Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Re-thinking History” by Keith Jenkins

This is a short book bought on impulse at the wonderful bookshop in Wemyss Bay station, the ferry port for Bute, on the south side of the Clyde estuary down Glasgow. I think at the time I’d just read Richard Evans’ In … Continue reading

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Poetry Review 104:1 Spring 2014

Highlights: Jan Wagner’s “evensong, lago di como” (translated by Eva Bourke): an excellent Martian-postcard poem: …the empty car ferry carries a last cargo of light across the water. Review of Philip Gross’ Later, which manages to describe his style in ways … Continue reading

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“‘My Dear Jim’, a biography of Walter Spradbery”, by John Spradbery

Walter Spradbery, artist and pacifist, founder of the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, was married to my great aunt Edna’s sister, the opera singer Dorothy Horsey, known musically as Dorothy d’Orsay. They had a house in Buckhurst Hill called the … Continue reading

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Swapping: divan and tribunal

Divan comes from the Persian “devan,” which originally meant “assembly of rulers,” but now means the padded platform upon which the leaders sit. Tribunal was a raised platform provided for magistrates’ seats, and now refers to the people sitting on … Continue reading

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“Sweet Tooth” by Ian McEwan

So far my McEwan reading has been: –The Comfort of Strangers (many years ago, at a friend’s house). A chilling novella with a gruesomely violent ending, but whose motivations are implausible –Saturday. Again tension, but this time much better handled … Continue reading

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“Homecoming” by Michael Morpurgo

A moving tale by the great man about his own childhood in Bradwell, Essex, and how the building of a nuclear power station destroyed a paradise, in particular the caravan-home of Miss Pettigrew. Much is made of the fact that … Continue reading

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Plato’s Symposium

As often with Plato there’s a layered entry: the party being related is remembered at second hand. This is important as it sets up doubt, makes us wonder what’s really going on here. The game the men decide to play … Continue reading

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