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At the Fairground

Tom Nairn, 20 March 1997

Republics, Nations and Tribes 
by Martin Thom.
Verso, 359 pp., £45, July 1995, 1 85984 020 5
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... from the fin-de-siècle drowning sensation. More serious victims might also try turning to Martin Thom’s careful and deep fathoming of a similar great transition two hundred years ago: the birth of modern nationalism. There is more to be learned on that particular subject here than from most contemporary fulminations, not excluding my ...

Rescued by Marat

Hilary Mantel, 28 May 1992

Théroigne de Méricourt: A Melancholic Woman during the French Revolution 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Martin Thom.
Verso, 284 pp., £34.95, July 1991, 0 86091 324 4
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Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution 
by Olwen Hufton.
Toronto, 201 pp., £23, May 1992, 0 8020 6837 5
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... In 1817, at the asylum of La Salpêtrière in Paris, a long-term inhabitant died of pneumonia. Her malnourished, oedematous body was taken away for autopsy. For some years before her death she had been intractably and violently psychotic. She had crawled on the floor like an animal, eaten straw. She stripped off her clothes in freezing weather, and did not mind (her keepers noted) if men saw her naked ...

Purple Days

Mark Ford, 12 May 1994

The Pugilist at Rest 
by Thom Jones.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 571 17134 6
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The Sorrow of War 
by Bao Ninh, translated by Frank Palmos.
Secker, 217 pp., £8.99, January 1994, 0 436 31042 2
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A Good Scent from Strange Mountain 
by Robert Olen Butler.
Minerva, 249 pp., £5.99, November 1993, 0 7493 9767 5
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Out of the Sixties: Storytelling and the Vietnam Generation 
by David Wyatt.
Cambridge, 230 pp., £35, February 1994, 9780521441513
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... draw aim on passing cars and people: ‘It used to put my folks real uptight,’ he tells Herr. In Thom Jones’s ‘Break on Through’, the incredibly savage Baggit also has trouble hacking it ‘back in the World’: a few months after his return, laden with honours, he barricades himself in a beauty parlour with his mother for 14 hours before shooting her ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... anthologies, while Basil Bunting, Dylan Thomas, Edwin Morgan, R.S. Thomas, Iain Crichton Smith, Thom Gunn, Hugh MacDiarmid and Norman MacCaig are unassailably part of our consciousness of the poetic landscape. Auden and MacNeice, too, though the omission in both books of Stephen Spender suggests that he has slipped out of contention – either because his ...

Indoor Raincoat

Lavinia Greenlaw: Joy Division, 22 April 2015

So This Is Permanence: Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks 
by Ian Curtis, edited by Deborah Curtis and Jon Savage.
Faber, 304 pp., £27, October 2014, 978 0 571 30955 9
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... were at a loss. I had never been anywhere that felt so solid and so empty. The band’s producer, Martin Hannett, drew on Joy Division’s centrifugal tendency and pushed the band’s music into arrangements that were broken down, unproductive and full of disused space. It was the sound of their city but it could have been describing the entire country. The ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth, 19 August 2004

Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... And there they were, Tom Raworth and Lee Harwood, linked in a Penguin, like Ted Hughes and Thom Gunn before them, markers for a generation. So where did it all go wrong? (Not for the poets, for us.) Raworth’s first proper book, The Relation Ship, was published by his own Goliard Press in 1967. Three illustrations by Barry Hall. ‘Off-set ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... any category during this period) take the form of elegies for gay men who died of Aids. They are Thom Gunn’s The Man with Night Sweats and Mark Doty’s My Alexandria. Both books portray a world which Forster would have marvelled at, where gay happiness – pace Foucault – is the norm. If endlessness offered itself to me today I don’t think I’d have ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... a coeditor? No, I was the editor. We had a committee consisting of John Fuller, Francis Hope, Martin Dodsworth, Colin Falck, Michael Fried and Gabriel Pearson. We never had meetings or anything like that. There was a lot of correspondence, because John went to Buffalo for a year. So he wrote to me a lot from there. And Michael and Colin had already left ...

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