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Detecting the Duchess

Jon Day: Serious Doper, 12 August 2021

The Russian Affair: The True Story of the Couple who Uncovered the Greatest Sporting Scandal 
by David Walsh.
Simon and Schuster, 384 pp., £9.99, July, 978 1 4711 5818 6
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The Rodchenkov Affair: How I Brought Down Russia’s Secret Doping Empire 
by Grigory Rodchenkov.
W.H. Allen, 320 pp., £8.99, July, 978 0 7535 5335 0
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... young Russian couple – Yulia and Vitaly Stepanov – who helped expose a vast doping conspiracy. David Walsh, a sports journalist for the Times with a good record of uncovering cheats (he wrote about his role in exposing Lance Armstrong in his previous book, Seven Deadly Sins), tells their story with the breathless drive of an airport thriller. The ...

Exceptionally Wonderful Book

John Sutherland, 6 October 1994

Knowledge of Angels 
by Jill Paton Walsh.
Green Bay in association with Colt, 268 pp., £14.99, July 1994, 0 948845 05 8
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... motives are transparent. As transparent is the Smarties Grand Prix, which Jill Paton Walsh won for her children’s book, Gaffer Samson’s Lunch, in 1984: Nestlé’s want to associate a product which is bad for children’s teeth with one that is thought to be good for their minds. The Encore fiction award, which gives a handsome prize ...


Graham Coster, 12 September 1991

Paradise News 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 294 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 436 25668 1
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... accepted Boeing’s tender for a massive new cargo aircraft for the United States Air Force, David Lodge would not have been able to write Paradise News. Instead, however, Lockheed got the contract, and Boeing were left with a redundant set of blueprints for the biggest furniture van never built. To save all that development money going to waste, they ...


Stephen Walsh: Prokofiev, 25 September 2003

Prokofiev: From Russia to the West 1891-1935 
by David Nice.
Yale, 390 pp., £25, April 2003, 0 300 09914 2
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... wrote. Stravinsky of course remained immune – but that’s another story. The first volume of David Nice’s Prokofiev biography stops when the 44-year-old composer settles in Moscow with his Spanish wife, Lina, and two young sons at the end of 1935. But it describes in detail the eight preceding years, during which Prokofiev lived and worked as a ...

But what did they say?

Stephen Walsh: Music in 1853, 25 October 2012

Music in 1853: The Biography of a Year 
by Hugh Macdonald.
Boydell, 208 pp., £25, June 2012, 978 1 84383 718 3
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... secret league of kindred spirits,’ like – he might have added – the Davidsbund, or League of David, which he had portrayed in his own early piano works in the guise of an alliance against the untalented, anti-progressive Philistines. The NGS, precisely, was a Davidsbund. Schumann would not have tolerated the exclusion of Brahms, and he would have been ...


John Bayley: Serious Novels, 10 November 1994

... vivid feel for characterisation, that of adolescents in particular, as if the first part of David Copperfield were being written today in exotic places. Paradise concludes in a fashionable aporia – its author is after all an academic – but both novels seem successfully to resist the anxieties of contemporary influence, and to behave, as it were, in ...

Mr Lion, Mr Cock and Mr Cat

Roger Lonsdale, 5 April 1990

A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... of the Christian poet. The fine Oxford edition of Smart by Karina Williamson and Marcus Walsh has already made discussion and elucidation of his religious poetry highly sophisticated, and this is also largely taken for granted by Guest, who can further refine interpretation of some particularly cryptic passages of Jubilate Agno and of the ...

I hate thee, Djaun Bool

Denis Donoghue: James Clarence Mangan, 17 March 2005

James Clarence Mangan: Selected Writings 
edited by Sean Ryder.
University College Dublin, 514 pp., £21, February 2004, 1 900621 92 4
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The Collected Works of James Clarence Mangan: Prose 1832-39 
edited by Jacques Chuto, Peter Van der Kamp, Augustine Martin and Ellen Shannon-Mangan.
Irish Academic, 416 pp., £45, October 2002, 0 7165 2577 1
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The Collected Works of James Clarence Mangan: Prose 1840-82 
edited by Jacques Chuto, Peter Van der Kamp, Augustine Martin and Ellen Shannon-Mangan.
Irish Academic, 496 pp., £45, October 2002, 0 7165 2735 9
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James Clarence Mangan: Poems 
edited by David Wheatley.
Gallery Press, 160 pp., £8.95, April 2005, 1 85235 345 7
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Selected Poems of James Clarence Mangan 
edited by Jacques Chuto, Rudolf Holzapfel, Peter Van der Kamp and Ellen Shannon-Mangan.
Irish Academic, 320 pp., £16, May 2003, 0 7165 2782 0
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... translations supplied by James Hardiman, John O’Donovan, Eugene O’Curry, John O’Daly, Edward Walsh, Samuel Ferguson and other sources. It is impossible to know how Mangan could have written so many poems and essays in a few years beset by poverty, illness, drunkenness and what he himself called ‘moral insanity’. Mangan’s place in Irish culture is ...

