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A Serious Table

Christopher Driver, 2 September 1982

Simple French Food 
by Richard Olney.
Jill Norman and Hobhouse, 339 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 906908 22 1
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Living off nature 
by Judy Urquhart.
Penguin, 396 pp., £5.95, May 1982, 0 14 005107 4
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The Food and Cooking of Russia 
by Lesley Chamberlain.
Allen Lane, 330 pp., £9.95, June 1982, 0 7139 1468 8
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Food, Wine and Friends 
by Robert Carrier.
Sphere, 197 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7221 2295 0
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The Colour Book of Fast Food 
edited by Alison Kerr.
Octopus, 77 pp., £1.99, June 1981, 0 7064 1510 8
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... it conveys is that to him that hath, it shall be given: not only Hintlesham Hall to live in, but John Cleese and Joanna Lumley for company, and a useful collection of cashmere sweaters to wear on the HTV series which spawned the book. We further learn that HTV’s ‘imaginative and courageous’ Patrick Dromgoole (a good director of avant-garde plays as an ...

Duels in the Dark

Colin Kidd: Lewis Namier’s Obsessions, 5 December 2019

Conservative Revolutionary: The Lives of Lewis Namier 
by D.W. Hayton.
Manchester, 472 pp., £25, August 2019, 978 0 7190 8603 8
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... us, he was operating in what was probably his fifth language. He soon came to the notice of Philip Kerr, Lloyd George’s private secretary, and subsequently to that of the prime minister himself. Pointed questions were asked in Parliament about his anti-Polish sentiments, and a poisonous piece in G.K. Chesterton’s weekly magazine New Witness outed the ...

What makes a waif?

Joanne O’Leary, 13 September 2018

The Long-Winded Lady: Tales from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 215 pp., £10.99, January 2017, 978 1 906539 59 7
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Maeve Brennan: Homesick at the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Angela Bourke.
Counterpoint, 360 pp., $16.95, February 2016, 978 1 61902 715 2
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The Springs of Affection: Stories 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 368 pp., £8.99, May 2016, 978 1 906539 54 2
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... science at the Catholic University, and became engaged to the playwright and theatre critic Walter Kerr. He broke her heart. (Years later William Shawn told a colleague that Kerr would never write for the New Yorker ‘because of Maeve’.) In 1941, Brennan moved to Manhattan and soon found work at Harper’s Bazaar, where ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... was convened in Austin, Texas, undoubtedly at the initiative of Professor Wm Roger Louis, whose Kerr Chair of English History and Culture at the University of Texas was one of the two principal sponsors (along with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library), although the president and staff of the hyper-rich Pennzoil Company and sundry U of T outfits are also ...

Behind the Sandwall

Jeremy Harding: Morocco’s Shame, 23 February 2006

Endgame in the Western Sahara: What Future for Africa’s Last Colony? 
by Toby Shelley.
Zed, 215 pp., £16.95, November 2004, 1 84277 341 0
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... of repression in which men like Elliott Abrams (now Deputy NSA and special assistant to Bush) and John Negroponte (now National Intelligence director) connived during the 1980s in Central America. The brazen persecution of Sahrawis is once again common, after a three-year interval of relative calm, following Hassan II’s death. In 2001, Mohamed Daddach, a ...

Termagant

Ian Gilmour: The Cliveden Set, 19 October 2000

The Cliveden Set: Portrait of an Exclusive Fraternity 
by Norman Rose.
Cape, 277 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 224 06093 7
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... In twenty years,’ Lady Astor used to say of Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian, ‘I’ve never known Philip to be wrong on foreign politics.’ Though Lothian himself thought much the same, it is, in fact, harder to think of an occasion when he was right. As Sir Robert Vansittart, the strongly anti-Nazi head of the Foreign Office in the 1930s put it, ‘Lothian was an incurably superficial Johnny-Know-All ...

Cold Feet

Frank Kermode, 22 July 1993

Essays on Renaissance Literature. Vol. I: Donne and the New Philosophy 
by William Empson, edited by John Haffenden.
Cambridge, 296 pp., £35, March 1993, 0 521 44043 2
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William Empson: The Critical Achievement 
edited by Chistopher Norris and Nigel Mapp.
Cambridge, 319 pp., £35, March 1993, 0 521 35386 6
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... from China; this fashion, led by such as C.S. Lewis and practised by such as Fr Martin Jarrett-Kerr, seemed interesting to others, who may thus have seemed, willy-nilly, to be crypto-Christians. One point of importance in this, as usual good, but as usual digressive, essay concerns Empson’s refusal to distinguish between the truth of poetry and the truth ...

Depicting Europe

Perry Anderson, 20 September 2007

... for the labours of its president, Giscard d’Estaing, assisted by a British factotum, John Kerr, the two real authors of the draft, their presence was of no consequence. The future charter of Europe was written for the establishments of the West, the governments of the existing 15 member states who had to approve it, relegating the countries ...

A Girl Called Retina

Tom Crewe: You’ll like it when you get there, 13 August 2020

British Summer Time Begins: The School Summer Holidays, 1930-80 
by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.
Little, Brown, 352 pp., £18.99, July, 978 1 4087 1055 5
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... at any kind of obscure urban address, such as 24 Whitfield Road, Haslemere.’ The writer Judith Kerr, who had fled the Nazis with her family and ended up boarding at Hayes Court, was asked by two girls: ‘Did your nanny have a Cockney accent? Because we’ve all been discussing it and we’ve decided your vowels aren’t pure.’ Amanda Theunissen, who was ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007, 3 January 2008

... House (where I do not pee). It’s the home of the Lascelles family, an ancestor of which, John Lascelles, blew the gaffe on Catherine Howard, the king’s fifth wife, but was later culled himself in the purge of evangelicals during that dreadful monarch’s last years. I watch two of the now well-established red kites tumbling about the sky above the ...

Musical Chairs with Ribbentrop

Bee Wilson: Nancy Astor, 20 December 2012

Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor 
by Adrian Fort.
Cape, 378 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 224 09016 2
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... invited Geoffrey Dawson, editor of the Times, Nevile Henderson, ambassador to Germany, and Philip Kerr, the Marquess of Lothian, a Christian Scientist like Nancy, and one of several to express the view that in marching into the Rhineland, Germany was merely walking into its own backyard. Nancy and Waldorf also regularly entertained Neville ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... to support the organisation,’ Mrs Rawlings said. Another TMO member from that time, Reg Kerr-Bell, agrees.Kerr-Bell became chair of the TMO in February 2010. He feels, as does Rawlings, that the TMO’s strength was such that all matters relating to Grenfell’s refurbishment were its remit. In the press, very ...

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