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Round the (Next) Bend

Simon Adams: Sir Walter Ralegh, 6 July 2000

The Letters of Sir Walter Raleigh 
edited by Agnes Latham and Joyce Youings.
Exeter, 403 pp., £45, July 1999, 0 85989 527 0
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... Country than anyone else alive. Elsewhere her touch is not as sure as it might be. Describing Sir Robert Kerr (anglicised to Carr), James I’s favourite, who obtained Ralegh’s estate, as ‘a penniless Scotsman from Roxburghshire’ does not tell us a great deal and it misses the irony that Kerr was no more and no less than the Scottish equivalent of an ...

Eros and Hogarth

Robert Melville, 20 August 1981

Hogarth 
by David Bindman.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 9780500201824
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... in Hogarth’s career’, with the possible exception of his stately portrait of wealthy Mary Edwards, who was his most generous patron and a courageous fighter for one woman’s lib – her own. In a screed beside her in the portrait she implores all Englishmen to remember the laws and rights and defend the liberties secured for them by their ...

Kipling and the Irish

Owen Dudley Edwards, 4 February 1988

Something of Myself 
by Rudyard Kipling, edited by Robert Hampson and Richard Holmes.
Penguin, 220 pp., £3.95, January 1987, 0 14 043308 2
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Stalky & Co 
by Rudyard Kipling, introduced by Isabel Quigley.
Oxford, 325 pp., £2.95, January 1987, 0 19 281660 8
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Kim 
by Rudyard Kipling, introduced by Alan Sandison.
Oxford, 306 pp., £2.95, January 1987, 0 19 281651 9
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... with Irish-Americans pledged to the separation of Ireland from Britain. The Tory Government of Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury, and its Irish administration under his nephew Chief Secretary A.J. Balfour – whose preferment had given rise to the phrase ‘Bob’s your uncle’ – had thrown everything, including its Law Officers, and the resources of ...

Ediepus

Michael Neve, 18 November 1982

Edie: An American Biography 
by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
Cape, 455 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 224 02068 4
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself 
by Jan Kerouac.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 233 97487 3
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... a gloomy Puritan history lingers, a trace, perhaps, of the ferocious Calvinist divine Jonathan Edwards. There is also the eerie emptiness of nature in New England, the dark, wooded landscape that seems hollow, and menacing, without a history. Even the streets of Stockbridge seem empty. No one is around. They are, no doubt, in their cars, and another poet ...

Crypto-Republican

Simon Adams: Was Mary Queen of Scots a Murderer?, 11 June 2009

Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by Stephen Alford.
Yale, 412 pp., £25, May 2008, 978 0 300 11896 4
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... The current controversy over the Ridolphi Plot was initiated by the Jesuit historian Francis Edwards, who published a reconstruction of it, The Marvellous Chance, in 1968. Edwards claimed that Ridolphi was an English double agent employed by Cecil to entrap Mary and Norfolk. He went on to argue, in Plots and Plotters ...

Saved by the Ant’s Fore-Foot

David Trotter: Pound’s Martyrology, 7 July 2005

The Pisan Cantos 
by Ezra Pound, edited by Richard Sieburth.
New Directions, 159 pp., $13.95, October 2003, 9780811215589
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Poems and Translations 
by Ezra Pound, edited by Richard Sieburth.
Library of America, 1363 pp., $45, October 2003, 1 931082 41 3
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... of this kind was the conviction that Pound had undergone a fundamental change of heart in Pisa. Robert Fitzgerald, reviewing the Pisan Cantos in the New Republic in August 1948, was glad to find the poet ‘for the first time expressing a personal desolation and a kind of repentance’. The trick was to imagine a desolation so extreme that, whatever Pound ...

