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Two Poems

Robert Crawford, 15 September 1988

... antique metal footplate Powering the needle through its regular lines, Doing her work. To me as a young boy That was her typewriter. I’d watch Her hands and feet in unison, or read Between her calves the clear wrought-iron letters: SINGER. Mass-produced polished wood and metal, It was a powerful instrument. I stared Hard at its brilliant needle’s eye that ...

Three poems

Robert Crawford, 29 November 2001

... also Fell leading men in charge at Waterloo. Now writes bestselling adult cookbooks, You’re Only Young Once! I could reach inside him Where he sits still, a matted fur yeti, And snatch out his other heart, a silver ball. St Andrews I love how it comes right out of the blue North Sea edge, sunstruck with oystercatchers. A bull’s-eye centred at the outer ...

Exotic Bird from Ilford

Robert Baird: Denise Levertov, 25 September 2014

Denise Levertov: A Poet’s Life 
by Dana Greene.
Illinois, 328 pp., £22.99, October 2012, 978 0 252 03710 8
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A Poet’s Revolution: The Life of Denise Levertov 
by Donna Krolik Hollenberg.
California, 515 pp., £30.95, April 2013, 978 0 520 27246 0
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Collected Poems 
by Denise Levertov.
New Directions, 1063 pp., £32.99, December 2013, 978 0 8112 2173 3
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... he’s got a real damn-go0d-honest-to-goodness character.’ Not long after their wedding, the young couple crossed paths in Paris with Norman Mailer, a classmate of Goodman’s at Harvard. Writing about the encounter two decades later, Mailer remembered Goodman as a ‘tall powerful handsome dark-haired young man with a ...

Dead Cats and Fungi

Robert Taubman, 20 March 1980

Puffball 
by Fay Weldon.
Hodder, 255 pp., £5.95, February 1980, 0 340 24565 4
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The Mirror of the Giant 
by Penelope Shuttle.
Marion Boyars, 165 pp., £5.95, January 1980, 0 7145 2679 7
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Another Part of the Wood 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 7156 1458 4
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Wild Oats 
by Jacob Epstein.
Alison Press/Secker, 267 pp., £5.95, February 1980, 0 436 14826 9
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In the Secret State 
by Robert McCrum.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £5.95, February 1980, 0 241 10322 3
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... and they had all been found wanting.’ Joseph forgets his promise to climb the mountain with his young son, his girlfriend Dotty walks out, there are two chilling episodes of sudden illness, the boy ignorantly kills himself. They talk or quarrel over Monopoly, they fail to know themselves, or others – or to form a group or even notice their isolation. Some ...

We’ll win or lose it here

Robert F. Worth: Lessons from Tahrir Square, 21 September 2017

The City Always Wins 
by Omar Robert Hamilton.
Faber, 312 pp., £14.99, August 2017, 978 0 571 33517 6
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Chronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of Egypt 
by Yasmine El Rashidi.
Tim Duggan, 181 pp., £11.70, June 2017, 978 0 7704 3729 9
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... version of the Terror and the Vendée rebellion (though the book made a deep impression on the young Stalin, for reasons that now seem too easy to imagine). Egypt’s 2011 revolt has already produced two novels that are diametrically opposed in their approach. Omar Robert Hamilton’s The City Always Wins is a ...

Hayden White and History

Stephen Bann, 17 September 1987

The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation 
by Hayden White.
Johns Hopkins, 248 pp., £20.80, May 1987, 0 8018 2937 2
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Post-Structuralism and the Question of History 
edited by Derek Attridge, Geoff Bennington and Robert Young.
Cambridge, 292 pp., £27.50, February 1987, 0 521 32759 8
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... In publishing his compendious work Metahistory in 1973, Hayden White gave currency both to a term and to a programme. His subtitle, ‘The Historical Imagination in 19th-Century Europe’, indicated the broad area of his investigations, but gave little sense of the radical originality of this programme, which was quite simply the re-examination of historiography in its written form ...

