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Dreams of Avarice

Patrick Parrinder

29 August 1991
A Closed Eye 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 255 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 0 224 03090 6
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Underwood and After 
by Ronald Frame.
Hodder, 246 pp., £14.99, August 1991, 0 340 55359 6
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Lemprière’s Dictionary 
by Lawrence Norfolk.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 530 pp., £14.95, August 1991, 1 85619 053 6
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... double-blind. The hint of intellectual subtlety is wasted here on an unconvincing plot, predictable situations, and a stylistic decorum verging on self-parody. No one is ‘discreetly wealthy’ in RonaldFrame’s snappy Underwood and Alter: their wealth is as indiscreet as the narrator’s fascination with it. Ralph Witton lives in a collector’s world of oriental carpets, sports cars and ...

Spivsville

Jonathan Bate

27 July 1989
Train, Train 
by Graham Coster.
Bloomsbury, 225 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 9780747503941
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The Philosophers 
by Alex Comfort.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 9780715625118
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The King of the Fields 
by Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Cape, 256 pp., £10.95, July 1989, 0 224 02663 1
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Sister Hollywood 
by C.K. Stead.
Collins, 224 pp., £11.95, June 1989, 0 00 223479 3
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Penelope’s Hat 
by Ronald Frame.
Hodder, 440 pp., £12.95, July 1989, 0 340 49397 6
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... reader precisely because there is no narrator to accompany us into this dark, cruel world which is and is not an allegorical representation of 20th-century Europe. C.K. Stead’s Sister Hollywood and RonaldFrame’s Penelope’s Hat both represent a certain mid-point between egotistical and self-annihilating narrative. Stead’s novel is written in two different voices: much the more interesting is the ...

The Tarnished Age

Richard Mayne

3 September 1981
David O. Selznick’s Hollywood 
by Ronald​ Haver.
Secker, 425 pp., £35, December 1980, 0 436 19128 8
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My Early life 
by Ronald​ Reagan and Richard Hubler.
Sidgwick, 316 pp., £7.95, April 1981, 0 283 98771 5
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Naming Names 
by Victor Navasky.
Viking, 482 pp., $15.95, October 1980, 0 670 50393 2
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... on Gone with the Wind. A good half of the book is pictorial – playbills, posters, designers’ sketches, views of Hollywood, facsimiles of memoranda and old newspapers, publicity stills and frame enlargements, pages of shots from David Selznick films. All it lacks is a disc in the binding with a score by Dimitri Tiomkin. And yet, despite the hype, the book repays the muscular effort of ...

ODQ

Richard Usborne

24 January 1980
The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations 
Oxford, 908 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 9780192115607Show More
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... First the bad news. They have printed the Mgr Ronald Knox limerick as above. I am not going to look at the Baring-Gould book to see if the mistake was primarily his. But surely the proper Knox version made sense, and went something like Evangelical ...

Deadad

Iain Sinclair: On the Promenade

17 August 2006
... were four distinct marks in the carpet, indentations where the chair that took their combined weight had stood. A detail noticed, with affectionate forensic eye, in the bedroom of the house in which Ronald Walter Kötting died in 2000. Father’s heart was bad, he spent time in hospital – and then, with no hope of recovery, he came home to wait. Andrew Kötting undertook a sequence of black and white ...

Right Stuff

Alexander Cockburn

7 February 1991
An American Life 
by Ronald​ Reagan.
Hutchinson, 748 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 0 09 174507 1
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... Convention in New Orleans in 1988, flesh was no longer a word one could even toy with, as I gazed at his impassive lizard-like countenance. The President’s body sat there, not at all like a human frame reposing in the moments before public oratory, but as Reagan-at-rest extruding not a tincture of emotion until impelled by some unseen spasm of synapses into Reagan-amused, the briefest of smiles ...
3 September 1987
Mantegna 
by Ronald​ Lightbown.
Phaidon/Christie’s, 512 pp., £60, July 1986, 0 7148 8031 0
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The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo Rediscovered 
edited by Massimo Giacometti, translated by Paul Holberton.
Muller, Blond and White, 271 pp., £40, September 1986, 0 584 11140 1
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... There never has been a great painter more inclined than Mantegna to lavish skill and thought on minute particulars, and even if this is less clear than it might be from the plates in Ronald Lightbown’s massive monograph, Lightbown himself has a very keen eye for the subordinate, often tiny things which the artist painted so well, and has industriously inquired into what exactly they ...
18 April 1985
Objections to Nuclear Defence: Philosophers on Deterrence 
edited by Nigel Blake and Kay Pole.
Routledge, 187 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 7102 0249 0
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Reagan and the World: Imperial Policy in the New Cold War 
by Jeff McMahan.
Pluto, 214 pp., £3.95, August 1984, 0 86104 602 1
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A future that will work 
by David Owen.
Viking, 192 pp., £12.95, August 1984, 0 670 80564 5
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The Most Dangerous Decade: World Militarism and the New Non-Aligned Peace Movement 
by Ken Coates.
Spokesman, 211 pp., £15, July 1984, 9780851244051
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... It’s not that Ronald Reagan hasn’t got any ideas of his own,’ an American who held high office in the Pentagon under Jimmy Carter remarked recently. ‘The trouble is that he has such peculiar ones.’ He was ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors

