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The Slightest Sardine

James Wood: A literary dragnet, 20 May 2004

The Oxford English Literary History. Vol. XII: 1960-2000: The Last of England? 
by Randall Stevenson.
Oxford, 624 pp., £30, February 2004, 0 19 818423 9
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... purposive, energetic-sounding verb ‘moved into’, is meaningless unless it is explained that William Golding’s The Paper Men was a late, and lame, novel of remarkable thinness by an old famous author about being a famous author. It was metafictional only in the way that reality TV is metatelevisual. Stevenson never reflects on a writer’s aesthetic ...

The Calvinist International

Colin Kidd: Hugh Trevor-Roper, 22 May 2008

The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Yale, 267 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 0 300 13686 9
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Europe’s Physician: The Various Life of Sir Theodore de Mayerne 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Yale, 438 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 300 11263 7
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... Hugh Trevor-Roper, who died in January 2003 shortly after his 89th birthday, had several of the qualities cherished in Britain’s so-called ‘national treasures’. His schoolboyish playfulness and relish of mischief never deserted him, nor did an unerring compass in matters of style, which assured an elegant, and seemingly effortless, command of language and bearing ...

Darling, are you mad?

Jenny Diski: Ghost-writing for Naim Attallah, 4 November 2004

Ghosting 
by Jennie Erdal.
Canongate, 270 pp., £14.99, November 2004, 1 84195 562 0
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... few days dipping into novels – Penelope Fitzgerald, Anne Tyler, Carol Shields, Beryl Bainbridge, William Trevor, Tim Parks among others – to limber up. Then she rolled up her sleeves and having extracted the technical nuts and bolts (beginning, middle, end; main and subsidiary plot and characters), wrote Naim Attallah’s novel in six ...

Things Left Unsaid

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Achebe on Biafra, 11 October 2012

There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra 
by Chinua Achebe.
Allen Lane, 333 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 84614 576 6
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... a distinctly Igbo English. His writing is quiet, and in this regard he is similar to writers like William Trevor and Okot p’Bitek. He is free of literary anxiety. My kind of storytelling has to add its voice to this universal storytelling before we can say, ‘Now we’ve heard it all.’ I worry when somebody from one particular tradition stands up ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... and his voice – once richly modulated, now trembly. In 1971 he agreed to act in The Old Boys by William Trevor at the Mermaid; the crew fitted him with an invisible prompter attached to an earpiece. At the first public performance the prompter malfunctioned, sending out a loud hissing, leaving both Redgrave and the audience in a state of high ...

Liquidator

Neal Ascherson: Hugh Trevor-Roper, 19 August 2010

Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Weidenfeld, 598 pp., £25, July 2010, 978 0 297 85214 8
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... Seven years after his death, Hugh Trevor-Roper’s reputation is still a cauldron of discord. He would have enjoyed that. Steaming in the mix are the resentments of those he expertly wounded, the awe of colleagues at the breadth and depth of his learning, dismay at his serial failures to complete a full-length work of history, delight in the Gibbonian wit and elegance of his writing and – still a major ingredient – Schadenfreude over his awful humiliation in the matter of the Hitler diaries ...

Diary

Philip Purser: On Jack Trevor Story, 27 January 1994

... There’s no doubt that Jack Trevor Story was a dab hand at titles. Man Pinches Bottom, One Last Mad Embrace, Little Dog’s Day and Live Now, Pay Later are good enticements and accurately indicate the plot, predicament and even the moral of each novel. His most famous title is still his first, The Trouble with Harry (1949), thanks to Alfred Hitchcock, who acquired the film rights for $500 but made a classic film out of a shabby deal ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Chicanery and Fantasy, 6 June 2019

... ill-fated Oxford phase (all his phases were short-lived and ill-fated) that he encountered Hugh Trevor-Roper, then Regius Professor of Modern History, who kept a dossier on his activities for the next 25 years. Adam Sisman, Trevor-Roper’s biographer, has now used the dossier as the foundation for a short, spry book, The ...

