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Running on Empty

Christopher Hitchens: The Wrong Stuff, 7 January 1999

A Man in Full 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 742 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 224 03036 1
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... to believe that Wolfe hasn’t read of Wilde’s most laboured joke about Nell.) The carnival barker sweeps off his rakish and jaunty panama: ‘If you won’t weep for Hecuba, surely you’ll shed a tear for Mister Dickens here. Roll up, you fine ladies and gentleman, for Lord Jeffrey, known to one and all as “The Impeccable!” Snuffle away ...

In a Dry Place

Nicolas Tredell, 11 October 1990

On the Look-Out: A Partial Autobiography 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 85635 758 8
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In Two Minds: Guesses at Other Writers 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 296 pp., £18.95, September 1990, 0 85635 877 0
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... march of events’ is the same technique that is used in Sisson’s remarkable novel, Christopher Homm. Part Two does move forward, but, like a novel, uses the third person, and dialogue, to evoke the Indian experiences of a BOR – a British Other Rank – called Pearce. Poems written at the time of Sisson’s passage to India are interleaved ...

In the Graveyard of Verse

William Wootten: Vernon Watkins, 9 August 2001

The Collected Poems of Vernon Watkins 
Golgonooza, 495 pp., £16.95, October 2000, 0 903880 73 3Show More
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... Thomas, he was an eager perpetrator of New Romanticism. Watkins was at Repton and Cambridge with Christopher Isherwood, and makes a cameo appearance as the gullible Percival in Lions and Shadows. Nevertheless, he had little in common with the Auden generation or with Cambridge. His last eighteen months at school were, in retrospect, an idyll, but the course ...

When We Were Nicer

Steven Mithen: History Seen as Neurochemistry, 24 January 2008

On Deep History and the Brain 
by Daniel Lord Smail.
California, 271 pp., £12.95, December 2007, 978 0 520 25289 9
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... emerged, as did the process by which farming spread out from such centres. Recent books by Graeme Barker and Clive Gamble argue against the notion of a Neolithic revolution. They favour long-term continuity: a slow and gradual change from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic with no discernible thresholds. I am on the side of Smail and struggle to understand how ...

Shakespeares

David Norbrook, 18 July 1985

Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... may be dubious, it cannot be denied that it yields some interesting insights. Terence Hawkes, Christopher Norris and Jacqueline Rose show how the attempts of some influential Shakespeare critics to reduce the plays to coherent unified structures break down as the gaps and contradictions of the texts are carried over by an uncanny transfer to their own ...

Undesirable

Tom Paulin, 9 May 1996

T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form 
by Anthony Julius.
Cambridge, 308 pp., £30, September 1995, 0 521 47063 3
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... scholars – C.K. Stead, Ronald Bush, Julius himself – believe that the review was by Eliot. Christopher Ricks doesn’t disagree with this judgment – whether or not Eliot wrote the review, he observes in T.S. Eliot and Prejudice, it has ‘the stamp of his approval and the stamp of his tone’. Calling the anonymous notice ‘shameful’, Ricks ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... he treated them. They all complain about the difficulty or impossibility of getting paid. Clive Barker spells out the most maddening part of it: In the mid-1960s Robert would say to me, ‘I’ll give you that money when I see you.’ But he didn’t realise I needed it that day, to live on. He didn’t understand. It was inconceivable to him that I could ...

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