by Roger Osborne.
Cape, 244 pp., £15.99, October 1999, 0 224 05295 0
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... On 23 May 1909, Jacques Deprat left France for Hanoi with his young family to start a career as a geologist in the Service Géologique de l’Indochine. His advancement had been won against the odds. His beginnings were humble, if respectable, and he had progressed by virtue of hard work. He had published brilliant papers on the geological structure of Corsica, which had eventually earned him the respect of a distinguished sponsor, Professor Termier at the Ecole des Mines in Paris ...

Bolsheviks and Bohemians

Angus Calder, 5 April 1984

The Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Hugh Brogan.
Cape, 456 pp., £10.95, January 1984, 0 224 02010 2
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Bohemia in London 
by Arthur Ransome, introduced by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Oxford, 284 pp., £3.50, January 1984, 0 19 281412 5
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... book, Bohemia in London, Ransome couldn’t have guessed that of those two struggling young literary journalists, Thomas would become a major poet, and he himself the author of children’s tales loved by millions – nor that his liking for the verse of W.H. Davies, from which he quoted at length in Bohemia, was the portent of a shift in taste ...

Patient

Dan Jacobson, 17 February 1983

... The house surgeon was a blonde, tender-skinned young woman, with irises of so pale a blue, set in such wide, weary whites, they looked almost grey. Her hair was drawn back, but wisps of it escaped at her temples and forehead, and formed a kind of soft, irregular frame for her face. It gave a certain pathos to the earnestness of her expression ...

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