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Art History

Patricia Beer, 7 September 1995

... miracles, Waving their arms about In paeans of caring. I am better dressed Than goody-two-sleeves, Francis Xavier. My robe is off-white silk And pours down me like warm rain. His is black and catches on his bones. I hate do-gooders. I believe the Good Samaritan Sprang from behind a sharp rock And mugged the man who famously went down From Jerusalem to ...

What ho, Giotto!

Julian Symons, 7 February 1991

Stanley Spencer 
by Kenneth Pople.
Collins, 576 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 00 215320 3
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... a thousand sermons, and would like something to counterbalance this. I would like to read about St Francis and St Thomas Aquinas,’ he wrote in his early twenties. He showed an early talent for art, and was sent to the Slade through the benevolence of a local Lady Bountiful. He emerged from it in 1912, an almost dwarfish figure a couple of inches over five ...

Small Talk at Wreyland

Patricia Beer, 9 February 1995

... a sunny bank drying their haloes, He was sceptical: when the good men of Assisi Described how St Francis knelt groaning in prayer all night long He said with some reverence that Francis was probably snoring. He was lazy himself except on his travels abroad. He was cynical likewise: he felt that the clever embezzlers And ...

Putting things in boxes

Adam Kuper: Margaret Mead, 24 May 2007

To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead 
edited by Margaret Caffrey and Patricia Francis.
Basic Books, 429 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 0 465 00815 1
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... Margaret Mead and her second husband, Reo Fortune, spent nearly two years in the interior of New Guinea between 1931 and 1933. Just 29 years old when they set out, Mead had already published two bestselling books, Coming of Age in Samoa and Growing up in New Guinea. Fortune, a highly competitive, paranoid and occasionally violent New Zealander, had yet to make his name as an anthropologist ...

Irishtown

D.A.N. Jones, 1 November 1984

Ironweed 
by William Kennedy.
Viking, 227 pp., £7.95, September 1984, 0 670 40176 5
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In Custody 
by Anita Desai.
Heinemann, 204 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780434186358
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Flaubert’s Parrot 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 190 pp., £8.50, October 1984, 0 241 11374 1
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... is about a poker-player and pool hustler called Billy Phelan, who meets his long-lost father, Francis, toward the end of the book. The old man looks like ‘Pete the Tramp without a hat, without the spiky moustache, without the comedy’. Billy asks Francis: ‘What happened to your finger?’ The father ...

Memories are made of this

Patricia Beer, 16 December 1993

Aren’t We Due a Royalty Statement? 
by Giles Gordon.
Chatto, 352 pp., £16.99, August 1993, 0 7011 6022 5
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Yesterday Came Suddenly 
by Francis King.
Constable, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1993, 9780094722200
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Excursions in the Real World 
by William Trevor.
Hutchinson, 201 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 09 177086 6
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... who ‘was smaller in stature’. Now I come to think of it, though, that might interest an alien. Francis King, in his autobiography Yesterday Came Suddenly, writes as straightforwardly as he has always done. Every so often in the course of his long career as a novelist critics have spoken of the detachment of his style, nearly all of them meaning it ...

Those for whom India proves too strong

Patricia Craig, 31 March 1988

Three Continents 
by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
Murray, 384 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7195 4433 5
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... make, and worse. (He is, in fact, a cad whose literary ancestors may include the central figure in Francis Iles’s Before the Fact, and even Geraldine Jews-bury’s Count Mirabeau, who enthralls the heroine of her novel Zöe.) He is cashing in on Western preconceptions about the spirituality of the East. It soon becomes clear that the Rawul’s Transcendental ...

Representing Grandma

Steven Rose, 7 July 1994

The Astounding Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul 
by Francis Crick.
Simon and Schuster, 317 pp., £16.99, May 1994, 9780671711580
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... I have never seen Francis Crick in a modest mood.’ Thus James Watson opens his notorious account of the discovery of the structure of DNA which won him, Crick and Maurice Wilkins a Nobel Prize in 1962. Whichever other of Watson’s judgments have been controversial – notably his dismissal of Rosalind Franklin, from whom, courtesy of Wilkins, he and Crick were provided with the crucial X-ray photographs of DNA crystals – his assessment of Crick has scarcely been disputed ...

The Dirty Dozens

Terence Hawkes, 21 July 1994

Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars 
by Henry Louis Gates.
Oxford, 199 pp., £15, October 1993, 0 19 507519 6
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The Alchemy of Race and Rights 
by Patricia Williams.
Virago, 263 pp., £7.99, September 1993, 1 85381 674 4
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... at large, are obviously at stake, and in their engagements with these, both Henry Louis Gates and Patricia Williams offer despatches from various front lines of what have been called the ‘culture wars’. What is at stake is the meaning of the term ‘America’, and Gates and Williams take their place among a growing number of African-American academic ...

