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Saucy to Princes

Gerald Hammond: The Bible, 25 July 2002

The Book: A History of the Bible 
by Christopher de Hamel.
Phaidon, 352 pp., £24.95, September 2001, 0 7148 3774 1
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The Wycliffe New Testament 1388 
edited by W.R. Cooper.
British Library, 528 pp., £20, May 2002, 0 7123 4728 3
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... their own intertexts and in its margins ammunition to challenge the assumptions of their betters. James I detested it – ‘saucy to princes’ was his judgment on its notes – so he ensured that the 1611 Authorised Version contained no interpretative notes at all, which may be one reason it took two generations for the AV to displace it in the hearts and ...

Legitimate Violence

James Sheehan: After the Armistice, 5 July 2018

The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End, 1917-23 
by Robert Gerwarth.
Allen Lane, 446 pp., £10.99, June 2017, 978 0 14 197637 2
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... troops. On both fronts men under fire dug trenches, but in the east they were, as Basil Liddell Hart wrote, ‘no more than a hard crust covering a liquid expanse’, unable to contain the eruption of violence that spread over the landscape. When there was stalemate in the east, it came from exhaustion rather than being a result of the strength of either ...

Was he? Had he?

Corey Robin: In the Name of Security, 19 October 2006

The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government 
by David Johnson.
Chicago, 277 pp., £13, May 2006, 0 226 40190 1
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Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security 
by David Cole and James Dempsey.
New Press, 320 pp., £10.99, March 2006, 1 56584 939 6
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General Ashcroft: Attorney at War 
by Nancy Baker.
Kansas, 320 pp., £26.50, April 2006, 0 7006 1455 9
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State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration 
by James Risen.
Free Press, 240 pp., £18.99, January 2006, 0 7432 7578 0
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Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush 
by Eric Boehlert.
Free Press, 352 pp., $25, May 2006, 0 7432 8931 5
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... The ‘obstacles to information sharing were more bureaucratic than legal’, David Cole and James Dempsey write in Terrorism and the Constitution, and had little to do ‘with the constitutional principles of due process, accountability, or checks and balances’. But while the government rides roughshod over constitutional principles, it has done ...

Say thank you

Clive James: Witty Words in Pretty Mouths, 23 May 2002

Fast-Talking Dames 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 365 pp., £19.95, June 2001, 0 300 08815 9
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... in Rouben Mamoulian’s Love Me Tonight in 1932. Ginger Rogers is rightly praised for Roxie Hart, Carole Lombard for Twentieth Century, Irene Dunne for The Awful Truth, Rosalind Russell for His Girl Friday. Apart from these recognised talents, which even a dullard can assess correctly just by agreeing with everybody else, there are unrecognised talents ...

Strange Stardom

David Haglund: James Franco, 17 March 2011

Palo Alto: Stories 
by James Franco.
Faber, 197 pp., £12.99, January 2011, 978 0 571 27316 4
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... a type of celebrity now.’ He contrasts Ledger, who died three years ago at the age of 28, with James Dean, who died 55 years ago at the age of 24 and became the standard against which all young, handsome, would-be acting geniuses in Hollywood are measured. It’s not only, Thomson says, that Ledger wasn’t the actor Dean was. It’s that movies, and their ...

What Nanny Didn’t Tell Me

Bernard Porter: Simon Mann, 26 January 2012

Cry Havoc 
by Simon Mann.
John Blake, 351 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 84358 403 2
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... In Frederick Forsyth’s The Dogs of War, Sir James Manson hires a mercenary called ‘Cat’ Shannon to stage a coup in the tiny West African state of Zangaro – Equatorial Guinea thinly disguised – and replace its tyrannical president with one who will, perhaps, be less tyrannical, and will definitely grant Sir James the highly profitable platinum-mining concession he wants ...

Diary

Max Hastings: Letters from the Front, 10 September 2015

... he wrote, than Siegfried Sassoon, or Edmund Blunden, or Robert Graves, far more than Liddell Hart, four or five times as much as Wilfred Owen, and I didn’t go home with a nervous breakdown. [But] I fear the damage is done, and the myth of the 1930s has prevailed … When I meet some clever young scholar from Queen’s or Keble who has written on WWI ...

