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Short is sharp

John Sutherland, 3 February 1983

Firebird 2 
edited by T.J. Binding.
Penguin, 284 pp., £2.95, January 1983, 0 14 006337 4
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Bech is Back 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 195 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 0 233 97512 8
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The Pangs of Love 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 156 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 241 10942 6
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The Man Who Sold Prayers 
by Margaret Creal.
Dent, 198 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 9780460045926
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Happy as a Dead Cat 
by Jill Miller.
Women’s Press, 120 pp., £2.50, January 1983, 9780704338982
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... The short story emerged as a major form in the 19th century, a by-product of the great Victorian periodical boom. Some years ago a pessimistic literary diagnosis assumed it would wither with its host – the non-specialist, general-interest magazine. Like the long poem, the short story would become a superseded species. But recently, things have boomed again ...

Unseen Eyes

Julian Bell: The Clark Effect, 7 February 2019

Heaven on Earth: Painting and the Life to Come 
by T.J. Clark.
Thames & Hudson, 288 pp., £24.95, October 2018, 978 0 500 02138 5
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... Towards the centre of the crowded room, Clark suggests at first; towards the rite of betrothal binding the Virgin Mary to Joseph, an act that causes the branch that Joseph holds to burst into flower. The woman behind the column ‘is the very figure of attention’, Clark writes. ‘She is the one of all the spectators, we are convinced, who looks hardest ...

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