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Boy/Girl

Stephen Bann, 4 August 1983

George beneath a Paper Moon 
by Nina Bawden.
Macmillan, 192 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 333 35380 3
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The Ice-House 
by Nina Bawden.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 333 35244 0
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A Dance to the Glory of God 
by Hugh Fleetwood.
Hamish Hamilton, 183 pp., £8.95, July 1983, 0 241 11088 2
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The Ice Monkey, and Other Stories 
by John Harrison.
Gollancz, 144 pp., £8.95, June 1983, 0 575 03259 6
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Arabic Short Stories 
translated by Denys Johnson-Davies.
Quartet, 173 pp., £6.95, July 1983, 0 7043 2367 2
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The Changelings: A Classical Japanese Court Tale 
translated by Rosette Willig.
Stanford, 248 pp., $19.50, May 1983, 0 8047 1124 0
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... Joe, and causes a momentary sense of identification with the sadistic father (‘Perhaps I’m more like him than I had thought’). But the chance opportunity to save Joe from an accidental death purges her of guilt and aggression, and reconciles her to the truth that her childhood companion is also her husband’s ex-mistress: ‘ “Of course you know ...

Powerful Moments

David Craig, 26 October 1989

Touching the void 
by Joe Simpson.
Cape, 172 pp., £10.95, July 1988, 0 224 02545 7
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Climbers 
by M. John Harrison.
Gollancz, 221 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 9780575036321
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... the two friends:   ‘Are you sure it’s broken?’   ‘Yes.’   He stared at me. It seemed that he looked harder and longer than he should have done because he turned away sharply. Not sharply enough though. I had seen the look come across his face briefly, but in that instant I knew his thoughts. He had an odd air of detachment. I felt ...

Our Trusty Friend the Watch

Simon Schaffer, 31 October 1996

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time 
by Dava Sobel.
Fourth Estate, 184 pp., £12.99, August 1996, 1 85702 502 4
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... recounted by Dava Sobel. Rather, her hero, the ‘lone genius’ of her ostentatious subtitle, is John Harrison, a dour Yorkshire carpenter and village choirmaster who spent half a century from the early 1720s trying to make clocks capable of determining longitude and to convince metropolitan grandees that he had done so. Kendall’s watch was a faithful ...

On Keston Sutherland

Ian Patterson: Keston Sutherland, 21 September 2017

... for granted. In the same interview, he explains what this process, if not the result, means: In my poetry, I’ve tried to explore down to the roots of existence – individual and psychic existence – to find zones of experience which can’t yet be accommodated in the form of knowledge, zones which feel much more wild than that. There’s a beautiful ...

Criollismo

Benedict Anderson, 21 January 1988

Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800 
edited by Nicholas Canny and Anthony Pagden.
Princeton, 290 pp., £22, September 1987, 0 691 05372 3
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... declared their Independence, London’s Gentlemen’s Magazine included this brief obituary for John Harrison: ‘He was the most ingenious mechanic, and received the 20,000 pounds reward (from Parliament in London) for the discovery of the longitude.’ In other words, Harrison had invented the technology for ...

Cry Treedom

Jonathan Bate, 4 November 1993

Forests: The shadow of Civilisation 
by Robert Pogue Harrison.
Chicago, 288 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 226 31806 0
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... paying a price for it in the form of global warming, acid rain and so forth. Over a century ago, John Ruskin was arguing that Cartesian (‘modern’) thought had destroyed man’s reverence and wonder in the face of the external world, and that the death of God-in-nature would eventually bring the end of nature. Gore’s book is squarely in this ...

Yeats and the Occult

Seamus Deane, 18 October 1984

The Mystery Religion of W.B. Yeats 
by Graham Hough.
Harvester, 129 pp., £15.95, May 1984, 0 7108 0603 5
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Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry 
by Cairns Craig.
Croom Helm, 323 pp., £14.95, January 1982, 9780856649974
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Yeats. Poems 1919-1935: A Selection of Critical Essays 
edited by Elizabeth Cullingford.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £14, July 1984, 0 333 27422 9
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The Poet and his Audience 
by Ian Jack.
Cambridge, 198 pp., £20, July 1984, 0 521 26034 5
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A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 543 pp., £35, May 1984, 0 333 35214 9
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Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £17, August 1984, 0 333 36213 6
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... that Yeats’s occult belief passes into his social and political beliefs. It is quite unfair of me to wish that Professor Hough had said something about this. That would have meant a different and much longer book. Nevertheless, I wish it. The wish is almost gratified by Cairns Craig. He does not write with the clarity and panache of Graham Hough and his ...

