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Knobs, Dots and Grooves

Peter Campbell: Henry Moore, 8 August 2002

Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations 
edited by Alan Wilkinson.
Lund Humphries, 320 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 85331 847 6
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The Penguin Modern Painters: A History 
by Carol Peaker.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 124 pp., £15, August 2001, 0 9527401 4 1
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... by the architect Leslie Martin, the Constructivist sculptor Naum Gabo and the abstractionist Ben Nicholson, was published in 1937. Although they roped in a few contributors, such as Herbert Read, who were willing to give the Surrealists (for example) the time of day, only non-representational painting, abstract sculpture and asymmetrical and undecorated ...

Stuck in Chicago

Linda Colley, 12 November 1987

by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 1165 pp., £15, October 1987, 0 7043 2625 6
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... As I write this, the Liberal MP David Alton is about to introduce a Bill changing the upper time limit on legal abortions from 28 weeks to 18. If he succeeds, more women will be forced to give birth against their will, and more will be obliged to give birth to children already known to be severely handicapped. Whether he succeeds will be determined by a House of Commons where 13 out of every 16 MPs belong to the sex that does not get pregnant and does not, traditionally, take on the main responsibility of childcare ...


Michael Davie, 6 June 1985

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... Meehan for a murder he did not commit; Wicked beyond Belief (1980) was followed by the release of David Cooper and Michael McMahon, also detained for a murder they did not commit. Few readers of Mr Kennedy’s latest book will finish it thinking he has spoiled his immaculate record. The reader may be left with lingering doubts about whether Hauptmann had no ...

Monster Doss House

Iain Sinclair, 24 November 1988

The Grass Arena 
by John Healy.
Faber, 194 pp., £9.95, October 1988, 0 571 15170 1
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... into the nether regions is frequently heroic and, in achieving it, he is ennobled but emasculated. David Goodis is the laureate of this mood. William Kennedy, a more recent mythologist of hobo as artist, has seen his novel Ironweed make it all the way to the screen, where Jack Nicholson was obliged to continue his ...

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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by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... his fame may have faded a little since Dustin Hoffman represented him in that film, and Jack Nicholson represented him in a later one. He is quite open about the difficulties he has subsequently experienced, making it clear that he started out trying to write this book almost a decade and a half ago and laid it on one side partly in deference to the ...

Meaningless Legs

Frank Kermode: John Gielgud, 21 June 2001

Gielgud: A Theatrical Life 1904-2000 
by Jonathan Croall.
Methuen, 579 pp., £20, November 2000, 0 413 74560 0
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John G.: The Authorised Biography of John Gielgud 
by Sheridan Morley.
Hodder, 510 pp., £20, May 2001, 0 340 36803 9
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John Gielgud: An Actor’s Life 
by Gyles Brandreth.
Sutton, 196 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 7509 2752 6
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... that turned up in the 1950s, but eventually joined in and had a huge success with Richardson in David Storey’s Home, described by Lindsay Anderson, who directed it, as ‘one of those uniquely happy, harmonious and fulfilling theatre experiences that happen, if one is lucky, once in a lifetime … Gielgud’s moments of pure, exposed emotion are ...

Into the Southern Playground

Julian Bell: The Suspect Adrian Stokes, 21 August 2003

'The Quattro Cento’ and ‘Stones of Rimini’ 
by Adrian Stokes.
Ashgate, 668 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 7546 3320 9
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Art and Its Discontents 
by Richard Read.
Ashgate, 260 pp., £35, December 2002, 0 7546 0796 8
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... milieux of the Sitwells and of Pound, in favour of Hampstead progressivism – the company of Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth and the psychoanalysis of Melanie Klein (who souped up his neuroses into a fabulously lurid case study: ‘Woman . . . appeared to him only as a kind of container for terrifying penises and dangerous excrements’). Read is a fine ...

