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Homage to Ezra Pound

C.K. Stead, 19 March 1981

The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound 
by Michael Alexander.
Faber, 247 pp., £7.95, April 1979, 0 571 10560 2
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Ezra Pound and the Pisan Cantos 
by Anthony Woodward.
Routledge, 128 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 7100 0372 2
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Ezra Pound and the Cantos: A Record of Struggle 
by Wendy Stallard Flory.
Yale, 321 pp., £12.60, July 1980, 0 300 02392 8
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Ezra Pound and His World 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Thames and Hudson, 127 pp., £5.95, February 1981, 0 500 13069 8
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End to Torment: A Memoir of Ezra Pound with Poems from Ezra Pound’s H.D. Book 
edited by Norman Holmes Pearson and Michael King.
Carcanet, 84 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 0 85635 318 3
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... of the Fifties) Donald Davie, who kept the subject respectable, the interest alive. Michael Alexander suggests that ‘indifference and bafflement are today more common than hostility,’ and that may be so. But there has been some excellent work done on Pound recently: Richard Sieburth’s Instigations, Leon Surette’s A Light from ...

The Nephew

David Thomson, 19 March 1981

Charmed Lives 
by Michael Korda.
Penguin, 498 pp., £2.50, January 1981, 0 14 005402 2
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... of Hungarian nerve, social bluff and show-business instinct once commanded the British cinema. In Michael Korda’s telling, however, the panorama of picture-making is not always alight with understanding or information. The author may have been born on the night in 1933 when his uncle Alexander Korda’s first great ...

Watermonster Blues

William Wootten: Edwin Morgan, 18 November 2004

Edwin Morgan: Inventions of Modernity 
by Colin Nicholson.
Manchester, 216 pp., £40, October 2002, 0 7190 6360 4
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Beowulf 
translated by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 118 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 588 5
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Cathures 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 617 2
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... in the late 1940s; it was first published in 1952. Recent versions by Seamus Heaney and Michael Alexander might have made the need for the republication of Morgan’s less urgent for anyone who just wants to get hold of a good modern Beowulf, but as an early and defining Morgan poem it remains indispensable. First of all, the poem is a ...

Concierge

John Lanchester, 16 November 1995

Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... Herbert, Robert Crawford). But the fact relevant to Pound’s current standing is the one in Michael Alexander and James McGonigal’s Introduction: Sons of Ezra could not find a British publisher. Pounds have always been a dodgy stock, of course, but still ... Audens, on the other hand, have long been a very judicious buy. ‘In ...

Giving Hysteria a Bad Name

Jenny Diski: At home with the Mellys, 17 November 2005

Take a Girl like Me: Life with George 
by Diana Melly.
Chatto, 280 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 0 7011 7906 6
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Slowing Down 
by George Melly.
Viking, 221 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 0 670 91409 6
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... now two, to live with my aunt in Essex. After leaving Patrick, I went to live with a writer called Michael Alexander who took me to Afghanistan. Several ‘engagements’ (author’s inverted commas) on and she is living with Johnnie, but he wanted a child of his own before Patrick returned to live with them. So ‘when my aunt brought Patrick to the ...

Death of the Hero

Michael Howard, 7 January 1988

The Mask of Command 
by John Keegan.
Cape, 366 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780224019491
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... different in different epochs, as society and technology develop. Keegan presents four examples: Alexander the Great, a ‘heroic’ commander; the Duke of Wellington, an ‘anti-heroic’ commander; Ulysses S. Grant, a supremely unheroic commander; and a little surprisingly, Hitler, a man seldom thought of as a military commander at all but in practice a ...

Peine forte et dure

Hazel V. Carby: Punishment by Pressing, 30 July 2020

... force, despite seeing so much? The controversy and protests that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 exposed the lack of official data on police killings. Two newspapers launched investigations. The Fatal Force, a database maintained by the Washington Post, records ‘every fatal shooting by a ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Shuffling Off into Obscurity, 5 May 2016

... lost her seat, as did all the Lib Dems in Scotland bar one. Perhaps the biggest victim was Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury and the other hero of Laws’s account, after Clegg and Laws himself (‘March 2014: David Laws announces fairer funding for English schools’). Alexander was ‘an outstanding ...

