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Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... throw episodes you would rather have forgotten. But the Profumo case, which should be called the Stephen Ward case, will not go down. The longer it is around, the uglier it gets. It is a shocking story, which will continue to discredit its participants, all the more so for as long as they pretend, like Lord Denning, that there was no injustice perpetrated ...

Beijing Envy

Joshua Kurlantzick: China in Africa, 5 July 2007

China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise 
by Ian Taylor.
Routledge, 233 pp., £75, August 2006, 0 415 39740 5
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China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the 21st Century 
edited by Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham and Derek Mitchell.
Sharpe, 232 pp., $29.95, April 2007, 978 0 7656 1713 2
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China’s African Policy 
Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, January 2006Show More
China’s Expanding Role in Africa: Implications for the United States 
by Bates Gill, Chin-hao Huang and J. Stephen Morrison.
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, February 2007
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Friends and Interests: China’s Distinctive Links with Africa 
by Barry Sautman.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, April 2006
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African Perspectives on China in Africa 
edited by Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks.
Fahamu, 174 pp., £11.95, March 2007, 978 0 9545637 3 8
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Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier 
by Harry Broadman.
World Bank, 391 pp., $20, November 2006, 0 8213 6835 4
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... develop, and to earn some of the wealth that industrialised nations now possess. Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks’s book, the first attempt in recent years to examine African views of China, makes clear that there is hunger in Africa for a new partner. Though they are cautious about the negative impact of China’s rise, and wary of the way China treats ...

In qualified praise of Stephen Vizinczey

Bryan Appleyard, 24 July 1986

Truth and Lies in Literature: Reviews and Essays 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 399 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 241 11805 0
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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A.V. 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 241 11378 4
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... There is nothing enigmatic about Stephen Vizinczey. He has views, he shouts, cajoles, threatens and sneers. He worships Kleist and Stendhal, loathes William Styron and Sainte-Beuve, is conspicuously silent about Flaubert and seems to have a love-hate relationship with Nabokov. He delights in summoning up his rhetoric of loathing for the Nazis and the Mafia and in distilling hard, frequently paradoxical conclusions from his insights ...

One Small Moment

Christopher Tayler: Michael Frayn, 21 February 2002

Spies 
by Michael Frayn.
Faber, 224 pp., £14.99, February 2002, 0 571 21286 7
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... model is L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between. Like Hartley’s narrator, Leo, Frayn’s protagonist, Stephen Wheatley, is tormented by a schoolboy code prohibiting sneaking, blubbing and emotional expression in general. Leo is bullied by ‘Jenkins and Strode’, Stephen by ‘Hanning and Neale’. Both boys worship the family ...

Diary

Blake Morrison: On the Independent on Sunday , 27 May 1993

... been not a moral crusade but a calculated move to exploit a ‘market gap’. Or so I learn from Stephen Glover, originally foreign editor of the daily and later editor of the Independent on Sunday, whose book Paper Dreams* is a cross between a company report and W.E. Johns, a venture-capital story for boys: three fellows have a terrific wheeze which earns ...

Diary

Stephen Sackur: In Khorramshahr, 23 May 1991

... of their companions. There were holes in the road blasted by artillery shells, and countless pock-marks in the masonry. Everywhere, piles of rubble – bricks, of course, but also fragments of cars and of barely identifiable domestic appliances left to rot in the sun. I walked for half a mile across this dead city, past the wildly-skewed telegraph poles and a ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: American Prints, 8 May 2008

... Madhouse, although it has its origin in a drawing made ten years earlier, sustains the urgency of marks made by a committed observer. In Charles Sheeler’s view of the blank side of the Delmonico Building, neat ruled lines and even shading in chalk emulate the crispness of his architectural photographs and paintings. In Thomas Hart Benton’s evocations of ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde, 5 February 1998

The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... shows a phalanx of unpainted male prostitutes, leaning on some railings. Watching for a cab, Stephen Fry’s Wilde makes eye contact with one of them. ‘Looking for someone?’ asks the lad (identified as ‘Rent-boy’ in the closing credits), and Fry stares helplessly across the street. Gilbert does all he can to italicise the moment, but since Fry ...

Because it’s pink

Stephen Mulhall: John Hyman’s objective eye, 25 January 2007

The Objective Eye: Colour, Form and Reality in the Theory of Art 
by John Hyman.
Chicago, 286 pp., £20, June 2006, 0 226 36553 0
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... it doesn’t equip us with any obvious answers when we stand back and ask ourselves how mere marks on paper or sounds in the air can embody and convey meaning. A similar difficulty arises if we ask how a configuration of lines and colours on a plane surface can possibly succeed in depicting a man or a battle, a forest or a god. Indeed, once we are struck ...

