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Jungle Book

John Pym, 21 November 1985

Money into Light 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 241 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 571 13731 8
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... The sun shines bright on the homely Victorine film studios in Nice. Meet Pamela is poised to go. Director Ferrand, however, is case-hardened; he knows that, on even such a straightforward programme-filler as this, compromise will be inevitable. Sure enough, the cat is disobedient. Increasingly dependent on the bottle, the actress playing the hero’s mother forgets her lines but stands on her dignity: ‘With Federico it was just – One, two three!’ The lab ruins a crowd scene ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Godot on a bike, 5 February 2004

... had recently passed, and came across a group of people standing expectantly on a street corner long after the cyclists had disappeared. He asked them what they were doing. ‘Nous attendons Godot,’ they replied, explaining that Godot was the oldest and slowest competitor in the race. Beckett is also supposed to have come up with the idea for the play ...

Hallelujah Lasses

E.S. Turner: The Salvation Army, 24 May 2001

Pulling the Devil’s Kingdom down: The Salvation Army in Victorian Britain 
by Pamela Walker.
California, 337 pp., £22.95, April 2001, 0 520 22591 0
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... vision splendid. Let Bernard Shaw, running on rich mixture, explain: Joyousness, a sacred gift long dethroned by the hellish laughter of derision and obscenity, rises like a flood miraculously out of the fetid dust and mud of the slums; rousing marches and impetuous dithyrambs rise to the heavens from people among whom the distressing noise called ...

What would Plato have done?

Christopher Krebs: Plutarch’s Lives, 29 June 2017

The Age of Caesar: Five Roman Lives 
by Plutarch, translated by Pamela Mensch.
Norton, 393 pp., £28, March 2017, 978 0 393 29282 4
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... entanglement of the two histories and cultures. Greece continued to exert its cultural influence long after its incorporation into the Roman Empire in the second century bc. Cicero modelled himself on Demosthenes; his tirade against Mark Antony in the Philippics invokes the Athenian orator directly. A few decades later, Horace memorably dismissed the ...

I Could Sleep with All of Them

Colm Tóibín: The Mann Family, 6 November 2008

In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story 
by Andrea Weiss.
Chicago, 302 pp., £14.50, May 2008, 978 0 226 88672 5
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... involved with the cultural traditions and language of my country for the prospect of a year-long or perhaps life-long exile not to have a hard, ominous meaning for me.’ He was so unprepared that, on leaving the country less than a month after Hitler became chancellor, he failed to take his diaries and the pages of ...

Still Reeling from My Loss

Andrew O’Hagan: Lulu & Co, 2 January 2003

I Don't Want to Fight 
by Lulu.
Time Warner, 326 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 0 316 86169 3
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Billy 
by Pamela Stephenson.
HarperCollins, 400 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 00 711092 8
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Just for the Record 
by Geri Halliwell.
Ebury, 221 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 188655 4
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Learning to Fly 
by Victoria Beckham.
Penguin, 528 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 14 100394 4
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Right from the Start 
by Gareth Gates.
Virgin, 80 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 1 85227 914 1
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Honest 
by Ulrika Jonsson.
Sidgwick, 417 pp., £16.99, October 2002, 0 283 07367 5
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... my destiny – but only if I let it. I took positive control over my life. There was a point not long ago when Dave Pelzer’s self-rescue manuals held the top three spots in the bestseller charts. In Britain, it is likely that one out of every 15 adults will have read a Pelzer book, and the ‘inspirational’ style in general, with its page-turning mix of ...

Preceding Backwardness

Margaret Anne Doody, 9 January 1992

Women’s Lives and the 18th-Century English Novel 
by Elizabeth Bergan Brophy.
University of South Florida Press, 291 pp., $29.95, April 1991, 0 8130 1036 5
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Fictions of Modesty: Women and Courtship in the English Novel 
by Ruth Bernard Yeazell.
Chicago, 306 pp., £19.95, August 1991, 0 226 95096 4
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... we do like having a glimpse of other people’s love affairs, a nosiness on which novelists have long relied. The novels themselves are very interesting, but the reader is likely to weary of glorified plot summaries and any reader who already knows the novels in question would be well advised to skip to the ‘real life’ segments. There Brophy has done us ...

