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The BBC on the Rack

James Butler, 19 March 2020

... instances of a general aversion to scrutiny than of a particular animus against the BBC. But Nicky Morgan’s final speech as culture secretary, before leaving the government in the recent reshuffle, showed that the government had the BBC in its sights: unless it stayed ‘relevant’, she said, it would be impossible to justify its continued existence in an ...

The Flow

Paul Myerscough: ‘The Trap’, 5 April 2007

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom 
directed by Adam Curtis.
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... question of trust: on the part of the audience, that the documentaries they watch are made in good faith; on the part of broadcasters, that audiences will stay the course without having to be courted with gimmicks. The current fashion in documentary making is for dramatic reconstruction: last year’s otherwise excellent BBC2 production Suez: A Very British ...


Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... the Industrial Revolution was getting into its stride, when men were beginning to put their faith in science and to “worship” machines ... Ann Radcliffe focused attention back on nature, on the mystery and beauty, and the human capacity for experiencing them.’ Such limp propositions can’t support the claim that Mrs Radcliffe ‘was one of the ...

At the House of Mr Frog

Malcolm Gaskill: Puritanism, 18 March 2021

The Puritans: A Transatlantic History 
by David D. Hall.
Princeton, 517 pp., £20, May 2021, 978 0 691 20337 9
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The Journey to the Mayflower: God’s Outlaws and the Invention of Freedom 
by Stephen Tomkins.
Hodder, 372 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 1 4736 4911 8
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... factions laid claim to the truth and demonised the opposition. One man’s doctrine of faith was another’s devilish doctrine of works, a profane invention rather than a sacred precept. There were more questions than answers. How should the Holy Trinity be understood? Was Christ, after all, just a man? And what of grace, the divine blessing of ...

Everybody’s Joan

Marina Warner, 6 December 2012

... witness to her principles, neither she nor Cavell was strictly speaking persecuted for her faith. It remains one of the many rough ironies of Joan’s story that she is not enrolled in the ranks of the virgin martyrs in the Church’s pantheon because she was condemned for heresy, apostasy and idolatry by the Church to which she steadily proclaimed her ...


Michael Davie, 1 November 1984

Public Scandal, Odium and Contempt: An Investigation of Recent Libel Cases 
by David Hooper.
Secker, 230 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 436 20093 7
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... famous libel action brought against the Spectator by Aneurin Bevan, then Shadow Foreign Secretary, Morgan Phillips, Secretary of the Labour Party, and Richard Crossman, a member of the Party’s National Executive. They had gone as official delegates to a congress of the Italian Socialist Party in Venice, and the Spectator had said that they ‘puzzled the ...

The Staidness of Trousers

E.S. Turner, 6 June 1996

A Peculiar Man: A Life of George Moore 
by Tony Gray.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 344 pp., £20, April 1996, 1 85619 578 3
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... Moore, having kindled the world’s sympathy for a wronged maidservant, was capable, if Charles Morgan is right, of hurling his boots at a housemaid who displeased him; and, if William Butler Yeats is right, of quarrelling violently with a sacked cook and a policeman over whether an omelette was fit to eat. Wary, one suspects, of being seen by the world as ...

Keeping the show on the road

John Kerrigan, 6 November 1986

Tribute to Freud 
by H. D.
Carcanet, 194 pp., £5.95, August 1985, 0 85635 599 2
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In Dora’s Case: Freud, Hysteria, Feminism 
edited by Charles Bernheimer and Claire Kahane.
Virago, 291 pp., £11.95, October 1985, 0 86068 712 0
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The Essentials of Psychoanalysis 
by Sigmund Freud, edited by Anna Freud.
Hogarth/Institute of Psychoanalysis, 595 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 7012 0720 5
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Freud and the Humanities 
edited by Peregrine Horden.
Duckworth, 186 pp., £18, October 1985, 0 7156 1983 7
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Freud for Historians 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 252 pp., £16.50, January 1986, 0 19 503586 0
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The Psychoanalytic Movement 
by Ernest Gellner.
Paladin, 241 pp., £3.50, May 1985, 0 586 08436 3
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The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art 
by Leo Bersani.
Columbia, 126 pp., $17.50, April 1986, 0 231 06218 4
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... Anna in the myth outlined to H.D. The Tables of Law passed from father to son, and Anna kept faith by never actively criticising Freud’s views. Though the importance of her own contribution to psychology needn’t be questioned, history will remember her as the guardian of those ‘tables of testimony’ which Freud to his alarm saw slipping, in the ...

