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Lucky’s Dip

James Fox, 12 November 1987

Trail of Havoc: In the Steps of Lord Lucan 
by Patrick Marnham.
Viking, 204 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 670 81391 5
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Lucan: Not Guilty 
by Sally Moore.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 9780283995361
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... realised what an unsympathetic appearance they gave to the rest of the world,’ writes Marnham. Sally Moore began her book in 1975, had a manuscript ready by 1980 and has been struggling for publication ever since. Hers is a crusade to exonerate Lucan, with the help of his family, and with the piling-on of a mass of detail, as if the sheer weight of ...

The Limit

Rosemary Hill, 2 November 1995

Christopher Wood: An English Painter 
by Richard Ingleby.
Allison and Busby, 295 pp., £25, May 1995, 0 85031 849 1
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Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms 
by Sally Festing.
Viking, 343 pp., £20, May 1995, 0 670 84203 6
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... Hepworth lived to enjoy her retrospective at the Tate and to be a Dame of the British Empire. Yet, Sally Festing tells us, many people felt sorry for her ‘at the end’, and the very end, her death alone in a fire at her studio in Cornwall, was pathetic. The less strong-minded Wood pursued his short, highly-coloured career along a butterfly zigzag from place ...

Diary

Edna Longley: Ireland by Others, 17 September 1987

... to their marches, were mostly those who couldn’t afford Corfu. In The Crack: A Belfast Year 1 Sally Belfrage notes: ‘A look at the class-composition’ of the Twelfth procession was ‘to see overwhelmingly the poor, albeit with the gentry to the fore, and it ill becomes middle-class snobs to sneer at this celebration of who they were.’ I was ...

Fraternity

Nicholas Penny, 8 March 1990

The Image of the Black in Western Art. Vol. IV, Parts I-II: From the American Revolution to World War One 
by Hugh Honour.
Harvard, 379 pp., £34.95, April 1989, 9780939594177
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Primitive Art in Civilised Places 
by Sally Price.
Chicago, 147 pp., £15.95, December 1989, 0 226 68063 0
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The Return of Cultural Treasures 
by Jeanette Greenfield.
Cambridge, 361 pp., £32.50, February 1990, 0 521 33319 9
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... revision of Western attitudes to blacks’. Just how true this is has been demonstrated by Sally Price in Primitive Art in Civilised Places, which examines the assumptions behind the collecting and display of such art in the Western world: the idea that it is supposed to ‘speak directly’ to the child or savage in all of us; the belief that any ...

Paul and Penny

Julian Symons, 25 October 1990

Paul Scott: A Life 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hutchinson, 429 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 09 173984 5
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Paul Scott’s Raj 
by Robin Moore.
Heinemann, 246 pp., £18.50, October 1990, 0 434 47588 2
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... or perhaps understood the idea of achieving effects by compression or omission. Nothing in Robin Moore’s book bears directly on the literary merits of the Quartet, although he thinks that the TV serial lost much of ‘the texture of testimony’, the ‘intimation of character’. He also, however, quotes John Bayley’s view, similar to the one expressed ...

The Sacred Cause of Idiom

Frank Kermode: Lady Gregory, 22 January 2004

Lady Gregory's Toothbrush 
by Colm Tóibín.
Picador, 127 pp., £7.99, September 2003, 0 330 41993 5
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... or so Lady Gregory suggested when she made the remark – jocular, perhaps, and not the sort of sally she would have chosen to be remembered by. Colm Tóibín makes more than one allusion to it in this essay, gently hinting that his sympathies are with the toothbrushless, though there is no place for anger in his elegant little study of the great lady. Her ...

Pink and Bare

Bee Wilson: Nicole Kidman, 8 February 2007

Nicole Kidman 
by David Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 311 pp., £18.99, September 2006, 0 7475 7710 2
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... a string of particularly gruesome murders. As the film (which is based on a novel by Susanna Moore) unfolds, and the relationship is depicted in ever more lurid bedroom poses, Fran begins to suspect that the cop himself is guilty of the murders. Many people, Thomson included, think that it is Ryan’s best performance, ‘bravely naked in uncommonly ...

