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Poet-in-Ordinary

Samuel Hynes, 22 May 1980

C. Day-LewisAn English Literary Life 
by Sean Day-Lewis.
Weidenfeld, 333 pp., £12.50, March 1980, 0 297 77745 9
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... he’ll be praising him for unremembered virtues, like Hamlet. So the first thing to be said about Sean Day-Lewis’s biography of his father is that he is neither an Edmund nor a Hamlet. He has written a calm and generous book, free of either rancour or special pleading, a book that carries a convincing sense of objectivity. The book does two things that ...

A Susceptible Man

Ian Sansom: The Unhappy Laureate, 4 March 1999

Living in Time: The Poetry of C. Day Lewis 
by Albert Gelpi.
Oxford, 246 pp., £30, March 1998, 0 19 509863 3
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... friends despite the 27 years between our ages; I am in fact one month older than his oldest son Sean’ (in the first text, the P text, Sean is described as ‘Day Lewis’s first child, born the same year as I and only a month later’). Gelpi combines here a straightforward claim to authority based on a personal ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... death, it might just be never to have sex again, and die anyway. ‘The​ problem remains,’ Sean Day-Lewis wrote in the Daily Telegraph in 1982, ‘that Aids, or the “Gay Plague”, is not limited to active homosexuals.’ In both the US and the UK (which bought up to 60 per cent of its Factor VIII, a clotting agent used to treat haemophilia ...

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