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Moving in

Patricia Beer

20 November 1980
A Poor Man’s House 
by Stephen Reynolds.
London Magazine Editions, 320 pp., £5.50, August 1980, 0 904388 35 2
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... moved in with them. Reynolds did. It is as though Wordsworth had set up house with Alice Fell, Simon Lee and the old Leech-Gatherer. In 1906, after several visits to the East Devon coast, Reynolds at the age of 25 left his home town, Devizes, to become a more or less permanent lodger in the house of Bob Woolley and ...

Subversions

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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... would you believe it, for flawed character. It is with some relief that one turns to Anthony Glees’s Secrets of the Service. Glees is a professional historian and rightly attempts to place British intelligence operations in the context of the twists and turns of British foreign policy. In so far as it is ...

Skimming along

Ross McKibbin

20 October 1994
The Major Effect 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 500 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62273 1
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... because ministers routinely blame the agencies or their legal advisers or their civil servants. As Simon Lee points out in his excellent essay on ‘Law and the Constitution’, one of the reasons ministers ‘seemed to flounder’ when asked by the Scott enquiry why they signed public immunity certificates was ‘that they themselves have become ...

Self-Made Man

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Edith Wharton’s Domestic Arrangements

5 April 2007
Edith Wharton 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 853 pp., £25, February 2007, 978 0 7011 6665 6
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... the American belief in perpetual self-improvement, the construction of Edith Wharton, as Hermione Lee’s biography demonstrates, was a lifelong activity. The absence of Wharton’s important women friends from A Backward Glance, Lee suggests, intensifies the impression that the achievement was the author’s alone. With ...

Where will the judges sit?

Stephen Sedley: What will happen to the Law Lords?

16 September 1999
The House of Lords: Its Parliamentary and Judicial Roles 
edited by Brice Dickson and Paul Carmichael.
Hart, 258 pp., £30, December 1998, 1 84113 020 6
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Constitutional Futures: A History of the Next Ten Years 
edited by Robert Hazell.
Oxford, 263 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 0 19 829801 3
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The Law and Parliament 
edited by Dawn Olivier and Gavin Drewry.
Butterworth, 219 pp., £15.95, September 1998, 0 406 98092 6
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Crown Powers: Subject and Citizens 
by Christopher Vincenzi.
Pinter, 343 pp., £47.50, April 1998, 1 85567 454 8
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... concern – not pride, concern – that the Law Lords are becoming a constitutional court. Simon Lee foresees a judicial committee ready to ‘by-pass, override or supplement Parliament’. ‘By-pass’, yes – at least when Parliament is incapable of action, as it once was for decades over slavery and is today over the termination of life ...
17 October 1985
A Maggot 
by John Fowles.
Cape, 460 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 224 02806 5
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The Romances of John Fowles 
by Simon Loveday.
Macmillan, 164 pp., £25, August 1985, 0 333 31518 9
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... last secured his most important witness, Fanny herself. Her real name, she tells him, is Rebecca Lee: she is married, pregnant by someone (by Mr Bartholomew, we wonder, by Dick or the Devil?) and living in Manchester as a member of a Quakerish sort of community. The Q.-and-A. style of the reports is particularly effective with Rebecca’s deposition, for she ...

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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... muzak to the DJs – to be talked over, cut short, looped repeatedly, forgotten about. West Byfleet, as far as I could tell, liked its radio this way during the Eighties. There 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 ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Ken or Boris?

10 April 2008
... Livingstone’s popularity had been affected by a campaign in the Evening Standard attacking Lee Jasper, his Senior Policy Adviser on Equalities. The Standard hates Livingstone and has been swinging punches at him for years, without much evident effect until now. The stories, mainly written by Andrew Gilligan, he of the sexed-up dossier ...

A prince, too, can do his bit

K.D. Reynolds: King Edward VII and George VI

27 April 2000
Power and Place: The Political Consequences of King Edward VII 
by Simon Heffer.
Weidenfeld, 342 pp., £20, August 1998, 9780297842200
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A Spirit Undaunted: The Political Role of George VI 
by Robert Rhodes James.
Little, Brown, 368 pp., £22.50, November 1998, 0 316 64765 9
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... that the monarchy is, and has been for more than a century, politically impotent and irrelevant. Simon Heffer and the late Robert Rhodes James have thought differently, and rightly so. Recent indignation over the ‘co-option’ of royal events by Tony Blair highlights the uses to which politicians can put the monarchy; it is hard to see why Prime Ministers ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Allelujah!

3 January 2019
... when I haven’t heard a word, I sit halfway down the south aisle festooned in hearing aids in the lee of a plaque to Flora Robson. But someone must have taken the acoustics in hand because if anything it’s too noisy and I turn one of them off. It’s a good service, a model, with none of the speakers – his two sons, Richard Eyre and Robert Bathurst ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB

20 January 2005
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... Stephen noted), but with the help of his indefatigable assistant and eventual successor, Sidney Lee, the ship was put back on an even keel. Curiously, although the Grosart debacle, fully documented in John Bicknell’s edition of Stephen’s letters, is briefly mentioned in Alan Bell’s exemplary entry on Stephen in the ODNB, these misdemeanours make no ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic

27 May 1999
... first chance in that pub. A few of the celebrants are, or have been, English dons – John Fuller, Simon Gray, Dan Jacobson; but even they arrived by what might be called the bohemian route. There are of course other ways in; anybody can see how much space the dons occupy in the respectable papers and magazines. Many moved in by routes that did not necessarily ...
1 June 2000
The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy 
by Russell Jacoby.
Basic Books, 256 pp., £17.95, April 1999, 0 465 02000 3
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Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts 1905-40 
edited by Catriona Kelly.
Penguin, 378 pp., £9.99, September 1999, 0 14 118081 1
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The Faber Book of Utopias 
edited by John Carey.
Faber, 560 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780571197859
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The Nazi War on Cancer 
by Robert Proctor.
Princeton, 390 pp., £18.95, May 1999, 0 691 00196 0
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...  ...
24 May 2001
Allen Tate: Orphan of the South 
by Thomas Underwood.
Princeton, 447 pp., £21.95, December 2000, 0 691 06950 6
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... When Allen Tate died in 1979, Simon and Schuster speedily commissioned a biography, to be written, they announced, by Ned O’Gorman, a poet of some reputation and a friend of two of Tate’s three wives. O’Gorman, it would seem, got going in the usual way, writing to all the obvious Tate contacts and attempting to interview key intimates ...

Picassomania

Mary Ann Caws: Roland Penrose’s notebooks

19 October 2006
Visiting Picasso: The Notebooks and Letters of Roland Penrose 
by Elizabeth Cowling.
Thames and Hudson, 408 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 500 51293 0
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... of his notebooks and letters claims, the ideal commentator on Picasso’s goings-on, a Saint-Simon at the court of Picasso. Penrose set off in 1922 on Roger Fry’s advice, to study art with André Lhote, and fell in love with Paris, with French art and with the poet Valentine Boué, whom he met in Cassis. He had a villa there from 1923, set up a studio ...

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