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The great times they could have had

Paul Foot, 15 September 1988

Wallis: Secret Lives of the Duchess of Windsor 
by Charles Higham.
Sidgwick, 419 pp., £17.95, June 1988, 0 283 99627 7
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The Secret File of the Duke of Windsor 
by Michael Bloch.
Bantam, 326 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 9780593016671
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... Frances Donaldson, modestly omitting to refer to her own worthy, if rather pedestrian biography of Edward VIII, could not contain her indignation. ‘Nor am I alone in thinking it rather shocking,’ she boomed, ‘that Mr Higham was able to find a reputable British publisher for his book.’ Lady Donaldson doesn’t believe for a moment that either the Duke ...

All the Advantages

C.H. Sisson, 3 July 1980

Dreams in the Mirror: A Biography of E.E. Cummings 
by Richard Kennedy.
Norton, 529 pp., £12, May 1980, 0 87140 638 1
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... and that across the river was a Boston which still called itself ‘the Athens of America’. Edward Cummings, the father, was a man of modern outlook, if only in certain respects. A sociologist who had been at Toynbee Hall as well as at the universities of Paris and Berlin, he knew about strikes and ...

Diary

Edward Mendelson: Three Joyces, 27 October 1988

... resembles the relation between the government and the people in Brecht’s poem on the 1953 Berlin uprising: ‘The people have lost the confidence of the government ... Would it not be simpler to dissolve the people and elect a new one?’ Unfortunately, Kidd’s alternative to Gabler may not be much of an improvement, except to the degree that the ...

America and Libya

Edward Said, 8 May 1986

... to a man or woman, has accepted the Reagan Administration thesis about his involvement in the Berlin disco bombing. Yet not a shred of real evidence has been presented. Almost every allegation about Libya is presented as irrefutable. Gaddafi is Muslim, he is unconventional, he is anti-American. He therefore serves the Israeli-American anti-Communist and ...

History Man

John Robertson, 4 November 1993

G.B. Vico: The Making of an Anti-Modern 
by Mark Lilla.
Harvard, 225 pp., £29.95, April 1993, 0 674 33962 2
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The Rehabilitation of Myth: Vico’s ‘New Science’ 
by Joseph Mali.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £35, September 1992, 0 521 41952 2
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... in the English-speaking world owes almost everything to the attention he has received from Isaiah Berlin. Before Berlin, Vico was the obscure Neapolitan philosopher who had been ‘discovered’ a hundred years after his death by Michelet and the Romantics, and was subsequently made much of by Italian philosophers ...

Neglect

Ian Hamilton, 26 January 1995

An Unmentionable Man 
by Edward Upward.
Enitharmon, 102 pp., £5.99, October 1994, 1 870612 64 7
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Journey to the Border 
by Edward Upward.
Enitharmon, 135 pp., £5.99, October 1994, 1 870612 59 0
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The Mortmere Stories 
by Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward.
Enitharmon, 206 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 1 870612 69 8
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... In the title story of Edward Upward’s new collection, a forgotten Marxist author of the Thirties dreams that he is approached by a present-day admirer, a ‘lecturer at a Yorkshire polytechnic’. At first Stephen Highwood is suspicious. He doesn’t expect people to know who he is. His books have long been out of print and are not to be found in public libraries ...

Nicky, Willy and George

Christopher Clark: The Tsar, the Kaiser and the King, 22 October 2009

The Three Emperors: Three Cousins, Three Empires and the Road to World War One 
by Miranda Carter.
Fig Tree, 584 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 0 670 91556 9
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... not painful enough, the malign intelligence behind the plot had been the kaiser’s uncle, King Edward VII, who had died in 1910: This, in a nutshell, is the true, naked situation engineered so slowly and surely by Edward VII, elaborated and systematically expanded through covert talks with Paris and St Petersburg, and ...

