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Matthew Reynolds: Translating Cesare Pavese, 6 October 2005

Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-50 
by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
Carcanet, 370 pp., £14.95, April 2004, 1 85754 738 1
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Italian Poems 
edited by Jamie McKendrick.
Faber, 167 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 0 571 19700 0
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... when he wrote in Italian. Throughout his career he worked as a translator, notably of Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, Dos Passos, Melville and Dickens, and published essays on them and other English and American writers. In the 1930s, this was a conscious contribution to the Anti-Fascist intellectual culture which endured in Turin: as ...

Diary

Jeremy Harding: In Bordeaux, 5 April 2012

... trim. The legs were grotesquely extended and put me in mind of a figure in a painting by Wyndham Lewis. I began to imagine that the archaeologist too had adjustable legs, concealed by his cargo pants: any moment he’d ratchet up to an enormous height, man and machine performing an outlandish ceremony to propitiate the dead. Someone suggested to the guide ...

No Shortage of Cousins

David Trotter: Bowenology, 12 August 2021

Selected Stories 
by Elizabeth Bowen, edited by Tessa Hadley.
Vintage, 320 pp., £14.99, April, 978 1 78487 715 6
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The Hotel 
by Elizabeth Bowen.
Anchor, 256 pp., $16, August 2020, 978 0 593 08065 8
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Friends and Relations 
by Elizabeth Bowen.
Anchor, 224 pp., $16, August 2020, 978 0 593 08067 2
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... The mood at Batts is one of desultoriness, torpor, ennui. Shortly before Edward’s arrival, Lewis Gibson, best man at Edward and Laurel’s wedding, observes Janet drift across the lawn, where her father lies fast asleep in a deckchair. Janet’s hand moves slowly across the back of the chair, without touching it. ...

Admiring

Stephen Wall, 26 March 1992

Surviving: The Uncollected Writings of Henry Green 
edited by Matthew Yorke.
Chatto, 302 pp., £18, February 1992, 0 7011 3900 5
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Pack my bag 
by Henry Green.
Hogarth, 242 pp., £9.99, February 1992, 0 7012 0988 7
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Loving 
by Henry Green.
Harvill, 225 pp., £6.99, February 1992, 0 00 271185 0
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... He went down without a degree, failing to get on both with Anglo-Saxon and with his tutor C.S. Lewis, and understandably preferring to spend every afternoon at the cinema. After Oxford, Henry Yorke (to use his proper name) spent two years on the shop floor in the family engineering firm H. Pontifex and Sons. This led to the appearance of Living, his novel ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor, 18 February 2016

The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... he praises Orwell, who appeals to his Plain Man side). In the Independent last year he patronised Jeremy Corbyn as a typical English puritan, in the usual lazy caricature of the sour-faced, high-minded left. He is easily irritated by talk of class conflict, and is not exactly in congratulatory mood when he calls John Carey the most class-conscious critic of ...

Diary

Tim Dee: Twitching, 11 March 2010

... For some men, nothing else – human or otherwise – will mark their lives to such an extent. Jeremy Mynott’s Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and Experience is an attempt to put birdwatching back into birding, to reconnect the obsession with rarity and listing to a world that thinks more humanly about birds.* Mynott is unquestionably a birder. He ...

A Thousand Slayn

Barbara Newman: Ars Moriendi, 5 November 2020

Arts of Dying: Literature and Finitude in Medieval England 
by D. Vance Smith.
Chicago, 309 pp., £24, April, 978 0 226 64099 0
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... Colonne), Lydgate describes the Trojans’ elaborate embalming of their dead hero. Seated like Jeremy Bentham in the middle of a temple, Hector’s corpse preserves a simulacrum of life because of a special ‘liquor’ made to flow continually through his body, using a system of artificial channels extending from a hole in his head down to a pool at his ...

Vermin Correspondence

Iain Sinclair, 20 October 1994

Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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... class of used literature: with the attendant strangeness of honourable leftists peddling Wyndham Lewis and all the phallic stormutroopers of High Modernism. Such contrary behaviour is meat and drink to Watson’s poodle dialectics. After all, it was the not notably socialist Ackroyd who (along with Ian Patterson and Nick Totton) published the first bulletin ...

Mother One, Mother Two

Jeremy Harding: A memoir, 31 March 2005

... The first was a Bible with a hard yellowish binding, ivory it was said, a baptism gift to ‘Jeremy’ and signed by the composer Haydn Wood – a friend of Colin’s parents, I suppose – who’d written the popular tune ‘Roses of Picardy’ in 1916. Above his signature, he’d copied out a few bars from the refrain, along with the words by Fred ...

Cruelty to Animals

Brigid Brophy, 21 May 1981

Reckoning with the Beast 
by James Turner.
Johns Hopkins, 190 pp., £7.50, February 1981, 0 8018 2399 4
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The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes 
by S. Zuckerman.
Routledge, 511 pp., £17.50, March 1981, 0 7100 0691 8
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... and answers about animals were (as he must know, since he quotes him) put with more elegance by Jeremy Bentham, who wrote in 1780: ‘The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?’ For the matter of that, what does he suppose Blake was in revulsion from, if not the pain suffered by animals? Mr Turner’s assertion that ...

Pull the Other One

Ian Hacking, 26 January 1995

The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life 
by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray.
Free Press, 845 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 02 914673 9
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... adherents range from Edward Luttwak, writing powerfully in these pages on 7 April last year, to Jeremy Rifkin in The End of Work. From an abstract point of view – the vantage point of those who have high IQs and some idle time – Herrnstein and Murray have quite the neatest version of doom. People of high IQ have increasingly come to dominate the ...

Reasons for Corbyn

William Davies, 13 July 2017

... Macron), in the last two years we have witnessed the unforeseen rise of Bernie Sanders (75), Jeremy Corbyn (68) and Donald Trump (71), the oldest man ever to become president. These men have lurked on the margins of public life for decades, and a stockpile of images and stories has accumulated around them. Both Corbyn and Sanders have an impressive ...

Schadenfreude with Bite

Richard Seymour: Trolling, 15 December 2016

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture 
by Whitney Phillips.
MIT, 256 pp., £10, September 2016, 978 0 262 52987 7
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Gendertrolling: How Misogyny Went Viral 
by Karla Mantilla.
Praeger, 280 pp., £32, August 2015, 978 1 4408 3317 5
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Bad Clowns 
by Benjamin Radford.
New Mexico, 188 pp., £12, February 2016, 978 0 8263 5666 6
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Trolls: An Unnatural History 
by John Lindow.
Reaktion, 60 pp., £9.99, August 2015, 978 1 78023 565 3
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... need trolls to invent it. In the pre-internet era, it perhaps seemed more innocent: Candid Camera; Jeremy Beadle duping a hapless member of the public. The ungovernable rage of the unwitting victim is always funny to someone, and invariably there is sadistic detachment in the amusement. The trolls’ innovation has been to add a delight in nonsense and ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... quite understand why they are happy to sit on a panel with the likes of Farage, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Clarkson et al. Their reasoning would, I imagine, be that this gives them the opportunity to have fun at the expense of Farage and Co. And so they do. But the impression an audience comes away with is that actually nothing much matters and that these ...

Cute, My Arse

Seamus Perry: Geoffrey Hill, 12 September 2019

The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 148 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 19 882952 2
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... sections have something of the quality of a diary or a day-book: he takes note of public events (Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, the Brexit vote), responds to the books he’s reading and to what’s in the papers, as well as occasionally registering very beautifully the changing seasons in his garden and, somewhere in the background, the ...

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