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Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Vatileaks Saga, 25 October 2012

... of the Gabriele verdict that the word on the cloister is that the butler was a fall guy and ‘the crow is still ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: In the Bunker, 2 July 2020

... refuges for time of war. Some things never change.Nine miles south-east of Falerii Novi – as the crow flies, or the badger digs; it’s nearly twice that distance by road – is the Bunker Soratte, built on Mussolini’s orders in 1937 as an air-raid shelter for the Italian army high command.* It’s in typical, bloated Fascist style, consisting of nearly ...

The Ugly Revolution

Michael Rogin: Martin Luther King Jr, 10 May 2001

I May Not Get there with You: The True Martin Luther King Jr 
by Michael Eric Dyson.
Free Press, 404 pp., £15.99, May 2000, 0 684 86776 1
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The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. Vol. IV: Symbol of the Movement January 1957-December 1958 
edited by Clayborne Carson et al.
California, 637 pp., £31.50, May 2000, 0 520 22231 8
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... the thousands of lynchings often advertised in advance as public entertainments; confined to Jim Crow schools, public accommodation, restaurants and hotels (where any were available at all); made involuntary participants in sterilisation and other medical experiments; and confronted with residential apartheid and job discrimination as they moved North. A ...

The Meaning of Silence

Peter Medawar, 2 February 1984

Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony 
by Lewis Thomas.
Viking, 168 pp., $12.95, November 1983, 0 670 70390 7
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... Lewis Thomas’s latest book is a collection of 24 short essays of which the first has to do with the gravest problem confronting mankind – the Bomb. In this essay his fans see a different Lewis Thomas – angry where he was once urbane, grim rather than gay, for no aspect of the bomb is at all funny and upon this subject Thomas is unrelievedly grave ...

While Statues Sleep

Thomas Laqueur, 18 June 2020

Learning from the Germans: Confronting Race and the Memory of Evil 
by Susan Neiman.
Allen Lane, 415 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 0 241 26286 3
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... again that chattel slavery was replaced ‘by subjugation enforced by law’ – that is, by Jim Crow. The South did not learn the lessons of its defeat by the North in 1865 as the Germans did of theirs by the Allies in 1945.If the ‘truth’ about the Civil War is still not established it isn’t for lack of effort by historians and teachers. Not since the ...

Bring some Madeira

Thomas Keymer: Thomas Love Peacock, 8 February 2018

Nightmare Abbey 
by Thomas Love Peacock, edited by Nicholas A. Joukovsky.
Cambridge, 297 pp., £84.99, December 2016, 978 1 107 03186 9
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Crotchet Castle 
by Thomas Love Peacock, edited by Freya Johnston and Matthew Bevis.
Cambridge, 328 pp., £79.99, December 2016, 978 1 107 03072 5
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... only servants who reflect his melancholy by means of ‘a long face or a dismal name’: Raven, Crow, Skellet, Mattocks, Graves. When in need of a new footman, Glowry jumps at the opportunity to hire Diggory Deathshead. But Deathshead turns out to be ruddy-cheeked and cheerful, and is promptly fired. Peacock was personally a poor match for his ...

Nayled to the wow

Tom Shippey, 7 January 1993

The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer 
by Derek Pearsall.
Blackwell, 365 pp., £19.95, September 1992, 1 55786 205 2
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A Wyf ther was: Essays in Honour of Paule Mertens-Fonck 
edited by Juliette Dor.
University of Liège, 300 pp., June 1992, 2 87233 004 6
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Hochon’s Arrow: The Social Imagination of 14th-Century Texts 
by Paul Strohm.
Princeton, 205 pp., £27.50, November 1992, 0 691 06880 1
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... a biographer. On the one hand, we have the 493 documented mentions of him brought together in the Crow and Olson Life Records, a body of paper which makes Chaucer far better evidenced as a person than Shakespeare two centuries later; on the other, there is the persistent refusal of these documents to see him as what we think we know he was (the major poet of ...

