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The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi. Vol. I: Civilisation, Politics and Religion 
edited by Rhagavan Iyer.
Oxford, 644 pp., £40, February 1986, 0 19 824754 0
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The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi. Vol. II: Truth and Non-Violence 
edited by Rhagavan Iyer.
Oxford, 678 pp., £50, October 1986, 0 19 824755 9
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The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi. Vol. III: Non-Violent Resistance and Social Transformation 
edited by Rhagavan Iyer.
Oxford, 641 pp., £55, May 1987, 0 19 824756 7
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... Every morning at dawn for most of his life Mahatma Gandhi would seat himself on the ground and write until lunchtime. His collected writings are a daunting prospect – even the 90-volume set published by the Government of India is incomplete. Gandhi wrote as a political propagandist, original and candid at all times, never insidious. As part of the campaigns he waged in both South Africa and India he founded, managed and edited a number of important journals about current issues, including Young India, Indian Opinion and Harijan ...

Hell on Earth

Stephen Haggard, 8 January 1987

Cambodian Witness: The Autobiography of Someth May 
edited by James Fenton.
Faber, 287 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 14609 0
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The stones cry out: A Cambodian Childhood 
by Molyda Szymusiak, translated by Linda Coverdale.
Cape, 245 pp., £11.95, January 1987, 0 224 02410 8
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... The bloodiness of the events of the Seventies in Cambodia, and the desperate nature of the refugee exodus, have been of such monstrous proportions as to hinder the emergence of detailed accounts about what really happened. Someth May and Molyda Szymusiak (this is her adopted name) are two Cambodians who lived through the Khmer Rouge years and eventually gained refuge in the West ...

Loose Canons

Edward Mendelson, 23 June 1988

History and Value: The Clarendon Lectures and the Northcliffe Lectures 1987 
by Frank Kermode.
Oxford, 160 pp., £15, June 1988, 0 19 812381 7
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by Stephen Haggard and Frank Kermode.
Oxford, 475 pp., £5.95, June 1988, 0 19 282135 0
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British Writers of the Thirties 
by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 530 pp., £30, February 1988, 0 19 212267 3
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... survive because, despite its merits, it ‘mimes transgression but never crosses the boundary’. Stephen Haggard’s Nya is the story of the love between a young man and a 13-year-old girl. Readers of Lolita will imagine such a book as a hotbed of sexual and linguistic transgression. But in Nya nothing untoward happens. Sexual innocence is not even ...

White Peril

E.S. Turner: H. Rider Haggard, 20 September 2001

Diary of an African Journey (1914) 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Hurst, 345 pp., £20, August 2001, 1 85065 468 9
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... his own epitaph, which was carved in black marble. It read: Here lie the Ashes of Henry Rider Haggard Knight Bachelor Knight of the British Empire Who with a Humble Heart Strove to Serve his Country Nothing there about his ripping yarns, the first of which had been hyped, in 1885, as ‘The Most Amazing Story Ever Written’. The humble-hearted ...

Into the Future

David Trotter: The Novel, 22 March 2007

The Novel: Vol. I: History, Geography and Culture 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 916 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04947 5
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The Novel: Vol. II: Forms and Themes 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 950 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04948 3
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... and moths to stock a decent-sized natural history museum) is an adventure story of the kind Rider Haggard devised in King Solomon’s Mines and She, as an alternative to the English novel’s stuffy domestic preoccupations. Green Mansions is an eco-romance: She with added insect ecology (Haggard wouldn’t have got out of ...


John Sutherland, 21 April 1988

by Stephen King.
Hodder, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 340 39070 0
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The Tommyknockers 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 563 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 340 39069 7
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by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 245 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 9780670816545
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by Charles Willeford.
Gollancz, 293 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 575 04197 8
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by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 282 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 571 15147 7
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... Stephen King has occasionally raised a rueful protest against being typed as a horror writer – even with the consolation of being the best-selling horror writer in the history of the world. But, as he disarmingly reminds us, there is worse literary company than Lovecraft, Leiber, Bloch, Matheson and Jackson. ‘I could, for example, be an “important” writer like Joseph Heller and publish a novel every seven years or so, or a “brilliant” writer like John Gardner and write obscure books for bright academics who eat macrobiotic foods and drive old Saabs with faded but still legible GENE McCARTHY FOR PRESIDENT stickers on the rear bumpers ...

Even When It’s a Big Fat Lie

Alex Abramovich: ‘Country Music’, 8 October 2020

Country Music 
directed by Ken Burns.
PBS, eight episodes
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... themselves: Bobby Bare, Garth Brooks, Roseanne Cash, Charlie Daniels, Little Jimmy Dickens, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Rhiannon Giddens, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Randy Scruggs, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam – a who’s who of Nashville, Austin and Bakersfield turned out for Burns’s ...

Who was the enemy?

Bernard Porter: Gallipoli, 21 May 2015

by Alan Moorehead.
Aurum, 384 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 1 78131 406 7
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Gallipoli: A Soldier’s Story 
by Arthur Beecroft.
Robert Hale, 176 pp., £12.99, March 2015, 978 0 7198 1654 3
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Gallipoli 1915 
by Joseph Murray.
Silvertail, 210 pp., £12.99, April 2015, 978 1 909269 11 8
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Gallipoli: The Dardanelles Disaster in Soldiers’ Words and Photographs 
by Richard van Emden and Stephen Chambers.
Bloomsbury, 344 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 1 4088 5615 4
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... thanked me a thousand times’). Then there is the splendid book edited by Richard van Emden and Stephen Chambers, which consists mainly of soldiers’ and sailors’ letters and diaries, British, Anzac and Turkish – no French or Indian, apart from a couple of Indian officers in the British army – arranged chronologically, with an editorial commentary ...

Anxious Pleasures

James Wood: Thomas Hardy, 4 January 2007

Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 486 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 670 91512 2
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... as shifting as any of his characters’, until the great breakthrough late in 1873, when Leslie Stephen offered him £400 to serialise Far from the Madding Crowd in the Cornhill. It was a lot of money: Tomalin, with the biographer’s welcome nose for cash, informs us that a year earlier, Hardy’s cousin Tryphena had become headmistress of a primary school ...

Anglo-Egyptian Attitudes

Marina Warner, 5 January 2017

... and empire yarns by G.A. Henty and C.S. Forester, John Buchan and Rudyard Kipling and Rider Haggard, literature in which the world is ‘British’.I don’t remember what I read, just a mood, a pace. But I know writers don’t conceal their attitudes. And their glorying in the derring-do and brigandry are part and parcel of Admiral Walker’s much ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett, 5 April 2007

... Street, which I do regularly, I hardly ever think about Leopold Bloom and the Kilkenny People or Stephen Daedalus and the ghost of Hamlet’s father, even if I decide to walk the route down Kildare Street and past the National Library. I studied in the National Library almost every weekday between 1973 and 1975, and it is easier to wonder who stole my yellow ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... into the sixth form the classes got smaller and smaller. By the end there were maybe half a dozen haggard figures sitting in a room, being tongue-lashed by this pedagogic monster.How did you move on, in terms of your reading, from Keats? Presumably you had set texts. Oh, yes, one was doing all that. But there was also his personal syllabus. He was, of ...

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