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John Bossy: Simon Forman, 22 February 2001

The Notorious Astrological Physician of London: Works and Days of Simon Forman 
by Barbara Howard Traister.
Chicago, 260 pp., £19, February 2001, 0 226 81140 9
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Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician 
by Judith Cook.
Chatto, 228 pp., £18.99, January 2001, 0 7011 6899 4
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... tell you, as Cook does, what must be an important fact about Forman: that he didn’t leave Salisbury and environs, where he was born, until 1589, when he was 37. He found his first, and continuing, love there; he began his medical studies there and acquired a good practice, which included the gentry; he had patrons and important friends, as well as the ...

Church of Garbage

Robert Irwin, 3 February 2000

The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives 
by Carole Hillenbrand.
Edinburgh, 648 pp., £80, July 1999, 0 7486 0905 9
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... Adelard of Bath, Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter Abelard, Hugh of St Victor, Suger, Otto of Freising, John of Salisbury, Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, Hildegard of Bingen, Gottfried von Strassburg, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Roger Bacon, Snorri Sturluson, Leonardo Fibonacci, Aquinas and many others – was not so very ...

Turning Turk

Robert Blake, 20 August 1981

The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain. Vol. 1: The 19th Century 
by Stephen Koss.
Hamish Hamilton, 455 pp., £20, May 1981, 0 241 10561 7
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... of the press organs in that difficult period, was supported from time to time by the Government. John Walter II, no longer having that support, switched into opposition in 1820 and supported Queen Caroline against George IV. Whether or not his motives were disinterested, his sales more than doubled. There is nothing like sexual scandal and public passion to ...

A Hideous Skeleton, with Cries and Dismal Howlings

Nina Auerbach: The haunting of the Hudson Valley, 24 June 2004

Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley 
by Judith Richardson.
Harvard, 296 pp., £19.95, October 2003, 0 674 01161 9
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... familiar in Civil War hauntings as well). One who makes regular reappearances is the British spy John André, who was captured at Tarrytown and hanged at Tappan for his supposedly traitorous collaboration with Benedict Arnold. André was an attractive felon: even Americans called him ‘beautiful’, ‘manly’ and ‘noble’, and his charmed memory ...


John Sutherland, 21 March 1991

by Roger Scruton.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 236 pp., £13.95, February 1991, 9781856190480
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Slave of the Passions 
by Deirdre Wilson.
Picador, 251 pp., £14.99, February 1991, 0 330 31788 1
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The Invisible Worm 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 182 pp., £12.95, February 1991, 1 85619 041 2
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The Secret Pilgrim 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 335 pp., £14.95, January 1991, 0 340 54381 7
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... College (an institution with a tradition of proletarian outreach), editor of the ultra-Tory Salisbury Review foxhunter. And novelist. Fortnight’s Anger (1981) was hard-going – a murky tale of adolescent sexuality full of sentences like: ‘Her hands trembled on his face and neck. Slowly the agony of appeasement wormed through him, and his ...

This Sporting Life

R.W. Johnson, 8 December 1994

Iain Macleod 
by Robert Shepherd.
Hutchinson, 608 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 09 178567 7
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... also set up the first committee to investigate the effects of smoking: both the Treasury and Lord Salisbury wanted to suppress its Report and Macleod, anxious to placate such powerful colleagues, chain-smoked his way through the press conference which, to the Treasury’s dismay, first announced the causal link to lung cancer. The Cabinet, much discomfited by ...

