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JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 April 1981

Joseph ConradTimes Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... Joseph Conrad died at the age of 67 on 3 August 1924, the day following the 18th birthday of his younger son, John Conrad, the author of the present book. John’s memories, which reach astonishingly far back into his earliest childhood, begin with his family living in poverty in a tiny cottage, ‘a dark and gloomy place’, at Aldington in Kent ...

Maurice Thomson’s War

Perry Anderson, 4 November 1993

Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict and London’s Overseas Traders 1550-1653 
by Robert Brenner.
Cambridge, 734 pp., £40, March 1993, 0 521 37319 0
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TheNature of the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 466 pp., £32, June 1993, 0 582 08941 7
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... debate on the English Revolution since the Seventies. Kevin Sharpe’s Personal Rule of Charles I, Conrad Russell’s Fall of the British Monarchies and John Morrill’s Nature of the English Revolution all represent distinct standpoints, but certain common features continue to stand out. Rejecting both constitutional explanations of the Caroline ...

Dealing with Disappointment

Adam Phillips: Bertrand Russell, 8 March 2001

Bertrand Russell 1921-70: The Ghost of Madness 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 574 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 224 05172 5
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... In the introduction to the first volume of his biography of Russell, Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude, Ray Monk was clear, as his title indicated, about the story he had to tell, though also daunted by the amount of material he had to work with. The bibliography of Russell’s work lists more than three thousand publications, and this doesn’t include the letters he wrote – over forty thousand of them ...


Frank Kermode, 4 April 1996

Bertrand RussellThe Spirit of Solitude 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 720 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 224 03026 4
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... This enormous book covers the first 49 years of Bertrand Russell’s life, from his own birth in 1872 to the birth of his first son in 1921. It is not clear how many volumes are still to come; this one gives little more than half the life, and there are crowded years ahead, though it is possible they may be less interesting ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Irishman’, 5 December 2019

... he understands the world as Sheeran/De Niro does not. Pesci, as Sheeran’s friend and protector Russell Bufalino, knows what everything costs, and he is willing to pay, and demand, the highest prices. Scorsese and his writer, Steven Zaillian, introduce another timeline too. It involves two days in 1975, when Sheeran is driving Bufalino, along with their ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont, 21 July 1983

Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... even the slips (Richard, not Thomas, Hooker; George Buchanan, not Murray) seem Freudian. Second, Conrad Russell has criticised the traditional constitutional explanation of the 17th-century crisis as a trial of strength between two developing institutions, Crown and Parliament, which could only be resolved by the Civil War. That view was early in ...


W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... stage of the Bill on Higher Education, I find the timetable evidently awry and only eloquent Conrad Russell and pugnacious Colin Renfrew holding the fort for the higher professoriat. No chance to make the remarks I had been rehearsing about the irony that this Government might succeed as well as the last in souring its relations with the ...

You are a milksop

Ferdinand Mount, 7 May 2020

Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate 
by Paul Lay.
Head of Zeus, 352 pp., £30, January, 978 1 78185 256 9
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... had in fact fought in large numbers on both sides. Then we had the unchallengeable insight of Conrad Russell that this was a war of three kingdoms. And finally the ‘revisionists’ of the last twenty or thirty years, who if they can be lumped together at all, do at least accept the possibility that these were, among other things, England’s wars ...

My Feet Are Cut Off

Barbara Newman: Lives of the Saints, 3 December 2009

Gilte Legende Vol. I 
edited by Richard Hamer and Vida Russell.
Early English Text Society (Oxford), 496 pp., £65, November 2006, 0 19 920577 9
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Gilte Legende Vol. II 
edited by Richard Hamer and Vida Russell.
Early English Text Society (Oxford), 1036 pp., £65, August 2007, 978 0 19 923439 4
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... there is more to the story, for Elisabeth owed her sainthood largely to her sadistic confessor, Conrad of Marburg, whose brutal treatment hastened her death. Aside from the severe floggings and other penances he ordered, Conrad forcibly separated Elisabeth from her children and her favourite servants ‘to break her will ...

Manly Love

John Bayley, 28 January 1993

Walt Whitman: From Moon to Starry Night 
by Philip Callow.
Allison and Busby, 394 pp., £19.99, October 1992, 0 85031 908 0
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The Double Life of Stephen Crane 
by Christopher Benfey.
Deutsch, 294 pp., £17.99, February 1993, 0 233 98820 3
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... and New York rowdyism’. At the same time, he missed the point, gravely assuring James Russell Lowell that ‘one cannot leave the book about for chance readers, and would be sorry to know that a woman had looked into it past the title page.’ One woman who did was Lady Wilde, Oscar’s mother, an early enthusiast for Leaves of Grass. Another was ...

In the Hyacinth Garden

Richard Poirier: ‘But oh – Vivienne!’, 3 April 2003

Painted Shadow: A Life of Vivienne Eliot 
by Carole Seymour-Jones.
Constable, 702 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 1 84119 636 3
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... in the biographies of Eliot’s London friends and associates. From Ray Monk’s Life of Bertrand Russell, or Hermione Lee’s of Virginia Woolf, or Miranda Seymour’s of Ottoline Morrell, there comes an abundance and, in its repetitiveness, an overabundance of testimony about Vivienne’s or Tom’s nervous as well as physical collapses, about financial ...

The Trouble with Nowhere

Martin Jay, 1 June 2000

The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy 
by Russell Jacoby.
Basic Books, 256 pp., £17.95, April 1999, 0 465 02000 3
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Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts 1905-40 
edited by Catriona Kelly.
Penguin, 378 pp., £9.99, September 1999, 0 14 118081 1
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The Faber Book of Utopias 
edited by John Carey.
Faber, 560 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780571197859
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The Nazi War on Cancer 
by Robert Proctor.
Princeton, 390 pp., £18.95, May 1999, 0 691 00196 0
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... conscious of these possibilities and the forces that hinder and deny them.’ A generation later, Russell Jacoby the American cultural critic and one-time Marcusian, borrows – without acknowledgment – Marcuse’s title for his own consideration of the state of utopia. But rather than proclaiming that its end is at hand because its realisation is nigh, he ...

Feast of St Thomas

Frank Kermode, 29 September 1988

Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... seems to have been a fitful series of mildly obscene verses included in letters to such friends as Conrad Aiken. Gossips are not on oath. While these oral versions of biography paid tribute to the celebrity of the poet, the poetry was usually treated as quite impersonal. It had come, in the post-war years, under heavy academic protection: this was a time when ...

Brown Goo like Marmite

Neal Ascherson: Memories of the Fog, 8 October 2015

London Fog: The Biography 
by Christine Corton.
Harvard, 408 pp., £22.95, November 2015, 978 0 674 08835 1
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... warnings, from the British Medical Journal to the bestselling pamphlet London Fogs by Rollo Russell, son of the former prime minister. They also ignited imaginations. Fog was now invoked to symbolise social breakdown and the collapse of deference and civilised order. The 1886 fog coincided with an orgy of looting, the stoning of West End clubs and ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... raw disapproval, and is wooden and unconvincing. Brian and Jacqueline Moore met Frank and Jean Russell in New York in 1963, and the two couples, all of them interested in journalism and writing, began to hang out together. In the summer of 1964, Jacqueline and their son Michael went to Long Island while Brian stayed in New York working on The Emperor of ...

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