sun 17/12/2017

biography

Jenny Uglow: Mr Lear - A Life of Art and Nonsense review - a lonely Victorian life, so richly illustrated

Jenny Uglow’s biography of Edward Lear (1812-1888) is a meander, almost day by day, through the long and immensely energetic life of a polymath artist. She builds her narrative on an enormous plethora of primary sources – his marvellous illustrated...

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Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre review - inclusive and utterly joyful

Everybody’s been talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie since its Sheffield Crucible debut earlier this year. It’s unusual to see a musical come steaming into the West End based on word on mouth – not star casting, or association with an...

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Han Kang: The White Book review - between what is, what was, what might have been

A woman gives birth alone two months early in a frost-bound village in the Korean countryside. In Poland, a solitary woman washes down white migraine pills and concludes she must write. The child that is born dies. The finished book commemorates her...

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Claire Tomalin: A Life of My Own review - the biographer on herself

The title says it all, or at least quite a lot. Luminously intelligent, an exceptionally hard worker, bilingual in French, a gifted biographer, Claire Tomalin has been at the heart of the literati glitterati all her working life. Here she turns her...

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Prism, Hampstead Theatre review - a life through the lens

Jack Cardiff was one of the all-time greats of cinematography, the man who shot such Powell and Pressburger classics as The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death, worked on John Huston’s The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine...

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James Hamilton: Gainsborough - A Portrait review - an artistic life told with verve and enthusiasm

James Hamilton’s wholly absorbing biography is very different from the usual kind of art historical study that often surrounds such a major figure as Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). Hamilton is positively in love with his subject, and writes with...

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It's So Easy and Other Lies, Sky Arts review - uneven rock bio outstays its welcome

Duff McKagan is a survivor. He’s a bass player too, from the fledgling Seattle punk/proto-grunge outfit 10 Minute Warning to the stadium-filling behemoth of Guns N’ Roses, but if you were judging by the narrative weight of this 2015 documentary, you...

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Brenda Maddox: Reading the Rocks review - revelations of geology

Reading the Rocks has a provocative subtitle, “How Victorian Geologists Discovered the Secret of Life”, indicating the role of geology in paving the way to an understanding of the evolution of our planet as a changing physical entity that was to...

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The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger review - voyages round a giant

“Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves.” I’ve quoted these words by John Berger many, many...

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Sunday Book: Yiyun Li - Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life

Yiyun Li’s fiction comes garlanded in praise from authors and journals that don’t ladle it out carelessly, so it feels almost churlish to cavil over a memoir written during the course of two years while the author battled serious mental health...

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To Walk Invisible, BBC One

Yorkshire-born screenwriter Sally Wainwright has carved a distinguished niche for herself as chronicler of that brooding, beautiful region’s social and familial dramas. After the romance of Last Tango in Halifax and the gritty panorama of Happy...

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Sunday Book: Ruth Franklin - Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

When asked about her most famous short story, "The Lottery", Shirley Jackson said, “I hate it. I’ve lived with that thing 15 years. Nobody will ever let me forget it.” Sixty-eight years later, it’s seared into the American psyche and has been a set...

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