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Living on Apple Crumble

August Kleinzahler: James Schuyler, 17 November 2005

Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler 1951-91 
edited by William Corbett.
Turtle Point, 470 pp., £13.99, May 2005, 1 885586 30 2
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... flat on East 52nd St in 1950, the year before Schuyler’s breakdown, Schuyler met John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch and Frank O’Hara, who had been friends at Harvard. The ‘Harvard wits’, he called them. Schuyler had attended Bethany College, a small college in West Virginia affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, where he had devoted himself to bridge and ...

Loot

Ian Buruma, 9 March 1995

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War 
by Lynn Nicholas.
Macmillan, 498 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62652 4
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... Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy We almost collided with some SS officers who were carting up silver and other loot from the basement. One had a gold-framed picture under his arm. One was the commandant. His arms were loaded with silver knives and forks, but he was not embarrassed. William Shirer, Berlin Diary The ...

The Real Thing

Jenni Quilter, 21 April 2016

Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter 
by Cathy Curtis.
Oxford, 432 pp., £20.99, April 2015, 978 0 19 939450 0
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... had also had a number of long-term boyfriends, including Alfred Leslie and the photographer Walter Silver. (When she left Price’s suite at the Sherry Netherland Hotel it was to tell Robert Keene, her third husband, she wanted a divorce.) Throughout the book, Curtis is quietly attentive to the ways in which Hartigan tried to balance intimacy, artistic freedom ...

When the Costume Comes Off

Adam Mars-Jones: Philip Hensher, 14 April 2011

King of the Badgers 
by Philip Hensher.
Fourth Estate, 436 pp., £18.99, March 2011, 978 0 00 730133 1
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... an equation accepted by many homosexuals of the generation of Burgess’s octogenarian narrator, Kenneth Toomey. Terrence Rattigan was surprised to find during war service that he was brave in an ordinary way. Out of this realisation came his interest in such non-cowardly homosexuals as T.E. Lawrence (Ross) and Alexander the Great (Adventure Story). But ...

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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... made by way of exhibitions and the publicity that accompanies them. Nearly half a century later, Kenneth Clark, writing to Eunice Frost at Penguin about the inclusion of Braque in the Modern Painters series, which had until then featured only British artists, said: The old scheme seemed to me valuable because it helped people to understand painters whose ...

Bye-bye, NY

Ange Mlinko: Harry Mathews’s Fever Dream, 18 March 2021

Collected Poems: 1946-2016 
by Harry Mathews.
Sand Paper Press, 288 pp., $28, February 2020, 978 0 9843312 8 4
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... and used it to found a little magazine named after one of Roussel’s works, Locus Solus: Ashbery, Kenneth Koch and James Schuyler were collaborators. It ran for four issues and included the founders’ work alongside that of Barbara Guest, Frank O’Hara, Edwin Denby and others. Locus Solus was like the intersection of New York, Paris and a Surrealist ...

Powers of Darkness

Michael Taylor: Made by Free Hands, 21 October 2021

Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition 
by Bronwen Everill.
Harvard, 318 pp., £31.95, September 2020, 978 0 674 24098 8
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... France in 1810, were also damned as agents of subversion.When Macaulay & Babington was awarded a silver plate worth fifty guineas for succeeding in the export of white rice from Sierra Leone, Zachary was ‘accused of using his connections to award himself the silver’. The plate had been given to Macaulay by the African ...

Half-Way up the Hill

Frank Kermode, 7 July 1988

Young Betjeman 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 457 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 7195 4531 5
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... starl. No sense of starl.’ He was taken up by Maurice Bowra, and through him grew friendly with Kenneth Clark, John Sparrow, Henry Yorke, Alan Pryce-Jones, Osbert Lancaster, Robert Byron, Anthony Powell, Peter Quennell, Tom Driberg, Harold Acton, Christopher Sykes, Randolph Churchill, W.H. Auden, and lots of others, including Gaitskell once more ...

