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Blacking

John Bayley, 4 December 1986

Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years 1903-1939 
by Martin Stannard.
Dent, 537 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 460 04632 2
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... original story ‘The Man Who liked Dickens’ having the rest of the novel dovetailed onto it. Martin Stannard is surely right to point out here that ‘so skilful was Waugh’s literary carpentry that he managed to join the tale to the novel almost without alteration,’ the story’s original typescript being incorporated into the chapter ‘Du ...

Mistress of Disappearances

Frank Kermode: Eluding Muriel Spark, 10 September 2009

Muriel Spark: The Biography 
by Martin Stannard.
Weidenfeld, 627 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 297 81592 1
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... Martin Stannard, the author of an immense biography of Evelyn Waugh, now publishes this excellent and far from brief life of Muriel Spark. The book was well under way while the novelist was still alive, and he expresses his gratitude for her ‘consent, encouragement and active assistance . . . She patiently answered my questions, offered interviews and engaged in a huge correspondence ...

Possessed

A.N. Wilson, 14 May 1992

Evelyn Waugh: No Abiding City 1939-1966 
by Martin Stannard.
Dent, 523 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 460 86062 3
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... Martin Stannard resisted the temptation to call this story Decline and Fall, but it would not have been a bad title. On one level, the last 27 years of Evelyn Waugh’s life make melancholy reading. The book begins with Waugh’s sometimes bizarre career in the Army; it chronicles his prodigious commercial success as the author of Brideshead Revisited ...

Uncuddly

Christopher Tayler: Muriel Spark’s Essays, 24 September 2014

The Golden Fleece: Essays 
by Muriel Spark, edited by Penelope Jardine.
Carcanet, 226 pp., £16.99, March 2014, 978 1 84777 251 0
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... called ‘sturdy’ and ‘oatmeal-faced’, or indeed an ‘English rose’, and her biographer, Martin Stannard, seems surprised that Schiff wasn’t added to her extensive shit list.* A male friend of Spark’s quoted in Schiff’s profile, who inadvertently misdated the breakdown she had in the early 1950s, was, she made it known, ‘an indescribably ...

Being two is half the fun

John Bayley, 4 July 1985

Multiple Personality and the Disintegration of Literary Character 
by Jeremy Hawthorn.
Edward Arnold, 146 pp., £15, May 1983, 0 7131 6398 4
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Doubles: Studies in Literary History 
by Karl Miller.
Oxford, 488 pp., £19.50, June 1985, 9780198128410
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The Doubleman 
by C.J. Koch.
Chatto, 326 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 9780701129453
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... on working in obscurity and breaking out in unfamiliar fashion on the page. Miller writes on Martin Amis as ‘the latest of Anglo-America’s dualistic artists’ for whom ‘the world wavers,’ as we read in Money, and ‘people are doubling.’ Maybe so, but taken in this spirit the process becomes banal, in the novel or out of it. Over-knowingness ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... to medium or lightweights, there is little reduction in size. If we confine ourselves to Britain, Martin Stannard produced a thousand pages on Evelyn Waugh, who died when he was 62; Graham Greene, who survived him by a quarter of a century, received two thousand from Norman Sherry. These are huge tomes. Even such a minuscule figure as Kingsley Amis has ...

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