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‘Disgusting’

Frank Kermode: Remembering William Empson, 16 November 2006

William Empson. Vol. II: Against the Christians 
by John Haffenden.
Oxford, 797 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 19 927660 9
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... is keen to have another child. If he could get Molly away from Boylan and ‘get her to bed with Stephen’ he thinks he could manage it provided Stephen preceded him – perhaps when Stephen returned to Eccles Street, as he promised. Joyce was apparently ‘shy’ about this bit of ...

Somewhat Divine

Simon Schaffer: Isaac Newton, 16 November 2000

Isaac Newton: The ‘Principia’ Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy 
translated by I. Bernard Cohen.
California, 974 pp., £22, September 1999, 0 520 08817 4
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... never, until now, been another. It has understandably taken the Harvard historian of science I. Bernard Cohen and his collaborators much longer to produce this new translation than Newton took to compose the original, or Motte his version. In 1956, when Cohen had already established his reputation as a historian of Newtonian natural philosophy, he started ...

Why read Clausewitz when Shock and Awe can make a clean sweep of things?

Andrew Bacevich: The Rumsfeld Doctrine, 8 June 2006

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq 
by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor.
Atlantic, 603 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 352 4
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... an important contribution. A decade ago, Michael Gordon, a reporter with the New York Times, and Bernard Trainor, a retired US Marine Corps lieutenant general, collaborated on The Generals’ War, still perhaps the best narrative history of the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91. Cobra II, a worthy successor, is packaged as an account of the planning and conduct of ...

Seventy Years in a Colourful Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: The Soho Alphabet, 16 July 2020

Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia 
by Darren Coffield.
Unbound, 364 pp., £25, April, 978 1 78352 816 5
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... off many evenings in the Coach & Horses, where a living warning came in the form of Jeffrey Bernard, missing half a leg but still pluming and gasping in the Spectator about his bad character. Never did a man receive drinks with such a sense of entitlement: he hated himself, of course, which was a burden on everybody, despite the cartoons and all that ...

Lamb’s Tails

Christopher Driver, 19 June 1986

All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present 
by Stephen Mennell.
Blackwell, 380 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 631 13244 9
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Curye on Inglysch: English Culinary Manuscripts of the 14th Century including ‘The Forme of Cury’ 
edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.
Oxford, for the Early English Text Society, 224 pp., £6.50, April 1985, 0 19 722409 1
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The English Cookbook 
by Victor Gordon.
Cape, 304 pp., £12.50, November 1985, 0 224 02300 4
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... for granted elsewhere. They order these things somewhat better in the Council of Europe, where Stephen Mennell, a disciple of Norbert Elias, began work on All Manners of Food. The slow-baked book that has finally emerged reads like a series of essays on pertinent food topics in cultural history rather than a comprehensive account of what has been ...

Can I have my shilling back?

Peter Campbell, 19 November 1992

Epstein: Artist against the Establishment 
by Stephen Gardiner.
Joseph, 532 pp., £20, September 1992, 9780718129446
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... his considerable commercial and critical success, was often very publicly under attack. Much of Stephen Gardiner’s biography is taken up with what critics and journalists said about Epstein’s work, but he doesn’t really ask what was in it that so irritated some and gave such pleasure to others. Gardiner is too often rhetorically ‘puzzled’ by ...

Anger and Dismay

Denis Donoghue, 19 July 1984

Literary Education: A Revaluation 
by James Gribble.
Cambridge, 182 pp., £16.50, November 1983, 0 521 25315 2
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Reconstructing Literature 
edited by Laurence Lerner.
Blackwell, 218 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 631 13323 2
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Counter-Modernism in Current Critical Theory 
by Geoffrey Thurley.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 33436 1
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... theory are tourists: mid-Atlantic figures like Frank Kermode and Tony Tanner, or Francophiles like Stephen Heath and Stephen Bann. Samuel Johnson had moral principles, but nothing like a theory of literature: he didn’t need one. The force of English common sense is that it leaves you free to deal with the things that ...

