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Getting Ready to Exist

Adam Phillips, 17 July 1997

A Centenary Pessoa 
edited by Eugénio Lisboa and L.C. Taylor.
Carcanet, 335 pp., £25, May 1995, 9780856359361
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The Keeper of Sheep 
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Edwin Honig and Susan Brown.
Sheep Meadow, 135 pp., $12.95, September 1997, 1 878818 45 7
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The Book of Disquietude 
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Richard Zenith.
Carcanet, 323 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 301 7
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... Jonathan Griffin in the Penguin Selected Poems, Keith Bosley, Richard Zenith, Edwin Honig, Susan Brown – seems to prompt curiously unguarded responses in his readers. ‘I’m the living stage,’ his narrator Soares writes, ‘where various actors act out various plays.’ His work casts more than a ...

Roanoke and Wampumpeag

Susan Wheeler, 4 April 2002

... suddenly. Come ON. The dollar buys four old-tyme sticks, Swirled barber poles in green and brown, horehound-hard and stale, Each a member of the family’s, their car on gravel moving out, trunk To traders and the totem pole, behind the ghastly, grinning ...
Nothing to Forgive: A Daughter’s Life of Antonia White 
by Lyndall Hopkinson.
Chatto, 376 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 7011 2969 7
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... They are perhaps more so now, having recently been reissued and made into a television serial. Susan Chitty, the elder daughter, was first off the mark in 1985 with ‘a very personal memoir, not a biography’.* ‘Antonia White was not a good mother to me,’ she begins, and goes on to say that her ‘four novels were largely autobiographical, so much so ...

Seriously Uncool

Jenny Diski: Susan Sontag, 22 March 2007

At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches 
edited by Paolo Dilonardo and Anne Jump, preface by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 235 pp., £18.99, April 2007, 978 0 241 14371 1
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A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005 
by Annie Leibovitz.
Cape, 480 pp., £60, October 2006, 0 224 08063 6
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... Susan Sontag intended something like the book which is now published as At the Same Time to be her final collection of essays. After that, says her son, David Rieff, in his foreword, she intended to get on with what she most valued, writing fiction. Edited by her, somewhat differently no doubt, this would, then, have been her next book ...

Bizarre and Wonderful

Wes Enzinna: Murray Bookchin, Eco-Anarchist, 3 May 2017

Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin 
by Janet Biehl.
Oxford, 344 pp., £22.99, October 2015, 978 0 19 934248 8
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... John Zerzan, a hermit who thought language was the root of the world’s problems; and L. Susan Brown, who held that anarchists should support Margaret Thatcher’s assertion that ‘there is no such thing as society.’ ‘When I normally encounter my so-called colleagues on the left,’ Bookchin once told a roomful of Ayn Rand acolytes, ‘they ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Howard Hodgkin, 6 July 2006

... among dark green leaves. A flock of starlings – some black, glossy and speckled, some buff-brown juveniles – land and scramble, mostly unseen, among the leaves which rustle and move with their comings and goings. They peck at the fruit. A pair of wood pigeons – soft grey backs, pink-buff breasts, white collars – land and cling unsteadily to twigs ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy, 2 January 2020

Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... and then their grey successors. We were so happy when those fresh-faced challengers, the Blair/Brown and Clinton/Gore double acts, showed them the door. People smarter than I was probably foresaw the compromises that would follow, but I doubt any of us fully anticipated our financialised, deregulated world – a world in which we now individually struggle ...

And Cabbages Too

Patrick Collinson: The Tudors, 22 March 2001

New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1603 
by Susan Brigden.
Allen Lane, 434 pp., £20, September 2000, 0 7139 9067 8
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... outlook was the Butskellism which was the immediate legacy of the Second World War, when ‘Billy Brown of London Town’ told us all how to behave on the Underground, a means of transportation which Clement Attlee used, unaccompanied, when he visited Bindoff’s college on the Mile End Road. In spite of all its fulsomely royalist top-dressing, Tudor England ...

