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Craig Raine, 3 February 1983

Confessions of an Actor 
by Laurence Olivier.
Weidenfeld, 305 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 297 78106 5
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... There are a number of photographs in this book which show Olivier purloining the moustache of Ronald Coleman and the tidal quiff of Clark Gable. Handsome, yes. Real, absolutely not. At any rate, a million miles away from ‘The Laurels’, Brickfield Terrace, Holloway, where the Pooters lived. The good thing to emerge ...

Prinney, Boney, Boot

Roy Porter, 20 March 1986

The English Satirical Print 1600-1832 
edited by Michael Duffy.
Chadwyck-Healey, February 1986
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... urban culture so conspicuously neglected by 18th-century historians from E.P. Thompson to J.C. Clark. Making sense of political prints, their texts and contexts, is thus no easy matter, and they have not been well served by scholars. Art historians have cold-shouldered them, which may be just as well (what mincemeat Hogarth would have made of certain ...

Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

... Constructivist Aleksandr Rodchenko among postwar Latin American Neo-Concrete artists such as Lygia Clark, or the placing of outsider ceramics by George Ohr, the ‘Mad Potter of Biloxi’, near prized paintings by Symbolists like Gauguin (I suppose on the basis of a shared ‘primitivism’). More suggestive still is the ambiguous pairing of Fiery Sunset ...


Gavin Millar, 13 September 1990

Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles 
by Frank Brady.
Hodder, 655 pp., £18.95, January 1990, 0 340 51389 6
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If this was happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 312 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79630 5
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Norma Shearer 
by Gavin Lambert.
Hodder, 381 pp., £17.95, August 1990, 0 340 52947 4
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Ava’s Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner 
by Jane Ellen Wayne.
Robson, 268 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 86051 636 9
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Goldwyn: A Biography 
by Scott Berg.
Hamish Hamilton, 579 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 241 12832 3
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The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era 
by Thomas Schatz.
Simon and Schuster, 514 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 671 69708 0
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... creating and maintaining an image, and when it worked it was supported by the best team available: Clark Gable, Cedric Gibbons sets, Adrian gowns, William Daniels lighting, accommodating directors. (Who wouldn’t be accommodating? As Crawford pointed out, the star was sleeping with the boss.) It seems appropriate that little Eva Duarte left home for the ...

Buffed-Up Scholar

Stefan Collini: Eliot and the Dons, 30 August 2012

Letters of T.S. Eliot, Vol. III: 1926-27 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 954 pp., £40, July 2012, 978 0 571 14085 5
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... history of English as a discipline. Much his most substantial engagement was the delivery of the Clark Lectures in English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge. Between late January and early March 1926 he gave eight lectures on ‘The Metaphysical Poetry of the 17th Century with Special Reference to Donne, Crashaw and Cowley’, lectures which, almost ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... not allegory.5 September, Mells. I knew about Mells from reading Evelyn Waugh’s biography of Ronald Knox and from all the First World War stuff which comes at the end of the first act of Forty Years On. The church closes off a short street of terraced houses which wouldn’t be remarkable were they in Rotherham, say, but are more so here, in that like ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... the Federal Employee Loyalty and Security Program, a decision, as Truman’s White House counsel Clark Clifford later admitted, driven by the prospect of the 1948 election and not by any security menace: ‘We did not believe there was a real problem. A problem was being manufactured.’ Truman himself, in private correspondence, said much the ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... on ‘Pity Me Not’; but there we go. I’m not sure which was which; but one of them I sent to Ronald Duncan at the Royal Court. Immense crowd scenes, people standing around, pitying the hero – i.e. me.It sounds very like Duncan. It was. This Way to the Tomb was his big play at the time. I liked that title.You say you also wrote a more overtly political ...

Festival of Punishment

Thomas Laqueur: On Death Row, 5 October 2000

Proximity to Death 
by William McFeely.
Norton, 206 pp., £17.95, January 2000, 0 393 04819 5
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Death Row: The Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment 
edited by Bonnie Bobit.
Bobit, 311 pp., $24.95, September 1999, 0 9624857 6 4
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... to have abandoned this, the most ancient and most terrible of punishments. By the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s second term, in 1984, however, something seems to have gone horribly wrong, or deliciously right, depending on one’s point of view. The US struck out away from Western democracies and found itself in very strange company indeed. The average ...

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