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6 February 1986
Stroke Counterstroke 
by William Camp.
Joseph, 190 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 7181 2669 6
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Redhill Rococo 
by Shena Mackay.
Heinemann, 171 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 434 44046 9
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Striker 
by Michael Irwin.
Deutsch, 231 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 233 97792 9
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... is running down, getting seedy or seedier. The novels under review pay tribute to our decline. They also find evidence of it in unlikely places. The most likely place, of course, is Whitehall and WilliamCamp discovers rot setting in there or already set in: the unions hold the country to ransom, a handful of businessmen make a profit out of hard times, and politicians fall over backwards, sometimes ...

Other Eden

Amit Chaudhuri

15 September 1988
Tigers, Durbars and Kings: Fanny Eden’s Indian Journals 1837-1838 
edited by Janet Dunbar.
Murray, 202 pp., £13.95, April 1988, 0 7195 4440 8
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... and absolute conclusions. Fanny Eden – sister of the novelist and writer about India, Emily – travelled to the Rajmahal Hills in February 1837 on a ‘tiger-shooting trip’ with her nephew William Osborne, 260 camp followers (‘We find we have 260 people altogether in the camp – half our followers bring their followers’) and 20 elephants. Later, she accompanied (with 12,000 others) her ...

Entails

Christopher Driver

19 May 1983
Fools of Fortune 
by William​ Trevor.
Bodley Head, 239 pp., £7.50, April 1983, 0 370 30953 7
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What a beautiful Sunday! 
by Jorge Semprun, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Secker, 429 pp., £8.95, April 1983, 9780436446603
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An Innocent Millionaire 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 388 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 241 10929 9
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The Papers of Tony Veitch 
by William​ McIlvanney.
Hodder, 254 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 340 22907 1
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In the Shadow of the Paradise Tree 
by Sasha Moorsom.
Routledge, 247 pp., £6.95, April 1983, 0 7100 9408 6
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The Bride 
by Bapsi Sidhwa.
Cape, 248 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 224 02047 1
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... The theme of William Trevor’s new novel – his ninth, and that leaves short-story collections out of account – is the murderous entail of Anglo-Irish history, in which, as a Cork man, he may fairly be considered ...

Holocaust Art

Robert Taubman

10 January 1983
Schindler’s Ark 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 432 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 340 27838 2
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... camps – what it mainly reveals is the conditioning power of the historical imagination. Its hero hardly differs from the prototypes of the Romantic revolutionary, and his prison is not a camp but a stone vault. You wouldn’t think that more than a hundred years had passed since Fidelio. But as the names Dachau or Buchenwald began to appear more widely in the literature of the Thirties ...

Lord Bounder

David Cannadine

19 January 1984
F.E. Smith, First Earl of Birkenhead 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 918 pp., November 1983, 0 224 01596 6
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... that FE was such a beastly father, this was a remarkable work of filial piety and affectionate loyalty, on a par with Winston’s life of Lord Randolph for devotion and discretion. Then, in 1960, WilliamCamp completed his ‘unofficial portrait’, which took its title, The Glittering Prizes, from one of Birkenhead’s more controversial and offensive later speeches, and pulled no punches at all. As ...

This Is Not That Place

Thomas Jones: David Eggers escapes from Sudan

21 June 2007
What Is the What 
by Dave Eggers.
Hamish Hamilton, 475 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 0 241 14257 8
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... Is one a condition for the other? Rebel soldiers they meet in the course of their 800-mile walk to the Ethiopian border call the boys ‘jaysh al-ahmar’ or ‘red army’. In Pinyudo, the refugee camp in Ethiopia, the boys were both ‘aid bait’, an indirect source of supplies from overseas, and soldiers in waiting. The boys were sustained on their trek across Sudan by fantasies of the luxury ...

