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Rabbits Addressed by a Stoat

Stefan Collini: Émigré Dons

12 July 2017
Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University, 1930-45 
edited by Sally Crawford, Katharina Ulmschneider and Jaś Elsner.
Oxford, 396 pp., £75, March 2017, 978 0 19 968755 8
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... Where​ would you have found, in 1940, ‘the most elite university in the world in terms of the pool of scholars it contained’? The answer, according to the editors’ introduction to Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University 1930-45, isn’t any of the great institutions that may come to mind, but Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man. As the result of a slightly panicky policy ...

Drinking and Spewing

Sally​ Mapstone: The Variousness of Robert Fergusson

25 September 2003
‘Heaven-Taught Fergusson’: Robert Burns’s Favourite Scottish Poet 
edited by Robert Crawford.
Tuckwell, 240 pp., £14.99, August 2002, 1 86232 201 5
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... a poet of Scots poetry. This is the tenor of the subtitle – ‘Robert Burns’s Favourite Scottish Poet’ – of ‘Heaven-Taught Fergusson’, a collection of essays and poems edited by Robert Crawford. It is also the tenor of many of the pieces in it. As Matthew Wickman puts it, in one of those weaselish generalities that suggest a lurking self-doubt, ‘most scholars believe his most significant ...

Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter

6 October 2011
The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... went off to Australia, leaving his wife in London looking after their daughters. He had accepted an invitation to read at the Adelaide Arts Festival, and while in Australia he fell in love with Sally Lehmann, the wife of the poet Geoff Lehmann. Just after he returned to London, Jannice told her husband she wanted to go to her parents’ place for some time alone. He waved her off from Paddington ...

Terror on the Vineyard

Terry Castle: Boss Ladies, Watch Out!

15 April 1999
A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman 
by Rosemary Mahoney.
Doubleday, 273 pp., $23.95, November 1998, 9780385479318
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... older woman fails to live up to the needs of a younger protégée it is de rigueur nowadays for the latter to rage in print at the cruelty of her faithless idol. Mommie Dearest (1978), Christina Crawford’s high-kitsch account of her wretched childhood with her adoptive mother Joan Crawford, is the archetype here – the first and most spectacular of real-life She was mean! books. Yet so many expos ...

At the End of a Dirt Road

Thomas Powers: The Salinger File

24 October 2019
The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour – an Introduction 
by J.D. Salinger.
Little, Brown, 1072 pp., $100, November 2018, 978 0 316 45071 3
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... height (6' 2½") and patch of grey hair, his Park Avenue family home, his chequered record in a succession of smart private schools, his wardrobe from Brooks Brothers, the names of his girlfriends (Sally Hayes, Jane Gallagher), his dream of running off and living in a little cabin in the West, or at the edge of the woods in Massachusetts or Vermont, all say WASP in a voice with no trace of Jewish New ...

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