Dat’s de Truth

Terence Hawkes, 26 January 1995

Dancing to a Black Man’s Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin 
by Susan Curtis.
Missouri, 265 pp., £26.95, July 1994, 0 8262 0949 1
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King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era 
by Edward Berlin.
Oxford, 334 pp., £19.99, September 1994, 0 19 508739 9
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... its presence felt at the Chicago World’s Fair (the Columbian Exposition) in 1893, where, at what Susan Curtis perceptively calls a significant ‘frontier of modern culture’, the music of black Americans offered serious competition to the classical music of Europe. Despite an economic depression, people flocked to the ‘midway’ and the sporting house ...

Tit for Tat

Margaret Anne Doody, 21 December 1989

Eighteenth-Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology 
edited by Roger Lonsdale.
Oxford, 555 pp., £20, September 1989, 0 19 811769 8
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... dirt for dirt:     For there some stocks lay on the ground, One side was yellow, t’other brown; And velvet breeches (on her word), The inside all bedaubed with t—d. And just before, I’ll not desist To let you know they were be-pissed: Four different stinks lay there together, Which were sweat, turd, and piss, and leather. Mary Jones of ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... he did not lead marches. Some politicians became friends (he got the bus with Michael Foot; Gordon Brown was a dinner guest) and in the late 1970s and 1980s he would catalyse a fierce and consequential debate about the future of the Labour Party through interventions in Marxism Today (interventions that were blamed for – and that Hobsbawm later blamed ...

Women beware men

Margaret Anne Doody, 23 July 1992

Backlash: The Undeclared War against Women 
by Susan Faludi.
Chatto, 592 pp., £9.99, March 1992, 0 7011 4643 5
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The War against Women 
by Marilyn French.
Hamish Hamilton, 229 pp., £9.99, March 1992, 0 241 13271 1
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... Although first published in the United States, both books deal with England and other countries. Susan Faludi extensively revised her 1991 American edition for the 1992 British edition. This version, with a Preface by Joan Smith, includes information regarding the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. Marilyn French deals with Southern and Eastern ...

Suitable Heroes

Susan Pedersen: Home from the War, 25 February 2010

Demobbed: Coming Home after the Second World War 
by Alan Allport.
Yale, 265 pp., £20, October 2009, 978 0 300 14043 9
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The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force, 1939-45 
by Martin Francis.
Oxford, 266 pp., £32, November 2008, 978 0 19 927748 3
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... them and turned away. ‘Lucky bastard,’ Merritt overheard one bystander mutter, ‘look how brown he is, he’s had a bloody good time.’ Alan Allport’s engaging look at the demobilisation of British soldiers after the war begins, in a sense, from Merritt’s feeling of deflation. There were five million Britons in uniform on VE Day, 90 per cent of ...

Party Man

David Marquand, 1 July 1982

Tony Crosland 
by Susan Crosland.
Cape, 448 pp., £10.95, June 1982, 9780224017879
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... I had become an admirer. Gaitskell was dead, and the revisionists needed a champion. George Brown was too unreliable, and Roy Jenkins too remote. Crosland seemed to be the man. After all, he was the high priest of revisionism. He had charted its course in happier days. Who better to lead it through the storms that followed Gaitskell’s death? For most ...

Adulterers’ Distress

Philip Horne, 21 July 1983

A Nail on the Head 
by Clare Boylan.
Hamish Hamilton, 135 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 241 11001 7
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New Stories 8: An Arts Council Anthology 
edited by Karl Miller.
Hutchinson, 227 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 9780091523800
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The Handyman 
by Penelope Mortimer.
Allen Lane, 199 pp., £6.95, May 1983, 0 7139 1364 9
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Open the Door 
by Rosemary Manning.
Cape, 180 pp., £7.95, June 1983, 0 224 02112 5
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A Boy’s Own Story 
by Edmund White.
Picador, 218 pp., £2.50, July 1983, 0 330 28151 8
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... Half Brother’ by Francis Wyndham, an account of a black sheep step-brother; ‘Remembrance’ by Susan Boyd, which touches on the subject of a dead grandmother; and ‘Trotsky’s Other Son’ by Carol Singh, a story describing a Marxist who ran a bookshop in a Nottingham slum in the early Sixties. ‘Women with Bicycle’ by Jane Oxenford and the brief ...

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