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Just like Mother

Theo Tait: Richard Yates, 6 February 2003

Collected Stories 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 474 pp., £17.99, January 2002, 0 413 77125 3
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Revolutionary Road 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 346 pp., £6.99, February 2001, 0 413 75710 2
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The Easter Parade 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 226 pp., £10, January 2003, 0 413 77202 0
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... Richard Yates faced some formidable obstacles: a broken home, tuberculosis, rampant alcoholism, divorce (twice), lack of recognition and manic depression – a combination that sent him, as he put it, ‘in and out of bughouses’. Even his triumphs seemed only to cause further distress. Though his first novel, Revolutionary Road (1961), was a critical success, sales were wretched, and he spent most of his working life in its shadow ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Have you seen their sandals?, 3 July 2014

... around anybody wearing a coloured sock. One man came along the street wearing red braces under a nice grey suit and the Japanese went into overdrive. The guy stopped, put on his shades, sucked in his cheeks, they went bam, bam, bam, and he walked on. The Warholian timeframe had shrunk to 15 seconds. Everybody interviews everybody. ‘What are all these ...

Gangsters in Hats

Richard Mayne, 17 May 1984

Essays on Detective Fiction 
edited by Bernard Benstock.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £20, February 1984, 0 333 32195 2
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Dashiell Hammett: A Life at the Edge 
by William Nolan.
Arthur Barker, 276 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 213 16886 3
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The Life of Dashiell Hammett 
by Diane Johnson.
Chatto, 344 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 9780701127664
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Hellman in Hollywood 
by Bernard Dick.
Associated University Presses, 183 pp., £14.95, September 1983, 0 8386 3140 1
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... it was how flat the characters seemed: ‘a slender woman in a dark coat and hat’, ‘a nice-looking blond youngster of twenty-five or so’ etc. Even the protagonists are feebly realised and hard to tell apart or remember, as if in a film script waiting to be fleshed out by actors. Their dialogue is fast and natural, but has little of Chandler’s ...

Japanese Power

Richard Bowring, 14 June 1990

God’s Dust: A Modern Asian Journey 
by Ian Buruma.
Cape, 267 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 224 02493 0
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The Cambridge History of Japan. Vol V: The 19th Century 
edited by Marius Jansen.
Cambridge, 828 pp., £60, October 1989, 0 521 22356 3
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The Cambridge History of Japan. Vol. VI: The 20th Century 
edited by Peter Duus.
Cambridge, 866 pp., £60, June 1989, 0 521 22357 1
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... essential is to make an effort to know as much about them as they seem to know about us. It is nice to be able to report that the pioneers of this scholarly approach to Japan were, by and large, British: Chamberlain, Aston, Satow, followed by Murdoch, Waley and Sansom. It is not so pleasant to report that the initiative is now almost entirely in ...

Is it a crime?

P.N. Furbank, 6 June 1985

Peterley Harvest: The Private Diary of David Peterley 
edited by Michael Holroyd.
Secker, 286 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 436 36715 7
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... enter into the phenomenon of Peterley Harvest, a novel composed by the librarian and bibliographer Richard Pennington and offered to the world by him and his first publisher – in what spirit it is for us to examine – as the genuine diary, covering the years 1930 to 1939, of a certain David Peterley, scion of an ancient landed family. Peterley’s diary and ...

Unreal Food Uneaten

Julian Bell: Sitting for Vanessa, 13 April 2000

The Art of Bloomsbury 
edited by Richard Shone.
Tate Gallery, 388 pp., £35, November 1999, 1 85437 296 3
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First Friends 
by Ronald Blythe.
Viking, 157 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 670 88613 0
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Bloomsbury in France 
by Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright.
Oxford, 430 pp., £25, December 1999, 0 19 511752 2
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... a story with a strong mixture of ingredients: sex, friendships, betrayals, glam connections, nice locations, eccentric personalities, the odd suicide, a touch of politics, more sex ... Functioning as a haut-bourgeois soap, it affords a nice cue for moralising – ‘he shouldn’t have done that’; ‘she should have ...