Homelessness

Terry Eagleton, 20 June 1996

States of Fantasy 
by Jacqueline Rose.
Oxford, 183 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 19 818280 5
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... richer, more intimate affair than, say, proportional representation; but the post-colonial critic Robert Young has recently reminded us of just what racist, imperial baggage this apparently suggestive notion carries with it from the anthropologising 19th century. Jacqueline Rose has her own suspicions of that brand of literary politics for which culture ...

At Norwich Castle Museum

Alice Spawls: ‘The Paston Treasure’, 13 September 2018

... painted around the time of William’s death in 1663 and commissioned either by him or his son Robert. Having existed in obscurity for centuries (on its donation to Norwich Castle Museum, the last owner warned: ‘the painting is very faded, of no artistic value, only curious from an archaeological point of view’), it is now the subject of a huge ...

Bard of Friendly Fire

Robert Crawford: The Radical Burns, 25 July 2002

Robert Burns: Poems 
edited by Don Paterson.
Faber, 96 pp., £4.99, February 2001, 0 571 20740 5
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The Canongate Burns: The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns 
edited by Andrew Noble and Patrick Scott Hogg.
Canongate, 1017 pp., £40, November 2001, 0 86241 994 8
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... Aberdeen philosopher Thomas Blackwell was writing that Homer was a ‘stroling indigent Bard’. Robert Burns liked that idea. In ‘Love and Liberty’ a bard sings alongside prostitutes and tinkers, and pronounces himself ‘Homer like’. Burns’s footnote (Burns enjoyed footnotes) points out cheekily that ‘Homer is allowed to be the oldest ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... a Boston lawyer and counsel for the army, replied to the ascription of Communist connections to a young lawyer on his staff: ‘Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.’ McCarthyism had been launched in Wheeling, West Virginia only four years earlier, in the speech where the senator claimed to have the ...

Lithe Pale Girls

Robert Crawford: Richard Aldington, 22 January 2015

Richard Aldington: Poet, Soldier and Lover 1911-29 
by Vivien Whelpton.
Lutterworth, 414 pp., £30, January 2015, 978 0 7188 9318 7
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... lover too. They fell in love while translating ancient Greek. Aldington, at 19, was too young for a ticket to the Reading Room of the British Museum. Doolittle, who was 25, sat under the imposing dome, transcribing Greek materials. The two young poet-translators met daily, trying to make versions of verse from the ...
Bowie 
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... David Robert Jones, alias David Bowie, is now in his 40th year. His creepy, chilling phrases pop out of pub jukeboxes, and extracts from his movies catch the eye on pub videos, whether he is embracing a Chinese girl or being executed by Japanese soldiers; his image appears in the Sunday-paper magazines, artistically displayed in sundry poses ...

Men at Sea

Robert Taubman, 6 November 1980

Rites of Passage 
by William Golding.
Faber, 278 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 571 11639 6
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... primary material, as it were, is very nearly the substance and whole of it. This is the journal of young Edmund Talbot on the first part of a voyage to Australia in the early 19th century: that is all, apart from a letter from the Reverend Robert James Colley to his sister, purloined by Talbot and pasted into the ...

The Ultimate Magical Synaesthesia Machine

Rob Young: Painting Music, 22 September 2011

The Music of Painting 
by Peter Vergo.
Phaidon, 367 pp., £39.95, November 2010, 978 0 7148 5762 6
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... the picture as ‘la symphonie du blanc’. Vergo finds various other dead ends. In Cézanne’s Young Girl at the Piano: Overture to ‘Tannhäuser’ (1869-70), an old woman sits mending a stocking while a girl extends her skeletal fingers over the piano keys; but the sheet music is blank, and the association with Wagner is a pretentious appendage to an ...

Weathering the storm

Robert Blake, 18 October 1984

Lord Liverpool: The Life and Political Career of Robert Banks Jenkinson, Second Earl of Liverpool 1770-1828 
by Norman Gash.
Weidenfeld, 265 pp., £16.95, August 1984, 0 297 78453 6
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... the current prime minister to overcome his father’s opposition to his marriage? The answer is Robert Jenkinson, second Earl of Liverpool and eighth baronet, whose maternal grandmother, wife of a Nabob, was Eurasian. He is one of the neglected figures of history. Yet he was prime minister for 15 years from 1812 to 1827, till in February at the age of 56 he ...

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