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In qualified praise of Stephen Vizinczey

Bryan Appleyard, 24 July 1986

Truth and Lies in Literature: Reviews and Essays 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 399 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 241 11805 0
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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A.V. 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 241 11378 4
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... There is nothing enigmatic about Stephen Vizinczey. He has views, he shouts, cajoles, threatens and sneers. He worships Kleist and Stendhal, loathes William Styron and Sainte-Beuve, is conspicuously silent about Flaubert and seems to have a love-hate relationship with Nabokov. He delights in summoning up his rhetoric of loathing for the Nazis and the Mafia and in distilling hard, frequently paradoxical conclusions from his insights ...

Yesterday

Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... and very alien; that strangeness can only be perceived through the medium of the present.’ Thus Bryan Appleyard, conscious of the difficulty of his project, which is to sketch the history of British art in the post-war years. The sentence occurs in an apologetic introduction, and it indicates some of the difficulties inherent in the author’s approach ...

His Father The Engineer

Ian Hacking, 28 May 1992

Understanding the present: Science and the Soul of Modern Man 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Picador, 272 pp., £14.95, May 1992, 0 330 32012 2
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... there are others in the works. The backlash has been with us for some time in the written word. Bryan Appleyard intends to take full advantage of that. He has scorn for even the greatest popularisers in the Bronowski tradition, men such as Carl Sagan. He tells a story of some of the sciences from the time of Galileo to the present. Coming soon: the ...

The New Lloyd’s

Peter Campbell, 24 July 1986

Richard Rogers 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 271 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 571 13976 0
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A Concrete Atlantis 
by Reyner Banham.
MIT, 265 pp., £16.50, June 1986, 0 262 02244 3
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William Richard Lethaby 
by Godfrey Rubens.
Architectural Press, 320 pp., £30, April 1986, 0 85139 350 0
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... in gents’ suiting would scandalise the trading floor – a point brought home by a caption in Bryan Appleyard’s biography: Rogers about to leave Belsize Grove for the first Lloyd’s interview in the Yves St Laurent suit’. It was grey, bought specially for the occasion, and worn with a borrowed tie. ...

The View from the Passenger Seat

Lorna Sage: Gilbert Adair, 1 January 1998

The Key of the Tower 
by Gilbert Adair.
Secker, 190 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 0 436 20429 0
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... ineluctable limitations: ‘art promises everything and changes nothing.’ The words belong to Bryan Appleyard, celebrating Lolita’s 40th birthday in 1995. ‘Humbert,’ he wrote, ‘is caged by his own genius ... And there is no outside.’ However, seeing Nabokov in Adair’s mirror, and contemplating the elaborate play with powerlessness this ...

Vermin Correspondence

Iain Sinclair, 20 October 1994

Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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... vocabulary of expression, and who ... has re-educated the sensibility of an entire generation’. Bryan Appleyard in The Pleasures of Peace calls Prynne ‘the most comprehensively gifted of living British poets’. The books will continue to dazzle without the slogan exchanges which represent the plea-bargaining of critical debate. Prynne’s ...

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