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John Bayley

2 February 1989
The Lost Voices of World War One: An International Anthology of Writers, Poets and Playwrights 
edited by Tim Cross.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0276 5
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by Paul Celan, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Anvil, 350 pp., £15.95, January 1989, 0 85646 198 9
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Flights of Passage: Reflections of a World War Two Aviator 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bloomsbury, 270 pp., £13.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0333 8
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... of Benedetto Croce, put the matter unusually well. Like most young Italian intellectuals of the time, he was keen on sport, science, motor-cars, military conquest. He had written a penetrating study of Kipling, and a remarkable piece on the departure of a regiment for the Libyan adventure of 1912, an essay which combines patriotic fervour with a deep ...


John Kinsella

14 May 2009
... Tim has been filed in Yellow Faction at school. He is frustrated and angry: he wants to be in Red Faction, especially for the Cross Country, which even five-year-olds train for in the Bush. Character building. Robust. Preparatory. I take him out to the garden where I have piled the spent broad bean stalks, grey ropes of pea vines, dead clumps of wild oats, for a quick burning-off ...

At Turner Contemporary

Anne Enright: Dorothy Cross, Connemara

19 December 2013
... fiction,’ I said. ‘Ah …’ he said.) What a pleasure then, to happen on the artist Dorothy Cross, and to admire, with her, the broad backs of the Special Branch men, their triangular napes and the way the curling wires of their earpieces stretched and relaxed against the skin of their necks. One of Cross’s most ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: John Humphrys

22 September 2005
... sits uneasily with his professed support for an English teacher who would like to spend her time reading Keats and Donne with her pupils; still, there’s more than one type of ambiguity, and it’s clear enough which type Humphrys has in mind: politicians rather than poets are his targets. He also hates ‘management speak’: ‘Each specialist ...

Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin

30 October 1997
American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... between the style of an art historian or critic and that of his or her favourite artist. Reading Tim Clark on Courbet, it is easy to see the reasons why the writer chose his subject: iconoclasm, a bold and aggressive rejection of stylistic precedence and traditional modes of expression are common to both. In the case of Robert Hughes, author of the ...

Tight in the Cockpit

Joanna Kavenna: Tim Parks’s ‘The Rapids’

5 May 2005
by Tim Parks.
Secker, 246 pp., £15.99, March 2005, 0 436 20559 9
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... Tim Parks’s latest novel opens in the forests of the South Tyrol, where a group of white-water enthusiasts are taking a kayaking holiday. The river is overflowing with melt water from a thawing glacier, and the kayakers find themselves endangered by the force of the current, as the river runs ever faster and fuller ...
29 September 1988
... its onlie begetter. I was looking through some of my papers in a trunk the other day when I came across these poems, and they made me cringe. However, among them were a few which for some reason, were not awful. One poem had to do with memories and a dream of trees, and was set in the stanza of Yeats’s ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’. Here is the last stanza ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011

5 January 2012
... job this evening R. is shocked to discover in the bathroom above the bath a crudely made wooden cross. He takes this to be the work of Max who, scarcely out of his teens, already has two children and is, I imagine, Catholic. R., whose feelings about religion are more uncompromising than mine, finds the cross disturbing ...
22 June 1995
Derailed in Uncle Ho’s Victory Garden: Return to Vietnam and Cambodia 
by Tim Page.
Touchstone, 248 pp., £14.99, April 1995, 0 671 71926 2
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In the Lake of the Woods 
by Tim O’Brien.
Flamingo, 306 pp., £5.99, April 1995, 0 00 654395 2
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In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam 
by Robert McNamara.
Random House, 432 pp., $27.50, April 1995, 0 8129 2523 8
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... The ghosts of the thousands of unrecovered dead, it was said, the spirits of the men who’d gone across the Laotian border and never come back, were streaming home on the night winds, seeking answers to their fate. Twenty years after the collapse of the US surrogate regime in Saigon, the ghosts of Vietnam are still riding the night winds home to America. For ...

At the Royal Academy

Brian Dillon: Ai Weiwei

7 October 2015
... or grandly imagined and engineered: Ai’s admirable if unenviable position as critic and victim of that state means the work is frequently reducible to a clear and courageous message. But can it be more than that? He is not exactly literal-minded. A certain type of metaphor is the dominant mode in much, even most of the sculpture and the installations ...

Audrey’s Eye

Anthony Quinn

21 February 1991
Leaving Brooklyn 
by Lynne Sharon Schwartz.
Minerva, 146 pp., £4.99, December 1990, 0 7493 9072 7
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Surrogate City 
by Hugo Hamilton.
Faber, 197 pp., £12.99, November 1990, 0 571 14432 2
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... the small, insular community of Guntersville, Alabama, where he meets a young motel-owner called Tim. Tim is writing a novel. Raban is consulted for a professional opinion of the work in progress, and with commendable grace he identifies the strengths of this driven ‘kitchen-table writer’. But he also highlights the ...
4 June 1981
... The British Museum is falling down and had it accepted. This is easily the shortest period of time in which I have ever succeeded in writing a novel. My freedom from teaching duties, combined with the generally stimulating and liberating effect of the American experience, was one obvious reason for this. But another ...

Rebel States

Tim Parks: Surrender by Gondola

1 December 2005
The Siege of Venice 
by Jonathan Keates.
Chatto, 495 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 7011 6637 1
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... in his great study of the Italian Renaissance, ‘of that half-religious loyalty by which the legitimate princes of the West were supported.’ The removal of the apex of the medieval hierarchy did not lead to the system’s total collapse. In the 14th century, an attempt by the Florentine woolworkers to get rid of the wealthy oligarchs who had ditched the ...

Target Practice

Tim Whitmarsh: Lucian

25 February 2010
Lucian: A Selection 
edited by Neil Hopkinson.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £19.99, October 2008, 978 0 521 84200 6
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... 16th century, when he won a place on the Inquisition’s Index of Prohibited Books. At the same time, he was being lionised elsewhere in Europe by the new Protestant champions of Greek philology. Sir Thomas More and Erasmus (also honoured with an appearance in the Index) were both keen translators and literary imitators of Lucian. His supporters saw him as ...

Beyond the Ballot Box

Tim Barker: Occupy and Bernie

7 September 2016
Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt 
by Sarah Jaffe.
Nation, 352 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 1 56858 536 9
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... and of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era banking regulation whose repeal in 1999 is sometimes blamed for the 2008 crisis. If the poisoned fruit had been eaten so recently, maybe there was no need to start from scratch. The tactic of occupation has left little trace. After protesters set up camp in Zuccotti Park in New York’s financial district on ...

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