In a Boat of His Own Making

James Camp: Jack London

24 September 2014
Jack London: An American Life 
by Earle Labor.
Farrar, Straus, 439 pp., £21.99, November 2013, 978 0 374 17848 2
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The Sea-Wolf 
by Jack London.
Hesperus, 287 pp., £9.99, August 2013, 978 1 78094 200 1
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... séances at which the ghost of an Indian chief called Plume spoke from her mouth. She used the séances to help her make financial decisions; she also met men at them, among them her first husband, William Chaney, a fellow spiritualist. In 1875 Wellman told Chaney she was pregnant; he denied being the father. After he went out, she took a small dose of laudanum, borrowed a pistol from a neighbour and ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag

12 February 2009
Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... Jewish liberal magazine, but Partisan Review was still the pre-eminent intellectual journal in the United States, the one she had been reading since she was a teenager. Its editors, Philip Rahv and William Phillips, no longer worked in tandem as they had in the old days; Phillips alone discovered Sontag and took her up as a representative and promising young writer. He memorably misassigned her to the ...
18 February 1982
The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East 
by Mahmoud Riad.
Quartet, 365 pp., £11.95, October 1981, 0 7043 2297 8
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Palestinian Self-Determination 
by Hassan Bin Talal.
Quartet, 138 pp., £6.95, July 1981, 0 7043 2312 5
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This Year in Jerusalem 
by Kenneth Cragg.
Darton, Longman and Todd, 192 pp., £5.95, February 1982, 0 232 51524 7
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... as terrorists and primitives, always seeking to persecute the Israelis and unreasonably objecting to the Zionist takeover of their territory. Now things are better. Few columnists, of whom Mr William Safire is one, are as crude in their partisanship as was most of the American press until recently. The serious newspapers, whose education has been furthered by the activities of Menachim Begin, do ...
6 December 1984
The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and Modern Conscience 
by William​ Shawcross.
Deutsch, 464 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 233 97691 4
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... William Shawcross’s The Quality of Mercy is a fascinating, detailed and moving study of the famine that struck Cambodia – or Kampuchea as it is now called – five years ago, and of the response of the ...

Speak for yourself, matey

Adam Mars-Jones: The Uses of Camp

22 November 2012
How to Be Gay 
by David Halperin.
Harvard, 549 pp., £25.95, August 2012, 978 0 674 06679 3
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... I’d recommend a hat with a broader brim.’ David Halperin’s new book, How to Be Gay, addresses the mysterious persistence of discredited elements from pre-Stonewall gay male culture. In theory camp should have been rendered obsolete by the arrival of models of gay behaviour not driven by the old toxic blend of shame and defiance, but there are still careers to be made from the man-sized frock ...

In the Turner Gallery

Peter Campbell: Coleridge’s Note-Taking

26 February 2009
... In the first volume of his Coleridge biography, Richard Holmes describes Coleridge and Dorothy and William Wordsworth working ‘like plein-air painters, taking elaborate notes on the varied effects of light on the landscape, of plants and water, of wind and cloud and starlight’. They were under ...

Junk Mail

Jeremy Harding

23 September 1993
The Letters of William​ Burroughs, 1949-1959 
edited by Oliver Harris.
Picador, 472 pp., £17.50, August 1993, 0 330 33074 8
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... If a certain stoicism was required to get through William Burroughs’s disgusting novel, Naked Lunch, there are fewer problems with his mail. Indeed, the only danger is over-indulgence, for this stuff slides easily off the end of the fork. The letters here ...

I do like painting

Julian Bell: The life and art of William​ Coldstream

2 December 2004
William​ Coldstream 
by Bruce Laughton.
Yale, 368 pp., £30, July 2004, 0 300 10243 7
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... People of all generations just stood around, uncertain of what to do next … It sort of petered out.’ Bruce Laughton’s William Coldstream is an attempt, 17 years on, to gather up the tatters of a wake held at University College London. The unnamed participant touches on a more general diffidence about how to remember or ...

Rabbits Addressed by a Stoat

Stefan Collini: Émigré Dons

12 July 2017
Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University, 1930-45 
edited by Sally Crawford, Katharina Ulmschneider and Jaś Elsner.
Oxford, 396 pp., £75, March 2017, 978 0 19 968755 8
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... answer, according to the editors’ introduction to Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University 1930-45, isn’t any of the great institutions that may come to mind, but Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man. As the result of a slightly panicky policy of interning ‘enemy aliens’ after the fall of France, large numbers of refugee German scholars – most but not all of whom were ...

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