Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

The Search for D. H. Lawrence/ Video

D. H. Lawrence

Emeritus Professor John Worthen in conversation with Dr Andrew Harrison, Director of the University of Nottingham’s D. H. Lawrence Research, discusses the question of Lawrence and biography in the context of the Lakeside exhibition ‘The Many Lives of D. H. Lawrence.

About D. H. Lawrence


Murder in Hampstead: did a secret trial put the wrong man in jail?

Allan Chappelow. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA

Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor write:

Hall also mentioned the case of Mark Papazian, who was convicted in 2006 of the murder of a retired English teacher in his flat in Pond Street, two streets away from Downshire Hill. The jury at his trial was told that Papazian would search the Heath at night, looking for victims, because he fantasised about being a serial killer. In 2004, a man nicknamed “Gold Tooth” in the press, because of his distinctive capped tooth, was convicted of assault, theft and blackmail after a series of violent robberies on the Heath, and jailed for six years.

Hall, who said he had taken part in BDSM activities in the past, believes Chappelow’s death could well have been a sex encounter that ended in murder. He said that the wax burns and asphyxiation were indications of this kind of sexual encounter, and that he is surprised that the police did not look further into Chappelow’s private life. “Most of the crimes that occur on the Heath at night go unreported for various reasons,” said Hall. “This (Chappelow’s murder) was very unlikely to have been a burglary gone wrong.”

Despite what the appeal court said, the jury in the first trial “clearly concluded” nothing: they could not reach a verdict at all, and a small majority of them actually favoured acquittal. Their deliberations might have been very different if the evidence from both Jonathan Bean and Peter Hall had been available.

“When I submitted the application to the CCRC, I was confident that the fresh evidence – particularly that obtained by the Guardian – would lead to a referral back to the court of appeal,” said Kirsty Brimelow QC, who has represented Wang. “Evidence of a person stealing mail and threatening violence would have had a significant impact upon the jury. Also, the prosecution case focused on Mr Chappelow’s life as a recluse who never went out, and could not have met his assailant other than surprising a mail thief. Evidence of another side to his life would have challenged this focus, and in my view may well have changed the verdict. There always must be potential for unfairness with secret hearings.”

Geoffrey Robertson QC agrees. “Had the fresh evidence been available at the first trial, I do think it likely that Wang Yam would have been acquitted. I had, for example, raised the possibility of an assailant picked up on the Heath, but without the evidence that emerged years later that gave credence to the theory, consistent with some of the pathology, of a sadomasochistic ritual gone wrong. You cannot prove Wang Yam innocent – until someone confesses or they identify the DNA on the cigarettes – but doubts about his guilt are reasonable.”

The crumbling house in which Chappelow was murdered was later bought by developers, who demolished it and rebuilt a home in the Regency style, complete with an indoor swimming pool, private cinema and staff quarters. It went on the market last year for £14.5m, and has since been sold. This week, a black Range Rover stands in its driveway, there is not a leaf out of place in the garden, and the immaculately painted letterbox has the word “Post” painted helpfully on it. All traces of Allan Chappelow are gone.

About Allan Chappelow

“How to speculate on the motivations of those who hate us?”: Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson: credit Ekaterina Voskresenskaya

Fiona Sampson interviewed by Interlitq: read the entire interview:

Interlitq: I read somewhere that you had an English teacher who was quite hostile to you. Was this the case and, if so, why do you think it occurred? What were the dynamics of this relationship?

FS: How to speculate on the motivations of those who hate us? They just hate the whole way we “live and move and have our being”. She – this English teacher, who was also our form teacher, and whom we had for year after year because she had sort of half-adopted or anyway got too close to a girl in our class – was a kind of Miss Jean Brodie. She had pets and scapegoats and, well, let’s just say her boundaries were completely shot. I think things would be different today.

As for me, as usual for ages I didn’t notice: I was used to tough discipline. I just thought it was impersonal. But it wasn’t, and it’s a sadness because my life now is the legacy of that unkindness. Had she been a normal teacher, I would presumably have continued to love writing, and reading, as I had until she came along when I was about 13: I’d have gone straight to university at the usual age, made friends with a generation of writerly (instead of musical) peers, and – well, had years more to learn to be a writer. As it was, I ran away from her – and school, and writing – into music. I left school at sixteen with two A’levels.

