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Like a boll weevil to a cotton bud

A. Craig Copetas, 18 November 1993

New York Days 
by Willie Morris.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £19.45, September 1993, 0 316 58421 5
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... because dinner is announced, and William Faulkner is seated next to Candy author Terry Southern. Willie Morris, of the Texas Observer and Harper’s Magazine by way of a place called Yazoo and a university named Oxford, is now listening. ‘Mr Bill,’ Southern whispers into Faulkner’s ear, ‘why are you and I already drinking brandy and everyone ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... another decade and a half. He extends birthday wishes to the editor, author and fellow Southerner Willie Morris, who had just turned sixty, welcoming Willie to the wonders that the sixties hold: meet your new nemesis, your prostate gland, and ‘learn the pleasures of slow motion, like the three or four minutes [it ...

Desk Job

Deborah Friedell: Bernard Malamud, 15 November 2007

Bernard Malamud: A Writer’s Life 
by Philip Davis.
Oxford, 377 pp., £18.99, September 2007, 978 0 19 927009 5
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... the cultivated, diligent Jewish novelist Harry Lesser, who is always called ‘the writer’, and Willie Spearmint, possessed of animal energy (there is no other way to describe it) and natural talent, who is always called ‘the black’. Malamud’s idea of black vernacular – even as spoken by a writer – is ‘I want green power. I want money to stuff ...


W.G. Runciman: Like a Prep School, 10 January 1991

... it defeats even the Church of England, the Durham Miners’ Gala, the Household Cavalry and the Morris Dancers of Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh. Lord Quinton, when told that I was proposing to sign in, described it as ‘pure Gilbert and Sullivan’. Lord Annan told me that his wife calls it ‘Noel’s play-group’. Lord Adrian told me that I would find it ...

Who to Be

Colm Tóibín: Beckett’s Letters, 6 August 2009

The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1929-40 
edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 782 pp., £30, February 2009, 978 0 521 86793 1
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... They were serious art collectors and interested in music and literature. Both Boss and his son Morris played the violin. Their priorities were rather different from the stolid, dull ones which dominated Beckett’s own household. They were bohemians. They gave parties at which, as Anthony Cronin noted in his biography of Beckett, ‘people sat on the floor ...

Come and Stay

Arnold Rattenbury, 27 November 1997

England and the Octopus 
by Clough Williams-Ellis.
CPRE, 220 pp., £10.95, December 1996, 0 946044 50 3
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Clough Williams-Ellis: RIBA Drawings Monograph No 2 
by Richard Haslam.
Academy, 112 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 1 85490 430 2
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Clough Williams-Ellis: The Architect of Portmeirion 
by Jonah Jones.
Seren, 204 pp., £9.95, December 1996, 1 85411 166 3
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... the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE), the National Trust, William Morris’s old Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and elsewhere, with the old ‘Amenity Brigade’, as he was to call it. There can hardly have been a conservation or planning society in his lifetime in which he was not active, if not among the ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... English Literary Happy Family’, as I hope neither do I.21 March. Reading a book about William Morris and Kelmscott, I come across a reminiscence by Philip Webb, who remarked to W.R. Lethaby: ‘The best of those times was that there was no covetousness; all went into the common stock … and then we were all such boys.’ This is how I remember my early ...

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