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What Dettol Can’t Fix

Bee Wilson: A Life in Lists, 13 September 2018

Elisabeth’s Lists: A Family Story 
by Lulah Ellender.
Granta, 318 pp., £16.99, March 2018, 978 1 78378 383 0
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... but also by ‘strict protocols and complex systems of etiquette’ in which lists could act as shields against frightening emotions. A perceptive and original first book, it is as much a meditation on the meaning of lists as it is a biography. In and of itself, the life of Elisabeth Young was not particularly noteworthy. Apart from the travel to far-off ...

11 September

LRB Contributors, 4 October 2001

... foundation for what is going to be a very long struggle’. The struggle has been long already. Charles Glass Jerusalem Because I live ten blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, my response to the events of 11 September is intensely localised; but because I was a thousand miles away in a foreign country when the events occurred, my experience of ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... through the waxworks of English history. Ackroyd’s early mentor J.H. Prynne, in a lecture on Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems, speaks of ‘that extraordinary poem where Blake decides to rework Milton and to arrange for the demonic possession of himself by Milton.’ ‘There are,’ he continues, ‘congestions of personality which result from ...

Ways to Be Pretentious

Ian Penman, 5 May 2016

M Train 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 253 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6768 6
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Collected Lyrics 1970-2015 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 303 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6300 8
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... instead of ‘with’ and ‘thru’ instead of ‘through’: Emily Dickinson via Charles Bukowski; Artaud and Bataille laced with American me-first and can-do. Like many rock acts, she’d had years to dream up her world-shut-your-mouth arrival, then suddenly had no time at all to patch together a follow-up. Only ten months on from ...

What I Heard about Iraq

Eliot Weinberger: Watch and listen, 3 February 2005

... sheer size of this has never been seen before, never contemplated.’ I heard Major-General Charles Swannack promise that his troops were going to ‘use a sledgehammer to smash a walnut’. I heard the Pentagon spokesman say: ‘This is not going to be your father’s Persian Gulf War.’ I heard that Saddam’s strategy against the American invasion ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett, 5 April 2007

... went for the laugh. Jackie said it in a thoughtful, reflective way; he showed the side that made Charles a great king afterwards.’ A year later MacGowran made his London debut as the Young Covey in The Plough and the Stars, becoming friends with its author, Sean O’Casey. In 1956 in London he played – to much critical acclaim from critics such as ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... the Kellys, who came to Boston from Ireland before the Second World War. Eileen married Ronald Charles Spahr of Philadelphia, the son of German immigrants, and in the late 1950s the couple moved to a three-bedroom colonial house in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which is fairly close to Philadelphia. Everyone you ask speaks of the Spahrs as a classic American ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... and the flames raging all over the building he raced to the cordon. Firefighters were using riot shields to protect people coming out of the building from falling debris, much of it burning cladding that was falling down in strips. Yasin, learning his family were still on the 21st floor, made it past the cordon and disappeared into the building. A friend of ...

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