Keeping mum

Stephen Sedley, 2 March 1989

The Spycatcher Trial 
by Malcolm Turnbull.
Heinemann, 228 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 434 79156 3
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Reform of the Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911: Government White Paper 
HMSO, 16 pp., £2.60, June 1988, 0 10 104082 2Show More
Official Secrets Bill 
HMSO, 14 pp., £3, December 1988, 0 10 300989 2Show More
Security Service Bill 
HMSO, 8 pp., £2.60, November 1988, 9780103007892Show More
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... to the stratification of social power and prestige and to the differentiation of accent that marks it. Spoken and written, the tone has the timbre of authority, of those who alone understand the causes of things – and control them. The Oxbridge accent of the White Paper is unmistakable, just as the spoken words of Sir Robert, now Lord Armstrong, are ...

Splenditello

Stephen Greenblatt, 19 June 1986

Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy 
by Judith Brown.
Oxford, 214 pp., £12.50, January 1986, 0 19 503675 1
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... materialised on the bride’s finger, but the ocular proof backfired when the nuns noticed yellow marks on the adjoining fingers: was it plausible that Jesus had given his beloved a cheap imitation? Two nuns who spied on Benedetta through a hole in the study door saw her renewing her stigmata with a large needle. And, most telling of all perhaps, the saintly ...

Diamond Daggers

Stephen Wall, 28 June 1990

Death’s Darkest Face 
by Julian Symons.
Macmillan, 272 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 333 51783 0
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Vendetta 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 281 pp., £12.99, June 1990, 0 571 14332 6
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Gallowglass 
by Barbara Vine.
Viking, 296 pp., £13.99, March 1990, 0 670 83241 3
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... of the form prevail, and person is inevitably upstaged by plot. Michael Dibdin’s Vendettamarks the reappearance of Aurelio Zen, the Venetian cop who cleared up an unsavoury kidnapping in Ratking (Gold Dagger Award, 1988), where the unsparing exposé of depravity among the powerful of Perugia was matched by a command of local detail that became almost ...

Settlers v. Natives

Stephen Sedley, 8 March 2001

Questioning Sovereignty: Law, State and Nation in the European Commonwealth 
by Neil MacCormick.
Oxford, 210 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 19 826876 9
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Waitangi and Indigenous Rights: Revolution, Law and Legitimation 
by F.M. Brookfield.
Auckland, 253 pp., NZ $39.95, November 1999, 1 86940 184 0
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... over the ability of regimes to grant themselves or their nastier predecessors amnesties, marks a strong move to qualify national sovereignty in the interests of humanitarian standards; a move tellingly resisted in regard to its own citizens by the United States, whose long-arm jurisdiction is regularly used to try citizens of other states. Frontiers ...

Bloodbaths

John Sutherland, 21 April 1988

Misery 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 340 39070 0
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The Tommyknockers 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 563 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 340 39069 7
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Touch 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 245 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 9780670816545
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Sideswipe 
by Charles Willeford.
Gollancz, 293 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 575 04197 8
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Ratking 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 282 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 571 15147 7
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... Stephen King has occasionally raised a rueful protest against being typed as a horror writer – even with the consolation of being the best-selling horror writer in the history of the world. But, as he disarmingly reminds us, there is worse literary company than Lovecraft, Leiber, Bloch, Matheson and Jackson. ‘I could, for example, be an “important” writer like Joseph Heller and publish a novel every seven years or so, or a “brilliant” writer like John Gardner and write obscure books for bright academics who eat macrobiotic foods and drive old Saabs with faded but still legible GENE McCARTHY FOR PRESIDENT stickers on the rear bumpers ...

From the Inside out

Jacqueline Rose: Eimear McBride, 22 September 2016

The Lesser Bohemians 
by Eimear McBride.
Faber, 313 pp., £16.99, September 2016, 978 0 571 32785 0
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... the age of his own daughter, women who take pleasure in pain – ‘I like of his upon me whatever marks he’s made’ (early in their relationship he refuses her request to sodomise her, then at the end relents). Or even for seeing this as a betrayal of the first novel, whose unnamed narrator, after a lifetime of abuse and the sexual self-harm which is its ...

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