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Bloody

Michael Church, 9 October 1986

The Children of the Souls: A Tragedy of the First World War 
by Jeanne Mackenzie.
Chatto, 276 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 9780701128470
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Voices from the Spanish Civil War: Personal Recollections of Scottish Volunteers in Republican Spain 1936-39 
edited by Ian MacDougall, by Victor Kiernan.
Polygon, 369 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 948275 19 7
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The Shallow Grave: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War 
by Walter Gregory, edited by David Morris and Anthony Peters.
Gollancz, 183 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 575 03790 3
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Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War 
edited by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 388 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 19 212258 4
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The Spanish Cockpit 
by Franz Borkenau.
Pluto, 303 pp., £4.95, July 1986, 0 7453 0188 6
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The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 
by Paul Preston.
Weidenfeld, 184 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 297 78891 4
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Images of the Spanish Civil War 
by Raymond Carr.
Allen and Unwin, 192 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 04 940089 4
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... this piece of oral history has been turned by skilful editing into an immensely readable memoir. Walter Gregory’s tale is in many ways archetypal. ‘Setting off for Spain ... I was like a holidaymaker going abroad for the first time.’ He had moved through trade-union activism inexorably leftward via the Hunger Marches into the Communist Party ...

Against Consciousness

Richard Gregory, 24 January 1980

Pavlov 
by Jeffrey Gray.
Fontana, 140 pp., £1.25, September 1980, 9780006343042
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J.B. Watson: The Founder of Behaviourism 
by David Cohen.
Routledge, 297 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 7100 0054 5
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... work on electrical brain activity (EEG), initiated by Adrian and Matthews and developed by Grey Walter, forced psychologists’ attention away from the easily observed muscles towards the brain and nervous system, where it now lies firmly, with a growing interest in subtle chemical changes which are less easy to record. For the entire Behaviourist school ...

There’s a porpoise close behind us

Michael Dobson, 13 November 1997

The Origins of English Nonsense 
by Noel Malcolm.
HarperCollins, 329 pp., £18, May 1997, 0 00 255827 0
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... includes, along with mock-eulogies and mock-epitaphs on both Hoskyns and Coryate, the epic Sir Gregory Nonsence His Newes from No Place, the more comprehensibly satirical Mercurius Nonsensicus and the virtually endless The Essence of Nonsence upon Sence (included here with only the comparatively lucid interpolated elegy on a diseased horse omitted), and it ...

Trevelogue

E.S. Turner, 25 June 1987

The Golden Oriole: Childhood, Family and Friends in India 
by Raleigh Trevelyan.
Secker, 536 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 436 53403 7
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... the Andaman Islands, the penal settlement run by the Raj off the coast of Burma, where his father, Walter Raleigh Trevelyan, was an Army captain. There may have been chain-gangs clanking away on the roads, and predatory savages on the neighbouring isles, but gracious living was not excluded: Government House had a ballroom the floor of which was polished by ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... Edinburgh and the grey North Sea than the colourful panoply of the Mediterranean ... ’ Saint Gregory ‘forbiddis ws to translate word efter word,’ said Douglas. Who were these ‘many other translators of his day’? Douglas’s vernacular translation was pioneering, his language courtly and literary, and if he expanded and elucidated Virgil, his ...

About Myself

Liam McIlvanney: James Hogg, 18 November 2004

The Electric Shepherd: A Likeness of James Hogg 
by Karl Miller.
Faber, 401 pp., £25, August 2003, 0 571 21816 4
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Altrive Tales 
by James Hogg, edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 293 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 7486 1893 7
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... On a winter’s evening in 1803, James Hogg turned up for dinner at the home of Walter Scott. The man his host liked to call ‘the honest grunter’ was shown into the drawing-room, where a pregnant Mrs Scott was resting on a sofa. Unsure of the protocol in these toney surroundings, and deciding to take his cue from the hostess, Hogg flopped onto an adjoining sofa, smirching the chintz with his dung-spattered boots ...

