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Seeing in the Darkness

James Wood, 6 March 1997

D.H. Lawrence: Triumph To Exile 1912-22 
by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 943 pp., £25, August 1996, 0 521 25420 5
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... when she said yes. John Middleton Murry saw that when Lawrence went to a party given by H.G. Wells in 1914, it was with sickly determination that Lawrence insisted on evening dress. ‘Now Lawrence,’ wrote Murry, ‘who looked his lithe and limber self in many kinds of attire, did not resemble himself at all when locked into a dress-suit ... But ...

Orwell and Biography

Bernard Crick, 7 October 1982

... break with one book – disc recordings for the archive were only set up for the very great, like Wells and Shaw, or for people absolutely assured of a permanent place in the history of English letters, like Sir Max Beerbohm and J. B. Priestley. Orwell’s privacy was not pathological, it was perfectly normal: but it makes things difficult for a ...

Little England

Patrick Wright: The view through a bus window, 7 September 2006

Great British Bus Journeys: Travels through Unfamous Places 
by David McKie.
Atlantic, 359 pp., £16.99, March 2006, 1 84354 132 7
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... to create a compensatory postwar cult of the southern English chalk downs, and also by Stanley Spencer, whose paintings of the Berkshire village of Cookham had much in common with Chesterton’s defensive advocacy of England: the smaller and more localised the better; the less your knowledge of the wider world, the more profound your experience is likely ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... many of them held on Astor leases, the investment reaped a prodigious annual return. H.G. Wells said of one of John Jacob’s great-grandchildren, William Waldorf Astor, that he extracted rents ‘as effectively as a ferret draws blood from a rabbit’, though by Wells’s day spending rather than getting had become ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... remarkable were they in Rotherham, say, but are more so here, in that like the Vicars’ Close at Wells they turn out to be medieval. The church of course is medieval, too, with over the wall, and just visible in a traditional configuration of church and state, the manor house, home of the Horners. Opposite the church door is Munnings’s equestrian statue of ...

Real Busters

Tom Crewe: Sickert Grows Up, 18 August 2022

Walter Sickert 
Tate Britain, until 18 September 2022Show More
Walter Sickert: The Theatre of Life 
edited by Matthew Travers.
Piano Nobile, 184 pp., £60, October 2021, 978 1 901192 59 9
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Sickert: A Life in Art 
by Charlotte Keenan McDonald.
National Museums Liverpool, 104 pp., £14.99, September 2021, 978 1 902700 63 2
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... paradoxes became central to Sickert’s practice. He was spurred on by friendships with the artist Spencer Gore and Pissarro’s London-based son Lucien, with whom he founded the Fitzroy Street Group in 1907 (this preceded the Camden Town Group, with considerable overlap of membership). He learned to establish the essential masses of colour in a picture before ...

When the Floods Came

James Meek: England’s Water, 31 July 2008

... It was completely without running water. Pavey commandeered a food trolley from Marks and Spencer and set himself the task of pushing it around the sodden, cracked streets of central Tewkesbury, delivering hundreds of litres of bottled water to the aged and infirm, for no reward but thank yous. ‘All that week, when we ran out of water, I delivered ...

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