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Does a donkey have to bray?

Terry Eagleton: The Reality Effect, 25 September 2008

Accident: A Philosophical and Literary History 
by Ross Hamilton.
Chicago, 342 pp., £18, February 2008, 978 0 226 31484 6
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... to look and taste like bread and wine. In this way, one opaque doctrine was obscured by another. Ross Hamilton begins his impressively erudite study of the accidental with Aristotle’s distinction, and notes its influence on Catholic theology. But he overlooks a more interesting theological aspect of the accidental, which is the doctrine of ...
Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Thomas Kunkel.
Random House, 497 pp., $25, March 1995, 0 679 41837 7
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... elegant magazine?’ This was Ben Hecht’s way of phrasing the Big Question about Harold Ross, the question that was asked repeatedly throughout Ross’s twenty-five years in charge of the New Yorker, and is still sometimes asked today: how did he do it? Or rather (Ross loathed ...


Ian Hamilton: Sport Poetry, 23 January 1986

... go home.And so I did, and stayed there for three months. Until last week. I’d been reading Alan Ross’s excellent new autobiography Blindfold Games,* somewhat stirred by the book’s several heartfelt passages on sport-as-art: ‘The development of a style in prose and poetry and the perfecting of a stroke at cricket or rackets have much in common. They ...


Ian Hamilton, 28 September 1989

Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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... is indeed bright with insiderism as he treks around Fitzrovia with Tambimuttu, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Dylan Thomas and the gang. ‘Senses were heightened, perceptions changed, new visions possible,’ he burbles, but even he finds it hard to convince himself that this heady atmosphere produced much in the way of even half-decent poetry and ...

Sorry to go on like this

Ian Hamilton: Kingsley Amis, 1 June 2000

The Letters of Kingsley Amis 
edited by Zachary Leader.
HarperCollins, 1208 pp., £24.99, May 2000, 0 00 257095 5
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... such things’? And then there were the one-per-letter put-downs of current literary rivals. Alan Ross, Amis notes in 1946, is being touted as a ‘promising young writer’, a designation for which, at this time, Amis yearned: A promising young writer. A promising young writer. A promising young writer. A promising young writer. A STEWPID LITTEL BOY WHO ...

The End of Labour?

Colin Kidd, 8 March 2012

... and uncomplicated electoral success interspersed with short squalls of panic. Until the Hamilton by-election in 1967 the SNP had won only a single Westminster seat, in a by-election protest vote in 1945. But Winnie Ewing’s victory in Hamilton took a very safe seat out of Labour’s grip. The defeat, according to ...

Passing-Out Time

Christopher Tayler: Patrick Hamilton’s drinking, 29 January 2009

The Slaves of Solitude 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Constable, 327 pp., £7.99, September 2008, 978 1 84529 415 1
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The Gorse Trilogy 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Black Spring, 603 pp., £9.95, June 2007, 978 0 948238 34 5
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... said, was always in the pub but never really of it. Much the same could be said of Patrick Hamilton, who was best known in his lifetime for his stage chillers Rope (1929) and Gaslight (1938), but is mostly remembered for the expert depictions of joyless interwar boozing in Hangover Square (1941) and the trilogy Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky ...

How much?

Ian Hamilton: Literary pay and literary prizes, 18 June 1998

Guide to Literary Prizes, 1998 
edited by Huw Molseed.
Book Trust, 38 pp., £3.99, May 1998, 0 85353 475 6
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The Cost of Letters: A Survey of Literary Living Standards 
edited by Andrew Holgate and Honor Wilson-Fletcher.
W Magazine, 208 pp., £2, May 1998, 0 9527405 9 1
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... this new investigation. In 1946, George Orwell, Stephen Spender, Herbert Read and Julian Maclaren-Ross each testified that he could manage on £1000 a year net. V.S. Pritchett needed a bit more. Elizabeth Bowen raised a few eyebrows at the time by confessing that ‘I would like to have £3500 a year net’ and Cyril Connolly, who organised Horizon’s ...

At the Rob Tufnell Gallery

August Kleinzahler: Christopher Logue, 5 November 2015

... London. Around this time he had begun working on his translations from the Iliad with Donald Carne-Ross, and published a poem in the New Statesman grandly titled ‘To My Fellow Artists’. He found the atmosphere in London exhilarating, admiring the work, like Look Back in Anger, being staged at the Royal Court, and the Free Cinema movement (‘free’ from ...

Worst President in History

Eric Foner: Impeaching Andrew Johnson, 24 September 2020

The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation 
by Brenda Wineapple.
Ballantine, 592 pp., £12.99, May, 978 0 8129 8791 1
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... see them, but what constitutes a high crime or a misdemeanour? In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton described impeachment as a political process, not a criminal one – a way of punishing ‘an abuse or violation of some public trust’. But generally, Congress has assumed that impeachment requires the president to have violated a specific law. The ...

Seventy Years in a Colourful Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: The Soho Alphabet, 16 July 2020

Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia 
by Darren Coffield.
Unbound, 364 pp., £25, April 2020, 978 1 78352 816 5
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... for the Turner Prize.There were certain especially instructive figures, among them Julian Maclaren-Ross, denizen of Fitzrovia, not least because his travails forever appeared to eclipse his talent. Although he was a very good writer indeed, the question of how he looked and how he failed lives more forcefully in the mind than his wonderful essays do. A ...

Roth, Pinter, Berlin and Me

Christopher Tayler: Clive James, 11 March 2010

The Blaze of Obscurity: The TV Years 
by Clive James.
Picador, 325 pp., £17.99, October 2009, 978 0 330 45736 1
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... up shop as a pen for hire in London. Working chiefly for Karl Miller, Terence Kilmartin and Ian Hamilton, on the Listener, the Observer and the New Review, he quickly made a name for himself as a versatile, witty literary journalist with a non-waffling mode of address that was thought to be distinctively, and refreshingly, Australian. He also turned out ...

In the Body Bag

Adam Mars-Jones: Ian McEwan’s ‘Nutshell’, 6 October 2016

by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 198 pp., £16.99, September 2016, 978 1 911214 33 5
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... down to his last quarter million), and would dearly like to get his hands on the house in Hamilton Terrace, while Trudy’s love for John has turned to an exasperated hatred, made fully toxic when she discovers, or imagines, that he has a new partner of his own. But somewhere along the line what started out as cosmic tragedy has turned into an example ...

The Corrupt Bargain

Eric Foner: Democracy? No thanks, 21 May 2020

Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? 
by Alexander Keyssar.
Harvard, 544 pp., £28.95, May, 978 0 674 66015 1
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Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College 
by Jesse Wegman.
St Martin’s Press, 304 pp., $24.50, March, 978 1 250 22197 1
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... Placing prominent men of ‘discernment’ between the electorate and the final outcome, Alexander Hamilton insisted, would hold popular passions in check and prevent a demagogue, perhaps beholden to a foreign government, rising to power. James Madison had a more self-interested objection to popular election. The political power of the South, where slaves made ...


Henry Day: Ibn Battutah’s travels, 15 December 2005

The Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah 
by Tim Mackintosh-Smith.
Murray, 333 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 7195 6225 2
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... who was to bring India’s Malabar coast to the attention of the Western Mediterranean. Sir Hamilton Gibb, Ibn Battutah’s first English translator, called him ‘the supreme example of le géographe malgré lui’, and the exuberance of the Rihlah’s descriptive detail – its fascination with the Malians’ use of salt as both currency and building ...

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