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Walter Nash, 18 February 1988

The Panda Hunt 
by Richard Burns.
Cape, 189 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02445 0
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Davy Chadwick 
by James Buchan.
Hamish Hamilton, 145 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 241 12115 9
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Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris 
by Mavis Gallant.
Cape, 196 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02426 4
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Black Idol 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 157 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 9780224024372
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... Along with the hearing-aid and the bifocals and other indices of personal decay goes an elderly fretfulness about staying alert in a world so teasing, so elusive, that even novels, which should plainly edify and console the senior citizen, seem to become more and more equivocal, devious, conspiratorial, riddling. ‘What’s the fellow driving at?’ mutters Tetchy ...

Singular Rebellions

Walter Nash, 19 May 1988

by Shusaku Endo, translated by Van Gessel.
Peter Owen, 237 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 7206 0682 9
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Hell Screen, Cogwheels, A Fool’s Life 
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Eridanos, 145 pp., £13.95, March 1988, 0 941419 02 9
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Singular Rebellion 
by Saiichi Maruya, translated by Dennis Keene.
Deutsch, 412 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 233 98202 7
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... You can be sure that sooner or later one of them will appear, a spoiler: some truth-babbling child, some derelict lover, some malcontent in his artfully rowdy cups. And just at the moment when the bride is about to cut the cake, the chairman is on the point of presenting the cheque, the octogenarian is smiling moistly at the photographer, this intruder will speak out loud and clear, terrible words of revelation and accusation ...


Barbara Strang, 4 June 1981

Designs in Prose 
by Walter Nash.
Longman, 228 pp., £10.50, June 1980, 0 582 29100 3
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... is among the best, and will appeal to, and beyond, the readership of the series as a whole. What Walter Nash sets out to achieve is in the utmost degree traditional, and in the utmost degree original. The subtitle (‘A study of compositional problems and methods’) might suggest that his undertaking is no more than a rhetoric in modern dress. In ...

Shop Talk

John Lennard, 27 January 1994

Jargon: Its Uses and Abuses 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 214 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 9780631180630
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... the Queen’s English. The attitudes of Hudson’s reviewers have become a part of the content of Walter Nash’s book. It is pleasing that a scholar so commonsensically frustrated by modern theoretical jargon should have written a book which is, in effect, potently deconstructive. Source jargons, the specialised lexicons of any occupation in their ...

A Pom by the name of Bruce

John Lanchester, 29 September 1988

by Bruce Chatwin.
Cape, 154 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 0 224 02608 9
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... which tends to get left out of fiction, where it would seem a bit too.... well, too unlikely. (As Walter Nash has recently remarked in these pages, fiction will always prefer a plausible impossibility to an implausible possibility.) Chatwin is committed to the anomalous and the improbable, and though his writing blends fact and fiction (‘I once made ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... Lurie) and computers. ‘Art’ in particular contains some notable essays, among them Walter Ong on subway graffiti, and the section opens with a splendidly passionate and ambitious piece by Margaret Doody on the revision of the hymnal used by Princeton University Chapel, a booklet called ‘Inconclusive Language Hymns’ which is produced by the ...


Rosemary Hill, 2 December 1993

Karl Friedrich Schinkel: ‘The English Journey’ 
edited by David Bindman and Gottfried Riemann, translated by F. Gagna Walls.
Yale, 220 pp., £35, July 1993, 0 300 04117 9
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The Modernist Garden in France 
by Dorothée Imbert.
Yale, 268 pp., £40, August 1993, 0 300 04716 9
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... they had for so long been reading about. The French made a nuisance of themselves by following Walter Scott in the street, demanding to be allowed to draw him. But they were disappointed by British art, and of the modern buildings Defauconpret could only mutter: ‘des briques, des briques et toujours des briques.’ The Germans, however, were noted for ...

Oh for the oo tray

William Feaver: Edward Burra, 13 December 2007

Edward Burra: Twentieth-Century Eye 
by Jane Stevenson.
Cape, 496 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 07875 7
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... his pastoral scenes à la Claud Lovat Fraser and Chelsea set subjects such as ‘The Thief’ from Walter de la Mare’s Peacock Pie, for which he drew a kidnapper with a sackful of kiddies prancing past wigwam mountains and silhouette trees. Burra probably attended de la Mare’s lecture on ‘Atmosphere in Fiction’ at the Royal College of Art in April ...

