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The Bart

Gabriele Annan, 10 December 1987

Broken Blood: The Rise and Fall of the Tennant Family 
by Simon Blow.
Faber, 224 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 571 13374 6
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... historian E.J. Hobsbawm’s The Age of Empire, 1875-1914, would make the perfect epitaph for Simon Blow’s history of his maternal grandmother’s family, the Tennants. Or for a Thatcherite tract on Britain’s decline from Victorian values. Or for a great novel like Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks. The rise and fall of a mercantile dynasty is a rich ...

Old Iron-Arse

Simon Collier: Latin America’s independence, 9 August 2001

Liberators: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence, 1810-30 
by Robert Harvey.
Murray, 561 pp., £25, May 2000, 0 7195 5566 3
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... interesting than her English doctor husband. As a general he was entirely self-taught. Harvey’s blow-by-blow description of his campaigns, especially the early ones, reveals mistakes, muddles, foolish tactical decisions, disastrous setbacks and defeats. Bolívar was indomitable, however. ‘Always great, he was greatest ...

Raven’s Odyssey

D.A.N. Jones, 19 July 1984

Swallow 
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 312 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 575 03446 7
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First Among Equals 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 446 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 340 35266 3
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Morning Star 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 264 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 9780856341380
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... I suppose, and it is followed by a panicky sketch based on the theory that Reagan is about to blow up the world in his senile dementia and that we would all be safer with a fifty-year-old President. Other stock characters are borrowed from fiction, notably King Solomon’s Mines, which D.M. Thomas read with interest when he was a small boy in ...

Entryism

Jacqueline Rose: ‘Specimen Days’, 22 September 2005

Specimen Days 
by Michael Cunningham.
Fourth Estate, 308 pp., £14.99, August 2005, 0 00 715605 7
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... in New York, has the job of receiving and recording the calls of people threatening to blow themselves and others to pieces. Only because these deranged stories have become too familiar does she miss the one who really means it, a young boy, who, without forewarning or apparent motive, goes up to a stranger in Central Park, embraces him and ...

Politician’s War

Tam Dalyell, 3 March 1983

The Battle for the Falklands 
by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins.
Joseph, 384 pp., £10.95, February 1983, 0 7181 2228 3
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... In the opening paragraph of their important book on the Falklands War, Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins write: ‘So extraordinary an event was it that, even after men began to die, many of those taking part felt as if they had been swept away into fantasy, that the ships sinking and the guns firing round them had somehow escaped from a television screen in the living-room ...

After-Meditation

Thomas Keymer: The Girondin Wordsworth, 18 June 2020

Radical Wordsworth: The Poet who Changed the World 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 608 pp., £25, April, 978 0 00 816742 4
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William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, new edition, 688 pp., £25, April, 978 0 19 881711 6
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... his patrician distance (despite that northern burr) from subalterns who cannot speak. ‘Simon Lee, the Old Huntsman’ is a poem about poverty, age and tragic incapacity, from the perspective of an elite passer-by who tries to enter into the predicament of the once powerful hunter. He does so clumsily, and makes it worse. In a passage laden with sly ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: ‘Anthrax’!, 7 July 2005

... It’s not true that he ‘could have blown Harry to bits’, because he didn’t have anything to blow him to bits with. The security services are on the look out for terrorists, not journalists. All the same, ‘furious’ John Reid, the defence secretary, has ordered an investigation. Let’s assume for a moment that the male line of the monarchy is under ...

They both hated DLT

Andy Beckett: Radio 1, 15 April 1999

The Nation’s Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio 1 
by Simon Garfield.
Faber, 273 pp., £9.99, October 1998, 0 571 19435 4
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... were Radio 1 car stickers on Ford Sierras. There were conservatories being added to the strains of Simon Bates’s mid-morning show. There were big and tidy back gardens, on hot Saturdays, ringing with the amplified chuckle of Dave Lee Travis. I was 12 or 13. I’d stay in the car when my parents went to the garden centre, trying to get a better reception on ...

Intimate Strangers

Thomas Jones: A.L. Kennedy’s new novel, 7 October 2004

Paradise 
by A.L. Kennedy.
Cape, 344 pp., £14.99, September 2004, 0 224 06258 1
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... meant we parted with a lie,’ Hannah observes.) Or why Hannah’s brother is called Simon (‘a man of Cyrene, Simon by name’ carries Jesus’ cross for him). In Chapter 12 of Paradise, Hannah takes a nightmarish three-day train journey across Canada, her version of Christ’s three days in Hell. The ...

Edward Barlow says goodbye

Tom Shippey, 4 August 1994

Adolescence and Youth in Early Modern England 
by Ilana Krausman Ben-Amos.
Yale, 335 pp., £25, April 1994, 0 300 05597 8
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... were not apparent to the untrained eye... for “if the temper was too strong... with the vehement blow of the hammer it flew in pieces; but if it was soft, it bowed, and would not touch the stone”.’ This ‘uncomplicated’ model of adolescence in other times and cultures has suffered blow after ...

Disgrace under Pressure

Andrew O’Hagan: Lad mags, 3 June 2004

Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men's Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
Show More
Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men’s Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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... of the Saturday night sleeper from London to Aberdeen ‘until the end of time’ is a bitter blow for those who like to wake up on a Sunday morning to the munching of Highland cattle, but there can be no question of having the train back, say the men at Euston. They can’t find a single soul who’ll agree to work the shift. ‘It was like an alcoholic ...

Cures for Impotence

James Davidson, 19 October 1995

Foucault’s Virginity: Ancient Erotic Fiction and the History of Sexuality 
by Simon Goldhill.
Cambridge, 194 pp., £30, January 1995, 0 521 47372 1
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... Hermokopidai were innocent, she suggested. The real culprits were the women of Athens, striking a blow against phallocracy by hitting Athenian men where it hurt. The penis was everywhere in the ancient world. Apart from the herms, there were giant ceremonial dildoes carried in procession for Dionysus, satyriassic satyrs on vases and in plays, priapic actors ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On Peregrine Worsthorne, 4 November 1993

... In Simon Raven’s Alms for Oblivion novel sequence, we are introduced to the hopeless young charmer Fielding Gray. His father is remote and sourly reactionary; his mother develops ominous signs of chippiness and puritanism. Young Fielding gets through most of the right hoops but usually in the wrong way. His public school, in other words, is slightly too minor ...

How much?

Ian Hamilton: Literary pay and literary prizes, 18 June 1998

Guide to Literary Prizes, 1998 
edited by Huw Molseed.
Book Trust, 38 pp., £3.99, May 1998, 0 85353 475 6
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The Cost of Letters: A Survey of Literary Living Standards 
edited by Andrew Holgate and Honor Wilson-Fletcher.
W Magazine, 208 pp., £2, May 1998, 0 9527405 9 1
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... In 1921, though, Pound’s main concern was Eliot. By freeing Eliot, he would strike a major blow for European culture. To this end, he began firing off belligerent circulars. The line was: put your money where your mouth is. ‘Must restart civilisation: people who say they care, DON’t care unless they care to the extent of £5 in the spring and £5 ...

The Killing of Blair Peach

David Renton, 21 May 2014

... a verdict of unlawful killing, which made possible the criminal prosecution for manslaughter of PC Simon Harwood. (He was acquitted.) The finding of death by misadventure in Peach’s case made any prosecution impossible, despite there being a strong argument for a second inquest. The High Court can order one, as it did recently on the Hillsborough ...

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