Was there anything good about all this? It was an early lesson in the way you tend to be punished for doing something well: if you’re a girl, at least.



Fiona Sampson‘s Wikipedia entry.

Fiona Sampson‘s website.

Fiona Sampson‘s contribution to Interlitq‘s Poetic Voices.

Fiona Sampson‘s contribution to Interlitq‘s English Writers 1.

Fiona Sampson‘s contribution to Issue 8 of Interlitq.

Fiona Sampson‘s In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein.

Rachell Hewitt reviews in The Guardian Fiona Sampson‘s In Search of Mary Shelley.

Mary Shelley‘s Wikipedia entry.

“I particularly like (Iris) Murdoch’s letters to Raymond Queneau and to Brigid Brophy”: Avril Horner

Iris Murdoch

Avril Horner interviewed by Kayla Whittle in Princeton University Press Blog:

What letter run is your favorite or the most significant in giving an insight into Murdoch’s character/personality?

AH: I particularly like Murdoch’s letters to Raymond Queneau and to Brigid Brophy. Her correspondence with the French writer Raymond Queneau began shortly after she met him in Innsbruck in 1946 and lasted for thirty years. Through it we can track both her excitement about French literature and philosophy and the enormous intellectual influence Queneau had on her mind and work (Under the Net is dedicated to him and owes much to his novel Pierrot Mon Ami) as well as the sad tale of her unrequited love for him. Queneau, living in Paris and married with a son, was clearly fond of Murdoch and knew she had talent but resisted her overtures for him to become her lover. Over the years, Murdoch’s obsessive desire for Queneau transmuted into a dignified settling for his friendship but it is clear that she felt, for many years, that he was her true intellectual soul-mate.

Murdoch’s letters to Brigid Brophy, whom she met in 1954 are altogether different. Like Queneau, Brophy was an immensely gifted polymath but she was also a political activist (she frequently expressed her deep antipathy to the war in Vietnam), an outspoken advocate of bisexuality and a vegan when few people had heard of the word. Beautiful, provocative, witty, erratic and irreverent she greatly appealed to Murdoch and in some ways functioned as her alter ego. They quickly became close, enriching each other intellectually and exchanging ideas, often daily, on paper. (The Iris Murdoch Archive at Kingston holds over a 1,000 letters from Murdoch to Brophy.) Murdoch’s letters to Brophy are distinguished by their intensity of feeling, their intellectual acrobatics and their humour. The relationship was a stormy one, however, and Murdoch came to feel that she could never quite meet Brophy’s demands; nor did she wish to jeopardize her marriage to John Bayley. The intense liaison came to an end in 1967, when Brophy fell in love with Maureen Duffy, but Murdoch and Brophy kept in touch, on and off, until Brophy’s death from muscular sclerosis in 1995.

About Iris Murdoch.

About Raymond Queneau.

About Brigid Brophy.

About Avril Horner.

“Homosexuality is everywhere and nowhere in ‘The Servant’. Harold Pinter’s…”

Peter Bradshaw writes:

Homosexuality is everywhere and nowhere in The Servant. Harold Pinter’s superbly controlled, elliptical, menacing dialogue is able to hint, to imply, to seduce, to repulse, in precisely the manner that gay men were forced to adopt in 1963, when homosexuality was still a criminal offence, and when representing homosexuality on screen was forbidden. To locate the gay gene in The Servant, you have to go back to its source, the 1948 novella written by Robin Maugham, the nephew of W Somerset Maugham. The Servant has its spark in an extraordinary event in Maugham’s own life, to be treasured by connoisseurs of British sex and class.

Maugham had rented a house, which came with its own servant, a man who unnerved him by gliding about almost invisibly. One evening, Maugham went on a date with Mary Soames, the daughter of Winston Churchill. He took her back to his flat and she asked for a drink: a cold lager from the fridge, as opposed to warm ale. (Interestingly, this drink recurs in the movie, but not the novel.) The fridge was just next to the manservant’s room in the basement, the door of which was open; Maugham glanced in and saw a naked teenage boy on the bed. The servant appeared from nowhere and said in his odd drawl: “I see you are admiring my young nephew, sahr. Would you like me to send him up to you to say goodnight, sahr?” Maugham pretended he hadn’t heard and simply went away without replying.