Pamphleteer’s Progress

Patrick Parrinder, 7 February 1985

The Function of Criticism: From the ‘Spectator’ to Post-Structuralism 
by Terry Eagleton.
Verso, 133 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 86091 091 1
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... pretensions of Criticism and Ideology – though he stopped short of a full-scale recantation. Walter Benjamin: or Towards a Revolutionary Criticism (1981) was as far removed from a ‘science of the text’ as one could possibly imagine. The ‘revolutionary criticism’ was riddling, allusive, post-Derridean, and steeped in Benjamin’s baroque and ...

Impervious to Draughts

Rosemary Hill: Das englische Haus, 22 May 2008

The English House 
by Hermann Muthesius, edited by Dennis Sharp, translated by Janet Seligman and Stewart Spencer.
Frances Lincoln, 699 pp., £125, June 2007, 978 0 7112 2688 3
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... the antecedents of Webb’s Red House in the work of Butterfield and Pugin and indeed in John Nash, who might claim, if any one architect could, to have invented the architecture Muthesius so admired. But to the Edwardians Nash was still despicable as a stucco-peddling Neoclassicist, his houses ‘cheerless’ and ...

Put a fist through it

Harriet Baker: The Hampstead Modernists, 8 October 2020

Circles and Squares: The Lives and Art of the Hampstead Modernists 
by Caroline Maclean.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £30, April, 978 1 4088 8969 5
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The See-Through House: My Father in Full Colour 
by Shelley Klein.
Chatto, 271 pp., £16.99, April, 978 1 78474 310 9
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... invited to join Unit One, a group of painters, sculptors and architects brought together by Paul Nash to stand for ‘a truly contemporary spirit’ that would, he wrote in the Times, definitively bring together abstraction and Surrealism. But Maclean suggests that the decade’s innovation had already begun with the pink alabaster of Hepworth’s Pierced ...


E.S. Turner, 15 September 1988

Memories of Times Past 
by Louis Heren.
Hamish Hamilton, 313 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 241 12427 1
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Chances: An Autobiography 
by Mervyn Jones.
Verso, 311 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 0 86091 167 5
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... the owners of the Times could have done more to restrain Dawson from his excesses; as it was, John Walter IV, co-proprietor with Lord Astor, complained when ‘our leader-writer’ proposed dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. His qualms were ‘airily’ brushed aside by Dawson. Half a century on, what of Rupert Murdoch? ‘Arguably,’ says Heren, ‘he owns too ...

Mystery and Imagination

Stephen Bann, 17 November 1983

The Woman in Black 
by Susan Hill and John Lawrence.
Hamish Hamilton, 160 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 241 10987 6
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by William Peter Blatty.
Collins, 252 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 00 222735 5
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The Lost Flying Boat 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Granada, 288 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 246 12236 6
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Snow, and Other Stories 
by Antony Lambton.
Quartet, 134 pp., £6.95, September 1983, 0 7043 2407 5
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New Islands, and Other Stories 
by Maria Luisa Bombal, translated by Richard Cunningham, Lucia Cunningham and Jorge Luis Borges.
Faber, 112 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 571 12052 0
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The Antarctica Cookbook 
by Crispin Kitto.
Duckworth, 190 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7156 1762 1
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Sole Survivor 
by Maurice Gee.
Faber, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 571 13017 8
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... long and distinguished line led back, through such expert modern practitioners as L.P. Hartley and Walter de la Mare, to the definitive achievements of M.R. James, Stevenson and Le Fanu, and their Gothic predecessors. The ghost story, or original tale of the supernatural, was essentially a short story, delicately crafted to obtain the maximum effect from its ...

Bourgeois Reveries

Julian Bell: Farmer Eliot, 3 February 2011

Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper 
by Alexandra Harris.
Thames and Hudson, 320 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 0 500 25171 3
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... vehicles aren’t heading the same way. Woolf, like Eliot (or for that matter like Paul Nash or Stanley Spencer, both brought in as supporting testimony), was by the late 1930s a middle-aged artist with a reputation to live up to, or live down: in each of these acts, a major dynamic had become internal dialogue. Piper by contrast remained as yet one ...

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