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Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times

5 July 2007
The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews​ of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... On the evening of 15 February 1957, the New York Times correspondent Herbert Matthews stepped into a jeep with some anti-government activists and went to meet the young Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra. Castro was supposed to be dead: sailing from Mexico a few months earlier, he had ...

Vagueness

Hans Keller

1 May 1980
Michael Tippett: An Introductory Study 
by David Matthews.
Faber, 112 pp., £5.95, December 1979, 0 571 10954 3
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Tippett and his Operas 
by Eric Walter White.
Barrie and Jenkins, 142 pp., £7.97, January 1980, 0 214 20573 8
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...  an inadequacy. Good or bad, for better or worse, this review isn’t worth your attention unless you accept that there is no substitute for, no viable alternative to, clarity. According to David Matthews, Tippett himself has come close to this view – ever since the early Sixties, when he ‘joined Britten in a liking for clear, uncluttered textures’. Did he? And has he thus continued? On and off ...

Mighty Merry

E.S. Turner

25 May 1995
The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Eleven Volumes, including Companion and Index 
edited by R.C. Latham and W. Matthews.
HarperCollins, 267 pp., £8.99, February 1995, 0 00 499021 8
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... if prickly, worker and toiled at the task for three years, leaving out only the passages he marked as ‘Obj.’ (objectionable). The richer by £200, he then followed his father into the Church. Wewould do well to remember the Reverend John Smith in a year which sees the first publication in paperback of the work on which he did the initial drudgery. This entire version, infinitely corrected ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan

29 June 2016
... of the room and told by the officers not to go near their computers or use their phones. ‘I tried to intervene,’ one senior staff member, a Dane called Allan Pedersen, remarked later, ‘and said wewould have to call our lawyers.’ Ramona wasn’t keen to tell her family what was happening. The reporters were sniffing at a strange story – a story too complicated for her to explain – so she ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: Out of Essex

8 January 2004
... urgency, loss of nerve. The printed card in my pocket depicts a stack of scarlet container units, a pylon, a purple sky. An invitation to an invisible art manifestation: Lost Memories by Emma Matthews. ‘Very elegant, very Paul Klee,’ the punters say. Rusting English metal, from somewhere down the A13, near Rainham Marshes, rendered as a grid of delicately balanced reds and pinks, with just ...
16 June 1983
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Vol X: Companion and Vol XI: Index 
edited by Robert Latham.
Bell and Hyman, 626 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 7135 1993 2
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The Diary of John Evelyn 
edited by John Bowle.
Oxford, 476 pp., £19.50, April 1983, 0 19 251011 8
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The Brave Courtier: Sir William Temple 
by Richard Faber.
Faber, 187 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 571 11982 4
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... man in the same skin, one who watched understandingly but rather detachedly the behaviour and motives of his fellow-lodger’. These words were penned by Robert Latham’s collaborator, William Matthews, who died in 1976. He was a scholar in the old style, not given to trendy assimilation of historic sources into the narratology of modern angst. But his effort to see the diary as something more than ...

Economic Performance

Sydney Checkland

19 April 1984
The Victorian Economy 
by François Crouzet, translated by Anthony Forster.
Methuen, 430 pp., £18, June 1982, 0 416 31110 5
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British Economic Growth 1856-1973 
by R.C.O. Matthews, C.H. Feinstein and J.C. Odling-Smee.
Oxford, 712 pp., £37.50, October 1982, 0 19 828453 5
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The Cambridge Economic History of Europe. Vol. VII: The Industrial Economies: Capital, Labour and Enterprise 
edited by Peter Mathias.
Cambridge, 832 pp., £13.50, June 1982, 0 521 28800 2
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... in economic history courses. Today the self-congratulation has gone. The question that has dramatised and well-nigh traumatised our approach over the past decade is the negative one: how have we come undone? Inevitably, the new way of thinking has affected our interpretation of the past. And this has political repercussions, as the parties look for a way out of present national difficulties ...