The Great War Revisited

Michael Howard, 23 April 1987

The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War 1914-1918 
by Trevor Wilson.
Polity, 864 pp., £35, September 1986, 9780745600932
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British Strategy and War Aims 1914-1916 
by David French.
Allen and Unwin, 274 pp., £25, September 1986, 0 04 942197 2
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The Old Lie: The Great War and the Public School Ethos 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 319 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 09 466980 5
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... about due. It never rains but it pours. Now we have two, each in its different way outstanding. Trevor Wilson goes over the ground covered by Woodward, but at greater length and in far greater depth. This ‘total history’ of Britain at war not only covers operational, political, social, economic and literary aspects of the war, but focuses our attention ...

Christendom

Conrad Russell, 7 November 1985

F.W. Maitland 
by G.R. Elton.
Weidenfeld, 118 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 297 78614 8
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Renaissance Essays 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 312 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 436 42511 4
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History, Society and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick 
edited by Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best.
Cambridge, 335 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 25486 8
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... his predecessor in the same chair, while Lord Dacre of Glanton, more commonly known as Professor Trevor-Roper, is the recently retired Regius Professor at Oxford. From this conjunction, a classical or prophetic scholar would no doubt bring forth a portent: if the conjunction of three kings signified so much, what might the conjunction of three Regiuses ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell, 2 December 2010

J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... finished novel, Troubles, which took shape rapidly and was published in 1970, winning praise from William Trevor and Elizabeth Bowen. ‘If I had bothered to look at [my] diary,’ he noted two months after its publication, ‘I wd also have used the “flight of stone steps leading up into thin air”, which I simply forgot.’ He had added a detail to ...

So, puss, I shall know you another time

Peter Campbell, 8 December 1988

The World through Blunted Sight 
by Patrick Trevor-Roper.
Allen Lane, 207 pp., £16.95, August 1988, 0 7139 9006 6
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Visual Fact over Verbal Fiction 
by Carl Goldstein.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £40, September 1988, 0 521 34331 3
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Hockney on Photography: Conversations with Paul Joyce 
Cape, 192 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 224 02484 1Show More
Portrait of David Hockney 
by Peter Webb.
Chatto, £17.95, November 1988, 0 7011 3401 1
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... too short makes close ones blurred. Short and long sight are the first disabilities which Patrick Trevor-Roper discusses in The World through Blunted Sight, his newly-revised exploration of the effect of eye-defects on personality, art and literature. He endorses T. Rice’s epitomes of short and long-sighted personalities which, made some sixty years ago ...

Show Business

David Hare, 4 September 1980

Moguls 
by Michael Pye.
Temple Smith, 250 pp., £9.75, June 1980, 0 85117 187 7
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The Movie Brats 
by Michael Pye and Linda Myles.
Faber, 273 pp., £5.25, June 1979, 0 571 11383 4
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... Any definition of the word ‘mogul’ that’s going to stretch to include Jules Stein and Trevor Nunn is so loose as to be worthless. In the first two essays in Moguls, Pye seems to want to examine the corporate structure of the American entertainment industry, to examine it as if it were any other kind of business. Stein was a particularly ...

At Auckland Castle

Nicola Jennings: Francisco de Zurbarán, 4 June 2020

... from the estate of James Mendez, a Jewish merchant of Portuguese descent. Mendez bought them from William Chapman in 1720, just after the collapse of the South Sea Company, in which Chapman was a shareholder. How and when the paintings arrived in Britain isn’t known, but by the time Mendez got hold of them they had already been identified as Zurbarán’s ...

Walking in high places

Michael Neve, 21 October 1982

The Ferment of Knowledge: Studies in the Historiography of 18th-Century Science 
edited by G.S. Rousseau and R.S. Porter.
Cambridge, 500 pp., £25, November 1980, 9780521225991
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Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin 
by Thomas McFarland.
Princeton, 432 pp., £24.60, February 1981, 0 691 06437 7
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Poetry realised in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Early 19th-Century Science 
by Trevor Levere.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £22.50, October 1981, 0 521 23920 6
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Coleridge 
by Richard Holmes.
Oxford, 102 pp., £1.25, March 1982, 0 19 287591 4
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Young Charles Lamb 1775-1802 
by Winifred Courtney.
Macmillan, 411 pp., £25, July 1982, 0 333 31534 0
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... The place of science in this project has never been properly studied, a situation now rectified by Trevor Levere and his Poetry realised in Nature. This is a work of great devotion, involving a hunt for scattered original materials, with extensive use of the products of the University of Toronto, where whole skyscrapers now seem packed with the notes and ...

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