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Venisti tandem

Denis Donoghue, 7 February 1985

Selected Poems 
by Tony Harrison.
Viking, 204 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 670 80040 6
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Palladas: Poems 
by Tony Harrison.
Anvil, 47 pp., £2.95, October 1984, 9780856461279
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Men and Women 
by Frederick Seidel.
Chatto, 70 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 7011 2868 2
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Dangerous play: Poems 1974-1984 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 110 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 907540 56 2
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Mister Punch 
by David Harsent.
Oxford, 70 pp., £4.50, October 1984, 0 19 211966 4
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An Umbrella from Piccadilly 
by Jaroslav Seifert and Ewald Osers.
London Magazine Editions, 80 pp., £5, November 1984, 0 904388 75 1
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... in Harlem’, from Final Solutions, makes irrefutable connections between a boy growing up in St Louis, dreams of a fair black woman, two boys in Harlem, and an account – taken from the Cambridge Ancient History – of the Emperor Hadrian crying to Antinous:                      ‘Your Hadrianus Misses you, Antinous, Misses your ...

Silly Buggers

James Fox, 7 March 1991

The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... wise, white witch of the Palais Royal, most earthy of oracles’) and in pieces on Updike, Balzac, Henry James, written with an authority and perception based on lifelong intimacy. He applied the same seriousness with which he encouraged new writers to reviving the careers of older ones – such as Jean Rhys – and restoring writers consigned by accident or ...


Jackson Lears: Ralph Nader’s novel, 8 April 2010

Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 
by Ralph Nader.
Seven Stories, 733 pp., $27.50, September 2009, 978 1 58322 903 3
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... good against the excesses of private gain. His ancestors include such muckraking journalists as Henry Demarest Lloyd, whose Wealth against Commonwealth told the sordid tale of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, as well as politicians such as William Jennings Bryan, Robert La Follette and even (for a while) Woodrow Wilson, whose New Freedom campaign of ...

Self-Made Man

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Edith Wharton’s Domestic Arrangements, 5 April 2007

Edith Wharton 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 853 pp., £25, February 2007, 978 0 7011 6665 6
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... don’t know her till you have seen her as builder and restorer, designer, decorator, gardener,’ Henry James wrote to another impassioned interior decorator, their mutual friend Mary Hunter, in 1913. At the time, Wharton was contemplating the purchase of a substantial estate near where Hunter lived in Essex; but while this came to nothing, the novelist’s ...

The Colossus of Maroussi

Iain Sinclair: In Athens, 27 May 2010

... what is to be seen: the Olympic rings are not a threat and the sleeping dogs do not stir at the gates. Flagpoles are bare. Joggers, if any can be found, are free to make the elongated circuit or to run up the steeply banked terraces. But noble as the site appears, it is not entirely benign. The poet John Lucas, in 92 Acharnon Street, reminds us that the old ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... Nicaragua. George Bush recruited Manuel Noriega to the CIA. As the Watergate hounds closed in, Henry Kissinger was implored to sink to his Jewish knees and join Richard Nixon in prayer on the Oval Office carpet, and complied. Klaus Barbie was plucked from the SS ‘Most Wanted’ list and, with many of his confrères, given a second career in American ...

Drugs, anyone?

Seamus Perry: George Meredith, 18 June 2015

Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads 
by George Meredith, edited by Criscillia Benford and Rebecca Mitchell.
Yale, 390 pp., £40, April 2015, 978 0 300 17317 8
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... Even his admirers could find it a strain: ‘He is not an easy man to be yourself with,’ Robert Louis Stevenson confessed to Henry James, ‘there is so much of him, and the veracity and the high athletic intellectual humbug are so intermixed.’ Hardy wrote loyally after Meredith’s death that ‘His words wing on ...

Outbreak of Pleasure

Angus Calder, 23 January 1986

Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... Gentlemen were still marked off from Players as first-class cricket enjoyed golden years of huge gates and crowd-pleasing stroke play. There was nothing austere in the manner in which London’s favourite pro, Denis Compton, amassed runs in 1947, and by the end of the decade rare ‘class’ was being shown by such public-school amateurs as Peter May and ...

‘A Being full of Witching’

Charles Nicholl: The ‘poor half-harlot’ of Hazlitt’s affections, 18 May 2000

... went, physically. The affair was never consummated, which haunted him more than anything: ‘The gates of paradise were once open to me, & I blushed to enter but with the golden keys of love.’ Or more bluntly, in the manuscript: ‘I was only wrong in not pulling up her petticoats.’ Much of this, on Sarah’s part, is the standard coquetry of the ...

Grim Eminence

Norman Stone, 10 January 1983

The Twilight of the Comintern 1930-1935 
by E.H. Carr.
Macmillan, 436 pp., £25, December 1982, 0 333 33062 5
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... characteristic of him not to see anything odd about adding: ‘An English historian can praise ... Henry VIII without being supposed to condone the beheading of wives.’ Carr’s views and prose style owed much to his experience of the Foreign Office, which he did not leave until his mid-forties. At Cambridge, he excelled as a Classicist (he won the Porson ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... a momentous one. Had Her Majesty gone for another duff read, an early George Eliot, say, or a late Henry James, novice reader that she was she might have been put off reading for good and there would be no story to tell. Books, she would have thought, were work. As it was, with this one she soon became engrossed and, passing her bedroom that night clutching ...

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