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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Swing Time’, 4 April 2019

... careful, non-intrusive touch of the directors (Mark Sandrich for Top Hat and Shall We Dance and George Stevens for Swing Time); and there are the differences among Irving Berlin (Top Hat), Jerome Kern (Swing Time) and George Gershwin (Shall We Dance) as composers. There is some amazing dialogue (in this case by Allan ...

What did they do in the war?

Angus Calder, 20 June 1985

Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... Max Hastings’s Victory in Europe is ‘brightened’ by stills from color film shot by George Stevens, a Hollywood director (he later made Shane). Stevens ran an official unit attached to the Allied Armies’ Supreme Headquarters, but military procedures called for all movie coverage to be in 35 mm ...

Lost in Beauty

Michael Newton: Montgomery Clift, 7 October 2010

The Passion of Montgomery Clift 
by Amy Lawrence.
California, 333 pp., £16.95, May 2010, 978 0 520 26047 4
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... working with most of the best Hollywood directors of the time: Hawks, Zinnemann, William Wyler, George Stevens, Hitchcock. In ten or so of his 17 films, he is, by anybody’s reckoning, flawless. It’s not surprising that John Ford never showed an interest; the ‘manly’ directors with whom Clift did work suspected he was gay, and, in John ...

Out of the Lock-Up

Michael Wood: Wallace Stevens, 2 April 1998

Collected Poetry and Prose 
by Wallace Stevens, edited by Frank Kermode and Joan Richardson.
Library of America, 1032 pp., $35, October 1997, 1 883011 45 0
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... Asked in 1933 what his favourite among his own poems was, Wallace Stevens said he liked best ‘The Emperor of Ice-Cream’, from Harmonium (1923). The work ‘wears a deliberately commonplace costume’, Stevens said, ‘and yet seems to me to contain something of the essential gaudiness of poetry ...

In Service

Anthony Thwaite, 18 May 1989

The Remains of the Day 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 245 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15310 0
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I served the King of England 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3462 3
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Beautiful Mutants 
by Deborah Levy.
Cape, 90 pp., £9.95, May 1989, 0 224 02651 8
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When the monster dies 
by Kate Pullinger.
Cape, 173 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9780224026338
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The Colour of Memory 
by Geoff Dyer.
Cape, 228 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 224 02585 6
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Sexual Intercourse 
by Rose Boyt.
Cape, 160 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 0 224 02666 6
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The Children’s Crusade 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 121 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 330 30529 8
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... likely to be, as The armies waited for a verbal error With all the instruments for causing pain. Stevens, the elderly butler in Kazuo Ishiguro’s third novel, The Remains of the Day, would never be so vulgar as to price anyone’s shoes, but much of his earlier life was discreetly spent in the presence of substantial men exchanging views, at a time ...

On Nicholas Moore

Peter Howarth: Nicholas Moore, 24 September 2015

... for Dylan Thomas and the New Apocalypse poets, but his real coup had been to get several Wallace Stevens poems published in Britain, much to Stevens’s pleasure. Meanwhile, his own poems kept coming, and by 1944 a Selected, The Glass Tower, came out, expensively illustrated by Lucian Freud. He got married to a woman ...

Above it all

Stephen Sedley, 7 April 1994

Suing Judges: A Study of Judicial Immunity 
by Abimbola Olowofoyeku.
Oxford, 234 pp., £27.50, December 1993, 0 19 825793 7
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The Independence of the Judiciary: The View from the Lord Chancellor’s Office 
by Robert Stevens.
Oxford, 221 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 19 825815 1
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... fact that all a working man would ever do with a large award of damages was buy a pub. Robert Stevens in a footnote cites a nice antidote from a law lord in 1833: ‘Here is a contract made by a fishmonger and a carrier of fish who know their business, and whether it is just and reasonable is to be settled by me who am neither fishmonger nor carrier, nor ...