At the Hayward

Hal Foster: ‘The Painting of Modern Life’, 1 November 2007

... However, as the 1960s began, Rugoff continues, artists associated with Pop and photorealism – Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Richard Artschwager, Vija Celmins and Malcolm Morley – turned again to photography, not only as a source of images but as a way to convey the look of consumer society, already ...

Perfect Light

Jenny Diski, 9 July 1992

Diana: Her True Story 
by Andrew Morton.
Michael O’Mara, 165 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 1 85479 191 5
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Shared Lives 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Bloomsbury, 285 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 7475 1164 0
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Antonia White: Diaries 1958-1979 
edited by Susan Chitty.
Constable, 352 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 09 470660 3
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... and I recognised the not-quite-extraterrestrial, dumpy, middle-aged forms of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton panting their way up the hill. The glow was not, of course, from their outward perfection, nor their inner beauty and wisdom, but the result of years and years of attention from precision-ground lenses and high-wattage lights being focused and ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Painting the Century, 16 November 2000

... in you will be made more interested by the painting. Other pictures here are more like reportage: Richard Hamilton’s worked up photograph of Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser (1968), handcuffed and covering their faces after being arrested for possessing drugs, derives from a news picture. But it was also personal – Fraser was Hamilton’s dealer at the time ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Aelbert Cuyp, 7 March 2002

... a bit thin, although the assurance with which the trick is carried off in Cuyp’s pictures, the nice calculation of tone and the sure movements of the brush are always performances worth one’s attention. The English in particular came to love him; in the 18th and 19th centuries collecting Cuyp was so much an English thing that most of his paintings which ...

The Silences of General de Gaulle

Douglas Johnson, 20 November 1980

Mon Général 
by Olivier Guichard.
Grasset
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Lettres, Notes et Carnets: Vol.1 1905-1918, Vol.2 1919-1940; 
by Charles de Gaulle.
Plon
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Le Colonel de Gaulle et les Blindés 
by Paul Huard.
Plon
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... Giscard d’Estaing is centre right and seeks to appear as if he were centre left. Foot is too nice, so much so that he is the nicest prime minister we will never have, but Healey is not nice enough and his past bullying of the unions has lost him their enthusiasm if not their support. Foot is romantic, Healey ...

Our Hero

C.H. Sisson, 25 January 1990

Richard Aldington: A Biography 
by Charles Doyle.
Macmillan, 379 pp., £19.95, November 1989, 0 333 46487 7
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... Charles Doyle’s biography of Richard Aldington opens so readily at the 24 excellent photographs with which the book is illustrated that the temptation to look at them, before one gets involved with the text, is irresistible. The series starts with a rather determined-looking boy with cap and striped jersey, holding a football ...

Tea with Medea

Simon Skinner: Richard Cobb, 19 July 2012

My Dear Hugh: Letters from Richard Cobb to Hugh Trevor-Roper and Others 
Frances Lincoln, 240 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 0 7112 3240 2Show More
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... Who now, other than historians of modern France, remembers Richard Cobb? Cobb’s Wikipedia entry – the canonical index of posterity’s interest – measures three lines; by contrast, Hugh Trevor-Roper, his principal addressee in this collection, gets five thousand words. Yet Cobb, who died in 1996, was not only a historian of acknowledged genius ...

Wall in the Head

Carolyn Steedman: On Respectability, 28 July 2016

Respectable: The Experience of Class 
by Lynsey Hanley.
Allen Lane, 240 pp., £16.99, April 2016, 978 1 84614 206 2
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... 2007 book, another into flickering memory for this one. On both Hanley is accompanied by some very nice men. I’d love to meet her mate Richard, first introduced in Estates. At Solihull College they were ‘the much-talked-about, little practised coming together of north Solihull and south Solihull, a clash of the ...

Good Girls

Lauren Elkin: Leïla Slimani, 21 February 2019

Adèle 
by Leïla Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor.
Faber, 209 pp., £12.99, February 2019, 978 0 571 33195 6
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... encounters but zero orgasms. Adèle, an attractive Parisian woman in her thirties, with a husband, Richard, a child and a desultory job as a journalist, has what the DSM-5 would describe as a hypersexual disorder, that is, if sex addiction weren’t such a controversial diagnosis that the DSM-5 clinicians decided not to include it. ‘Adèle has been ...

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