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Humph

Peter Campbell, 4 July 1985

Degas: His Life, Times and Work 
by Roy McMullen.
Secker, 517 pp., £18.50, March 1985, 9780436276477
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Degas: The Dancers 
by George Shackelford.
Norton, 151 pp., £22.95, March 1985, 0 393 01975 6
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Degas Pastels, Oil Sketches, Drawings 
by Götz Adriani.
Thames and Hudson, 408 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 500 09168 4
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Bricabracomania: The Bourgeois and the Bibelot 
by Rémy de Saisselin.
Thames and Hudson, 189 pp., £12.50, February 1985, 0 500 23424 8
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... and hence a rather coherent set of historical and cultural values’. At the other end is Bernard Berenson, a necessary validating agent in the process whereby American money and European art produced (through what Henry Adams called ‘the universal solvent of money valuations’) a portable culture for a new ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... a kaleidoscope of groups stretching from Ian Paisley’s branch of the Unionists through to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and whoever they officially or unofficially represent. Typically, this ‘peaceful solution’ seems to involve shuffling Northern Ireland into a closer relationship with the Irish Republic and trying to get the spectrum of political ...

Heat-Seeking

Susan Pedersen: A.J.P. Taylor, 10 May 2007

A.J.P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe 
by Chris Wrigley.
Tauris, 439 pp., £25, August 2006, 1 86064 286 1
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... site of his first (and only) spate of serious archival research and of his meeting with Margaret Adams, the well-to-do music student who would become his first wife. Ambition and strong recommendations won Taylor a teaching post at Manchester in 1930, where he wrote his first books on Continental diplomacy, began reviewing for the Guardian, played a minor ...

On a Chinese Mountain

Frank Kermode, 20 November 1986

The Royal Beasts 
by William Empson.
Chatto, 201 pp., £12.95, November 1986, 0 7011 3084 9
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Essays on Shakespeare 
by William Empson.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £25, May 1986, 0 521 25577 5
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... trying to collaborate on a stage piece for the Mermaid Theatre. I can no longer remember how Bernard Miles came up with this very bad idea, or why we both agreed to try it. I had known Empson a bit since his return from China, we had lunch and sometimes met as neighbours in Hampstead, but there was an element of unease in the relationship, which I think ...

Fish out of water

Robert Dawidoff, 4 February 1988

The Works of George Santayana. Vol. I: Persons and Places 
edited by William Holzberger and Herman Saatkamp.
MIT, 761 pp., £24.95, March 1987, 0 262 19238 1
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George Santayana: A Biography 
by John McCormick.
Knopf, 612 pp., $30, August 1988, 0 394 51037 2
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... clear-eyed way he refused to substitute one allegiance for another, refused to fantasise, as Henry Adams did or Walter Pater, the substitution for the present of some past. He was as detached from what he cherished as from what he criticised. Neither the present nor the past struck Santayana as susceptible of improvement. The laughter in his books is seldom ...

What the Twist Did for the Peppermint Lounge

Dave Haslam: Club culture, 6 January 2000

Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture 
by Sheryl Garratt.
Headline, 335 pp., £7.99, May 1999, 0 7472 7680 3
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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey 
by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.
Headline, 408 pp., £14.99, November 1999, 0 7472 7573 4
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Saturday Night For Ever: The Story of Disco 
by Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen.
Mainstream, 223 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 9781840181777
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DJ Culture 
by Ulf Poschardt.
Quartet, 473 pp., £13, January 1999, 0 7043 8098 6
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Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture 
by Simon Reynolds.
Picador, 493 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 0 330 35056 0
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More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction 
by Kodwo Eshun.
Quartet, 208 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 7043 8025 0
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... disco. Jones and Kantonen write about musicians and producers – from Giorgio Moroder to Patrick Adams – as well as influential record labels (like Casablanca and Salsoul) and clubs. Early in the book the authors make an effort to distance themselves from Abba and the Bee Gees (a strategy recommended to all serious advocates of disco) – those regrettable ...

The Girl Who Waltzes

Laura Jacobs: George Balanchine, 9 October 2014

Balanchine and the Lost Muse: Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer 
by Elizabeth Kendall.
Oxford, 288 pp., £22.99, August 2013, 978 0 19 995934 1
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... In 1973​ , when George Balanchine was asked by his biographer Bernard Taper to appraise the previous decade of his life, he replied: ‘It’s all in the programmes.’ He meant that the most important information was already onstage: in the new ballets he made, the old ones he revived and the dancers he chose to perform them ...

Bonfire in Merrie England

Richard Wilson: Shakespeare’s Burning, 4 May 2017

... following morning the building was a blackened shell.’Afterwards a telegram arrived from George Bernard Shaw: ‘You must be delighted. Congratulations. It will be a tremendous advantage to have a proper modern building. There are a number of other theatres I should like to see burned down.’ Shaw had opened the final season in the old building, proposing ...

Why name a ship after a defeated race?

Thomas Laqueur: New Lives of the ‘Titanic’, 24 January 2013

The Wreck of the ‘Titan’ 
by Morgan Robertson.
Hesperus, 85 pp., £8, March 2012, 978 1 84391 359 7
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Shadow of the ‘Titanic’ 
by Andrew Wilson.
Simon and Schuster, 392 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 1 84739 882 6
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‘Titanic’ 100th Anniversary Edition: A Night Remembered 
by Stephanie Barczewski.
Continuum, 350 pp., £15.99, December 2011, 978 1 4411 6169 7
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The Story of the Unsinkable ‘Titanic’: Day by Day Facsimile Reports 
by Michael Wilkinson and Robert Hamilton.
Transatlantic, 127 pp., £16.99, November 2011, 978 1 907176 83 8
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‘Titanic’ Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 404 pp., £9.99, September 2012, 978 0 00 732166 7
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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage 
by Hugh Brewster.
Robson, 338 pp., £20, March 2012, 978 1 84954 179 4
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‘Titanic’ Calling 
edited by Michael Hughes and Katherine Bosworth.
Bodleian, 163 pp., £14.99, April 2012, 978 1 85124 377 8
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... it should have some ‘chastening influence … on the self-confidence of mankind’, and Henry Adams likened the news to the foundering of the Republican Party: ‘the sum and triumph of civilisation … our greatest achievement sinks at a touch … Nature jeers at us for our folly.’ The sinking of the Titanic very quickly seemed freighted with ...

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