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Unsaying

Philip Davis: Thomas Arnold’s Apostasies, 15 April 2004

A Victorian Wanderer: The Life of Thomas Arnold the Younger 
by Bernard Bergonzi.
Oxford, 274 pp., £25, July 2003, 0 19 925741 8
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... Tom gained the first at Oxford that eluded both Matthew and Clough; he was Clough’s model for Philip, the radical poet, in his poem The Bothie. But a mixture of religious doubt and social concern led Tom, like Philip, to seek a new world elsewhere: in 1848 he first attempted to start a small farm in New Zealand, then ...

Desk Job

Deborah Friedell: Bernard Malamud, 15 November 2007

Bernard Malamud: A Writer’s Life 
by Philip Davis.
Oxford, 377 pp., £18.99, September 2007, 978 0 19 927009 5
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... In Philip Roth’s novel The Ghost Writer, 23-year-old Nathan Zuckerman, ‘already contemplating my own massive Bildungsroman’, makes a jaunty pilgrimage to the clapboard farmhouse of Emanuel Lonoff, the great Jewish-American writer whose work Zuckerman admires but aims to surpass. Although Lonoff writes about Jews, he has secluded himself in the goyish New England countryside in the hope of being left alone: ‘I turn sentences around ...

Genius

Richard Gregory, 17 June 1982

The Mind’s Best Work 
by D.N. Perkins.
Harvard, 314 pp., £12.95, November 1981, 0 06 745762 2
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The Mathematical Experience 
by Philip Davis and Reuben Hersh.
Harvester, 440 pp., £12.95, November 1981, 0 7108 0364 8
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... their unusual motivation and their life-long drive to achieve things that do not yet exist. Philip Davis and Reuben Hersh have written an attractive book which reveals the fascination of mathematics as an activity, and the seductions of its claims to indubitability. These have inspired, challenged and confounded views of the world and of the mind ...

Foiled by Pleasure

Matthew Bevis: Barrett Browning, 30 August 2018

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Selected Writings 
edited by Josie Billington and Philip Davis.
Oxford, 592 pp., £14.99, February 2018, 978 0 19 879763 0
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... art regardless of which side art is on. In their selection of her writings, Josie Billington and Philip Davis have wisely decided not to include much from her early collections (Aurora Leigh occupies around two-thirds of the space the volume devotes to poetry). Still, what they do include occasionally glints with better things to come. The poet notes in ...

California Noir

Michael Rogin: Destroying Los Angeles, 19 August 1999

Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster 
by Mike Davis.
Picador, 484 pp., £18.99, June 1999, 9780330372190
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... people turn from His ways.’ These remarks are not by the author of Ecology of Fear, Mike Davis, but the Southern California congresswoman Andrea Seastrand, speaking on behalf of Jehovah. Although the Los Angeles Times reassured its readers that ‘as far as can be determined’, the dozens of large snakes deposited on Southern Californian beaches ...

Philip’s People

Anna Della Subin: Divine Prince Philip, 8 May 2014

... Cook, Christopher Columbus, to name a few – acquired a new star in the mid-1970s, when Prince Philip vacationed off the coast of Tanna, in what was then the New Hebrides, aboard HMY Britannia. Ever since, a string of Englishmen have made the pilgrimage to the volcanic island to don grass penis sheaths, get drunk on kava, and bask in the cool glow of ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman: Power v. Power, 9 April 2015

... out hypocrisy. How exactly are you any better, is the question behind most of his questions. Evan Davis on Newsnight is even more courteous and if anything even more condescending. At the other end of the scale is Nick Ferrari on LBC, host of the phone-ins Call Clegg and Ask Boris, who alternates between chummy complicity and violent outrage, often abruptly ...

Menswear

Philip Booth, 20 July 1995

Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts 
by Roger Baker.
Cassell, 284 pp., £35, December 1994, 0 304 32836 7
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... was just as comfortable writing for the Times. His books include studies of those gay icons Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe, but he also published works on exorcism and Israel. Sometimes his work wore trousers, sometimes a frock. The first version of Drag appeared in 1968. Times have changed. Not only is popular culture now rich in images of ...

