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It looks nothing like me

Adam Smyth: Dürer, 5 July 2018

Albrecht Dürer: Documentary Biography 
by Jeffrey Ashcroft.
Yale, 1216 pp., £95, January 2017, 978 0 300 21084 2
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... his friend’s acquisitive desires, which took very specific forms: fine paper, enamelled glass, a sapphire ring in a small sealed box (‘Everyone says the stone is a real find’), Greek books, precious stones, paintings of ancient history, a crane’s feather. Sometimes Dürer’s exasperation reaches out across the centuries: ‘I have tried my hardest ...

The School of English

Hilary Mantel: ‘The School of English’: A Story, 7 May 2015

... the moment of ease: that did not disappoint. She left the pod on the worktop, glowing like a sapphire on the granite. She had made a list of all outstanding matters to be achieved before ski break was over, and it ran to two pages, but for the next six days her time was her own to arrange. For an hour or so after the family’s departure, their voices ...


R.W. Johnson, 4 June 1987

Traitors: The Labyrinths of Treason 
by Chapman Pincher.
Sidgwick, 346 pp., £13.95, May 1987, 0 283 99379 0
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The Secrets of the Service: British Intelligence and Communist Subversion 1939-51 
by Anthony Glees.
Cape, 447 pp., £18, May 1987, 0 224 02252 0
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Freedom of Information – Freedom of the Individual? 
by Clive Ponting, John Ranelagh, Michael Zander and Simon Lee, edited by Julia Neuberger.
Macmillan, 110 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 333 44771 9
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... legendary spy chief, was actually the French Philby and there was a whole network of spies (‘the Sapphire network’) within the French Government. A huge and inconclusive hunt was conducted. Then Golitsyn announced the existence of the ‘Sasha network’ in German Intelligence. Another huge and inconclusive hunt. Occasionally, Golitsyn did provide useful ...


David Craig: Barra Microcosm, 24 May 2001

... Scotland tectonic ages ago and churned southward. Now and again we couch down in the bents, among sapphire glints of milkwort and buttery stars of primroses, and I record my impressions of this long flowery reef in the ocean, the foothold it has been for people, and their own stories. ‘My father,’ Donald MacLellan said 117 years ago, went away with boats ...

Inky Pilgrimage

Mark Ford, 24 May 2007

The Contemplated Spouse: The Letters of Wallace Stevens to Elsie 
edited by Donald Blount.
South Carolina, 430 pp., £30.95, January 2006, 1 57003 248 3
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... moonlight Rose on the beach floors. How explicit the coiffures became, The diamond point, the sapphire point, The sequins Of the civil fans! Insinuations of desire, Puissant speech, alike in each, Cried quittance To the wickless halls. Then from their poverty they rose From dry guitars, and to catarrhs They flitted Through the palace walls. For ...

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