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Voyagers

James Paradis, 18 June 1981

Sir Joseph Banks 
by Charles Lyte.
David and Charles, 248 pp., £10.50, October 1980, 0 7153 7884 8
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The Heyday of Natural History: 1820-1870 
by Lynn Barber.
Cape, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780224014489
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A Vision of Eden 
by Marianne North.
Webb and Bower, 240 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 906671 18 3
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... the country naturalist and nature-appreciator – a tradition given great dignity and prestige by Gilbert White – had become something quite different from the activity of the professional scientist. In his Reflections on the Decline of Science in England (1830), Charles Babbage dismissed the amateur tradition of science as wholly inadequate to the ...

Churchill has nothing to hide

Paul Addison, 7 May 1987

Road to Victory: Winston Churchill 1941-1945 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1417 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 434 29186 2
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... The latest volume of Martin Gilbert’s Churchill biography is the fifth he has published since taking up the task in 1968. This time he accompanies Churchill on the long march from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour to VE Day. The book has all the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessors. It is a superbly researched chronicle, almost wholly devoid of explicit historical interpretation ...

Inspector of the Sad Parade

Nicholas Spice, 4 August 1994

A Way in the World 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Heinemann, 369 pp., £14.99, May 1994, 0 434 51029 7
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... water was of different shades of olive, in wide, distinct, irregular bands, sometimes frothing white or yellow at the edges: Orinoco and Atlantic in eternal conflict, mighty volumes of water pressing against each other.’ The terms of the description are in each case the same because the ocean remains the same. The passage of man leaves no trace on ...

Early Hillhead Man

Paul Addison, 6 May 1982

Churchill’s Political Philosophy 
by Martin Gilbert.
Oxford, 119 pp., £8, November 1981, 0 19 726005 5
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Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 
by Martin Gilbert.
Macmillan, 279 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 333 32564 8
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Churchill and de Gaulle 
by François Kersaudy.
Collins, 476 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 0 00 216328 4
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The Diaries of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart 
edited by Kenneth Young.
Macmillan, 800 pp., £30, October 1981, 0 333 18480 7
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Churchill’s Indian Summer 
by Anthony Seldon.
Hodder, 667 pp., £14.95, October 1981, 0 340 25456 4
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... historians no longer see the world through Churchill’s eyes. The one great exception is Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer since the death of Randolph Churchill in 1968. Gilbert is constructing a latterday Blenheim in scholarship instead of stone, a monument that will endure whatever the critics say of ...

Leave off saying I want you to be savages

Sandra Gilbert: D.H. Lawrence, 19 March 1998

D.H. Lawrence: Dying Game 1922-30 
by David Ellis.
Cambridge, 814 pp., £25, January 1998, 0 521 25421 3
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... race of the English artisan ... a race as sharply divided from the ruling or even the mere white-collar classes as was the Negro from the gentry of Virginia’. That this well-read working-class schoolmaster was so rapidly ‘typecast’ and ‘caricatured’ does not seem likely to have ‘blighted’ his ‘artistic development’, as Maddox has ...

The Danger of Giving In

Andrew Saint: George Gilbert Scott Jr, 17 October 2002

An Architect of Promise: George Gilbert Scott Jr (1839-97) and the Late Gothic Revival 
by Gavin Stamp.
Shaun Tyas, 427 pp., £49.50, July 2002, 1 900289 51 2
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... First, sort out your Scotts. George Gilbert Scott (1811-78), hereafter Sir Gilbert, designed the Albert Memorial, the Foreign Office and the tumultuous cliff of a hotel that shields St Pancras Station. A spiteful ditty, summing up the Victorian business of church restoration, also accounted him first among ‘the earnest band that spoiled half the churches in the land ...

Poor Man’s War

Richard Overy, 12 October 1989

Second World War 
by Martin Gilbert.
Weidenfeld, 846 pp., £18.95, August 1989, 9780297796169
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The Second World War 
by John Keegan.
Hutchinson, 608 pp., £19.95, September 1989, 0 09 174011 8
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... nostalgic, cute; war seen from René’s deplorable café, not from Auschwitz. Martin Gilbert has built his own monument to the sufferers to mark the occasion. His history reminds us that the war has still spilt more blood than ink. The book is a bleak, desolate evocation of the horrors of war, a modern Waste Land, an unremitting catalogue of ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern, 20 July 2000

... in its aftermath the Festival Hall, the National Film Theatre and, on the other side of Giles Gilbert Scott’s Waterloo Bridge, the new National Theatre. The next came in 1977, with the foundation of the Coin Street Action Group when, reacting against a decline in public housing and the proliferation of office blocks, the inhabitants of the area to the ...