It’s she, it’s she, it’s she

Joanna Biggs: Americans in Paris, 2 August 2012

Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis 
by Alice Kaplan.
Chicago, 289 pp., £17, May 2012, 978 0 226 42438 5
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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Diaries 1964-80 
by Susan Sontag.
Hamish Hamilton, 544 pp., £18.99, April 2012, 978 0 241 14517 3
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... French tells the story of three college girls – Jacqueline Bouvier, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis – who did. Kaplan, who wrote about her own year abroad in the memoir French Lessons, takes the three, who didn’t meet, as examples of mid-20th-century types: the (Catholic) aesthete, the (Jewish) bohemian and the (black) political activist.* In Paris it ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Telly, 9 August 2001

... and a good many others are anecdotes about Hemingway, Dietrich, Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Miles Davis, Gregory Peck, but it’s not all like that. On 16 November 1973, Tynan read a ‘peevish and neurotic attack by John Osborne on Larry, the NT and (especially) me … He calls me a “disastrous influence” and an example of “intellectual spivvery” (a ...

Kingdoms of Paper

Natalie Zemon Davis: Identity and Faking It, 18 October 2007

Who Are You? Identification, Deception and Surveillance in Early Modern Europe 
by Valentin Groebner, translated by Mark Kyburz and John Peck.
Zone, 349 pp., £18.95, April 2007, 978 1 890951 72 6
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... fellow troops required documents from their officers proving they weren’t deserters. In Spain, Philip II required all emigrants to New Spain to have written proof, confirmed by their hometown governors, of their identity and appearance, including height and distinguishing marks, and of their origins: that they were not descendants of converted Jews or ...

Reputation

Peter Burke, 21 May 1987

The Count-Duke of Olivares: The Statesman in an Age of Decline 
by J.H. Elliott.
Yale, 733 pp., £19.95, August 1986, 0 300 03390 7
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Philip IV and the Decoration of the Alcazar of Madrid 
by Steven Orso.
Princeton, 227 pp., £36.70, July 1986, 0 691 04036 2
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... his major task. As for Elliott’s studies of the court and palaces of the Count-Duke’s master, Philip IV, and of the revolt of the Catalans against their joint regime, they complement rather than compete with the book now under review. There are two obvious reasons for this neglect of a major Spanish statesman. The first is that he failed, while his rival ...

Got to keep moving

Jeremy Harding, 24 May 1990

Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop 
by Charles Shaar Murray.
Faber, 247 pp., £7.99, November 1989, 0 571 14936 7
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Autobiography 
by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe.
Macmillan, 400 pp., £13.95, February 1990, 0 333 53195 7
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... music could have explored’. Further support for his case can be adduced from the fact that Miles Davis and Hendrix were playing and hanging out together a year before Hendrix’s death. There were hopes that the two men would make a recording, but it never happened. In his recent Autobiography, however, Davis is ...

Diary

Eric Hobsbawm: My Days as a Jazz Critic, 27 May 2010

... British musicians who played and formed the only real public for ‘modern’ jazz before Miles Davis began to make his impact. Writing about jazz in the 1950s meant, basically, trying to understand or at least come to terms with bebop (even the passionate jazz-conservative Philip Larkin eventually felt he had to make a ...

Rising above it

Russell Davies, 2 December 1982

The Noel Coward Diaries 
edited by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 698 pp., £15, September 1982, 0 297 78142 1
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... You may not like the book, but you will be impressed by the index. There’s Bette Davis and Joe Davis and Sammy Davis Jr. There’s Basil Dean and James Dean, Jack Warner of Dock Green and Jack Warner of Hollywood. Jayne Mansfield lines up alongside Mantovani, and Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery is discovered between Maria Montez and Dudley Moore ...

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