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Intellectual Liberation

Blair Worden, 21 January 1988

Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 317 pp., £17.50, November 1987, 0 436 42512 2
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Archbishop William Laud 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 272 pp., £25, December 1987, 0 7102 0463 9
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Clarendon and his Friends 
by Richard Ollard.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £15, September 1987, 0 241 12380 1
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by Nicholas Tyacke.
Oxford, 305 pp., £30, February 1987, 0 19 822939 9
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Criticism and Compliment: The Politics of Literature in the England of Charles
by Kevin Sharpe.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £27.50, December 1987, 0 521 34239 2
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... there is Laudianism, the new-fangled High Churchmanship which was awarded political ascendancy by Charles I. Then, opposed to it, there is the old-fashioned Calvinism of that doyen of Puritan scholars, the Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher. Although the first system was less dogmatic than the second, both of them closed their adherents’ minds. Between them ...


Steve Jones, 10 September 1992

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee: How our animal heritage affects the way we live 
by Jared Diamond.
Vintage, 360 pp., £6.99, August 1992, 0 09 991380 1
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... see in our own, to explain the human condition as an inevitable consequence of our biology. Even Charles Darwin was at fault. Hidden in his unpublished notebooks is the damning passage: ‘Origin of Man now proved – metaphysics must flourish – he who understands baboons will do more towards metaphysics than ...


John Bayley, 2 February 1989

The Lost Voices of World War One: An International Anthology of Writers, Poets and Playwrights 
edited by Tim Cross.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0276 5
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by Paul Celan, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Anvil, 350 pp., £15.95, January 1989, 0 85646 198 9
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Flights of PassageReflections of a World War Two Aviator 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bloomsbury, 270 pp., £13.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0333 8
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... major cultural event,’ as the Introduction rightly observes. Some of the best excerpts are from Charles Péguy: from the Vers libre of Le Mystère de la charité de Jeanne d’Arc and from his attack on the ‘socialist art’ advocated by Jaurès. Modernism, well under way before it, as is testified not only in the work of such big names as Trakl and ...


James Buchan, 14 December 1995

The Life of Adam Smith 
by Ian Simpson Ross.
Oxford, 495 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 19 828821 2
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... about Cameron of Lochiel, whose decision, against his better judgment, to come out for Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745 won the clans for the Pretender and doomed the ancient culture of the Highlands to extinction. ‘That gentleman, whose rent never exceeded five hundred pounds a year, carried, in 1745, eight hundred of his own people into the ...

Naming the Graces

Charles Hope, 15 March 1984

The Art of Humanism 
by Kenneth Clark.
Murray, 198 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 7195 4077 1
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The Eloquence of Symbols: Studies in Humanist Art 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 135 pp., £25, January 1984, 0 19 817341 5
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... to teach’. If one troubles to look up this letter, it comes as a surprise to discover that the passage specifically concerns Raphael’s architectural and archaeological activities, and his discussions on these subjects with Fabio Calvo, the translator of Vitruvius. An equally striking example of historical wishful thinking comes in the concluding chapter ...

Back to the Border

Niamh Gallagher: Ulsterism, 17 June 2021

The Partition: Ireland Divided, 1885-1925 
by Charles Townshend.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £20, April, 978 0 241 30086 2
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... was replaced by the Irish Free State, but Northern Ireland is with us still.In The Partition, Charles Townshend aims to explain how Ulster came to be conceived of as an entity requiring special treatment, even if people couldn’t agree on what, if anything, should be done about it, or on what exactly Ulster was. Townshend’s main focus is on British ...


Charles Simic: New England in the Recession, 20 January 2011

... makes it difficult to chase away such thoughts and look for a book, to find again, perhaps, that passage in Thoreau where he speaks of the grand old poem called winter, coming around each year without any connivance of ours, or that other one where he pleads to heaven that there be birds on days like this with rich, colourful plumage, recalling the ease and ...