Chastened

Lorna Tracy, 3 September 1981

The Habit of Being: Letters by Flannery O’Connor 
edited by Sally Fitzgerald.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 639 pp., £8.25, January 1979, 0 571 12017 2
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The violent bear it away 
by Flannery O’Connor.
Faber, 226 pp., £2.95, September 1980, 0 571 12017 2
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A good man is hard to find 
by Flannery O’Connor.
Women’s Press, 251 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 7043 2832 1
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... that evil is present in the world as a positive force? In spite of the slightly defensive tone of Sally Fitzgerald’s introduction to The Habit of Being, behind which seems to lie a worry that readers might decide that every Flannery O’Connor story about a banal widow and her surly, smart-ass child must be a direct transcription from the author’s ...

The South

Colm Tóibín, 4 August 1994

One Art: The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Bishop 
Chatto, 668 pp., £25, April 1994, 0 7011 6195 7Show More
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... it is easy here to get a complete picture of Bishop’s life, and her peculiar tone, just as in Sally FitzGerald’s editing of Flannery O’Connor’s letters in The Habit of Being, a book which Bishop admired. Some of the letters throw soft light on the poems. In ‘Poem’ she described a painting done by her great-uncle George, and suddenly realised ...

You are not helpful!

Simon Blackburn: Wittgenstein in Cambridge, 29 January 2009

Wittgenstein in Cambridge: Letters and Documents 1911-51 
edited by Brian McGuinness.
Blackwell, 498 pp., £75, March 2008, 978 1 4051 4701 9
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... volumes of this kind (Ludwig Wittgenstein: Cambridge Letters and Letters to Russell, Keynes and Moore), and there is some repetition, but it is a tribute to McGuinness’s extraordinary industry and enthusiasm that he discovers interesting new material. He writes in his introduction: Another major change and addition to the volume is that I have now ...

Rachel and Heather

Stephen Wall, 1 October 1987

A Friend from England 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 205 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 224 02443 4
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The New Confessions 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 241 12383 6
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The Colour of Blood 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 182 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 224 02513 9
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... with an absence of rancour that contrasts diametrically with the egocentricity of her protégée Sally. As the romantic novelist of Hotel du Lac reflects, in life it’s the amoral hare that wins, not the altruistic tortoise. In the real world virtue will probably have to be its own consolation. The real world is what, in A Friend from England, Rachel gets ...

Into the Eisenshpritz

Elif Batuman: Superheroes, 10 April 2008

Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories 
by Will Eisner.
Norton, 493 pp., £18.99, November 2007, 978 0 393 06107 9
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Epileptic 
by David B..
Cape, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 224 07920 4
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Shortcomings 
by Adrian Tomine.
Faber, 108 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23329 8
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Misery Loves Comedy 
by Ivan Brunetti.
Fantagraphics, 172 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 56097 792 6
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... novels simply enable ‘the bourgeois to read comics without feeling bad’; according to Alan Moore, they allow publishers to ‘stick six issues of whatever worthless piece of crap they happened to be publishing lately under a glossy cover and call it The She-Hulk Graphic Novel’. Moore and Satrapi, in common with ...

The Age of Detesting Trump

David Bromwich, 12 July 2017

... who had once been assured by Trump that he could keep his job; the acting US attorney general, Sally Yates; and Comey. The second is the schedule of the last two terminations. On 29 December, Trump’s nominee as National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, spoke on the phone with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, about the possibility of sanctions ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes, 18 October 2017

After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... she thinks of ‘as boyfriend, brother, sister, amusement’, and who wants to leave her for ‘Sally, a 21-year-old starlet’. Which is to say, the art-punk infantilism of the title continues. The novel was banned in West Germany for its child sex references but, actually, it’s plain that the Janey-and-her-father conversations come from real-life sexual ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... out of bed, the fumes killing them while they slept. This seems to have been the fate of Ligaya Moore, a 78-year-old woman who came from the Philippines 45 years earlier, fulfilling a dream she’d had from childhood, to live in London. Mrs Moore died in her bed surrounded by photos of her husband, Jim, a retired British ...

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