Author Archives: Tom Fleming

Christ’s Faithful Apostle

Posted on by Tom Fleming

When Bishop Middleton was consecrated first Bishop of Calcutta in the early nineteenth century to govern an episcopal see that stretched from Australia to South Africa, the Prince Regent is reported to have said to him: ‘Above all, no enthusiasm, my Lord, no enthusiasm.’ This of course, was shortly after John Wesley’s heroic endeavours among […]

Murder and Mayhem

Posted on by Tom Fleming

When John Gardner published his spy-cum-ghost story The Werewolf Trace some years ago David Craig remarked in The New Review that Gardner had obviously realised that the spy story was ‘in need of some help, possibly from the Beyond’. Since then quite a few writers have sought aid from that quarter and spooks temporal have […]

Letter from New York

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Cold winds are blowing across Manhattan now from the East River and the Hudson. New Yorkers are scuttling round the grid of their streets, using the megalithic buildings for baffles. The Museum of Modern Art is celebrating its 50th anniversary with reconstruction and conservation. While the jackhammers demolish the surrounding real estate to prepare the […]

The Plain Man’s Pound

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Michael Alexander offers ‘an introductory critical survey of Pound’s verse as a whole’. After books by Kenner, Davie, Espey, Dekker, Stock and many others, do we still need such a thing? American academics have become divided unevenly into the Pound industry (producing some fascinating work on sources and contexts) and the majority who have put […]

Gasping for Words

Posted on by Tom Fleming

There may be hope for civilisation after all if a dictionary can rise – as this one has done – to the commanding heights of the non-fiction best sellers’ list. The popularity of Collins Dictionary of the English Language is understandable: it is well-presented, crisply-written, frighteningly comprehensive, and, at the price, a real bargain. It […]

Letter from New York

Posted on by Tom Fleming

The crisp clear days of September gave way to haze, rain and eventually snow by mid-October. Will a foreshortened fall presage another severe winter? Did the nuclear ‘accident’ at Three Mile Island in April confirm what everyone will tell you – the weather patterns are changing. At least the snow will deaden the noise and […]

An Innocent at the Fair

Posted on by Tom Fleming

I should, first, declare an interest or two: I attended the 31st Frankfurt Book fair as a journalist for this publication and others, as a writer whose work was being traded there, and as an incipient publisher who intended to wheel and deal with the big boys. It was, also, my first Frankfurt. I had […]

Yeats’s Image of Ireland

Posted on by Tom Fleming

In 1889 the 24-year-old W B Yeats wrote in his introduction to Stories from Carleton: ‘If you would know Ireland – body and soul – you must read its poems and stories.’ He was struck by the sound of two different accents in Anglo-Irish literature: that of the gentry and that of the peasantry and […]

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Writer

Posted on by Tom Fleming

At the height of the Cold War, the CIA came up with a scheme to balloon-drop thousands of copies of George Orwell’s Animal Farm into Soviet-controlled Poland. Printed in a compact, user-friendly format and translated into Polish, Orwell’s work, banned by the Soviet authorities following its publication in 1945, was mobilised by the Americans and […]

Trouble on the Horizon

Posted on by Tom Fleming

It was in December 1939 that Cyril Connolly set up the literary magazine Horizon, which was published monthly throughout the war and its immediate aftermath, the final issue appearing in December 1949. Connolly became the magazine’s editor, a position that was to earn him considerable prestige, although office life at Horizon was far from conventional, […]

Regarding Susan

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Everything about this book suggests it is much more the biography of a celebrity than an author. An international aristocracy of writers, artists, photographers and politicians flits through its pages; famous names – Andy Warhol, Robert Kennedy, W H Auden, Norman Mailer, Joseph Brodsky, Jasper Johns – pop up with dizzying

A Vital Debate

Posted on by Tom Fleming

When C P Snow famously lamented the division between the Two Cultures of science and the humanities, it was the scientific ignorance of those who studied the latter – and went on to be decision makers in politics, the civil service and the universities – that troubled him. Their inability to understand the nature and […]

Off His Pedestal

Posted on by Tom Fleming

There are elements to the tragedy of Mozart’s life that touch us even if we are in that taxing minority who remain unmoved by his music. Here was a man of prodigious talent, dead at thirty-five, worn out by the effort of constantly performing -and constantly exercising his genius. He had the strain of supporting […]

She Preferred to Drink with the Fellahs

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Mo Mowlam will go down in history for two things. She was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Good Friday Agreement, that benighted province’s best chance for peace, was signed, and probably had much to do with persuading the Republicans to engage in serious negotiation. That did not endear her to the Unionist […]

Plucky Couple Stuck on the African Railways

Posted on by Tom Fleming

This is the story of an enterprising and resilient former antique-lace restorer and minicab driver with an obsession for trains in Africa. It is not a book about Africa, much less ‘a full account of modern Africa’, as Miles Bredin’s publishers claim. Anyone who reads the first page of abbreviations and acronyms and finds ‘ANC […]

How They Saved the XIVth Army

Posted on by Tom Fleming

In the spring of 1944 the last great attack by the Axis powers in the Second World War was launched, when 100,000 Japanese came west over the Chindwin river to lay siege to the British stronghold of Imphal. Their aim was to destroy General Slim’s XIVth Army, which had been forced back through Burma to […]

Living On Mail Order

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Katie Hickman starts ahead of the game so far as I am concerned, since A Trip to the Light Fantastic with a Mexican Circus, published in 1993, is one of the most bizarrely enjoyable books about Mexico that I have ever read – and it is, after all, a country that lends itself to such. […]

I Would Prefer to Adopt the German Constitution

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Given that the new Labour Government is forever going on about its bold reforming agenda for the British constitution, Peter Riddell’s guide to this whole package of issues is a concise and salutary expose of how timid the government’s proposals are. Riddell looks in depth at how the power has shifted from Parliament to Europe, […]

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