Funny Water

Frank Kermode: Raban at Sea, 20 January 2000

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings 
by Jonathan Raban.
Picador, 435 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 0 330 34628 8
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... the boat, the throbbing strings-and-percussion sound of wind and water on the move, came back to me as an old, deep pleasure. But a pleasure tinged, as always, with an edge of incipient panic.’ One of Raban’s epigraphs comes from Conrad’s The Shadow Line: ‘ “That’s a funny piece of water,” said Captain Hamilton.’ He has many other matters to ...

How long before Ofop steps in?

Patrick Carnegy, 16 March 2000

In House: Covent Garden, 50 Years of Opera and Ballet 
by John Tooley.
Faber, 318 pp., £25, November 1999, 9780571194155
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Never Mind the Moon: My Time at the Royal Opera House 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Bantam, 356 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 593 04355 3
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... grand reopening, two of its former bosses filed conflicting accounts of its recent history. Both John Tooley (1970-88) and Jeremy Isaacs (1988-97) describe the House’s considerable achievements over the past half-century; and Isaacs’s part in pushing through the magnificent rebuilding was heroic. What we still want to know is why things also went so ...

Labouring

Blake Morrison, 1 April 1982

Continuous 
by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, £3.95, November 1982, 0 86036 159 4
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The Oresteia 
by Aeschylus, translated by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, 120 pp., £3.50, November 1981, 0 86036 178 0
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US Martial 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 29 0
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A Kumquat for John Keats 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 31 2
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... There are grounds for thinking Tony Harrison the first genuine working-class poet England has produced this century. Of course, poets from D.H. Lawrence to Craig Raine can boast a proletarian background, but their poetry isn’t usually interested in doing so – not at its most characteristic and not to an extent that would make the term ‘working-class poet’ a useful one ...

Golf Grips and Swastikas

William Feaver: Francis Bacon’s Litter, 26 February 2009

Francis Bacon: Incunabula 
edited by Martin Harrison and Rebecca Daniels.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £39.95, September 2008, 978 0 500 09344 3
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... Illustration surely means just illustrating the image before you, not inventing it.’ Martin Harrison, the editor of the Bacon catalogue raisonné currently in preparation, has produced a scrapbook of illustrational materials from Bacon’s studio floor, among them dog-eared pages torn from magazines, newspaper cuttings with rusty paper clips still ...

Thinking Persons

John Ellis, 14 May 1992

Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... honour. Three of the contributors do, however, engage Kermode’s thought in a fairly serious way: John Stokes, George Hunter and Patrick Parrinder. Two ways of doing so were possible. Either Kermode’s general view of the critic’s task or his ideas concerning specific texts or groups of texts could have been the focus of attention. Stokes and Hunter choose ...

Evil Man

Simon Schaffer: Joseph Priestley, 21 May 1998

The Enlightenment of Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1733 to 1773 
by Robert Schofield.
Pennsylvania State, 328 pp., £35.95, January 1998, 0 271 01662 0
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... best medics as a sovereign cure for scurvy. Cook reported that Priestley’s water worked. When Mr J.J. Schweppe set up his mineral water firm in London in 1793, he copied Priestley’s recipe, suitably modified for reliable mass production. So what if Priestley had gone to Tahiti and Tonga with Cook, then met his end in an incautious encounter while ...

Come along, Alcibiades

John Bayley, 25 January 1996

Terence Rattigan: A Biography 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fourth Estate, 428 pp., £20, October 1995, 1 85702 201 7
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... The femme fatale Diana is foiled in her attempt to grab the hero – played by the youthful Rex Harrison while Diana was Kay Hammond – and decides to console herself with the young Lord Heybrook, who is about to arrive at the crammers’ establishment (a perfect and improbable Thirties scenario). She duly makes a languid appearance in her ...

On Hope Mirrlees

Clair Wills, 10 September 2020

... We might think of hearsay constructions as late linguistic survivors of what the classicist Jane Harrison called the ‘holophrase’, expressing a state of being in relation to the world. A phrase before subject and predicate, before signs and selves.Hope Mirrlees’s Paris: A Poem, recently reissued by Faber (£9.99), was first published a century ago by ...

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