77 Barton Street

Dave Haslam: Joy Division, 3 January 2008

Juvenes: The Joy Division Photographs of Kevin Cummins 
To Hell with Publishing, 189 pp., £200, December 2007Show More
Joy Division: Piece by Piece 
by Paul Morley.
Plexus, 384 pp., £14.99, December 2007, 978 0 85965 404 3
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Control 
directed by Anton Corbijn.
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... and curating. But there is also the allure of their bleak vision. Joy Division’s guitarist, Bernard Sumner, recalls teenage years blighted by the simpering commerciality of the pop charts: he told me recently, with a wince, that one of the reasons he’d wanted to form a band was hearing the song ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’. Not enough attention has ...

Howard’s End

John Sutherland, 18 September 1986

Redback 
by Howard Jacobson.
Bantam, 314 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 593 01212 7
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Coming from behind 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 250 pp., £2.95, April 1984, 0 552 99063 9
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Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 351 pp., £2.95, October 1985, 0 552 99141 4
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... are, by my count, too many characters in Redback with not-very-funny funny names, such as: George, Bernard and Shaun Cooney, Ruddles Carmody, Lobelia Sneddon, Norelle Turpie, Vance Kelpie, Montserrat Tomlinson, Bev Belladonna, Hartley Quibell. In fact, for ease of reading (and who wants a hard-to-read comic novel?) there are altogether too many characters ...

Pretending to be the parlourmaid

John Bayley, 2 December 1993

Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell 
edited by Regina Marler, introduced by Quentin Bell.
Bloomsbury, 593 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 7475 1550 6
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... a jolly partridge-shooting country gent with intellectual tastes (‘a fathead and voluptuary’ Bernard Shaw called him in 1920 after he had blundered into some literary debate) with whom she remained on excellent terms after they had ceased to live together. Clive had plenty of affairs of his own, but was in his way a family man and a source of ...

In the Hands of Any Fool

Walter Gratzer, 3 July 1997

A Short History of Cardiology 
by Peter Fleming.
Rodopi, 234 pp., £53.50, April 1997, 90 420 0048 1
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... man confidence in man, and make physicians more dreadful than gout or stone’. And of the Rev. Stephen Hales – the country curate who, in a series of remarkable experiments, first measured blood pressure and flow rates on retired horses – Pope wrote: ‘he is a very good man, only I’m sorry he has his hands so much imbued in ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets, 10 June 1999

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... some poignant contributions: the broken dreams of Communism reported by former believers; Rabbi Stephen Wise addressing an anti-Nazi rally; John Galsworthy’s protest about planes being used for war – ‘For the love of the sun, and stars and the blue sky, that have given us all our aspirations since the beginning of time, let us leave the air to ...

Our Founder

John Bayley: Papa Joyce, 19 February 1998

John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father 
by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello.
Fourth Estate, 493 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 85702 417 6
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... his own characteristic way a great man. His son acknowledged this in the wry admiration with which Stephen Dedalus, asked by a friend to define him, speaks of his father in A Portrait of the Artist: ‘A medical student, an oarsman, a tenor, an amateur actor, a shouting politician, a small landlord, a small investor, a drinker, a good fellow, a ...

Karel Reisz Remembered

LRB Contributors, 12 December 2002

... people like me directing films, I would do anything. Working with Karel was special. Just so nice. Stephen Frears (film director): In 1965, I was working at the Royal Court in London, which was a bit like being on call to the Borgias, a place full of brilliant and terrifying men. Then Karel came to direct a play by the Italian playwright Franco Brusati. His ...

Francis and Vanessa

Peter Campbell, 15 March 1984

Francis Bacon 
by Michel Leiris, translated by John Weightman.
Phaidon, 271 pp., £50, September 1983, 0 7148 2218 3
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Vanessa Bell 
by Frances Spalding.
Weidenfeld, 399 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 297 78162 6
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The Omega Workshops 
by Judith Collins.
Secker, 310 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 436 10562 4
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The Omega Workshops 1913-1919: Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury 
Crafts Council, 96 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 903798 72 7Show More
The Omega Workshops: Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920 
Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 80 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 947564 00 4Show More
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... otherwise be the justification of the life. Spalding dramatises the break between the taste of the Stephen children and the Stephen parents by describing the fall from favour of G.F. Watts. He was a family connection – his portraits of Sir Leslie and Julia Stephen found their way to ...

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