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Sitting it out

Paul Sieghart, 2 August 1984

Two men were aquitted 
by Percy Hoskins.
Secker, 221 pp., £9.95, May 1984, 0 436 20161 5
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... was the tradition that the Attorney-General himself should lead for the prosecution. In the other corner, Adams was represented by Geoffrey Lawrence QC, one of the most skilful advocates of his day, whose normal practice lay in the civil rather than the criminal courts. Not for him the faded Rumpole clichés of ‘I am bound to put it to you, Mr Snooks, that ...

Sweaney Peregraine

Paul Muldoon, 1 November 1984

Station Island 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 123 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 571 13301 0
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Sweeney Astray: A Version 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 85 pp., £6.95, October 1984, 0 571 13360 6
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by Craig Raine.
Faber, 109 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 571 13215 4
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... cow-dung and fill the hole to the brim with new milk. Then Sweeney would sneak into the deserted corner of the milking yard and lap it up ... [The herd] got up in a sudden fury, seized a spear from a rack in the house, and made for the madman. Sweeney was down swilling the milk out of the cow-dung with his side exposed towards the herd, who let go at him ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Adam Elsheimer, 2 November 2006

... of bright stars spreads to the Milky Way, which strikes across the sky from the top left corner. The wedge of trees which rises from right to the left is pitch black, but two other sources of light push back the darkness. In the centre foreground a mother and child on an ass are lit by the torch carried by a bearded man who holds his hand out towards ...

At Auckland Castle

Nicola Jennings: Francisco de Zurbarán, 4 June 2020

... animal skins, striped dungarees, turbans and brocades. Each son is identified at the bottom corner of a painting by a wooden block bearing his name, and by the inclusion of objects connected with his story. Joseph, who carries the rod and papers of an Egyptian vizier, is particularly striking in a gold-fringed coat of many colours and a splendid pink ...

All their dreaming’s done

James Francken: Janet Davey, 8 May 2003

English Correspondence 
by Janet Davey.
Chatto, 199 pp., £12.99, January 2003, 0 7011 7364 5
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... a week away from his wife – his marriage has begun to harden – Jerry notices the sign for Paul and Sylvie’s hotel. He expects the stop-off will be a let-down – ‘these places could be dire, unless you had a taste for noting minute degrees of deadness’ – but he pulls over, done in by the mountain roads, running on fumes and far too tired to ...


Christian Lorentzen: Homo Trumpiens, 3 November 2016

... Hey, everybody,​ how about it, huh?’ Paul Ryan said, coming onto a stage decorated with hay bales and pumpkins in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of 9 October. ‘Man, good day! Good to see you, what a beautiful day, huh? Welcome to Fall Fest, you guys! Welcome to Fall Fest! Look, let me just start off by saying, there is a bit of an elephant in the room ...

Going Native

A.N. Wilson: Theroux’s portait of Naipaul, 13 May 1999

Sir Vidia’s Shadow: A Friendship across Five Continents 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 376 pp., £17.99, December 1998, 0 241 14046 3
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... at a sitting. This was certainly not because of any previous obsession with either V.S. Naipaul or Paul Theroux. True, I regard Naipaul as one of the most enthralling writers of our time, even though the subjects he has covered – India, Africa, the putrefaction of the post-colonial world – are not ones which engage my interest or my imagination. It is him ...

At the Royal Academy

Peter Campbell: Vuillard, 19 February 2004

... challenge the curators of the exhibition offer to this judgment is bold and unconvincing. In 1888 Paul Sérusier brought back to Paris a landscape he had done in Brittany under the guidance of Paul Gauguin. A painter, Gauguin had told him, should translate what he saw into unmixed colours: if a tree looks green, make it the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: A Quick Bout of Bardiness, 6 June 2002

... highbrow London Review of Books has made concessions to the demand for brevity – in this corner at least. Thank heavens for New Left Review. Ever quick off the mark, Machiavelli was long ago alert to the pitfalls of prolixity. The target audience for The Prince were all busy men. Were Machiavelli around now, his book would probably be called ‘The ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... stay at the Ritz in Paris (the hotel belonged to Fayed), in exchange for fighting Fayed’s corner in Parliament. Hamilton was known as a close friend and associate of Ian Greer, and had asked questions favourable to Fayed in the latter’s interminable vendetta against the chairman of Lonrho, Tiny Rowland. Guardian journalists had approached Hamilton ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland, 17 July 1980

by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... weighty topic of feminism, a group of central characters turn to lighter things: ‘Over coffee, Paul, Hugo and Kate took refuge in gossip about that perennially interesting topic, the editorship of the New Statesman, lapsing into the parochial and the malicious in a way that certainly amused them, if not their guests.’ The principals in this novel belong ...

Believe it or not

Rebecca Mead: America’s National Story Project, 7 February 2002

True Tales of American Life 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 416 pp., £16.99, November 2001, 0 571 21050 3
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... A couple of years ago, Paul Auster was asked by a producer at National Public Radio whether he would become a regular contributor to one of the network’s more popular shows. All he’d have to do was come up with a story every month or so and read it aloud. Daunted by the prospect – what writer has plotlines to spare? – Auster was about to decline, when his wife, Siri Hustvedt, who is also a novelist, came up with a suggestion ...

Bustin’ up the Chiffarobe

Alex Abramovich: Paul Beatty, 7 January 2016

The Sellout 
by Paul Beatty.
Farrar, Straus, 288 pp., £17, March 2015, 978 0 374 26050 7
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... America’s crazy, and so sometimes its pure products go sane. Consider the eponymous narrator of Paul Beatty’s novel The Sellout. When we first meet him, in the Supreme Court’s ‘cavernous chambers’, the sellout’s hands are cuffed behind his back. His right to silence ‘long since waived’, he sits in a ‘thickly padded chair that, much like this ...

Paisley’s Progress

Tom Paulin, 1 April 1982

... and is fond of dressing up in other people’s personalities. After the Almighty, after St Paul – for whom he confesses ‘a strange liking’ – his most influential model, or imaginative icon, is John Bunyan, whose life and work obsess him. Bunyan is ‘this dreamer and penman’, ‘the most prominent man of letters as far as English literature ...

Mitteleuropa am Aldwych

Ian Hacking: The Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence, 20 January 2000

For and against Method: including Lakatos’s Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence 
by Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend, edited by Matteo Motterlini.
Chicago, 451 pp., £24, October 1999, 0 226 46774 0
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... the Austrians, including Karl Popper and Otto Neurath (not to mention Wittgenstein), and later got Paul Feyerabend from Vienna and Imre Lakatos from Budapest. The United States got the Germans, including Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach. The famous Vienna Circle, or Wiener Kreis, was established by Moritz Schlick, a German, who brought other Germans to ...

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