Going Electric

Patrick McGuinness: J.H. Prynne, 7 September 2000

by J.H. Prynne.
Bloodaxe/Folio/Fremantle Arts Centre, 440 pp., £25, March 2000, 1 85224 491 7
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Pearls that Were 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 28 pp., £4, March 1999, 1 900968 95 9
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by J.H. Prynne.
Barque, 42 pp., £4, December 1999, 9781903488010
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Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970 
edited by Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain.
Wesleyan, 280 pp., $45, March 1999, 0 8195 2241 4
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... a spread of generations, from Brian Coffey (1905-95) and Jonathan Griffin (1906-90) to Catherine Walsh (b. 1964) and Fred D’Aguiar (b. 1960), and represent a wide diversity of poetic practices. They also tell us the names of another fifty-odd poets they would have liked to put in – ‘significant omissions’ we can pursue elsewhere. As a rule, anthology ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... wimpish Frances Peverell signals the obvious prompt to Dame Phyllis (obligingly picked up by John Walsh in the Independent magazine). The drag, for this reviewer, was being caught up in an unforgiving ‘Garlands of English Literature’ quiz set by a bright, time-warped 16-year-old from the Cambridge High School for Girls. You daren’t skip-read for fear of ...

Toots, they owned you

John Lahr: My Hollywood Fling, 15 June 2023

Hollywood: The Oral History 
edited by Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson.
Faber, 739 pp., £25, November 2022, 978 0 571 36694 1
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... in my novel The Autograph Hound. The picaresque pursuits of its celebrity-hunting busboy, Benny Walsh, showed him assailed, seduced and driven crazy by the proliferating imagery of Hollywood’s razzle-dazzle, its voodoo of escape. Benny was some kind of buoyant sleepwalker, mesmerised by the lives and narratives of celebrated others. His adulation was also ...

Superman Falls to Earth

Ferdinand Mount: Boris Johnson’s First Year, 2 July 2020

... January, they have been managed by a new Task Force Europe, led by Johnson’s chief negotiator, David Frost, a burly, acerbic diplomat, one of the few in the Foreign Office who has always loathed the EU. Frost’s conversations with Michel Barnier have become openly bitter and recriminatory, in a way not seen before. Frost is backed up by contemptuous ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... form as we once knew and loved it. Wasn’t Humphrey Bogart as Roy ‘Mad Dog’ Earle, in Raoul Walsh’s film of W.R. Burnett’s High Sierra, undone by a barking mutt on the mountainside? How else could these gnarled recidivists signal their hearts of gold, if not by palling up to an orphan kid or stroking a shaggy pooch? Sallis belongs, as I discovered ...

Still Reeling from My Loss

Andrew O’Hagan: Lulu & Co, 2 January 2003

I Don't Want to Fight 
by Lulu.
Time Warner, 326 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 0 316 86169 3
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by Pamela Stephenson.
HarperCollins, 400 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 00 711092 8
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Just for the Record 
by Geri Halliwell.
Ebury, 221 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 188655 4
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Learning to Fly 
by Victoria Beckham.
Penguin, 528 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 14 100394 4
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Right from the Start 
by Gareth Gates.
Virgin, 80 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 1 85227 914 1
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by Ulrika Jonsson.
Sidgwick, 417 pp., £16.99, October 2002, 0 283 07367 5
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... that someone from nowhere can take everywhere by storm. Her new manager is the teen-wrangler Louis Walsh, who can be seen making and breaking young hopefuls every Saturday night on the television show Popstars: The Rivals. Out of her troubles – and the overcoming of her troubles – Lulu has become poster-girl for a new generation of the enduringly ...

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