State Aid

Denis Arnold, 22 December 1983

A History of English Opera 
by Eric Walter White.
Faber, 472 pp., £30, July 1983, 0 571 10788 5
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... and composers. It is an obvious example of Hamlet without the Prince: in this case, music. Mr White is clearly more at home with literary sources than with musical style, and on the few occasions when he does embark on comment about the music, he shows no great grasp (his comments about Handel’s operas on page 169 are crashingly beside the ...

Diary

Katherine Rundell: Night Climbing, 23 April 2015

... scaffolding onto an expanse of grey slate, big as an empty town square, between two of the great white chimneys.Giles Gilbert Scott believed in thoroughgoing industrial beauty. We found as we explored that the insides of the four great smoke stacks are lined with green-grey iridescent ceramic tiles. I’ve seen few things ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... the Shakespeare. The Preface is all suspicious brevity on the matter: ‘We regret that Martin Gilbert was unable to come to the conference.’ Perhaps Gilbert was simply busy, or recuperating from a white-water rafting or a hang-gliding contretemps. But of course the words can also be ...

How criminals think

John Lanchester, 13 September 1990

Love and Death on Long Island 
by Gilbert Adair.
Heinemann, 138 pp., £10.95, July 1990, 9780434006229
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Going wrong 
by Ruth Rendell.
Hutchinson, 250 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 09 174300 1
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The Burden of Proof 
by Scott Turow.
Bloomsbury, 515 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7475 0673 6
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Crucible of Fools 
by M.S. Power.
Hamish Hamilton, 165 pp., £12.99, August 1990, 0 241 13006 9
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... Philip Venturi, author of the feisty manifesto Learning from Las Vegas) is now itself parodied in Gilbert Adair’s funny and accomplished second novel. The narrator of Love and Death on Long Island is the Hampstead-inhabiting author of four novels more popular in France than in this country, as well as of ‘a history of angels’. As the novel opens his ...

Not No Longer but Not Yet

Jenny Turner: Mark Fisher’s Ghosts, 9 May 2019

k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher 
edited by Darren Ambrose.
Repeater, 817 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 1 912248 28 5
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... to ‘a kernel of a whole new left public’, according to another of Fisher’s friends, Jeremy Gilbert, professor of cultural studies at the University of East London. ‘As much as anything adverts for the very idea of critical thought.’The first Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture, at Goldsmiths in January 2018, was given by the artist and writer Kodwo ...

Investigate the Sock

David Trotter: Garbo’s Equivocation, 24 February 2022

Garbo 
by Robert Gottlieb.
Farrar, Straus, 438 pp., £32, December 2021, 978 0 374 29835 7
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... decided to double down on Garbo by pairing her with its most bankable male star, John Gilbert, in the costume drama Flesh and the Devil (1926). She plays a femme fatale who comes between two childhood friends by marrying one of them while in love with the other. Even in the more adventurous vamp and flapper films, sex was something you did while ...

Eye-Catchers

Peter Campbell, 4 December 1986

Survey of London: Vol. XLII. Southern Kensington: Kensington to Earls Court 
Athlone, 502 pp., £55, May 1986, 0 485 48242 8Show More
Follies: A National Trust Guide 
by Gwyn Headley and Wim Meulenkamp.
Cape, 564 pp., £15, June 1986, 0 224 02105 2
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The Botanists 
by David Elliston Allen.
St Paul’s Bibliographies, 232 pp., £15, May 1986, 0 906795 36 2
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British Art since 1900 
by Frances Spalding.
Thames and Hudson, 252 pp., £10.50, April 1986, 0 500 23457 4
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Paintings from Books: Art and Literature in Britain, 1760-1900 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 527 pp., £55, March 1986, 0 8142 0380 9
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History of the British Pig 
by John Wiseman.
Duckworth, 118 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 9780715619872
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... individuals’. In fact, it was a speculation. Some of the houses stood empty for years, but W.S. Gilbert was true to his promise that he would move there in October 1883 ‘in whatever condition the premises may be’. One party of casual passers-by, seeing workmen and open doors, took a look inside and were surprised to find ...

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