In the Gasworks

David Wheatley, 18 May 2000

To Ireland, I 
by Paul Muldoon.
Oxford, 150 pp., £19.99, March 2000, 0 19 818475 1
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Bandanna 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £7.99, February 1999, 0 571 19762 0
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The Birds 
translated by Paul Muldoon, by Richard Martin.
Gallery Press, 80 pp., £13.95, July 1999, 1 85235 245 0
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Reading Paul Muldoon 
by Clair Wills.
Bloodaxe, 222 pp., £10.95, October 1998, 1 85224 348 1
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... Aymé’s novel Le Passemuraille, about a man who can walk through walls, would have interested Thomas Caulfield Irwin (1823-92). Irwin is cited in Paul Muldoon’s To Ireland, I for a neighbourly dispute he was having with one John O’Donovan. ‘He says I am his enemy,’ Irwin wrote, ‘and watch him through the thickness of the wall which divides our ...

Writing a book about it

Christopher Reid, 17 October 1985

Collected Poems 
by Norman MacCaig.
Chatto, 390 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 7011 3953 6
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... that squats like a black hole, swallowing everything, in the middle of a sentence from ‘Solitary Crow’ (Rings on a Tree): Where he goes he carries, Since there’s no centre, what a centre is, And that is crow, the ragged self that’s his. ‘It was the place that it was in / And was in what the place was’ is how a ...

Banksability

Ian Sansom: Iain Banks, 5 December 2013

The Quarry 
by Iain Banks.
Little, Brown, 326 pp., £18.99, June 2013, 978 1 4087 0394 6
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... Dreams is merely a poor version of the real thing.) The novel The Quarry resembles most is The Crow Road: in both books, a group of characters gather together, there’s a secret, there’s a missing or mysterious father figure, and there’s a lot of Banks-beloved drinking and dope smoking. The book also strikingly resembles two films, The Big Chill ...

America Explodes

Adam Shatz, 18 June 2020

... a white mask, serving coffee to a white man without a mask at a lunch counter, a reminder that Jim Crow hasn’t so much died as been reconfigured. The message of such scenes was that whites had no reason to concern themselves with a ‘black plague’, except to make sure the help was taking precautions.The method of Floyd’s killing is no less ...

Mastering the Art of Understating Your Wealth

Thomas Keymer: The Tonsons, 5 May 2016

The Literary Correspondences of the Tonsons 
edited by Stephen Bernard.
Oxford, 386 pp., £95, March 2015, 978 0 19 870085 2
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... out Milton’s regicidal politics, or David Garrick, who turned Shakespeare from upstart crow into national bard; there were theoreticians of ‘original composition’ like Edward Young, who set a premium on the rejection of classical models; there were book-trade entrepreneurs whose huge poetry anthologies cashed in on the landmark case of ...

Mr Down-by-the-Levee

Thomas Jones: Updike’s Terrorist, 7 September 2006

Terrorist 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 310 pp., £17.99, August 2006, 0 241 14351 9
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... his own small corner of the country, observing every detail with care and precision – ‘a crow with something pale and long in its beak lazily flaps up from having poked a hole in a green garbage bag’ – makes living in it somehow more tolerable. The implication is not quite that the unexamined life is not worth living, rather that an unexamined ...

La Bolaing

Patrick Collinson: Anne Boleyn, 18 November 2004

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn 
by Eric Ives.
Blackwell, 458 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 631 23479 9
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... who had ruined everything, the bane of virtuous Queen Katherine, virtually the murderer of saintly Thomas More. For Protestants, she was, formally at least, the rootstock of their Reformation, and to be honoured as such. But mud sticks, and, after all, it was not the likes of Thomas More but the sacred monarch himself who ...

Facts and Makings

John Bayley, 21 February 1980

Moortown 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 176 pp., £5.25, October 1980, 0 571 11453 9
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Selected Poems 1955-1975 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 131 pp., £4.50, October 1980, 0 571 11512 8
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Collected Poems 1942-1977 
by W.S. Graham.
Faber, 268 pp., £8.50, November 1980, 0 571 11416 4
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... kind of romantic too, the seer and sage, not just naming things but naming them hermeneutically. Crow was a bird that never flew in a farmyard, and now we have ‘Prometheus on His Crag’, an all too similar cycle of 21 poems, in which Hughes’s great powers of turning the visual into the verbal disappear into a welter of ‘powerful’ imagery. Hughes ...

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