Wigan Peer

Stephen Koss, 15 November 1984

The Crawford Papers: The Journals of David Lindsay, 27th Earl of Crawford and 10th Earl of Balcarres, during the Years 1892 to 1940 
edited by John Vincent.
Manchester, 645 pp., £35, October 1984, 0 7190 0948 0
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... Ballin, compiled 54 ornately-bound volumes of diaries, which his son eventually entrusted to John Vincent for editing ‘That Lord Crawford was a man of distinction was agreed by all,’ attests Vincent, who seems unduly impressed by royal letters of condolence. Nevertheless, Vincent admits to finding it slightly difficult ‘to convey something of his ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Nephews and Daughters, 23 January 2003

... that they’re new than that they’re young. Jack agreed. Few I suspect would go as far as John Sutherland (64) – the irrepressible champion of Salman Rushdie (55), whose most recent novel, Fury, wasn’t otherwise very well received – who has said he thinks novels shouldn’t be written by people under 50. Despite all of which, the most media ...
... them. I imagine the queen having favourite walks, too. Doris always waved the question of Jean and John away and the subject was changed. How? I’m really not sure. I suspect it was partly that withering look she used to keep predators at bay, especially that trick of closing her eyes just a little longer than necessary, and also the simple fact that she ...

Bad Timing

R.W. Johnson: All about Eden, 22 May 2003

Eden: The Life and Times of Anthony Eden, First Earl of Avon 1897-1977 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Chatto, 758 pp., £25, March 2003, 0 7011 6744 0
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The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years 1950-57 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 676 pp., £25, April 2003, 9780333711675
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... where he could hardly bear to hear Italian spoken. Similarly, an already dicey relationship with John Foster Dulles seems to have been ruined beyond repair by Dulles’s hand-on-arm habits and his halitosis. There were otherwise unexplained enmities towards Eden throughout his career which were surely based on the belief that he was gay, but since ...

Something for Theresa May to think about

John Barrell: The Bow Street Runners, 7 June 2012

The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 272 pp., £65, February 2012, 978 0 19 969516 4
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... that nice Susannah York. Fielding died in 1754 and was succeeded at Bow Street by his half-brother John: ‘blind John’ as he had been since the age of 19, ‘Sir John’ as he became in 1761, after successfully agitating to be knighted so as to increase the prestige of his office. The ...


Stuart Airlie, 17 November 1983

Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 
by K.J. Leyser.
Hambledon, 302 pp., £18, February 1983, 0 907628 08 7
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The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987 
by Rosamond McKitterick.
Longman, 414 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 582 49005 7
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Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J.M. Wallace-Hadrill 
edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.
Blackwell, 345 pp., £27.50, September 1983, 0 631 12661 9
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... ability to convey the sense of intellectual excitement generated in an age that had one thinker, John Scottus Eriugena, who has attracted the attention of both Helen Waddell and Leszek Kolakowski. The book fails to convey a sense of change in this period, a period that Marc Bloch took as the starting point for his great analysis of Medieval society. With Mr ...


John Mullan, 19 September 1996

The Correspondence of Thomas Warton 
edited by David Fairer.
Georgia, 775 pp., $85, September 1995, 9780820315010
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... letter recalls that it was ‘picked up’, apparently for sixpence, ‘in a petty shop at Salisbury, where books, baccon, red-herrings and old iron, were exposed to sale’. Warton thinks that they are sharing the odd discoveries of fellow antiquarians. It is one of his likeable qualities that he does not see that Malone, dedicated to possessing the ...

People’s Friend

Michael Brock, 27 September 1990

Lord Grey: 1764-1845 
by E.A. Smith.
Oxford, 338 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 9780198201632
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... so great a claim to the gratitude of his country’. Less than two years later an ex-colleague, John Cam Hobhouse, commented: ‘I am surprised how, by mere fluency of speech and arrogance of manner, this really inferior man has contrived to lead a great party, and to connect his name imperishably with the most splendid triumphs of British ...

Lord Cupid proves himself

David Cannadine, 21 October 1982

Palmerston: The Early Years, 1784-1841 
by Kenneth Bourne.
Allen Lane, 749 pp., £25, August 1982, 0 7139 1083 6
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... constructed on a lavish scale until the Second World War: four volumes (and still unfinished) for Salisbury, three for Joseph Chamberlain (likewise incomplete) and for Curzon, and a double-decker apiece for Asquith, Balfour, Campbell-Bannerman and Rosebery. The second half of our century has seen a dramatic decline in the construction of these many-volumed ...

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