Docility Rampant

Margaret Anne Doody, 31 October 1996

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Romance Writings 
edited by Isobel Grundy.
Oxford, 276 pp., £14.50, August 1996, 0 19 812288 8
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... to her status and his career as to publish the book, and it was not printed until the 1790s, long after her death. The volume of travels and observations would probably not have pleased the authorities in Constantinople, and would certainly have been shocking to English society in the reign of George II. One of the letters describes a visit to a ...

In the Know

Simon Schaffer, 10 November 1994

Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture 
by William Eamon.
Princeton, 490 pp., £38.50, July 1994, 0 691 03402 8
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The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire 
by Pamela Smith.
Princeton, 308 pp., £30, July 1994, 0 691 05691 9
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... of Renaissance writers who traded on their reputation as masters of tricks, clues and recipes long lost to, or hidden from, common knowledge and now at last revealed to an amazed public. They foresaw laboratories and workshops, gardens and libraries, where old lore and new skills could be pursued in common. While Machiavelli had regaled and scandalised ...

Taking it up again

Margaret Anne Doody, 21 March 1991

Henry James and Revision 
by Philip Horne.
Oxford, 373 pp., £40, December 1990, 0 19 812871 1
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... on the original page; James puts them in balloons and leads the eye back to their context with long wavy lines attached to the scratched-out words ... or squeezing between words left intact. Sometimes these revisions entirely fill a sheet or spill over to the next; sometimes, to regain a clear presentation of sequence, typed or handwritten transcriptions ...

Why always Dorothea?

John Mullan: How caricature can be sharp perception, 5 May 2005

The One v. the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel 
by Alex Woloch.
Princeton, 391 pp., £13.95, February 2005, 0 691 11314 9
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... believable or not. Nothing harder, in that academic critics (and their obedient students) have long since learned to steer away from the illusions of human reality conjured by fiction. Characterisation is the ordinary measure of a writer’s achievement, but you have to look hard to find academic criticism on the subject. Some have seen the literary ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’, 19 December 2019

Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... distant and unimportant. And as for Frances Partridge’s approval, I think I would have gone a long way to avoid spending a weekend at Ham Spray (that Bloomsbury house near Hungerford where Lytton Strachey died and Dora Carrington killed herself) with Frances Partridge watching my every move and writing it all up in her diary, honed for ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: The Happiness Project, 22 April 2010

... 1. Now Eat This! by Rocco DiSpirito 2. Food Rules by Michael Pollan 3. Bank on Yourself by Pamela Yellen 4. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel 5. The Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise Yet the watered-down-Atkins-like-don’t-eat-anything-except-a-steak-and-lettuce-diet-accompanied-by-Psyllium-Husks is not my ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food’, 22 March 2012

... that’s just sent the nanny into a coma on the beanbag. Listening is one of the many things that Pamela Druckerman feels French parents get right. The source of this success, she tells us in French Children Don’t Throw Food (Doubleday, £15), is Françoise Dolto, one of the major figures of French parenting theory (the other, Druckerman says, is ...

Fat and Fretful

John Bayley, 18 April 1996

Foreign Country: The Life of L.P. Hartley 
by Adrian Wright.
Deutsch, 304 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 233 98976 5
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... when he presents an enigmatically fraught situation, in which the ‘truths’ of sexuality cast long shadows. And just what happened inside those Marabar Caves? Perhaps nothing at all; but characters and readers think out its implications in their own ways. Forster, who attempted in early drafts to portray a more explicit rape of Miss Quested, was wise, as ...

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