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Bloody Horse

Samuel Hynes, 1 December 1983

Roy CampbellA Critical Biography 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 277 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 19 211750 5
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The Selected Poems of Roy Campbell 
edited by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 131 pp., £7.50, July 1982, 9780192119469
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... Roy Campbell has been dead for twenty-five years, and in that time his reputation, such as it was, has faded almost entirely away (I can quote only one of his poems from memory – the epigram on South African novelists that ends ‘But where’s the bloody horse?’). Campbell is one now of that large, sad category, the Neglected Poets, along with many whom, in his day, he despised: Humbert Wolfe, for example, and Vita Sackville-West and Edward Shanks ...

Some Flim-Flam with Socks

Adam Kuper: Laurens van der Post, 3 January 2002

Storyteller: The Many Lives of Laurens van der Post 
by J.D.F. Jones.
Murray, 505 pp., £25, September 2001, 0 7195 5580 9
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... Charles would murmur: ‘How true.’ Fortunately for him, no journalist discovered that as the royal marriage began to disintegrate, Van der Post had referred both Charles and Diana to a London friend who practised (unqualified) as a Jungian analyst. The real puzzle about Van der Post is that his patently unreliable guff about Bushmen, Africa, Jung and the ...

Poor Harold

C.H. Sisson, 3 December 1981

Harold Nicolson: A Biography. Vo. II: 1930-1968 
by James Lees-Milne.
Chatto, 403 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 7011 2602 7
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... have brought some penalties. He seems to have been hardly aware of this, for even at the North Croydon by-election of 1948, when he, stood as a Labour candidate, he could say: ‘I have no hesitation about penetrating into working-class houses, and they are so grateful and loyal.’ They were not so grateful and loyal as to elect him, on that occasion, even ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... author of that remarkable first novel about South Africa, Turbott Wolfe. His fellow-countryman Roy Campbell praised his achievement in a poem of the time: Plomer, ’twas you who, though a boy in age, Awoke a sleepy continent to rage, Who dared alone to thrash a craven race And hold a mirror to its dirty face. His voice was described by Charles ...

Blistering Attacks

Claude Rawson, 6 November 1980

The Oxford Book of Satirical Verse 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Oxford, 454 pp., £8.50, September 1980, 0 19 214110 4
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... still excited the imagination of poets of the age of Ben Jonson or Swift. Sometimes the enemy destroyed was a rival poet, and perhaps this is what the tradition eventually narrowed down to. Jonson and more recently Roy Campbell are on record as threatening to destroy some fellow ...

Two Ediths and a Hermit

Raleigh Trevelyan, 5 September 1985

... Glendinning’s biography, that the tragedies for Edith Sitwell in 1957 were the deaths of Roy Campbell and Pavel Tchelitchew. The book she was trying to finish would have been the one eventually published as The Queens and the Hive. She was worried about money at the time, so my mention of the other Edith had touched an especially sore ...


C.H. Sisson, 27 September 1990

Collected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 475 pp., £25, September 1990, 0 85635 875 4
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... the fact that, in the Thirties, certain Augustan habits had attracted not only Edgell Rickword but Roy Campbell. It is significant, however, that the first poems in this Collected show Davie as under the spell, not of Pope or of any of the other primarily satirical authors of the century, but of William Cowper. A pasticheur of late-Augustan styles, I too ...

Top Grumpy’s Top Hate

Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes, 18 February 1999

Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... Aldington was a determined outsider, like Henry Williamson and like his friends, Wyndham Lewis and Roy Campbell. They were all writers who were never quite fashionable in their own lifetimes and not likely to be in the future. All of them held cantankerous, right-wing opinions. There were aspects of Fascism which Aldington admired and he was complacently ...

Patrician Poverty

Rosemary Hill: Sybille Bedford, 18 August 2005

Quicksands: A Memoir 
by Sybille Bedford.
Hamish Hamilton, 370 pp., £20, June 2005, 0 241 14037 4
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... I stubbornly wanted to last and still long to live again’. In Sanary she met the Huxleys and Roy Campbell and discovered the happiness of place, as she calls it, amid thyme-scented olive terraces, the sea, ‘sun, cicada sounds at night, first amorous pursuits’. Like the Post-Impressionist landscape against which they were played out, the years at ...

Van der Posture

J.D.F. Jones, 3 February 1983

Yet Being Someone Other 
by Laurens van der Post.
Hogarth, 352 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7012 1900 9
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... glamorised Bushman friends all across the desert to the ocean, where they are rescued by the Royal Navy! Then there are, for want of a better word, the meditations, again laced with autobiographical reminiscence. The Dark Eye in Africa, which he started to write before the war and published in the Fifties, is his classic statement of our hatred of the ...


Patrick Parrinder, 9 February 1995

The Sin of Father Amaro 
by Eça de Queirós, translated by Nan Flanagan.
Carcanet, 352 pp., £14.95, August 1994, 1 85754 101 4
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The City and the Mountains 
by Eça de Queirós, translated by Roy Campbell.
Carcanet, 217 pp., £14.95, August 1994, 1 85754 102 2
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... Like his elder contemporary Henry James, Eça de Queirós belongs to the small and distinguished group of 19th-century novelists who wrote in exile. He was born in 1845 in a remote town of northern Portugal, but spent most of his working life in England and France. He liked to maintain that his novels were fundamentally French, and that he himself was French in everything but his fondness for ballad-singers and cod with onions ...

A Spanish girl is a volcano

John Pemble: Apostles in Gibraltar, 9 September 2015

John Kemble’s Gibraltar Journal: The Spanish Expedition of the Cambridge Apostles, 1830-31 
by Eric Nye.
Macmillan, 416 pp., £100, January 2015, 978 1 137 38446 1
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... hated the clichés and party-line posturing, and dismissed the pamphlet as ‘bloody rot’. Roy Campbell jeered at the Republicans: ‘The sodomites are on your side;/The cowards and the cranks.’ Ezra Pound said the enemy wasn’t Franco, but big-time international finance: ‘You are all had. Spain is an emotional luxury to a gang of sap-headed ...


Christopher Tayler: Muriel Spark’s Essays, 24 September 2014

The Golden Fleece: Essays 
by Muriel Spark, edited by Penelope Jardine.
Carcanet, 226 pp., £16.99, March 2014, 978 1 84777 251 0
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... shape: a scene peopled by Apocalyptic and Neo-Romantic poetasters, mostly, with Edith Sitwell and Roy Campbell as potential allies, Geoffrey Grigson lurking threateningly in the wings and T.S. Eliot a very distant god. The former Muriel Camberg joined this cast in 1944 after a stint in southern Africa, where she’d ended a short marriage to the unstable ...

At the Hayward

Peter Campbell: Roy Lichtenstein, 18 March 2004

... installation currently give the Hayward Gallery an of-our-own-time presence. But the paintings by Roy Lichtenstein which line the walls – the early ones anyway – are now so well established as an ironic commentary on pop culture that they read as decoration, as conventional and period-flavoured in their way as chintz.* The general effect of the show is ...

Le Roi Jean Quinze

Stefan Collini: Roy Jenkins and Labour, 4 June 2014

Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, March 2014, 978 0 224 08750 6
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... released instead into the free upper air where good arguments are sovereign. It was the fate of Roy Jenkins more than of any other recent figure in British politics to serve, during his life and in some ways since his death in 2003, as the incarnation of these dreams. Over and above his actual achievements and failures, Jenkins carried the burden of ...

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