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Imperfect Knight

Gabriel Josipovici, 17 April 1980

Chaucer’s Knight: Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary 
by Terry Jones.
Weidenfeld, 319 pp., £8.95, January 1980, 0 297 77566 9
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Chaucer, Langland and the Creative Imagination 
by David Aers.
Routledge, 236 pp., £9.75, January 1980, 9780710003515
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The Golden Age: Manuscript Painting at the Time of Jean, Duc de Berry 
by Marcel Thomas.
Chatto, 120 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 7011 2471 7
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... the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to be described, by a member of the Monty Python team, Terry Jones. Jones obviously enjoys reading Chaucer and his book conveys a personal excitement usually missing from academic studies. From the time he first came across the description of the Knight, he tells us, he was ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Alternative Weeping, 7 September 2000

... of course, the chance to see and hear David Starkey cheek by jowl with Zadie Smith, Roy Strong, Terry Jones, Michael Holroyd and all the other writers showcasing their various talents this year. Such events certainly seem to be increasing rapidly in number and variety. Cheltenham and Hay-on-Wye (Tony Benn: ‘In my mind, it has replaced ...

Short Cuts

Jenny Diski: The Future of Publishing, 5 January 2012

... start writing.’ And if they don’t, well, there you go, you didn’t bring the market with you. Terry Jones of the Pythons and Tibor Fischer got the 100 per cent support they needed and have already published their books, but at the time of writing Elliott Rose is languishing at 22 per cent and still needs 1438 more pledges in the next 28 days if ...

D.A.N. Jones writes about David Robert Jones

D.A.N. Jones, 20 November 1986

by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... David Robert Jones, alias David Bowie, is now in his 40th year. His creepy, chilling phrases pop out of pub jukeboxes, and extracts from his movies catch the eye on pub videos, whether he is embracing a Chinese girl or being executed by Japanese soldiers; his image appears in the Sunday-paper magazines, artistically displayed in sundry poses ...

Church of Garbage

Robert Irwin, 3 February 2000

The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives 
by Carole Hillenbrand.
Edinburgh, 648 pp., £80, July 1999, 0 7486 0905 9
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... itself as one of the pieties of Crusading historiography long before the veteran Python, Terry Jones, delivered his adverse verdict on television. Even novelists like Scott, Henty and Rider Haggard have been inclined to take a remarkably severe view of the Crusading enterprise. It is hardly surprising that modern Arab historians, besides ...


Tom Shippey: Norse mythology, 3 January 2008

From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths 
by Heather O’Donoghue.
Tauris, 224 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 1 84511 357 5
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... in Norse literature, but they stud the pages of modern thrillers and fantasies from Beau Geste to Terry Pratchett. All this makes O’Donoghue’s final attempt to round up contemporary responses look eclectic at best. She mentions a few poems and novels, but the number could be multiplied many times over, and some of the best known do not appear. Any regular ...

Bunches of Guys

Owen Bennett-Jones: Just the Right Amount of Violence, 19 December 2013

Decoding al-Qaida’s Strategy: The Deep Battle against America 
by Michael Ryan.
Columbia, 368 pp., £23.15, September 2013, 978 0 231 16384 2
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The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organisations 
by Jacob Shapiro.
Princeton, 352 pp., £19.95, July 2013, 978 0 691 15721 4
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... is explained by the West’s hatred of Islam. The actions of a few fringe figures such as Pastor Terry Jones who do indeed seem to hate Islam are then cited as supporting evidence. One aspect of the US’s use of torture, incidentally, has received too little attention. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded no fewer than 183 times. At some point he ...

The Man in White

Edward Pearce, 11 October 1990

The Golden Warrior: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia 
by Lawrence James.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £19.50, August 1990, 0 297 81087 1
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... world of the actual knights – even Chaucer’s parfait gentle knight has been demonstrated by Terry Jones to have been a cynical operator. It suggests that the evils of the Arab order gave him a function. Mr James has a chapter, one of the best things in the book, on ‘Lawrence and the Arabs’. It describes, among other things, the necessarily ...

During Her Majesty’s Pleasure

Ronan Bennett, 20 February 1997

... In Well Street, Hackney, shortly before midnight on 11 February 1982, Terry McCluskie and his friend Raymond Reynolds picked a fight with a total stranger, Robert Ford, and stabbed him to death. Ford was 15 years old and had just taken his girl-friend home after spending an evening at a local Citizens’ Band radio club ...

Tom Phillips: An Interview

Tom Phillips, Adam Smyth and Gill Partington, 11 October 2012

... thing I saw, better than music hall, was The Life of Brian. Also done by friends of mine. Terry Jones is a very close friend. I’ve played ping-pong with every one of Pythons, except the one who died.GP: You’ve played ping-pong with every famous person.AS: Are you more forehand or backhand in ping-pong?TP: I have to be very sly because I ...

Mr Down-by-the-Levee

Thomas Jones: Updike’s Terrorist, 7 September 2006

by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 310 pp., £17.99, August 2006, 0 241 14351 9
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... edginess and hostility of his fraught exchanges with Joryleen’s aggressive boyfriend, Tylenol Jones (whose ‘mother, having delivered a ten-pound infant, saw the name in a television commercial for painkiller and liked the sound of it’). In the most literal sense, Ahmad isn’t foreign to Updike at all. As he tells Levy, ‘I am not a foreigner. I have ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bo yakasha., 4 January 2001

... kid’ (how many Beatles fans ever wondered if Paul McCartney had a brother?); and what about Terry Major-Ball. Not to mention Earl Spencer. I don’t know if anyone’s written a study of the subject, though there is Barbara Trapido’s novel Brother of the More Famous Jack, and it’s one of the themes of John Lanchester’s first novel, The Debt to ...

A Good Ladies’ Tailor

Brigid Brophy, 2 July 1981

Bernard Shaw and the Actresses 
by Margot Peters.
Columbus, 461 pp., £8.75, March 1981, 0 385 12051 6
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... of Eliza for Mrs Patrick Campbell. He went to persuade her to take it and, as he reported to Ellen Terry, ‘fell head over ears in love with her in thirty seconds’. Shaw was at the time 55 and Mrs Pat, who, on taking Shaw’s hand, performed what he called the ‘infamous, abandoned trick’ of brushing it against her breasts, 47. (She was 49 by the time ...


Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... Isaacs), to the guest-house in Rhyl where Hanratty said he’d stayed. The landlady, Mrs Grace Jones, was not at all diverted by the pulverising she’d got from the prosecution at the trial. She was more sure than ever that Hanratty had stayed in her house on the night of the murder, 22 August 1961. She was backed up by ...

A Row of Shaws

Terry Eagleton: That Bastard Shaw, 21 June 2018

Judging Shaw 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Royal Irish Academy, 381 pp., £28, October 2017, 978 1 908997 15 9
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... he joined an honourable lineage of Irish licensed jesters from Oliver Goldsmith to Brendan Behan (Terry Wogan and Graham Norton are minor offshoots), men who punctured English pomposity and found moral earnestness irresistibly comic, yet whose capacity to amuse rendered them more or less acceptable. It was a perilous role to play, as Shaw’s friend and ...

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