Field of Bones

Charles Nicholl: The last journey of Thomas Coryate, the English fakir and legstretcher, 2 September 1999

... of burlesque version of themselves. These are men like the braggadocio Peter Shakerly; the railer Charles Chester, who was the model for Carlo Buffone in Jonson’s Every Man Out of His Humour; Humfrey King, the poetic tobacconist; the barber-surgeons Tom Tooley and Richard Lichfield; the tavern joker John Stone. These loquacious oddballs found a small ...


Claude Rawson, 17 June 1982

St Kilda’s Parliament 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 87 pp., £3, September 1981, 0 571 11770 8
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Airborn/Hijos del Aire 
by Octavio Paz and Charles Tomlinson.
Anvil, 29 pp., £1.25, April 1981, 0 85646 072 9
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The Flood 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 19 211944 3
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Looking into the Deep End 
by David Sweetman.
Faber, 47 pp., £3, March 1981, 0 571 11730 9
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by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 28 pp., £5, December 1981, 0 907540 05 8
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... apples brought here by a traveller Five years ago, and have discussed them since. This opening passage shows some of the volume’s strengths, and a weakness. It is vividly observant, rich with a sense of place, but the note of dignified and loving meditation is corrupted a little by patronising folksiness, as in those last few lines, or a similar ...

At the Pinault Collection

Anne Wagner: Charles Ray, 21 July 2022

... Charles Ray’s​ life-sized Young Man, machine-milled in 2012 from a solid stainless-steel block, is meant, Ray says, ‘to move forwards and backwards in increasingly irrelevant time’. The phrase is less opaque than it seems. His ambition was to make a kouros, but one modelled on the body of a long-time Los Angeles friend ...

What does it mean to be a free person?

Quentin Skinner: Milton, 22 May 2008

... a Free Commonwealth, at a time when preparations were already under way to welcome the returning Charles II. There are two elements, Milton asserts, in ‘the whole freedom of man’, one of which he describes as civil and the other as spiritual liberty. To enjoy these twin aspects of our freedom, we must be able to choose and act as we wish; we must never ...

The Devil upon Two Sticks

Charles Nicholl: Samuel Foote, 23 May 2013

Mr Foote’s Other Leg: Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London 
by Ian Kelly.
Picador, 462 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 330 51783 6
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... case. Foote’s theatrical career began under the tutelage of the veteran Irish actor and director Charles Macklin. Somewhat improbably, his first outing, in early 1744, was in the role of Othello. This was received well enough but his more notable success, first in London and then in Dublin, was as Lord Foppington in Vanbrugh’s The Relapse. Other repertory ...

Sneezing, Yawning, Falling

Charles Nicholl: The Da Vinci Codices, 16 December 2004

... of larger sheets now in the Codex Atlanticus. It was at some point acquired by that avid collector Charles I, though no documentation of this survives. It surfaced in Kensington Palace in the mid 18th century: according to a contemporary account, ‘this great curiosity’ had been deposited in a ‘large and strong chest’ during the Civil War, and there lay ...

Balfour, Weizmann and the Creation of Israel

Charles Glass: Palestine, 7 June 2001

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate 
by Tom Segev, translated by Haim Watzman.
Little, Brown, 612 pp., £25, January 2001, 0 316 64859 0
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Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine 1917-48 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Murray, 290 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 7195 6322 4
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... and an anti-semitic Christian. ‘I am imbued with anti-semitic feelings,’ he wrote in a diary passage quoted by Segev. A few years later, Weizmann asked Churchill to remove Congreve as well. Churchill complied. Zionist influence in London annoyed British High Commissioners and senior officers alike: they knew that Weizmann had better access to prime ...

Fugitive Crusoe

Tom Paulin: Daniel Defoe, 19 July 2001

Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions 
by Maximilian Novak.
Oxford, 756 pp., £30, April 2001, 0 19 812686 7
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Political and Economic Writings of Daniel Defoe 
edited by W.R. Owens and P.N. Furbank.
Pickering & Chatto, £595, December 2000, 1 85196 465 7
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... beheaded ‘for the horrid fanatic plot, contrived for the bringing in, as they then called him, Charles Stuart, and the restoring of monarchy.’ This remark functions mainly as an alibi for his loyalty to the post-Protectorate political structure, and is intended to shield him from the charge of being a closet republican, or a classical republican like ...

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