Dawn of the Dark Ages

Ronald Stevens: Fleet Street magnates, 4 December 2003

Newspapermen: Hugh Cudlipp, Cecil Harmsworth King and the Glory Days of Fleet Street 
by Ruth Dudley Edwards.
Secker, 484 pp., £20, May 2003, 0 436 19992 0
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... Treachery and self-aggrandisement were part of the natural order of things in what Ruth Dudley Edwards, in this double biography of Cudlipp and King, comically describes as the glory days of Fleet Street. The two men had very little in common. Cudlipp, the youngest son of a travelling salesman, received his formal education in local authority schools and ...

Saved for Jazz

David Trotter, 5 October 1995

Modernist Quartet 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Cambridge, 305 pp., £35, November 1994, 0 521 47004 8
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... There are some curious aspects to Frank Lentricchia’s study of four Modernist poets: T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens. For a start, it’s a book about poets which doesn’t seem much interested in poems. Lentricchia has written a lengthy chapter on each member of his quartet. Yet Eliot is represented by ‘The Love Song of J ...

Diary

David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991, 25 January 1996

... libre ou mourir’, but that wouldn’t have rhymed with ‘holocauste fort’. Plenty of Hubert Robert (‘du plus pur Hubert Robert,’ as Jouve used to say). Found a Folio series edition of Restif de la Bretonne’s Nuits de Paris in the tempting bookshop. When I first knew the Marais in the late Forties it was ...

Clues

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 May 1983

A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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The Agatha Christie Hour 
by Agatha Christie.
Collins, 190 pp., £6.50, September 1982, 0 00 231331 6
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The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes 
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Allen Lane, 1122 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 7139 1444 0
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The Quest for Sherlock Holmes 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Mainstream, 380 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 906391 15 6
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Essays on Photography 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 128 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 0 436 13302 4
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 456 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 436 13301 6
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The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie 
by Charles Osborne.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 00 216462 0
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... incident occurs. Here we are close to the art of the stage conjurer: a point well made by Robert Barnard in his concise and extremely acute book. Again, over this long period of time the clue tends steadily to refine and even attenuate itself in consonance with the enhanced acuity of readers. It is no longer at all likely to be the imprint of a boot ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... rest of the poetry in this anthology reads like replayed Pound, Zukofsky and Olson. Even among Ken Edwards’s ‘Younger Poets’, there’s a faded Sixties feeling to the rhythms, an angrily nostalgic glow, though sometimes a phrase or a line (‘Teacosies portraying “The Poet’s head in the throes of inspiration” ’) surfaces like a collectable sound ...

Show People

Hugh Barnes, 21 February 1985

So Much Love 
by Beryl Reid.
Hutchinson, 195 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 09 155730 5
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Knock wood 
by Candice Bergen.
Hamish Hamilton, 223 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780241113585
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... these years. The list of names here, from Val Parnell to Peter Brough, from Alan Melville to Jimmy Edwards, reads like a history of British Variety. Even then, unconsciously a student of Method, she would dress up in gymslip and boater, catapult in hand, to do Monica for the wireless. She went to Hollywood for the first time in the Sixties, when ...

Diary

James MacGibbon: Fashionable Radicals, 22 January 1987

... higher. In 1949 the combination of a small legacy, frustration at Putnam, and my friendship with Robert Kee, led to the founding of the firm that bore our names, with my wife as literary director. I soon discovered, though, that my temperament is not that of a loner, and seven years later, when the time had come to raise new capital (an aspect of business I ...

Nudged

Jamie Martin: Nudge Theory, 27 July 2017

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World 
by Michael Lewis.
Allen Lane, 362 pp., £25, December 2016, 978 0 241 25473 8
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... principles, but his interest in the decision theories of the American psychologist Ward Edwards brought him into contact with Kahneman in 1969. According to Edwards the human mind was naturally Bayesian: it assessed probabilities more or less accurately according to a set of principles that allowed it to combine ...

The Nominee

Andrew O’Hagan: With the Democrats, 19 August 2004

... afternoon, with its atmosphere of electioneering and death, brings to mind the insistent taps of Robert Lowell’s ‘For the Union Dead’: The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier grow slimmer and younger each year – wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets and muse through their sideburns. Senator John Forbes Kerry, the nominee, didn’t spring ...

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