The Partisan Coffee House

Nicholas Faith, 1 June 2017

... socialist – left came in 1957 after the majority of communism’s finest intellects, headed by Edward Thompson and John Saville, quit the Communist Party following the Soviet invasion of Hungary. As the exhibition’s curator, the historian Mike Berlin, explains in the catalogue, the venture ‘deserves to be ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah BerlinA Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... fastidious quarters of Washington DC. Another player made up an occasional fourth man. Isaiah Berlin was happy, at least when Charles (Chip) Bohlen was unavailable, to furnish an urbane ditto to their ruthlessness. Almost as if to show that academics and intellectuals may be tough guys, too – the most lethal temptation to which the contemplative can ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive, 10 June 1999

... and ephemera. Most of the interest lies in the long runs of correspondence with Auden, Spender, Edward Upward, John Lehmann and E.M. Forster. Permanently out of town, sedate in his living habits and unhurried in his rate of literary production, Isherwood cultivated the anachronistic arts of correspondence and diary-keeping. Despite the fact that the bulk of ...

Is It Glamorous?

David Simpson: Stefan Collini among the Intellectuals, 6 March 2008

Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 544 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 19 929105 5
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... Minds is that it spares us another extended account of the life and times of Isaiah Berlin – I would have put money on his place in this story, along with F.R. Leavis and C.P. Snow, who also feature sparsely. Many of the exemplary careers it does describe are full of surprises. The account of ‘Mr Facing-Both-Ways’ Eliot focuses vividly on ...

Fs and Bs

Nicholas Hiley, 9 March 1995

Renegades: Hitler’s Englishmen 
by Adrian Weale.
Weidenfeld, 230 pp., £18.99, May 1994, 0 297 81488 5
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In from the Cold: National Security and Parliamentary Democracy 
by Laurence Lustgarten and Ian Leigh.
Oxford, 554 pp., £22.50, July 1994, 9780198252344
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... from German prisoner-of-war camps. While broadcasting for Büro S, they lived in an apartment in Berlin, wore civilian clothes, were provided with supplies of tobacco and alcohol and, if they liked, were escorted once a week to a nearby brothel. The announcers of Büro S thus lived quite different lives from their counterparts at the BBC, but then the ...

Petulance is not a tragic flaw

Rosemary Hill: Edward and Mrs Simpson, 30 July 2015

Princes at War: The British Royal Family’s Private Battle in the Second World War 
by Deborah Cadbury.
Bloomsbury, 407 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 1 4088 4524 0
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... was five and not in the direct line of succession. Finding himself at the age of 41 seated on Edward I’s coronation chair in Westminster Abbey amid ‘the red, the gold, the gilt, the grandeur’, he was full of nerves and foreboding. ‘This is absolutely terrible,’ he wrote with engaging candour to his cousin. ‘I’m only a naval officer, it’s ...

Revolution strikes the eye

John Willett, 19 January 1989

Russian and Soviet Theatre: Tradition and the Avant-Garde 
by Constantin Rudnitsky, translated by Roxane Permar.
Thames and Hudson, 320 pp., £40, April 1988, 0 500 01433 7
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The ‘Golden’ Twenties: Art and Literature in the Weimar Republic 
by Bärbel Schrader and Jürgen Schebera, translated by Katherine Vanovitch.
Yale, 271 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 300 04144 6
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... of Meyerhold, Stanislavsky and Granovsky have been published in the West (notably the works by Edward Braun and Béatrice Picon-Vallin): but nothing on quite this scale has appeared for many years – perhaps not since Joseph Gregor and the historian René Fülöp-Miller produced their Das Russische Theater in Vienna in 1928. The subject is still ...

‘No, no,’ replied the fat man

Michael Davie, 3 December 1992

The Power of News: The History of Reuters 
by Donald Read.
Oxford, 330 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 19 821776 5
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... Julius Reuter and Herbert, circa 1870, to No 63, a Reuters news picture of the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989. No 17 shows an outpost of the Reuters empire in 1900: Kalgoorlie, Australia, with men in suits and one in a straw hat lounging outside the Miners Institute, which also serves as the office, as a notice says, of the Reuters Telegram Company ...

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