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A Djinn speaks

Colm Tóibín: What about George Yeats?, 20 February 2003

Becoming GeorgeThe Life of Mrs W.B. Yeats 
by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 808 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 19 811232 7
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... Man and the Masks, Richard Ellmann wrote about 46 Palmerston Road in Rathmines in Dublin, where George Yeats lived between her husband’s death in 1939 and her own death almost thirty years later. Mrs Yeats lived, Ellmann wrote, among the dead poet’s papers. ‘There in the bookcases was his working library, often heavily annotated, and in cabinets and ...

‘The Sun Says’

Paul Laity, 20 June 1996

... nightmare for the people’. The BSE crisis has been Little Englandism’s greatest moment. On St George’s Day, the editorial started on page one and took up a complete inside page, with the headline ‘Beware the EU dragon.’ If Europe doesn’t want our beef, the Sun said, then fair enough: ‘we don’t particularly want its garlic, horsemeat or ...

Puffed up, Slapped down

Rosemary Hill: Charles and Camilla, 7 September 2017

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life 
by Sally Bedell Smith.
Michael Joseph, 624 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 7181 8780 4
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The Duchess: The Untold Story 
by Penny Junor.
William Collins, 320 pp., £20, June 2017, 978 0 00 821100 4
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... the affair with Charles resumed, she opened her own discreet channels of communication. Stuart Higgins, a royal reporter for the Sun who had covered the West Country for the paper since 1979, became a regular contact. Camilla did not call him, but if he called her she would confirm or deny what he had heard elsewhere about Charles and Diana and add a few ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland, 17 July 1980

by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... pen names and spoof attributions figure centrally in the genre’s history, from Scott, to George Eliot, to Kilgore Trout. According to the massive, nine-volume Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature there are, largely speaking, only three reasons for masked authorship, all prudential: ‘Generally the motive is some form of ...

Accidents of Priority

John Redmond, 22 August 1996

Can You Hear, Bird 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £9.95, February 1996, 9781857542240
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The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 
by Jorie Graham.
Carcanet, 220 pp., £12.95, March 1996, 1 85754 225 8
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Selected Poems 
by Barbara Guest.
Carcanet, 220 pp., £12.95, May 1996, 1 85754 158 8
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Selected Poems 1976-1996 
by George Szirtes.
Oxford, 126 pp., £9.99, March 1996, 0 19 283223 9
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Adam’s Dream 
by Peter McDonald.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £6.95, March 1996, 1 85224 333 3
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... please’, ‘Yoo hoo’), daft, slightly old-fashioned exclamations (‘by Gosh’, ‘by George’, ‘by Golly’) and corny ones (‘Heck’, ‘Darn!’, ‘nifty’, ‘critter’, ‘dangblasted’). This fits in well with the book’s obsessive concern with past fashions, games that are no longer played, flowers that are no longer worn, and ...

But You Married Him

Rosemary Hill: Princess Margaret and Lady Anne, 4 June 2020

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown 
by Anne Glenconner.
Hodder, 336 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 1 5293 5906 0
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... was the first child and eldest daughter of the future fifth earl of Leicester, later an equerry to George VI, and his wife, Elizabeth Yorke, daughter of the eighth earl of Hardwicke. The first chapter of Lady in Waiting, covering her ‘idyllic’ early childhood, in which the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were often brought over to play, is entitled ...

Falklands Title Deeds

Malcolm Deas, 19 August 1982

The Struggle for the Falkland Islands 
by Julius Goebel, introduced by J.C.J. Metford.
Yale, 482 pp., £10, June 1982, 0 300 02943 8
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The Falklands Islands Dispute: International Dimensions 
edited by Joan Pearce.
Chatham House, 47 pp., £2.75, April 1982, 0 905031 25 3
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The Falkland Islands: The Facts 
HMSO, 12 pp., £50, May 1982, 0 11 701029 4Show More
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... Falkland’. 23 January (?) 1765: Byron takes formal possession of all the islands in the name of George III. On his voyage no settlement was left behind, though the surgeon of the Tamar planted a garden ‘with many esculent vegetables... for the benefit of those who hereafter come to this place’. 20 July 1765: decision made to send out another expedition ...

Our Dear Channel Islands

Linda Holt, 25 May 1995

The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands under German Rule 1940-1945 
by Madeleine Bunting.
HarperCollins, 354 pp., £20, January 1995, 0 00 255242 6
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The Channel Islands: Occupation and Liberation 1940-1945 
by Asa Briggs.
Batsford, 96 pp., £7.99, April 1995, 0 7134 7822 5
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... series of multi-media ‘experiences’ complete with wax figures, stroboscopic lighting and Jack Higgins voiceover. In the middle of this crass make-believe is Mière’s homemade display: faded photos of people with Jersey names and Forties hairdos, whose quirky captions contain sentiments that are either tender or bitter, but are above all ...


Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters, 19 March 2015

Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... in the 1930s. He started joking with a lighter touch about his gloomy ways (one letter to Aidan Higgins ends: ‘With which rays of sunshine I am/Yours sincerely …’), and his self-deprecation became a powerful sort of charm. ‘Success and failure on the public level never mattered much to me,’ he wrote to Alan Schneider in 1956, ‘in fact I feel ...

In the Egosphere

Adam Mars-Jones: The Plot against Roth, 23 January 2014

Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books 
by Claudia Roth Pierpont.
Cape, 353 pp., £25, January 2014, 978 0 224 09903 5
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... pardons the renegade. In 2003 Lenny Bruce received a posthumous pardon for his conviction from George Pataki, then governor of New York. And in 2005 the Library of America started publishing Roth’s work in a uniform edition. It wasn’t the first time a living author’s work had been honoured in this way: Eudora Welty and Saul Bellow went before ...

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