A Belated Encounter

Perry Anderson: My father’s career in the Chinese Customs Service, 30 July 1998

... death finished off his father. He had punished the wrong son. The institution in which the young James Carew O’Gorman Anderson took up his post in 1914 had been in existence for nearly fifty years. By then it had no parallel anywhere in the world. Its origins lay in the crisis of the Ch’ing Empire in the mid-19th century, when the Taiping Rebellion gave ...

Mr Lion, Mr Cock and Mr Cat

Roger Lonsdale, 5 April 1990

A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... post-Smartian Seatonian to have arrested his attention previously was The Ascension (1780) by one James Atkins, which he defiantly published after failing to win the prize – ‘for several Reasons’, as one of the judges had grimly told him, which no doubt included his whimsical theology and misguided decision to write in seven-syllable blank ...

Spurious, Glorious

Lavinia Greenlaw: Three Long Poems, 13 September 2018

Three Poems 
by Hannah Sullivan.
Faber, 73 pp., £10.99, January 2018, 978 0 571 33767 5
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... long perspectives open out, into white light, into the infinite’, bringing to mind Hart Crane’s New York with its chastening vistas. This is also Auden’s spurious, glorious New York, and he is here on backing vocals (‘poetry makes nothing happen’), in person on Middagh Street, and in Sullivan’s willingness to reach for the bracingly ...

Whapper

Norman Page, 8 January 1987

Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton 
by Flora Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 410 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 297 78895 7
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Loving Emma 
by Nigel Foxell.
Harvester, 201 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 7108 1056 3
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... her celebrity. By the age of 16 Emy Lyon had become, with a touch of novelistic symbolism, Emily Hart. She was also pregnant, ‘thrown over by a rich lover’, and desperate until she found another protector. There is by now an odd ambiguity in Emma’s status: like Moll Flanders, she is available for sexual exploitation because that is the only way in ...

Gold-Digger

Colin Burrow: Walter Ralegh, 8 March 2012

Sir Walter Ralegh in Life and Legend 
by Mark Nicholls and Penry Williams.
Continuum, 378 pp., £25, February 2012, 978 1 4411 1209 5
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The Favourite: Sir Walter Ralegh in Elizabeth I’s Court 
by Mathew Lyons.
Constable, 354 pp., £14.99, March 2011, 978 1 84529 679 7
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... of self-pity, tempered by his characteristic half-belief in his own unrealistic fantasies: My hart was never broken till this day that I here the Queen goes away so farr off whom I have followed so many yeares with so great love and desire, in so many jurneys, and am now left behinde her and in a darke prison all alone … I that was wont to behold her ...

Rights

John Dunn, 2 October 1980

Natural Rights Theories 
by Richard Tuck.
Cambridge, 192 pp., £10.50, December 1979, 0 521 22512 4
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Natural Law and Natural Rights 
by John Finnis.
Oxford, 425 pp., £15, February 1980, 0 19 876110 4
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A Discourse on Property 
by James Tully.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £10.50, July 1980, 0 521 22830 1
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... handsome though far from uncritical acknowledgments to Aristotle and Aquinas, alongside Herbert Hart and Joseph Raz, it combines great historical and analytical sophistication and care with an engaging innocence of viewpoint. What it seeks to show is how to understand the place of law in human life. The viewpoint from which such understanding is ...

Creases and Flecks

Laura Quinney: Mark Doty, 3 October 2002

Still Life with Oysters and Lemon 
by Mark Doty.
Beacon, 72 pp., $11, January 2002, 0 8070 6609 5
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Source 
by Mark Doty.
Cape, 69 pp., £8, April 2002, 9780224062282
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... these poems recall the ‘loco-descriptive’ poetry of mid-18th-century Britain, best known from James Thomson’s The Seasons. As Dr Johnson demonstrated, you can cut every other line from The Seasons without appreciable loss. The culprits in Doty, as in Thomson, are monotony of tone and monotony of structure. Doty favours meditative lyrics of a standard ...

Like a row of books by Faber

Peter Porter, 22 January 1987

Other Passports: Poems 1958-1985 
by Clive James.
Cape, 221 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 224 02422 1
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... verse. This nostrum begs many questions, but it remains a good rule-of-thumb. By this test, Clive James is a true poet. Line after line of his has a characteristic personal tone, a kind of end-stopped singingness which is almost independent of what it says. The following are taken at random from Other Passports: Like injured ozone to angelic wings ...

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