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Escaped from the Lab

Robert Crawford: Peter Redgrove, 21 June 2012

A Lucid Dreamer: The Life of Peter Redgrove 
by Neil Roberts.
Cape, 341 pp., £30, January 2012, 978 0 224 09029 2
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Collected Poems 
by Peter Redgrove, edited by Neil Roberts.
Cape, 496 pp., £25, January 2012, 978 0 224 09027 8
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... Known only to his lovers and a few in his inner circle, the Game has now been made public in Neil Roberts’s remarkable biography of the poet, published almost a decade after Redgrove’s death, along with a new Collected Poems. The revelations in Roberts’s book have an undeniably voyeuristic fascination but ...

War and Pax

Claude Rawson, 2 July 1981

War Music. An Account of Books 16 to 19 of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ 
by Christopher Logue.
Cape, 83 pp., £3.95, May 1981, 0 224 01534 6
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Ode to the Dodo. Poems from 1953 to 1978 
by Christopher Logue.
Cape, 176 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 224 01892 2
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Under the North Star 
by Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin.
Faber, 47 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 9780571117215
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Ted Hughes: The Unaccommodated Universe 
by Ekbert Faas.
Black Swallow Press, 229 pp., June 1983, 0 87685 459 5
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Myth in the Poetry of Ted Hughes 
by Stuart Hirschberg.
Wolfhound, 239 pp., £8.50, April 1981, 0 905473 50 7
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Ted Hughes: A Critical Study 
by Terry Gifford and Neil Roberts.
Faber, 288 pp., £9.50, April 1981, 0 571 11701 5
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... pass over this poem, though it gets a sensible if fleeting comment in the new book by Gifford and Roberts. But Hughes’s heroic imagination is not often exercised on ‘heroes’ of the warrior sort, ancient or modern. It is usually displaced, if that is the word, to animals or to inanimate ‘cosmic’ forces, thus neutralising the awkward impulse to moral ...

Diary

Sean French: Fortress Wapping, 6 March 1986

... retrospect, boring and pointless: all that matters is that the management and our editor, Andrew Neil, told us nothing of their true intentions. By contrast, the crisis itself was simple. Rupert Murdoch demanded a level of compulsory redundancies of his Sogat 82 and NGA employees that he knew they would not accept. The two unions took the bait and on ...

On Rosemary Tonks

Patrick McGuinness: Rosemary Tonks, 1 July 2015

... Verse (1973). The living afterlife of her next forty years uncannily resembles that of Lynette Roberts, who published two completely original books with Eliot at Faber, lived through the bohemian London of the 1930s and 1940s, became a Jehovah’s Witness, and died in a West Wales nursing home in 1995. Like ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Environmental Law, 8 February 2018

... compliance. When Ronald Reagan appointed Anne Gorsuch (mother of the newest Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch) to head the EPA, he asked if she was willing to ‘bring it to its knees’. She slashed its budget and, as the New York Times put it, ‘sabotaged the agency’s enforcement effort’. In response, James Thornton, a crusading lawyer, brought ...

Fundamentally Goyish

James Wood: Zadie Smith, 3 October 2002

The Autograph Man 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 420 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 241 13998 8
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... their people like this? Oh, Einstein was such a clever man! And how admirable Herzog is! And Neil Diamond! It doesn’t sound like Rubinfine. It sounds fundamentally goyish. It sounds like Smith’s own admiration. (And what is that ignoble word ‘fan’ doing there?) The management of irony and sincerity – their proper apportioning, their containment ...

Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter, 6 October 2011

The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... Henry, an 18-year-old doctor’s daughter from Surrey, fell in love with her father’s locum, Neil Micklem. Their affair lasted for years; Jannice hoped it would end in marriage. It did not. She married instead a 30-year-old advertising copywriter called Peter Porter. He was an Australian immigrant in London, and had written a lot of poems, but published ...

Hot Dogs

Malcolm Bull, 14 June 1990

Mine eyes have seen the glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America 
by Randall Balmer.
Oxford, 246 pp., $19.95, September 1989, 0 19 505117 3
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In God’s Country: Travels in the Bible Belt, USA 
by Douglas Kennedy.
Unwin Hyman, 240 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 04 440423 9
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The Divine Supermarket 
by Malise Ruthven.
Chatto, 336 pp., £14.95, August 1989, 0 7011 3151 9
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The Democratisation of American Christianity 
by Nathan Hatch.
Yale, 312 pp., £22.50, November 1989, 0 300 44470 2
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Religion and 20th-Century American Intellectual Life 
edited by Michael Lacey.
Cambridge/Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars, 214 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 521 37560 6
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New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America 
by Mary Farrell Bednarowski.
Indiana, 175 pp., $25, November 1989, 0 253 31137 3
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... for cases like that of the Manhattan life-insurance saleswoman who sent donations to Oral Roberts, a preacher who raised millions of dollars by proclaiming that God would ‘call him home’ if he did not receive the money. Balmer, who hopes to explain as well as entertain, sometimes plays down the strangeness of his subjects by emphasising the ...

Climbing

David Craig, 5 September 1985

... Edwards’s laceratingly self-critical ‘symptoms of some psyclioneurotic disorder’. Michael Roberts, a notable literary editor in the Thirties, reviewing ‘The Poetry and Humour of Mountaineering’ in the Alpine Journal for 1941, opined that the risking and gruelling of oneself on climbs were good because ‘they show superiority to all mere ...

Fear and Loathing in Limehouse

Richard Holme, 3 September 1987

Campaign! The Selling of the Prime Minister 
by Rodney Tyler.
Grafton, 251 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 246 13277 9
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Battle for Power 
by Des Wilson.
Sphere, 326 pp., £4.99, July 1987, 0 7221 9074 3
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David Owen: Personally Speaking 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 297 79206 7
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... with Mrs Thatcher were more than matched by the vehemence with which David Owen indicated that Neil Kinnock was beyond the pale. The disunity of the two-headed Alliance was made manifest. A further disadvantage was that for the Alliance merely to want to hold the balance suggested a fundamental lack of resolve, a weakness of purpose in meeting the ...

Bus Lane Strategy

Tristram Hunt: London Governments, 31 October 2002

Governing London 
by Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao.
Oxford, 208 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 19 924492 8
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... without local authorities and we want to avoid that by all means in this country,’ Alderman Roberts of Grantham was moved to remark in 1946. As John Davis concluded in the Cambridge Urban History of Britain (2000), the second half of the 20th century saw local authorities reduced to ‘agents of the central welfare state, their incapacity off-set by ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... comparing her experiences of evacuation with mine. She was sent to Grantham and says that Alderman Roberts, Mrs Thatcher’s father, was thought to be into the black market and that Maggie used to hang out of her bedroom window and spit on the other children. 12 February. A shoddy programme about the conviction of Jonathan King for offences against young men ...

Courage, mon amie

Terry Castle: Disquiet on the Western Front, 4 April 2002

... to have heard as a child that he was shot accidentally – ‘by his own guns’. But my uncle Neil, her only brother, can’t believe ‘they would have told the family that.’ Newton was said to be artistic: two dusty little green-grey daubs – both of them Derbyshire landscapes – are among his surviving effects. There are two photographs of him in ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... were on him, the breakfast shows seeing him as a symbol of desperation as the inferno raged. Neil Thompson, the editor of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, ordered that the cameras be kept on him. ‘At the point at which Elpie started to cry,’ he said later, ‘there was smoke billowing out from behind him, and I told them to cut off him. Anybody watching ...

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