3 January 2002
... shoe. Coyly she looks up. ‘Have I,’ she says in those exaggeratedly correct tones of which she was so proud and which marked her out as a professional woman, ‘Have I the pleasure of serving Mr Ronald Colman?’ Whereupon Mr Ronald Colman (and God forgive him) looks most put out, says ‘No,’ and strides out into Commercial Street. Of course had Aunty had more sense she would have waited until ...

Hateful Sunsets

David Craig: Highlands and Headlands

5 March 2015
Rising Ground: A Search for the Spirit of Place 
by Philip Marsden.
Granta, 348 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 1 84708 628 0
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... America’? These words epitomise for me the epic quality of that end of England. You feel as though you are at the prow of a ship on a voyage that follows the sun across the ocean. It depends on the frame of mind that you bring to the zawns and the headlands and the moors. Near the start of Rising Ground Marsden brings back to life a mason called Daniel Gumb who lived early in the 18th century, with ...

Regrets

Michael Wood

17 December 1992
The Art of Cinema 
by Jean Cocteau, André Bernard and Claude Gauteur, translated by Robin Buss.
Marion Boyars, 224 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 7145 2947 8
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Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures 
by Célia Bertin, translated by Mireille Muellner and Leonard Muellner.
Johns Hopkins, 403 pp., £20.50, August 1991, 0 8018 4184 4
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Jean Renoir: Projections of Paradise 
by Ronald​ Bergan.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 7475 0837 2
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Malle on Malle 
edited by Philip French.
Faber, 236 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16237 1
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Republic of Images: A History of French Film-Making 
by Alan Williams.
Harvard, 458 pp., £39.95, April 1992, 0 674 76267 3
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... what might be done, or might have been done. Their characters are bereft of faith or certainty, but they feel the answer to their questions is out of reach rather than non-existent; just beyond the frame, or leaving the school courtyard as you give a faint wave of your hand. What all this suggests is what we already know from many other sources: that the war and the Occupation, collaboration and ...

Berlusconi in Tehran

Slavoj Žižek: The Rome-Tehran Axis

23 July 2009
... as what he is – one opportunistic politician among many. But whatever the outcome, it is vital to keep in mind that we have witnessed a great emancipatory event which doesn’t fit within the frame of a struggle between pro-Western liberals and anti-Western fundamentalists. If we don’t see this, if as a consequence of our cynical pragmatism, we have lost the capacity to recognise the promise ...

Prodigious Powers

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

21 January 1982
The Greeks and their Heritages 
by Arnold Toynbee.
Oxford, 334 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 19 215256 4
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... prime requisite in those days was the ability to render English verse or prose into elegant Greek or Latin. Toynbee was not as good at this as his father-in-law Gilbert Murray or his own contemporary Ronald Knox: but he was good enough to win a Balliol scholarship, which he followed up with First Classes in both Mods and Greats and a Balliol Fellowship in Ancient History. Saved by an opportune attack of ...

The kind of dog he likes

W.G. Runciman: Realistic Utopias

18 December 2014
Justice for Earthlings: Essays in Political Philosophy 
by David Miller.
Cambridge, 254 pp., £18.99, January 2013, 978 1 107 61375 1
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... Why ‘earthlings’​ ? David Miller isn’t drawing a contrast with justice for creatures from outer space. Nor is he taking issue directly with Ronald Dworkin’s ‘justice for hedgehogs’ in Dworkin’s book of 2011 with that title, although Miller does say in a footnote that he disagrees with him. He has in his sights the ‘neo-Augustinians ...

Olivier Rex

Ronald​ Bryden

1 September 1988
Olivier 
by Anthony Holden.
Weidenfeld, 504 pp., £16, May 1988, 0 297 79089 7
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... and Blakelock could not deny it. The 20-year-old Olivier’s hairline was simianly low, his eyebrows tangled over his nose, his front teeth had a gap wide enough to stick a straw in, and his starved frame looked even bonier in suits handed down by his uncles. By the time he left the Birmingham Rep for London, he had transformed himself. Photographs of the early Thirties show a glossy young matinee ...

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