Young Ones

Hugh Barnes, 5 June 1986

Damaged Gods 
by Julie Burchill.
Century, 152 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 7126 1140 1
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Love it or shove it: The Best of Julie Burchill 
Century, 148 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 7126 0746 3Show More
Girls on Film 
by Julie Burchill.
Virgin, 192 pp., £5.99, March 1986, 9780863691348
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Less than Zero 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 208 pp., £2.95, February 1986, 0 330 29400 8
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... remains largely unreconstructed. It will be pointed out that the days of Johnny Rotten and the Silver Jubilee appear heady by comparison with the present, and that even the last weeks of Mr Callaghan’s Government, and of the Lib-Lab Pact, now seem less like a winter of discontent than innocent and balmy spring. In recent months it has become ...

Knives, Wounds, Bows

John Bayley, 2 April 1987

Randall Jarrell’s Letters 
edited by Mary Jarrell.
Faber, 540 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 571 13829 2
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The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore 
edited by Patricia Willis.
Faber, 723 pp., £30, January 1987, 0 571 14788 7
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... were Jacques Barzun, R.P. Blackmur, Alfred Kazin, Lionel Trilling, Delmore Schwartz, Allen Tate, Kenneth Burke, Robert Fitzgerald, Leslie Fiedler and John Crowe Ransom – this last its founder as a school of literary criticism ‘to teach those who teach it’. Marianne Moore, in Brooklyn, had a quieter time, but was just as much in touch with them all ...

Happy Knack

Ian Sansom: Betjeman, 20 February 2003

John Betjeman: New Fame, New Love 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 736 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 7195 5002 5
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... secretary Tory Dennistoun is connected, like almost everyone else in the book, to her own silver-lined and gloriously inevitable parenthesis: ‘Tory Dennistoun (now Lady Oaksey)’. Suffering from a sebaceous cyst Betjeman attended the Acland Nursing Home, and ‘he was nursed there by the historical novelist Mary Renault,’ the lucky thing: the ...
Noël Coward: A Biography 
by Philip Hoare.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 605 pp., £25, November 1995, 1 85619 265 2
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... The Vortex was a synonym for homosexuality – ‘Noël Coward put his homosexuality in a little silver box and sniffed it.’ It is vastly more likely that Coward simply sat down to write a shocker about fashionable drug-taking, which was much in the headlines. It is just as likely that his early comedies were simply vehicles for people to be entertainingly ...

Affronts he never forgave

Christina Riggs: ‘Mr Five Per Cent’, 18 April 2019

Mr Five Per Cent: The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, the World’s Richest Man 
by Jonathan Conlin.
Profile, 402 pp., £25, January 2019, 978 1 78816 042 1
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... for £155,000 (nearly £9,000,000 today), he secured a Rubens, two Rembrandts, an assortment of silver and Jean-Antoine Houdon’s life-size marble Diana, which took pride of place in the entrance of his Paris house as it once had at Tsarskoye Selo. All the works avoided French customs duty due to Gulbenkian’s diplomatic status as a member of the Persian ...

Frayed Edges

Tessa Hadley: Pat Barker, 19 November 2015

Noonday 
by Pat Barker.
Hamish Hamilton, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 241 14606 4
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... So there they were, for the second time in a week, homeless … the newly risen sun glinted on the silver barrage balloons and silhouetted the broken outline of bombed and partially demolished buildings. The usual smell of charred timber and burning bricks. On the other side of the tape was sunlit emptiness. A man, standing halfway up the road, shimmered in ...

O brambles, chain me too

Tom Paulin: Life and Vowels of Andrew Marvell, 25 November 1999

World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 294 pp., £20, September 1999, 0 316 64863 9
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Marvell and Liberty 
edited by Warren Chernaik and Martin Dzelzainis.
Macmillan, 365 pp., £47.50, July 1999, 0 333 72585 9
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Andrew Marvell 
edited by Thomas Healy.
Longman, 212 pp., £12.99, September 1998, 0 582 21910 8
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... soul into the boughs does glide: There like a bird it sits, and sings, Then whets, and combs its silver wings; And, till prepared for longer flight, Waves in its plumes the various light. Crewe argues that the ‘liberated’ masculine soul in the poem is in fact ‘an exotic figure of “feminine” narcissism’ represented by the bird of paradise that ...

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