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Villa Lampedusa

Marina Warner, 5 January 1989

The Last Leopard: A Life of Giuseppe di Lampedusa 
by David Gilmour.
Quartet, 223 pp., £15.95, November 1988, 0 7043 2564 0
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... and prestige, rather than new loves or old, the character of The Leopard’s originator emerges in David Gilmour’s entertaining and astute biography. There is at times, but only at times, an excess of reserve – caught from his subject’s own fastidiousness? In the brief, lyrical memoir Lampedusa wrote in 1955, he invoked with unequivocal passion the ...

It’s as if he’d never existed

Anthony Pagden, 18 July 1985

The Transformation of Spain: From Franco to the Constitutional Monarchy 
by David Gilmour.
Quartet, 306 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 9780704324619
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... nation. This transition is one of the most remarkable events of the post-war years and, as David Gilmour says in what is by far the best general account of the phenomenon to have appeared so far, it was the King who made it possible. The greatest threat to Spanish democracy came, and still comes, from the Army. Franco had risen to power through ...

Homage to the Provinces

Michael Wood, 28 May 1992

Barcelona 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 575 pp., £20, May 1992, 0 00 272078 7
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Barcelonas 
by Manuel Vazquez Montalban, translated by Andrew Robinson.
Verso, 210 pp., £17.95, May 1992, 0 86091 353 8
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Cities of Spain 
by David Gilmour.
Murray, 214 pp., £17.95, March 1992, 0 7195 4833 0
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Red City, Blue Period: Social Movements in Picasso’s Barcelona 
by Temma Kaplan.
California, 266 pp., $30, April 1992, 0 520 07507 2
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... put up. It’s certainly an interesting legacy for an Olympic city. ‘Between 1919 and 1923,’ David Gilmour writes, ‘there were more than seven hundred political assassinations in Catalonia’; and Temma Kaplan documents in some detail a large number of bombings, strikes and executions. The bourgeois paradise was also the ...

So Much to Hate

Bernard Porter: Rudyard Bloody Kipling, 25 April 2002

The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling 
by David Gilmour.
Murray, 351 pp., £22.50, March 2002, 0 7195 5539 6
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... would die of throat cancer. He also claimed the Liberal Government had killed King Edward VII. David Gilmour, who does the best he can to defend Kipling against his detractors, insists that some of this was not intended ‘personally’, but it is hard to see how that could be. In fact Kipling comes over as a deeply unsympathetic character in this ...

Afternoonishness

Jeremy Harding: Syd Barrett, 2 January 2003

Madcap: The Half-Life of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s Lost Genius 
by Tim Willis.
Short Books, 175 pp., £12.99, October 2002, 1 904095 24 0
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... Barrett, who died of cancer in 1961 – Barrett was nearly 16. (There was Roger Waters, too, and David Gilmour – who’d replace Barrett within moments, almost, of the band’s success. Both were Cambridge boys. Both, Willis tells us, had messed around with paint pots in a late-toddler phase in the same Saturday morning art club as Barrett at Homerton ...

Dear George

Jonathan Parry, 22 December 1994

Curzon 
by David Gilmour.
Murray, 684 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 7195 4834 9
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... self-important, fussy, but sensitive to beauty, romance and alien cultures – who is uppermost in David Gilmour’s splendid new biography. Gilmour punctures the myth of the insufferably arrogant and despotically ‘un-English’ Curzon perpetuated by society gossip and by the hostile accounts of the Beaverbrook ...

Auchnasaugh

Patrick Parrinder, 7 November 1991

King Cameron 
by David Craig.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £12.95, May 1991, 0 85635 917 3
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The Hungry Generations 
by David Gilmour.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 194 pp., £13.95, August 1991, 1 85619 069 2
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O Caledonia 
by Elspeth Barker.
Hamish Hamilton, 152 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 0 241 13146 4
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... David Craig has an unfashionable concern with truth-telling in fiction. In his earlier role as a literary critic, he wrote a book called The Real Foundations in which he showed how some of the most respected 19th and 20th-century novelists and poets had blatantly falsified social reality. If a work of realistic fiction is to be convincing in general, according to Craig, it ought to convince us in particulars ...