The Wickedest Woman in Paris

Colm Tóibín, 6 September 2007

Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins 
by Rupert Everett.
Abacus, 406 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 349 12058 4
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... hostess, was that evening minding her own business in her own nice home in the company of Jack Nicholson and three hundred others. She had, understandably, drawn the line at Rupert and Min, who seem to have been upset by this. Rupert’s idea of a Water Board worker was a man with an Irish accent. He tried out his ‘vague leprechaun lilt’ on Nona ...

Tied to the Mast

Adam Mars-Jones: Alan Hollinghurst, 19 October 2017

The Sparsholt Affair 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 454 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 1 4472 0821 1
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... connoisseurship and defiant frankness. This qualm was both expressed and lightly lampooned by Nicholson Baker, writing in U&I: ‘Hey, I’m reading Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library, and you know, once you get used to the initially kind of disgusting level of homosexual sex, which quickly becomes really interesting as a kind of ...

Cartwheels over Broken Glass

Andrew O’Hagan: Worshipping Morrissey, 4 March 2004

Saint Morrissey 
by Mark Simpson.
SAF, 224 pp., £16.99, December 2003, 0 946719 65 9
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The Smiths: Songs that Saved Your Life 
by Simon Goddard.
Reynolds/Hearn, 272 pp., £14.99, December 2002, 1 903111 47 1
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... and, more violently, how much they loved the heavily lipglossed singer in a band called Japan. David Sylvian was his name. The girls called him David. So far as I remember, the diary was a pretty spectacular fantasia of adolescent lusts and local hatreds: Dear Katherine, David came ...


Pat Rogers, 6 November 1986

Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in 18th-Century Imagery 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 139 pp., £29.50, May 1986, 0 19 817371 7
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Augustan Studies: Essays in honour of Irvin Ehrenpreis 
edited by Douglas Lane Patey and Timothy Keegan.
University of Delaware Press, 270 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 9780874132724
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The 18th Century: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1700-1789 
by James Sambrook.
Longman, 290 pp., £15.95, April 1986, 0 582 49306 4
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... life are tellingly invoked. Then there is an amazingly learned search for the sources of David’s Oath of the Horatii. The trail leads through Gluck, Garrick, the ballet-master Noverre, Lavoisier, Beaumarchais and (less of a displaced person now, than when Wind was writing in 1941) Salieri. It is nard to imagine a reader with any developed interest ...


James Wolcott: Updike should stay at home, 1 January 2009

The Widows of Eastwick 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2008, 978 0 241 14427 5
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... Now that Updike’s an elder statesman in the world of letters, an elfin figure pared down to a David Levine caricature of himself, a newer generation of detractors (replacing the ones that died off) has reserved him a room at the retirement home and seems irritated that he won’t take the hint. In recent interviews and articles he acknowledges the testy ...

Sight, Sound and Sex

Adam Mars-Jones: Dana Spiotta, 17 March 2016

Innocents and Others 
by Dana Spiotta.
Scribner, 278 pp., £17.95, March 2016, 978 1 5011 2272 9
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... can’t give the impression of looking inside a mind directly, and must find its own equivalents. David Lean declared that in The Passionate Friends (1949) he had succeeded in photographing thought, though he was referring not to the film as a whole but to one sequence, in which Claude Rains’s character jumps to the conclusion that his wife is having an ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... then on to Malawi and Zimbabwe, in November 1991, will underestimate the hardiness and courage of David Livingstone, who traversed, on foot, thousands of miles of bush, mountain and swamp, fearsome to behold even from the air. But Livingstone’s country had not been unknown to the Portuguese, established on both east and west coast for centuries. The term ...

Lost Boys

Andrew O’Hagan, 8 June 1995

... of their power. They stood for pain. The stone on my other side was in memory of ‘Frank Cyril Nicholson, who died January 13th 1897, aged 14 years’. It was a cool day, very quiet at times, then some horn or deep engine on the dual carriageway would break in. Frank Cyril died after 14 years; died, it seems, of natural causes. His death must have been ...

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