Magnanimous Cuckolds

Jack Matthews

10 November 1988
The Lyre of Orpheus 
by Robertson Davies.
Viking, 472 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 9780670824168
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... He is painting a portrait of Francis Cornish, showing the back of Simon Darcourt in the foreground as he paints his portrait of Cornish within this lesser frame. Now,with The Lyre of Orpheus, we pick up temporally where Rebel Angels left off. As for Francis Cornish’s biographer, Simon Darcourt: he is a priest, a bachelor, and a professor of Greek in the College of St John and the Holy ...

I have not heard her voice in a long, long time

Thomas Powers: Edna and Parker Ford

4 October 2017
Between Them 
by Richard Ford.
Bloomsbury, 175 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 0 06 266188 3
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... acquaintance from all over the place, a shot at well-paying jobs, and a shared sense of expectation. It was at Irvine and after that Ford met the sort of people who inspired the character of Charley Matthews in his long story ‘Occidentals’, one of the three in Women with Men, published in 1997. Matthews is a young novelist visiting Paris where his first novel, The Predicament, is to be published in ...

At the Wellcome

Will Self: Bedlam, The Asylum and Beyond

17 November 2016
... rather than inmates. To adapt a jokey sign from the days before parity of esteem: you don’t have to be mad to work on this subject matter – but it helps. Just a few moments examining James Tilly Matthews’s beautifully executed pen-and-wash drawing of the ‘air loom’ he believed to be the cause of his psychosis was enough to transport me into the crepuscular realm of the seriously disturbed, but ...
6 December 1990
Listening for a Midnight Tram: Memoirs 
by John Junor.
Chapmans, 341 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 9781855925014
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... surfaces in some other modes. The prurience about sex marches side by side with slavering after pretty women. These range from the tennis player Virginia Wade – ‘Quite a girl. Warm and vibrant. We lunched together a few times but, alas, remained only good friends’ – to Anna Ford (‘I had the feeling that her first love was men and work came second’), and ‘my friend and discovery ...

Form-Compelling

David Matthews: How to Write a Fugue

21 September 2006
The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard 1715-50 
by Joseph Kerman.
California, 173 pp., £15.95, August 2005, 0 520 24358 7
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... concludes his book by asking himself what he has tried to do, questioning the practice of writing about music, and gently justifying it: ‘Talk mediates, differentiates, elucidates and consoles; we use words, however imprecisely, to talk about love and death because talk, it seems, we must. We also use and surely must use words to talk about music.’ The art of fugue had been practised for ...

Diary

Linda Matthews: Living with Vivian Maier

21 October 2015
... face, intelligent, observant, composed. She didn’t fawn over the children, but spoke to each of them, including the baby. She said she didn’t believe in television for children and asked if we had a stroller; I said yes, and a pram. She said she would need them both. I showed her the house and the three attic rooms we could offer her. I said if she came to live with us, I would carpet the ...

Suspicious

Tariq Ali: Richard Sorge’s Fate

19 November 2019
An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent 
by Owen Matthews.
Bloomsbury, 448 pp., £25, March, 978 1 4088 5778 6
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... Sorge has always attracted particular attention. Ian Fleming called him the ‘most formidable spy in history’; other admirers included John le Carré, Tom Clancy and General MacArthur. Owen Matthewswhose new biography of Sorge is the fifth to appear in English – is well qualified to write this book: his Ukrainian maternal grandfather was Boris Bibikov, a factory worker in Kharkov wh...

Perfectly Mobile, Perfectly Still

David Craig: Land Artists

14 December 2000
Time 
by Andy Goldsworthy.
Thames and Hudson, 203 pp., £35, August 2000, 0 500 51026 1
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... Sculpture need not be a bronze statue of a town councillor or a marble figure of a goddess, respectfully plinthed in gallery or plaza; or a curvaceous wooden form strung like a harp which we gaze at in dumbfounded silence. These days, it may well be a drystone wall winding between trees before burying its end in a lake, like the great Norse serpent for ever drinking the world’s waters ...

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