Textual Harassment

Claude Rawson, 5 April 1984

The World, the Text and the Critic 
by Edward Said.
Faber, 327 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 571 13264 2
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The Deconstructive Turn: Essays in the Rhetoric of Philosophy 
by Christopher Norris.
Methuen, 201 pp., £4.95, December 1983, 0 416 36140 4
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The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. VIII: The Present 
edited by Boris Ford.
Penguin, 619 pp., £3.50, October 1983, 0 14 022271 5
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... using phrases like ‘collective Arab narrative’ in their conversations with Said at the UN, and David Gilmour, one of the authors under review, is equally improbably described as being frustrated by the ‘non-narrative character of Lebanon’s problems’. Reports of events since the fall of Beirut are described as ‘pre-narrative or, in a ...

Leaving it alone

R.G. Opie, 21 April 1983

Britain can work 
by Ian Gilmour.
Martin Robertson, 272 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 85520 571 7
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The Use of Public Power 
by Andrew Shonfield, edited by Zuzanna Shonfield.
Oxford, 140 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 215357 9
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... Sir Ian Gilmour has written a splendid book about a splendid subject. The question he asks is: ‘How did Monetarism capture the Conservatives?’ It is a genuine mystery, and also a very serious issue, as more than three million Britons, including Sir Ian, know to their cost. They – and he – have lost their jobs as a result of it: they as victims of a heartless, misguided and ill-founded policy, and he as a victim of his views about it ...

Little Mercians

Ian Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories, 5 July 2001

... or even standing. Ann Widdecombe is now out of the race but, like her, Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis would be good leaders for a further spell in the wilderness, as would the old Michael Portillo. But evidently the new model Portillo would be second best only to Clarke as the leader of an overdue Conservative revival. The trouble is that, not merely ...

Gentlemen and Intellectuals

Ian Gilmour, 17 October 1985

Balfour: Intellectual Statesman 
by Ruddock Mackay.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 212245 2
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Austen Chamberlain: Gentleman in Politics 
by David Dutton.
Ross Anderson Publications, 373 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86360 018 2
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... on to recommend and support the madness of the Lords’ rejection of the Budget. Like Mr Mackay, David Dutton has lumbered his book with a subtitle: ‘Gentleman in Politics’. Austen Chamberlain was certainly in politics and probably a gentleman. But it is not clear whether ‘a gentleman in politics’ is meant to describe some particular political ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... that in Germany Angela Merkel was nearly flattened herself for having allegedly espoused it. David Davis has promised not to swerve to the right, but as he is already standing on the right touchline, that does not mean much. According to David Cameron, one of the other candidates, Davis is a man of great ...

Journos de nos jours

Anthony Howard, 8 March 1990

Alan Moorehead 
by Tom Pocock.
Bodley Head, 311 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 370 31261 9
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Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir 
by Carl Bernstein.
Macmillan, 254 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 333 52135 8
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Downstart 
by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... who, initially at least, brought to it the same benevolent rule as editor-proprietor that David Astor exercised on the Observer. It was at this stage that Inglis was lucky enough to join it – having leapt on board from the Daily Sketch, where the tone was a good deal more robust, or thuggish. If still a conservative paper, the Spectator was even by ...

Thoughts on Late Style

Edward Said, 5 August 2004

... on the mainland, and also unwilling to compete with other writers. His English biographer David Gilmour suspects that he was moved to write by his sense that as an ‘ultimate descendant of an ancient noble line whose economic and physical extinction culminated in himself’, he would be the last member of his family to have ‘vital ...

America and Israel

Ian Gilmour, 18 February 1982

The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East 
by Mahmoud Riad.
Quartet, 365 pp., £11.95, October 1981, 0 7043 2297 8
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Palestinian Self-Determination 
by Hassan Bin Talal.
Quartet, 138 pp., £6.95, July 1981, 0 7043 2312 5
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This Year in Jerusalem 
by Kenneth Cragg.
Darton, Longman and Todd, 192 pp., £5.95, February 1982, 0 232 51524 7
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... Israel offered Egypt a separate peace. Nasser could have had in 1968-9 what Sadat achieved at Camp David. Indeed, he might have got Gaza as well. But Nasser was opposed to Egypt’s deserting its allies and concluding a separate peace. ‘The West Bank,’ he declared, ‘is more important to me than Sinai.’ The substitution of Nixon for Johnson made no ...

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