Transcendental Criticism

David Trotter, 3 March 1988

The Renewal of Literature: Emersonian Reflections 
by Richard Poirier.
Faber, 256 pp., £14.95, March 1988, 0 571 15013 6
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... is to establish what, or rather who, he has modified: among poets, Whitman, Frost and Stevens; among critics and theorists, John Hollander, Harold Bloom, Stanley Cavell, George Kateb, Richard Rorty and Sacvan Bercovitch. Strong claims are made for the validity of the Emersonian position – it represents ‘what ...

Oldham

Frank Kermode, 22 May 1980

The Reign of Sparrows 
by Roy Fuller.
London Magazine Editions, 69 pp., £3.95, February 1980, 0 904388 29 8
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Souvenirs 
by Roy Fuller.
London Magazine Editions, 191 pp., £4.95, February 1980, 0 904388 30 1
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... working on it, will not quite destroy it; it makes the visible a little hard to see, as Wallace Stevens, early admired by Fuller, once remarked. Or, in another favourite Fuller locution, it ought to be not unimplicit, which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be clear. I particularly like a poem in Buff, the volume of 1965, about a little girl:  there’s a ...

Worst President in History

Eric Foner: Impeaching Andrew Johnson, 24 September 2020

TheImpeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation 
by Brenda Wineapple.
Ballantine, 592 pp., £12.99, May, 978 0 8129 8791 1
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... for the Radical Republicans, especially their leader in the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania. Born with a club foot, Stevens was depicted by earlier historians as ‘the crippled, fanatical personification’, in John F. Kennedy’s words, ‘of the extremes of the Radical Republican ...

Pioneers

Christopher Reid, 3 September 1981

Some Americans: A Personal Record 
by Charles Tomlinson.
California, 134 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 520 04037 6
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... this country. Discovered at random, long and clandestinely puzzled over, the few pieces by Pound, Stevens, Moore, Crane and others that came to his attention gradually revealed that there were other ways of writing verse than those prescribed either by the Dylan Thomas school of apocalyptic word-chimers, or by the Movement, in whose manifestos he detected ...

Foreigners

Denis Donoghue, 21 June 1984

Selected Essays 
by John Bayley.
Cambridge, 217 pp., £19.50, March 1984, 0 521 25828 6
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Collected Poems: 1941-1983 
by Michael Hamburger.
Carcanet, 383 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 9780856354977
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Poems: 1953-1983 
by Anthony Thwaite.
Secker, 201 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 436 52151 2
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... writers are the best of their kind or jewels of their country. Many of them are American: Whitman, Stevens, Ashbery, Robert Lowell, Berryman, Cummings, and I suppose Auden. The English are Larkin and Betjeman. Russians and other foreigners include Pushkin, Blok, Gogol, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Nabokov, Canetti, Milosz and Popa. The only difference I ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester, 8 June 1995

A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... Palance by Alan Ladd in Shane is exquisite, but Shane as a whole is a phoney. (But its director, George Stevens, did direct a musical that’s a serious candidate for greatness: Swing Time.) And the problem of evaluating the makers is vastly complicated, as it is with the Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, by the fact that the creation is usually ...

That Wooden Leg

Michael Wood: Conversations with Don Luis, 7 September 2000

An Unspeakable Betrayal: Selected Writings of Luis Buñuel 
translated by Garrett White.
California, 266 pp., £17.50, April 2000, 0 520 20840 4
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... story, which he tells again in My Last Breath. There is a dinner in Buñuel’s honour at George Cukor’s house in Hollywood in 1972. Fifteen famous directors are there, including John Ford, Rouben Mamoulian, Robert Mulligan, George Stevens, Robert Wise, William Wyler, Billy Wilder. Hitchcock sits next to ...

First Pitch

Frank Kermode: Marianne Moore, 16 April 1998

The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore 
edited by Bonnie Costello and Celeste Goodridge et al.
Faber, 597 pp., £30, April 1998, 0 571 19354 4
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... irritated Marianne Moore, who repeatedly insists on the virtue of accuracy, whether in Wallace Stevens’s poems or in Ralph Kirkpatrick’s harpsichord playing (‘gossamer precision’) or, indeed, in translation, at which she showed herself to be exceptionally good. Still, her editors have, as they claim, fulfilled Eliot’s 1959 prediction that ‘one ...

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