I wish I could give this sublime marrying of the art and the life 10 stars. This is very much a writer’s biography, and an absolutely gorgeous demonstration of how to frame a narrative begins, appropriately enough, with the framing by Gorra of the author, Henry James: “Many years later he would remember the way the book had begun. He was old then, and in England ....” It’s a description that mirrors beautifully the framing by James himself of the entrance of his great heroine, Isabel Archer, in The Portrait of a Lady, as “the girl in the doorway”.
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Wednesday 13 January 2010
Sunday 15 November 2009
Following the opening earlier this month of Bright Star, Jane Campion's film about the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne, Penguin has clearly decided to target young, love-sick girls, which inevitably means lots of flowers on the cover of this collection of letters and poems from Keats to his neighbour. Yet I'm not sure those girls will find what they're looking for in this book: the bulk is about the misery and pain of the reality of love, not its joys.
Wednesday 28 October 2009
Tuesday 04 August 2009
A doomed postbox due to be removed by Royal Mail has been turned into a shrine by Bristol residents mourning its impending loss.
Monday 02 March 2009
'O Moon, when I gaze on your beautiful face, careering along through the boundaries of space... the thought has often come into my mind... if ever I shall see thy glorious behind'.
Sunday 04 January 2009
In his introduction to "A Man's a man for a' that", Andrew O'Hagan proclaims Burns "the world's greatest and most loveable poet". You could make a case for the latter adjective, but not, I submit, the former. At all. However, these are fighting words for a fighting poet.
Friday 05 December 2008
Every year the Forward anthology, drawn from poems shortlisted or highly commended for its prizes, supplies a face-saving one-stop catch-up for readers who feel they ought to read more current poetry, but ... The judges, chaired this year by Frieda Hughes, reliably deliver on two fronts. They present strong new work from the names you should know: respect to (among others) Mick Imlah, Sujata Bhatt, Jamie McKendrick, Mimi Khalvati. And Ciaran Carson – Nina Ricci owes him a generous tribute for "L'Air du Temps" from his future-classic narrative, For All We Know. The volume also opens doors to discovery. My month is brighter thanks to Tim Turnbull's "Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn". Would Keats have approved this pimping of his Grecian ride to "the joyful throb of UK garage or/ Of house imported from the continent"? You bet.
Friday 24 October 2008
Sunday 13 April 2008
Friday 07 March 2008
Saturday 07 October 2006
Last week the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced that coursework was to be cut from GCSE maths. Yesterday the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said it should be dropped from a host of arts subjects too. The wind is blowing against coursework, just as fiercely as it once blew in its favour. Not that the arguments have changed much over the years.
Sunday 14 May 2006
Sunday 14 August 2005
Friday 27 May 2005
Friday 18 June 2004
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 4 Alex Salmond: 'The rocks would melt with the sun before I'd ever set foot in the House of Lords'