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Victorian Piles

David Cannadine, 18 March 1982

The Albert Memorial: The Monument in its Social and Architectural Context 
by Stephen Bayley.
Scholar Press, 160 pp., £18.50, September 1981, 0 85967 594 7
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Victorian and Edwardian Town Halls 
by Colin Cunningham.
Routledge, 315 pp., £25, July 1981, 9780710007230
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... and the ceremonials served as the new liturgy. The only real difficulty with this book, as with Stephen Bayley’s, is that the historical context is not as subtle as it should be. In recent years, urban historians have become increasingly aware of the changes, shifts, about-turns and variations which characterised the evolution of 19th-century local ...

I want to be her clothes

Kevin Kopelson: Kate Moss, 20 December 2012

Kate: The Kate Moss Book 
by Kate Moss, edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack.
Rizzoli, 368 pp., £50, November 2012, 978 0 8478 3790 8
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... thinking and smiling about being pregnant. And so it should surprise no one that the journalist Stephen Bayley, in the Independent, has compared Moss to Mona Lisa: just as that painting – so claims the novelist Dan Brown, incorrectly – is an ‘androgynous’ self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, Moss’s ‘gamine look’ has a similar ‘sexual ...

Mandelson’s Pleasure Dome

Iain Sinclair, 2 October 1997

... nouveaux aristos: Lord Rogers, Sir Cameron Mackintosh. Welcome, masters of spectacle: the designer Stephen Bayley and Ken Robinson (who Bayley glosses as ‘in charge of lavatories, parking, visitor flow’). Jobs for those who missed out on Channel 4, Arts Council panjandrums, reality benders. A seat on the board for ...

Look, I’d love one!

John Bayley, 22 October 1992

Stephen Spender: A Portrait with Background 
by Hugh David.
Heinemann, 308 pp., £17.50, October 1992, 0 434 17506 4
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More Please: An Autobiography 
by Barry Humphries.
Viking, 331 pp., £16.99, September 1992, 0 670 84008 4
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... when the ‘facts’ are right, how much more so when they are wrong? Hugh David’s book about Stephen Spender misleads in every way, factually as well as aesthetically, although in the general welter of disinformation it is barely possible to distinguish fact from treatment. As David’s previous studies of the period reveal, he has a rather engagingly ...

Anything that Burns

John Bayley, 3 July 1997

Moscow Stations 
by Venedikt Yerofeev, translated by Stephen Mulrine.
Faber, 131 pp., £14.99, January 1996, 0 571 19004 9
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... Smith put it; and the rich succulence of Yerofeev’s Russian, not really translatable although Stephen Mulrine makes a good and brave attempt at it, begins after a few pages to give us the gloriously static feel of Russian social drinking, with the almost welcome sense of a hangover just beginning to feel its way round the back of the skull, but easily ...

Being splendid

Stephen Wall, 3 March 1988

Civil to Strangers 
by Barbara Pym.
Macmillan, 388 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 333 39128 4
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The Pleasure of Miss Pym 
by Charles Burkhart.
Texas, 120 pp., $17.95, July 1987, 0 292 76496 0
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The World of Barbara Pym 
by Janice Rossen.
Macmillan, 193 pp., £27.50, November 1987, 0 333 42372 0
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The Life and Work of Barbara Pym 
edited by Dale Salwak.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 333 40831 4
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... write a novel’ instead. The question of ‘Where, exactly, is the Pym world?’ gives John Bayley his title, in the most suggestive of the essays in the Salwak book – a collection which mixes with the true fan’s lack of discrimination a wide range of pieces, from the informatively documentary to the frankly gushing, and shows some bumpy ...

The Last Cigarette

John Bayley, 27 July 1989

Memoir of Italo Svevo 
by Livia Veneziani Svevo, translated by Isabel Quigly.
Libris, 178 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 1 870352 40 8
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... Ettore Schmitz, then aged 46, in Trieste, there was immediately born the relationship of Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Schmitz was Jewish by birth, German in education and upbringing, Italian in sympathy and by temperament. He had always longed to be a writer, but his early efforts, published at his own expense, earned him no recognition. His own tycoon father ...

Manly Love

John Bayley, 28 January 1993

Walt Whitman: From Moon to Starry Night 
by Philip Callow.
Allison and Busby, 394 pp., £19.99, October 1992, 0 85031 908 0
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The Double Life of Stephen Crane 
by Christopher Benfey.
Deutsch, 294 pp., £17.99, February 1993, 0 233 98820 3
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... substitute, an alternative in spirituality. Quite the reverse. Whitman and James, just as much as Stephen Crane and Hemingway, helped the liberation of American literature into physicality, inspired by but growing away from the Emersonian traditions of Puritan New England. Poe, whom Whitman met when they were fellow editors of small-time papers, was doing the ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... half-lemur, and wearing a kind of grubby Tyrolean jacket, poses between Tom Driberg and Stephen Spender. There is a kind of innocence about it, the pastoralism which only the past can imitate. Spender, looking like a kindly young schoolmaster, clearly had more to do with the solid success of Horizon than his modest account to Michael Shelden would ...


John Bayley, 24 March 1994

Christina Rossetti: A Biography 
by Frances Thomas.
Virago, 448 pp., £9.99, February 1994, 1 85381 681 7
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... your love dressed all in white, but come back only from the grave. The Victorians revelled in it. Stephen Foster’s audience grieved for Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, the lost one ‘who comes not again’. The big Romantics all had their more portentous versions, from Lucy ceasing to be, to Shelley’s solipsistic sad heart, filled with grief ‘but ...


John Bayley, 29 September 1988

Something to hold onto: Autobiographical Sketches 
by Richard Cobb.
Murray, 168 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4587 0
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... history, of the novels and poems of the Thirties, is of the same kind. He has a strong feeling for Stephen Haggard’s novel Nya, which he happened to find a copy of during the war, and which he feels to be a forerunner of Lolita, giving sound professional reasons why Lolita won out and Nya vanished into limbo. What really matters, I suspect, is that Nya is ...

You’ve got to get used to it

John Bayley: David Piper, 15 October 1998

I am well, who are you? 
by David Piper, edited by Anne Piper.
Anne Piper, 96 pp., £12, March 1998, 0 9532123 0 0
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... the point that Trial by Battle is not really a war novel at all. Much the same could be said of Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. Unlike Piper, Crane at the time had no first-hand experience of what he was writing about: he saw action as a war correspondent only after he had written the book. The point would be, though, that good works of fiction ...

The Matter of India

John Bayley, 19 March 1987

... effect is as light as bubbles at the brim, stimulating, tender, thought-provoking. O’Brian’s Stephen Maturin, half-Irish, half-Catalan, an expert surgeon and dedicated zoologist who is also a secret agent, is none the less an extraordinarily convincing character. O’Brian manages to give him a perfectly ordinary personality, complex and vulnerable, yet ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... tributes. This tidy dome of cellophane, plain paper and pink paper funnels, marked the spot where Stephen Lawrence was murdered. The protection of a tall pole, topped with a (fake) surveillance camera, had proved inadequate. The memorial slab had been vandalised. Hence, in these sensitive times, the slow-moving policeman on his tight circuit. What had ...

Our Founder

John Bayley: Papa Joyce, 19 February 1998

John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father 
by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello.
Fourth Estate, 493 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 85702 417 6
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... his own characteristic way a great man. His son acknowledged this in the wry admiration with which Stephen Dedalus, asked by a friend to define him, speaks of his father in A Portrait of the Artist: ‘A medical student, an oarsman, a tenor, an amateur actor, a shouting politician, a small landlord, a small investor, a drinker, a good fellow, a ...

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