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Southern Virtues

Frank Kermode, 4 May 1989

A Turn in the South 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Viking, 307 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 670 82415 1
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Allen Tate: A Recollection 
by Walter Sullivan.
Louisiana State, 117 pp., $16.95, November 1988, 0 8071 1481 2
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by John Updike.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 233 98390 2
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... commonly lofty way, was the poet Allen Tate, the subject here of an admiringly candid memoir by Walter Sullivan. Tate’s reputation is in its posthumous slump, except perhaps in Nashville and Sewanee, but he is too interesting to stay down for ever. He was one of the Fugitives, all for Agrarianism and social hierarchy, and a religion to bond it that ...

After the Woolwich

Frank Kermode, 7 February 1991

Spanner and Pen: Post-War Memoirs 
by Roy Fuller.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 190 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 1 85619 040 4
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... tolerate. Tapes and records of actors reading verse he simply removed and pitched across the room. Walter Sullivan in his reminiscences of Tate says that in these last days Allen was inclined to repeat himself and to be forgetful of names and places: ‘even so, his mind was still impressive... His manners were still good and his powers of vituperation ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’, 5 April 2012

The Bad and the Beautiful 
directed by Vincente Minnelli.
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... A man called Jonathan Shields is trying to reach three Hollywood figures, a director (Barry Sullivan), an actress (Lana Turner) and a writer (Dick Powell), in that order. The first two refuse to take the call, the third takes it and tells Shields to drop dead. Next, still in the present, we see all three in the office of a movie producer (...

State Aid

Denis Arnold, 22 December 1983

A History of English Opera 
by Eric Walter White.
Faber, 472 pp., £30, July 1983, 0 571 10788 5
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... and never quite lived up to expectations. The arrival of serious singspiel, Gilbert and Sullivan, took until nearly 1880 – a century after Die Entführung of Mozart. The fortunes of its authors underline the free-enterprise atmosphere of 19th-century England, in which culture was largely literary, literature involving less expense than the ...

Ministry of Apparitions

Malcolm Gaskill: Magical Thinking in 1918, 4 July 2019

A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination and Faith during the First World War 
by Owen Davies.
Oxford, 284 pp., £20, October 2018, 978 0 19 879455 4
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... In​ 2001 an architect called Danny Sullivan claimed to have found cine film of an angel while rooting around in a Monmouth junk shop. This was, unsurprisingly, a hoax, as were claims that Marlon Brando had paid £350,000 for the footage. But the alleged provenance was intriguing. Sullivan invented a psychical researcher called William Doidge, who had, he said, fought with the Scots Guards at the Battle of Mons in August 1914 ...

Gotcha, Pat!

Terry Castle: Highsmith in My Head, 4 March 2021

Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires: The Life of Patricia Highsmith 
by Richard Bradford.
Bloomsbury, 258 pp., £20, January 2021, 978 1 4482 1790 8
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... for herself, and that many of the women who appear there, including her first female lover, Mary Sullivan, a Manhattan bookseller, were only girlfriends in ‘fantasy’. He hints that she may never even have met Sullivan. (The discussion of Sullivan, Highsmith and a mutual friend, the ...
From Bauhaus to Our House 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 143 pp., £6.95, March 1982, 0 224 02030 7
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... League of New York. However, what was alleged there about Alma Mahler’s poor rating of Walter Gropius in bed, or Frank Lloyd Wright’s plagiarism of his apprentices’ best designs, or the curious ‘extra services’ required by Le Corbusier when staying in hotels abroad, was alleged within the privileged boundaries of the modern architecture ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... pinned to a cushion which Merula, his widow, had embroidered years ago with a flowing tapestry of Walter, A.G.’s favourite dog. Once when A.G. was appearing in the West End Walter was run over by a milk-float and slightly injured. The dog was so loved that this news had to be kept from Alec lest he be unable to take the ...

What makes a waif?

Joanne O’Leary, 13 September 2018

The Long-Winded Lady: Tales from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 215 pp., £10.99, January 2017, 978 1 906539 59 7
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Maeve Brennan: Homesick at the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Angela Bourke.
Counterpoint, 360 pp., $16.95, February 2016, 978 1 61902 715 2
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The Springs of Affection: Stories 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 368 pp., £8.99, May 2016, 978 1 906539 54 2
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... science at the Catholic University, and became engaged to the playwright and theatre critic Walter Kerr. He broke her heart. (Years later William Shawn told a colleague that Kerr would never write for the New Yorker ‘because of Maeve’.) In 1941, Brennan moved to Manhattan and soon found work at Harper’s Bazaar, where she stayed for seven ...

Amerikanist Dreams

Owen Hatherley, 21 October 2021

Building a New World: Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture 
by Jean-Louis Cohen.
Yale, 544 pp., £30, September 2020, 978 0 300 24815 9
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Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital 
by Katherine Zubovich.
Princeton, 280 pp., £34, January, 978 0 691 17890 5
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... century. These were ‘discovered’ by Alma Mahler on a tour of the US: she sent photographs to Walter Gropius, who published them in the journal of the Deutscher Werkbund, where they were discovered by Le Corbusier, who put them in his Vers une architecture (translated in 1927 as Towards a New Architecture). Yet Cohen finds that the Russian architectural ...

Call a kid a zebra

Daniel Smith: On the Spectrum, 19 May 2016

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism 
by John Donvan and Caren Zucker.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 1 84614 566 7
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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People Who Think Differently 
by Steve Silberman.
Allen and Unwin, 534 pp., £9.99, February 2016, 978 1 76011 364 3
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... write an autobiography? It seemed a contradiction in terms.’ As late as 2001, the epidemiologist Walter Spitzer could still describe autism as ‘a terminal illness … a dead soul in a live body’. Wing was convinced that this monolithic notion of autism was both incorrect and, given how many people it blocked from receiving social and educational ...

Flailing States

Pankaj Mishra: Anglo-America Loses its Grip, 16 July 2020

... budgets’. In a cover story, the Atlantic described torture as a ‘necessary evil’. Andrew Sullivan called for the ‘extermination of the enemy in all its forms – relentlessly, constantly, insistently’. Time, Newsweek and the Spectator, as well as the Murdoch-owned media, fervently promoted fantasies of Anglo-American supremacism. In ...

On Some Days of the Week

Colm Tóibín: Mrs Oscar Wilde, 10 May 2012

Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde 
by Franny Moyle.
John Murray, 374 pp., £9.99, February 2012, 978 1 84854 164 1
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The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition 
by Oscar Wilde, edited by Nicholas Frankel.
Harvard, 295 pp., £25.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 05792 0
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... to see the highest development of the modern artistic spirit.’ Two years later, Gilbert and Sullivan caricatured Wilde in Patience as a ‘greenery-yallery-Grosvenor-Gallery-foot-in-the-grave-young-man’. When Basil Hallward completes his portrait of Dorian Gray in Wilde’s novel, Lord Henry Wotton says: ‘It is your best work, Basil, the best thing ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... 282, who controlled the cement trucks and was an associate of the Gambino family. There was Daniel Sullivan, Trump’s labour ‘consultant’, who in partnership with the Philadelphia crime boss Nicodemos ‘Nicky’ Scarfo’s financier, sold Trump a property in Atlantic City that became his casino. There was Salvatore ‘Salvie’ Testa, ‘crown ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq, 5 January 2006

... are starting to take care of their own situation.’ I heard Rear Admiral William Sullivan report to Congress that there were 145,000 ‘combat-capable’ Iraqi forces. I heard Sabah Hadum, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, say: ‘We are paying about 135,000, but that does not necessarily mean that 135,000 are actually ...

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