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Was it hayfever?

Henry Gee, 3 July 1997

T. Rex and the Crater of Doom 
by Walter Alvarez.
Princeton, 236 pp., £18.95, May 1997, 0 691 01630 5
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... that sudden, unique changes could have a place in the schemes of the most die-hard uniformitarian. Walter Alvarez was raised, like all geologists, as a good uniformitarian. In the Seventies, when astronauts were discovering a lunar landscape shattered by catastrophic impacts, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia. Uniformitarian geologists didn’t ...

What killed the Neanderthals?

Luke Mitchell, 8 May 2014

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History 
by Elizabeth Kolbert.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 4088 5122 7
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... the dinosaurs, for instance: how did we come to know about such an unlikely event? In the 1970s, Walter Alvarez, a geologist, was studying the Gola del Bottaccione, a gorge in Perugia. Tectonic activity had lifted and tilted the ancient Italian limestone 45 degrees, and visitors could hike past a hundred million years of strata in just a few hundred ...

What lives and what dies?

Francis Gooding: The End-Cretaceous Event, 3 January 2019

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: The Untold Story of a Lost World 
by Steve Brusatte.
Macmillan, 404 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 5098 3006 0
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... caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction – was first put forward in 1980 by the geologist Walter Alvarez, working with his father Luis, a physicist and Nobel Prize winner. Brusatte, a reader in vertebrate palaeontology at Edinburgh, describes being taken as a student by Alvarez to a rocky gorge in Perugia near ...

Oh, My Aching Back

Roy Porter, 2 November 1995

The History of Pain 
by Roselyne Rey, translated by Elliott Wallace and J.A. Cadden , and S.W. Cadden.
Harvard, 394 pp., £25.50, October 1995, 0 674 39967 6
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... mind’, as they say. ‘Real pain, especially severe pain,’ insisted the American physician, Walter Alvarez, ‘points to the presence of organic rather than functional disease. On the other hand, a burning, or a quivering, or a picking, pricking, pulling, pumping, crawling, boiling, gurgling, thumping, throbbing, gassy or itching sensation, or a ...

Social Arrangements

John Bayley, 30 December 1982

The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry 
edited by Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 208 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 14 042283 8
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The Rattle Bag 
edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
Faber, 498 pp., £10, October 1982, 0 571 11966 2
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... was formed only by the previous Penguin of 1962, The New Poetry, selected and introduced by A. Alvarez. Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion are well aware that there is something comically factitious about the stance that has to be adopted by each new spokesman on the poetry scene – ‘we are not,’ they say, ‘the first anthologists this century to have ...

Gurney’s Flood

Donald Davie, 3 February 1983

Geoffrey Grigson: Collected Poems 1963-1980 
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 419 4Show More
The Cornish Dancer 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 64 pp., £4.95, June 1982, 0 436 18805 8
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 420 8
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses: A Critical Collection 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 437 2
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Collected Poems of Ivor Gurney 
edited by P.J. Kavanagh.
Oxford, 284 pp., £12, September 1982, 0 19 211940 0
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War Letters 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 271 pp., £12, February 1983, 0 85635 408 2
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... is in Blessings, Kicks and Curses) he develops a very just and instructive distinction between Walter Scott, prepared to compromise with his public, and Wordsworth, not so prepared; then realises that this is just the distinction that Leavis would have made and, instead of welcoming Leavis as an ally, marks out his distinction from him by talking of his ...


Mark Ford: Emily Dickinson’s Manuscripts, 19 June 2014

The Gorgeous Nothings 
by Emily Dickinson.
New Directions, 255 pp., £26.50, October 2013, 978 0 8112 2175 7
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The Marvel of Biographical Bookkeeping 
by Francis Nenik, translated by Katy Derbyshire.
Readux, 64 pp., £3, October 2013, 978 3 944801 00 1
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... a poetic version of a bit of Ariston, a satirical dig at ‘Big Spender’ or ‘El Scior Alvarez’, a squib poking fun at ‘The Poetry Boob Society’ or ‘The Darts Council’. I worked for a while as a postman: how refreshing it would have been to find amid the bills and circulars and birthday cards one of Moore’s fantastically mottoed and ...

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