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It was sheer heaven

Bee Wilson: Just Being British, 9 May 2019

Exceeding My Brief: Memoirs of a Disobedient Civil Servant 
by Barbara Hosking.
Biteback, 384 pp., £9.99, March 2019, 978 1 78590 462 2
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... the happiest years of her life, she tells us, were spent with her late husband, ‘Barker’, who was headmaster of The Leys school in Cambridge. Hosking’s family was humble; Trumpington’s grandfather was surgeon general in India and her mother was brought up ‘as a sort of American princess’. And yet the two women share a certain ...

Biscuits. Oh good!

Anna Vaux: Antonia White, 27 May 1999

Antonia White 
by Jane Dunn.
Cape, 484 pp., £20, November 1998, 9780224036191
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... Tom Hopkinson, the palaver over Silas Glossop, the father of her children, her affairs with George Barker, David Gascoyne, Eric Siepmann, Ronald Moody, Basil Nicholson, Ian Henderson ... And she could never write about the incident following her release from the asylum, when she was visited in her bedroom by a man with a mutilated leg, wearing her ...

One word says to its mate

Claire Harman: W.S. Graham, 4 October 2001

The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Snow and Margaret Snow.
Carcanet, 401 pp., £12.95, November 1999, 1 85754 445 5
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... without Grievance, was published in 1942 by Archer’s Parton Press, the first to publish Thomas, George Barker and David Gascoyne. The poems were exotic and deliberately obscure, with no explicit themes but a mesmerising vigour and urgency: ‘I, no more real than evil in my roof/Speak at the bliss I pass I can endure/Crowding the glen my lintel ...

Unction and Slaughter

Simon Walker: Edward IV, 10 July 2003

Arthurian Myths and Alchemy: The Kingship of Edward IV 
by Jonathan Hughes.
Sutton, 354 pp., £30, October 2002, 0 7509 1994 9
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... his jousting companions, and constructed a new home for the Order in the elaborate chapel of St George at Windsor. Sir Thomas Malory, who enjoyed the patronage of several Yorkist notables, reflected the temper of the times in his Morte d’Arthur, recounting the conquests and adventures of a youthful Arthur and his knightly followers. Yet Malory’s ...

Gaol Fever

David Saunders-Wilson, 24 July 1986

Prisons and the Process of Justice 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 217 pp., £5.95, June 1986, 0 19 281932 1
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Growing out of Crime: Society and Young People in Trouble 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Penguin, 189 pp., £3.95, January 1986, 0 14 022383 5
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... wander onto the wrong side of the law, and get in trouble with ‘the Bill’. Indeed, both George Cole and Dennis Waterman in their Minder roles are now thought suitable characters to help encourage young people to stay off drugs in a series of commercials sponsored by the DHSS. The thought of dear old Arthur ending up inside for some of his misdeeds ...

Homely Virtues

David Cannadine, 4 August 1983

London: The Unique City 
by Steen Eiler Rasmussen.
MIT, 468 pp., £7.30, May 1982, 0 262 68027 0
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Town Planning in London: The 18th and 19th Centuries 
by Donald Olsen.
Yale, 245 pp., £25, October 1982, 0 300 02914 4
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The English Terraced House 
by Stefan Muthesius.
Yale, 278 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 300 02871 7
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London as it might have been 
by Felix Barker and Ralph Hyde.
Murray, 223 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 7195 3857 2
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... and sentimental to resent and oppose much large-scale tampering with their city’s fabric. As Barker and Hyde put it, ‘London is an architectural mess, but London likes it that way.’ So, perhaps, Rasmussen was right all along: certainly this survey of what was not built corroborates his explanation of what was. We are back where we ...

If It Weren’t for Charlotte

Alice Spawls: The Brontës, 16 November 2017

... been at the time (37) and prettier than she probably ever was (more on this later), is copied from George Richmond’s chalk drawing of 1850. Gaskell – the least distinctive of the three – is represented as much by her dress and slightly haughty stance as by her profile. She seems to be looking down at Patrick, though he’s a head taller. Hassall may have ...

Knife and Fork Question

Miles Taylor: The Chartist Movement, 29 November 2001

The Chartist Movement in Britain 1838-50 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, April 2001, 1 85196 330 8
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... is a little-known coda to Chartism, and worthy of further study.) Included, too, is Joseph Barker, another Methodist preacher, and probably the only Chartist to have a steam printing-press in his living-room. Barker was a ‘rational’ Chartist – into phrenology and vegetarianism – whose support for universal ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Fakes, 22 July 2010

... gas chromatography and various sorts of microscopy. In 1874, when the collection of Alexander Barker, the son of a fashionable boot-maker, came up for sale at Christie’s, the National Gallery acquired two Botticellis: both long pictures of Venus, one with three putti (An Allegory), the other with four baby satyrs and Mars (Venus and Mars). An Allegory ...

Major and Minor

Frank Kermode, 6 June 1985

The Oxford Companion to English Literature 
edited by Margaret Drabble.
Oxford, 1155 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 19 866130 4
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... New Apocalypse gets a mention, though none of its poets rates an individual entry unless, like Barker and Watkins, they made it elsewhere on their own. Poetry London, the only magazine to which I ever subscribed without receiving a single copy, is dignified by inclusion, and even gets more space than Horizon, though much less than Scrutiny. I suppose ...

Ejected Gentleman

Norman Page, 7 May 1987

John Galsworthy’s Life and Art: An Alien’s Fortress 
by James Gindin.
Macmillan, 616 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 333 40812 8
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... he had never been ‘absolutely in the inner circle’ of society; insisted to Harley Granville-Barker that he knew he would never be able to live up to his friend’s high opinion of him; doubted that he would ‘ever be a writer worthy of the name’. The picture that emerges from this latest biography is thus a very different one from that of the ...

England and Other Women

Edna Longley, 5 May 1988

Under Storm’s Wing 
by Helen Thomas and Myfanwy Thomas.
Carcanet, 318 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 85635 733 2
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... the recent spate of studies – by Michael Kirkham, Stan Smith, and the contributors to Jonathan Barker’s Art of Edward Thomas – seems more fortuitous than co-ordinated. Thomas, as Robert Frost reminded him, ‘knew the worth of [his] bays’. However, it is unwise to die in war when a hegemonic project like Modernism is getting under way. Frost’s ...

Between Victoria and Vauxhall

John Lanchester: The Election, 1 June 2017

... but secret, open but closed, they can see us but we can’t see them. ¡Olé!On our left is St George Wharf, a sprawling, messy, incoherent sort-of-postmodern residential complex that the readers of Architects’ Journal twice voted Worst Building in the World. Next to it is a building which to my eye looks even worse, The Tower, 1 St ...
Founders of the Welfare State 
edited by Paul Barker.
Gower, 138 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 435 82060 5
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The Affluent Society 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 233 97771 6
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... it lies in conscience about poverty – social conscience reinforced by patrician prudence. Paul Barker’s collection of essays shows how eclectic were the founders of the Welfare State. It is scarcely worth disputing the paternity claims between the Asquith government of 1905-1914 and the Attlee government of 1945-1951. War and coalition were also its ...


Mike Davis: California Burns, 15 November 2007

... from California State Polytechnic at Pomona – is, literally, in avocados. Tom has Lloyd George eyebrows, always appears in pressed khaki shorts and is armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of irrigation and tropical agriculture. He could easily pass for one of those planter types who caroused at Raffles and ran vast rubber estates in Malaya or raised ...

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