The Road to Chandrapore

Eric Stokes, 17 April 1980

Race, Sex and Class under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and their Critics 
by Kenneth Ballhatchet.
Weidenfeld, 199 pp., £9.50, January 1980, 0 297 77646 0
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Queen Victoria’s Maharajah: Duleep Singh 1838-1898 
by Michael Alexander and Sushila Anand.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £9.95, February 1980, 0 297 77656 8
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... It is a commonplace assumption among modern historians that minority rule has always had to rely on devices to preserve social distance. These have usually consisted of distinctions of dress, comportment and speech, and of restrictions on commensality and connubium. In Western societies they have operated within the cultural framework of class. Kenneth Ballhatchet takes the equally familiar notion that in colonial societies alien minority rule translated class distinctions into those of race ...

Barclay’s War

David Chandler, 19 March 1981

The Commander: A Life of Barclay de Tolly 
by Michael Josselson and Diana Josselson.
Oxford, 275 pp., £12.95, June 1980, 0 19 215854 6
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... of Austerlitz on his reputation, but set over Barclay’s head as supreme commander (after Tsar Alexander) as the crisis of the 1812 campaign was reached after the abandonment of Smolensk. Of course, Kutusov’s reputation with posterity owes much to Tolstoy’s portrait in War and Peace, where the drunken old womaniser is depicted as a Russian ...

The Charm before the Storm

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 9 July 1987

Speak, Memory 
by Vladimir Nabokov.
Penguin, 242 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008623 4
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The Russian Album 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 191 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3109 8
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The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff 
prepared in association with by Sonja Sinclair.
Toronto, 265 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 8020 2556 0
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A Little of All These: An Estonian Childhood 
by Tania Alexander.
Cape, 165 pp., £12.50, March 1987, 0 224 02400 0
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... way, I inherited an exquisite simulacrum – the beauty of intangible property, unreal estate.’ Michael Ignatieff was born in Canada in the 1940s. ‘My friends,’ he remarks a little sheepishly at the start of his book, ‘had suburban pasts or pasts they would rather not talk about. I had a past of Tsarist adventurers, survivors of revolutions, heroic ...

Mark Antony’s Last Throw

Michael Kulikowski: Hellenistic Navies, 25 October 2012

The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies 
by William Murray.
Oxford, 356 pp., £30, January 2012, 978 0 19 538864 0
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... Triremes seem to have enjoyed a continuous history into late antiquity, but after the death of Alexander the Great, the kings and kinglets who competed for his legacy began to build much bigger ships, and the reason for this is more difficult to explain. The basic trieres was a ‘three’, but literary sources tell us of ‘fives’ and ‘sixes’, and ...

A Leap from the Bridge

Alexander Scrimgeour: Wolfgang Koeppen, 12 December 2002

The Hothouse 
by Wolfgang Koeppen, translated by Michael Hofmann.
Granta, 221 pp., £14.99, May 2002, 1 86207 509 3
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... and events of the present time; which is to say, the novel has its own poetic truthfulness.’ Michael Hofmann’s translation does justice to the disclaimer: fifty years on there is still great power both in the portrayal of Keetenheuve and in the book’s anger at bureaucratic politics and the hothouse world that stifles his idealism. Koeppen’s writing ...

Mistrial

Michael Davie, 6 June 1985

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... hundred-odd reporters present, besides Mencken, were Damon Runyon, Ford Madox Ford, Edna Ferber, Alexander Woollcott, Heywood Broun, Walter Winchell and Joseph Alsop, who was required to write no less than ten thousand words a day for the Herald Tribune. Celebrities who dropped by included Ginger Rogers, Moss Hart, Lynn Fontanne, Jack Dempsey, Robert ...

Hogshit and Chickenshit

Michael Rogin, 1 August 1996

Washington Babylon 
by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.
Verso, 316 pp., £31.95, May 1996, 1 85984 092 2
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... to help poor children by ending their entitlement to even minimal welfare support. Although Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein twice call Clinton a Republican president, even the view that he has signed the Contract with America does not go far enough for them. Neither Reagan nor Gingrich, in their view, did much to disturb Washington politics; the ...

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