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Cecily Cecily

Writing Worth Reading

“I’d Take Tea With Hitler”

Lucy Hughes-Hallett talks about The Pike, her biography of Gabriele D’Annunzio — warmonger, fascist, philanderer — which won this year’s Johnson non-fiction prize. Great attraction of D’Annunzio as a subject was that he formed “a hinge between 19th-century romanticism and 20th-century totalitarianism”. As for his character: “Disapproval is not an interesting response … I’d love to have dinner with him” (1,150 words)

The Man Behind The Dickens Hoax

Conversation with an embittered north London writer called Arnold Harvey, who fooled Dickens scholars and biographers for a decade by confecting a meeting between Dickens and Dostoyevsky in 1862. He also claims credit for fabricating a host of published academic writers, and a Latvian poet called Janis Blodnieks. Oh yes, and he edited the Salisbury Review for a while, after Roger Scruton (2,240 words)

In Bob We Trust

“Bob Dylan has been omnipresent for the past 50 years, yet we know next to nothing about him. Fat books pour forth, yet he still eludes us, this rolling stone, this balladic thin man. That may be why the love affair endures”

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