Dr Vlad

Terry Eagleton: Edna O’Brien, 21 October 2015

The Little Red Chairs 
by Edna O’Brien.
Faber, 320 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 0 571 31628 1
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... technology and the service industries. Rural drama has given way to Riverdance, and Lady Gregory to Martin McDonagh. The passage from the premodern to the postmodern, partly eclipsing modernity proper, was smoothed by the fact that Ireland had no industrial infrastructure to dismantle. You can go postindustrial all the more easily if you never had ...

A Man It Would Be Unwise to Cross

Stephen Alford: Thomas Cromwell, 8 November 2018

Thomas Cromwell: A Life 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Allen Lane, 752 pp., £30, September 2018, 978 1 84614 429 5
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... as he was able. Born around 1485, he was a teenager at the turn of the new century. His father, Walter Cromwell alias Smith, was a more or less successful businessman whose brushes with manorial justice were practically routine. His mother’s name may have been Katherine, and her origins can be traced with some close detective work to the Meverell family ...

Pretty Much like Ourselves

Terry Eagleton, 4 September 1997

Modern British Utopias 1700-1850 
by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, 4128 pp., £550, March 1997, 1 85196 319 7
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... of our incurable straightness. Utopias from the 18th and early 19th-centuries, of the kind which Gregory Claeys has assembled in this handsome set of volumes, are outlandish precisely because of their ordinariness. What seems ‘utopian’, in the sense of extravagantly unreal, about them is precisely their incapacity to imagine a world significantly ...

How to Twist a Knife

Colin Burrow: Wolf Hall, 30 April 2009

Wolf Hall 
by Hilary Mantel.
Fourth Estate, 653 pp., April 2009, 978 0 00 723018 1
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... appreciates the importance of this particular little woman. He even prompts his disappointing son Gregory to wonder what would happen if the king and Anne Boleyn died, and to recognise that Mary might one day be queen. Cromwell’s sensitivity here is a beautifully worked falsehood. His only surviving letter to Mary is extremely mutilated, but its legible ...

Text-Inspectors

Andrew O’Hagan: The Good Traitor, 24 September 2014

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State 
by Glenn Greenwald.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 0 241 14669 9
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... came to him with devastating material, and Greenwald checked it out and wrote the stories. David Gregory, the ‘journalist’ who presents Meet the Press, conducted an interview with Greenwald that proved to be a new low, even in the era of supine, on-message political journalism. ‘To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current ...

Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language, 10 May 2012

Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... earlier, more self-confident polyglottist, Ezra Pound. Perloff finds a precursor for all this in Walter Benjamin, who during the 1930s collected thousands of quotations (mostly in French) about Paris, its glass and iron shopping arcades, its street fights, its shopgirls, its effects on Baudelaire and Marx. Adding comments (in German), Benjamin sorted the ...

Strictly Technical

Aijaz Ahmad: India’s Far-Right, 19 March 2020

The RSS: A Menace to India 
by A.G. Noorani.
LeftWord, 547 pp., £33.75, September 2019, 978 81 934666 8 1
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Messengers of Hindu Nationalism: How the RSS Reshaped India 
by Walter Andersen and Shridhar Damle.
Hurst, 405 pp., £25, April 2019, 978 1 78738 025 7
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... minister or any member of his cabinet condemn the violence.Two months earlier, on 12 December, Gregory Stanton, the founder of Genocide Watch and the author of The Ten Stages of Genocide, had addressed a group of Congressional and US government officials in Washington. According to him, India was then at the eighth stage. Things have only got worse. The ...

A Country Emptied

Ian Jack: The Highland Clearances, 7 March 2019

The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed 1600-1900 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 464 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 241 30410 5
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... book of all time. Prebble, born in England and raised in Canada, did for the clearances what Walter Lord did for the Titanic in A Night to Remember, and in the same way. Through vivid narrative history, told like a novel, he revived public interest in a historic disaster: the story of how, to quote from its opening sentence, ‘the Highlanders were ...

Welcome Home

Sukhdev Sandhu: Memories of Michael X, 4 February 1999

Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multiracial Britain 
by Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips.
HarperCollins, 422 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 00 255909 9
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... black businesses were owned by West Indians. In 1952, however, when Congress passed the McCarran Walter Act restricting migration, prospective migrants to the US were obliged to reconsider. The United Kingdom, where some of their kin had already settled, was an obvious choice. Officially, 492 West Indians, the majority of them Jamaican men with an average ...

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