Get a Brazilian

Maggie Doherty: Millennial Memoirists, 13 September 2018

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis 
by J.D. Vance.
William Collins, 257 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 00 822056 3
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The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath 
by Leslie Jamison.
Granta, 544 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 78378 152 2
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How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir 
by Cat Marnell.
Ebury, 384 pp., £7.99, February 2018, 978 0 09 195736 0
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Everything I Know about Love 
by Dolly Alderton.
Fig Tree, 336 pp., £12.99, February 2018, 978 0 241 32271 0
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This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America 
by Morgan Jerkins.
Harper Collins, 272 pp., £10.99, February 2018, 978 0 06 266615 4
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Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials 
by Malcolm Harris.
Little Brown, 272 pp., £18.99, February 2018, 978 0 316 51086 8
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Educated: A Memoir 
by Tara Westover.
Hutchinson, 385 pp., £14.99, February 2018, 978 1 78633 051 2
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... Will Be My Undoing, an essay collection with an allusion to intersectionality in its subtitle, Morgan Jerkins argues that skin colour and hair type contribute to a hierarchical system within the black community. Vance is the lone open conservative in this group. US Millennials lean further left than their baby boomer parents: according to one recent ...

Green, Serene

Sameer Rahim: Islamic Extremism, 19 July 2007

The Islamist 
by Ed Husain.
Penguin, 288 pp., £8.99, May 2007, 978 0 14 103043 2
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... and Kashmir would only be successful if they rejected Communism and capitalism for the true faith. ‘Islam is politics and politics is Islam,’ he said. ‘We are battling against the kuffar and only fools think otherwise.’ I saw Mahmoud again ten years later, at the mosque. This time he was manning an accountancy stall at a careers advice day. His ...

Running out of Soil

Terry Eagleton: Bram Stoker and Irish Protestant Gothic, 2 December 2004

From the Shadow of Dracula: A Life of Bram Stoker 
by Paul Murray.
Cape, 356 pp., £18.99, July 2004, 0 224 04462 1
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... philosopher John Scottus Eriugena to Bishop Berkeley and W.B. Yeats, there is such a robust Irish faith in the imagination’s power to summon new worlds into existence. Philosophically, this suspicion of realism went hand in hand with a rejection of rationalism and materialism. If there is such an entity as the Irish mind, it is of a strongly idealist ...

Tremendous in His Wrath

Eric Foner: George Washington, Slave Owner, 19 December 2019

‘The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret’: George Washington, Slavery and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon 
by Mary Thompson.
Virginia, 502 pp., £32.50, January 2019, 978 0 8139 4184 4
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... slaves of the freedom they had been promised would be a ‘dishonourable violation of the public faith’. Thompson believes that Washington showed some consideration for his slaves’ feelings – for example by refusing to break up families when slaves were sold. She points out, however, that while most adult slaves at Mount Vernon were married, a ...

Anglophobe Version

Denton Fox, 2 February 1984

The New Testament in Scots 
translated by William Laughton Lorimer.
Canongate, 476 pp., £17.50, October 1983, 0 900025 24 7
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Scotland and the Lowland Tongue 
edited by J. Derrick McClure.
Aberdeen University Press, 256 pp., £17, September 1983, 0 08 028482 5
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... suggests that the translation is not, in the usual sense, a work of piety – Lorimer lost his faith as an undergraduate, and remained an agnostic – but an attempt to rehabilitate Scots. His prejudices, apparent in his annotations and confirmed by Sir Kenneth Dover’s excellent memoir in the Proceedings of the British Academy, were a dislike of the ...

Mountain Novel, Hitler Novel

D.A.N. Jones, 1 October 1987

The Spell 
by Hermann Broch, translated by H.F. Broch de Rothermann.
Deutsch, 391 pp., £11.95, May 1987, 0 233 98049 0
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Hermann Broch: A Biography 
by Paul Michael Lützeler, translated by Janice Furness.
Quartet, 329 pp., £25, June 1987, 0 7043 2604 3
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... era’ – meaning the 1930s and 1940s – ‘attempts to compensate for the decline in religious faith by an almost feverish worship of “nature”, on the surface motivated by hygienic, sports-related, ecological or other such rationalisations, though in truth its sources lie much deeper ... ’ At first, the locals laugh at the ecology-crazed Ratti, but ...


Norman Page, 16 March 1989

Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas Hardy: The Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... Oxford University Dramatic Society produced The Dynasts, Hardy wrote to the stage-manager, Charles Morgan, asking that, instead of being seated in the audience, he be placed ‘in some obscure box or (failing that) behind in the wings, from which I can come out at any time without notice’. The desiderated situation resembles that of the ...

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