Patrons

Peter Burke, 15 October 1987

Patronage, Art and Society in Renaissance Italy 
edited by F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons.
Oxford/Humanities Research Centre, 331 pp., £35, June 1987, 0 19 821978 4
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Pienza: The Creation of a Renaissance City 
by Charles Mack.
Cornell, 250 pp., $43.95, June 1987, 9780801416996
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Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian and the Franciscans 
by Rona Goffen.
Yale, 285 pp., £30, July 1986, 0 300 03455 5
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Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance 
by Margaret King.
Princeton, 524 pp., £42.90, April 1986, 0 691 05465 7
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The Venetian Patriciate: Reality versus Myth 
by Donald Queller.
Illinois, 386 pp., $29.95, September 1986, 0 252 01144 9
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Tradesman and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250-c.1650 
by Richard MacKenney.
Croom Helm, 289 pp., £35, January 1987, 0 7099 1763 5
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Florence, Rome and the Origins of the Renaissance 
by George Holmes.
Oxford, 273 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 19 822576 8
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From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in 15th and 6th-Century Europe 
by Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £29.95, January 1987, 0 7156 2100 9
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Renaissance and Revolt: Essays in the Intellectual and Social History of Early Modern France 
by J.H.M. Salmon.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £30, June 1987, 0 521 32769 5
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... edited by Guy Lytle and Stephen Orgel. Taking their cue from Lytle and Orgel, F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons have turned the proceedings of a conference held in Melbourne in 1983 into a valuable volume of essays on patronage in Renaissance Italy. What is particularly interesting about both collections is the fact that they discuss two kinds of patronage ...

Green Martyrs

Patricia Craig, 24 July 1986

The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse 
edited by Thomas Kinsella.
Oxford, 423 pp., £12.50, May 1986, 0 19 211868 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry 
edited by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 415 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 571 13760 1
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Irish Poetry after Joyce 
by Dillon Johnston.
Dolmen, 336 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 85105 437 4
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... murders of 1882. From this point, we come up pretty swiftly to the modern age, via Yeats, Synge, Francis Ledwidge, Padraig Colum and one or two others: no Joyce, James Stephens, Joseph Campbell, F.R. Higgins, Donagh MacDonagh or W.R. Rodgers. It’s hard not to feel that John Montague’s Faber Book of Irish Verse of 1974 offers a rather more satisfactory ...

Open that window, Miss Menzies

Patricia Craig, 7 August 1986

A Taste for Death 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 454 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13799 7
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A Dark-Adapted Eye 
by Barbara Vine.
Viking, 300 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 670 80976 4
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Dead Men’s Morris 
by Gladys Mitchell.
Joseph, 247 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 7181 2553 3
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Laurels are poison 
by Gladys Mitchell.
Hogarth, 237 pp., £2.95, June 1986, 0 7012 1010 9
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Dido and Pa 
by Joan Aiken.
Cape, 251 pp., £7.95, June 1986, 0 224 02364 0
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... attached is pretty odd, what with querulous, prickly Vera, irresistibly blonde Eden, and provoking Francis, Vera’s son, who spends his holidays devising torments for his mother. Within a year or two another child is added to this intractable household, and it’s a tussle over the custody of this child, Jamie, that brings about the pivotal outbreak in the ...

Fit for a Saint

Nicholas Penny, 6 April 1995

The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice 
by Peter Humfrey.
Yale, 382 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 300 05358 4
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Italian Altarpieces 1250-1550: Function and Design 
edited by Eve Borsook and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi.
Oxford, 296 pp., £45, September 1994, 0 19 817223 0
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... even if they notice it: the sculptural adornment of the stone frame, the huge statues of Saint Francis and Saint Anthony of Padua beside the Resurrected Christ on top, and the relief of the dead Christ projecting into the painting from the lower edge. Yet these elements of the altarpiece were certainly not of peripheral interest to the friars. It might not ...

Just one of those ends

Michael Wood: Apocalypse Regained, 13 December 2001

Apocalypse Now Redux 
directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
August 2001
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Marlon Brando 
by Patricia Bosworth.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £12.99, October 2001, 0 297 84284 6
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... too, and takes off on an extraordinary literary ramble from which it never returns and in which Francis Coppola and his team seem to have decided to do The Golden Bough as their Christmas pantomime. The confused ending weighs on the film but doesn’t wreck it, so we don’t need to hush up the confusion or pretend it isn’t confusion at all. Apocalypse ...

Call it Hollywood

Wayne Koestenbaum: The sex life of Rudolph Valentino, 16 December 2004

Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino 
by Emily Leider.
Faber, 514 pp., £8.99, November 2004, 0 571 21819 9
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... it – with every inch of my body? Ivano and Valentino, staying together at San Francisco’s St Francis Hotel while filming Moran of the Lady Letty, enjoyed a brisk and bacchic itinerary: After shooting outdoors from seven in the morning until seven at night, they’d bathe, put on bathrobes, and order dinner in. Then they’d sleep a few hours, setting ...

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