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At the National Gallery

Julian Bell: Seduced by Art, 3 January 2013

... of aggressive, alienating, Vogue-like glamour that the artist presumably allowed for. (Much the same complexities arise when another 1980s photo-artist, Helen Chadwick, juxtaposes her own nude body against rotted vegetables and a skull in the photo-allegory Ruin.) Craigie Horsfield approached the matter at hand when in 1991 he complained that ‘the surface ...

What a Ghost Wants

Michael Newton: Laurent Binet, 8 November 2012

by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 336 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 1 84655 479 7
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... Laurent Binet has written an excellent novel about the absurdity of writing any kind of novel at all. HHhH retells the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust, by two Czech special agents, Jozef Gabčik and Jan Kubiš, their subsequent deaths and the terrible retaliation enacted by the Nazis on the Czech people, which culminated in the massacre of all the inhabitants of the villages of Lidice and Ležáky ...

Good Girls

Lauren Elkin: Leïla Slimani, 21 February 2019

by Leïla Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor.
Faber, 209 pp., £12.99, February 2019, 978 0 571 33195 6
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... who were expecting the article to provide some information. She reads a few other pieces on the same subject and copy-and-pastes lines from each. The whole thing takes her barely an hour. There’s an enviable clarity and forthrightness to Slimani’s writing, both in French and in Sam Taylor’s capable ...

A Young Woman Who Was Meant to Kill Herself

Jeremy Harding: Charlotte Salomon, 8 March 2018

Life? Or Theatre? 
by Charlotte Salomon.
Duckworth, 840 pp., £125, September 2017, 978 1 715 65247 0
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by David Foenkinos, translated by Sam Taylor.
Canongate, 224 pp., £8.99, January 2018, 978 1 78211 796 4
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Charlotte Salomon and the Theatre of Memory 
by Griselda Pollock.
Yale, 542 pp., £45, March 2018, 978 0 300 10072 3
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Charlotte Salomon: ‘Life? Or Theatre?’ A Selection of 450 Gouaches 
by Judith Belinfante and Evelyn Benesch.
Taschen, 599 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 3 8365 7077 0
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... out of France across the Pyrenees – among them Walter Benjamin – before leaving by the same route. Several artists produced memorial sketches and artefacts, a practice begun by Spanish Republicans. Charlotte Salomon, the German painter who created an extraordinary pictorial memoir during the war, was sent to Gurs in May 1940, or so it’s ...

Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 14 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... of the state, and Giscard is said to have replied: ‘Why not?’ The sneers continued all the same, and when, a little over three years later, Jack Lang invited Barthes to lunch with François Mitterrand, Barthes worried that accepting would be viewed as a craven attempt to make amends. Mitterrand enjoyed chatting with people like Barthes, but the lunch ...

At the V&A

Marina Warner: Alexander McQueen, 3 June 2015

... lined with bones in another, and throughout a shimmering and ravishing soundscape of layered sampling and electronics created by John Gosling (aka Mekon). Bolton avoids the term ‘gothic’, but it haunts the show. Alexander McQueen has entered that part of the afterlife where Marilyn and Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Peaches Geldof are ...

At the Grey Art Gallery

J. Hoberman: Inventing Downtown , 29 March 2017

... scene as well. The Five Spot Café, an artists’ hangout just off the Bowery, opened with Cecil Taylor, gave Thelonious Monk his first extended gig, and introduced New York to Ornette Coleman.) Many of the pieces in Inventing Downtown are proudly uncommercial. The exhibition includes work by a number of black and women painters, many of whom dropped out or ...

A bout de Bogart

Jenny Diski, 19 May 2011

Tough without a Gun: The Extraordinary Life of Humphrey Bogart 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Faber, 288 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 571 26072 0
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... confused with the actors who played them. The new retro cool I wallowed in had Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade as its source: the hard men with soft, democratic centres, American Romantics tinged with the Founding Fathers and Melville’s melancholic sense of humanity, the people’s Lancelots, who were dragged, flinching with distaste, into the dirty underworld ...

When the Jaw-Jaw Failed

Miles Taylor: Company Rule in India, 3 March 2016

The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India 1805-1905 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Simon & Schuster, 784 pp., £12.99, January 2016, 978 1 4711 2946 9
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... of love, war, intrigue and treachery’. Mount has written some historical fiction: in Jem (and Sam) he invented a 17th-century forebear, Jeremiah Mount, who rivalled Pepys as a diarist, and he has Wolf-Halled his way around the French Revolution and the Crimean War. Here he sticks to the facts, although there is some poetic licence: John Low is the centre ...


Ian Hamilton, 25 January 1996

Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... with fantasy-league teams of big-name authors: Borges and Márquez up front, Kundera in midfield, Sam Beckett ‘in the hole’. They like to assure you that Gunter Netzer’s hairdo belongs in the same world as Gunter Grass’s prose. They know all about Nabokov and Camus, and not just because the pair of them kept goal. A ...


Terence Hawkes, 22 February 1990

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe 
by Andrew Gurr and John Orrell.
Weidenfeld, 197 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 297 79346 2
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Shakespeare and the Popular Voice 
by Annabel Patterson.
Blackwell, 195 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 631 16873 7
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Re-Inventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present 
by Gary Taylor.
Hogarth, 461 pp., £18, January 1990, 0 7012 0888 0
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Shakespeare’s America, America’s Shakespeare 
by Michael Bristol.
Routledge, 237 pp., £30, January 1990, 0 415 01538 3
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... Globe was constructed in 1599. It burned down in 1613 and a second Globe was constructed on the same site. If the first Globe is the ‘original’ one, a central problem must be that the timbers from which it was built were themselves ‘originally’ used to construct Burbage’s first playhouse, called The Theatre, situated on the north bank of the ...

Perfect Companions

C.K. Stead, 8 June 1995

Christina Stead: A Biography 
by Hazel Rowley.
Secker, 646 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 436 20298 0
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... Christina felt the gap open between her and the man who had been mother and father; and at the same time she began to recognise his egotism, his sense that he could do no wrong, his do-gooding puritanism, and to see them in action on the battleground his second marriage became. All this, simplified perhaps, is the basis of her most famous novel, The Man ...

Tacky Dress

Dale Peck, 22 February 1996

Like People in History: A Gay American Epic 
by Felice Picano.
Viking, 512 pp., $23.95, July 1995, 0 670 86047 6
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How Long Has This Been Going On? 
by Ethan Mordden.
Villard, 590 pp., $25, April 1995, 0 679 41529 7
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The Facts of Life 
by Patrick Gale.
Flamingo, 511 pp., £15.99, June 1995, 0 602 24522 2
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Flesh and Blood 
by Michael Cunningham.
Hamish Hamilton, 480 pp., £14.99, June 1995, 9780241135150
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... in content then in form, a transformative elevation that raises the gaudy to the glamorous in the same way that a tacky dress – sequinned, frilled, ribbonned and cut real low – becomes stunning, simply stunning, when a man puts it on. But a tacky dress is a tacky dress is a tacky dress, and what elevates some drags to the status of divas, while others ...


Tobias Jones: The politics of football, 7 May 1998

... which became coffins’, Colin Ward writes in All Quiet on the Hooligan Front (1996). Lord Justice Taylor produced his interim report on the tragedy on 1 August that year. The chief superintendent in charge, Taylor decided, ‘could not face the enormity of the decision to open the gates and all that flowed there from’. He ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!, 14 December 2000

Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... are actually yearning to be rumbled? Well, probably; or maybe not. Who, if anyone, did Samuel Pepys think he was fooling when he wrote, in his now famously transparent code, that ‘Yo did take her, the first time in my life, sobra mi genus and did poner mi minu sub her jupes and toca su thigh’? (In a later entry, Pepys proudly records that Mrs ...

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