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Unliterary, Unpolished, Unromantic

Charles Nicholl: ‘The Merchant of Prato’, 8 February 2018

The Merchant of Prato: Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City 
by Iris Origo.
Penguin, 400 pp., £10.99, May 2017, 978 0 241 29392 8
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... and a short study of Byron’s daughter Allegra, both issued in 1935. The latter was published by Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press, which led to her meeting with Virginia Woolf, whose diaries describe her as ‘tremulous’, ‘honest-eyed’ and very glamorous: ‘I like her bird of paradise flight through the gay world. A long green feather in her hat ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms, 6 September 2007

... be relieved of his dominant position at the Proms, of which he now became conductor-in-chief. When Hugh Greene became the BBC director-general in 1960, he resolved to update and reposition the corporation by lessening its ties with and deference towards the establishment. Hence his appointment, very soon after he had arrived at Broadcasting House, of William ...

Strange, Angry Objects

Owen Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades, 17 November 2016

A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... sub-Barbican of monumental towers connected by walkways across a raised podium. Seifert, as Hugh Casson pointed out, had ‘loyalty to his clients’ where other architects felt a loyalty to ‘society in general’; he was dropped from the competition for the National Theatre early on for being, as the judges put it, ‘Too commercial. No ...

Something Rather Scandalous

Jean McNicol: The Loves of Rupert Brooke, 19 October 2016

Rupert Brooke: Life, Death and Myth 
by Nigel Jones.
Head of Zeus, 588 pp., £12, April 2015, 978 1 78185 703 8
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Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke 
by Paul Delany.
McGill-Queen’s, 380 pp., £28.99, March 2015, 978 0 7735 4557 1
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The Second I Saw You: The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner 
by Lorna C. Beckett.
British Library, 216 pp., £16.99, April 2015, 978 0 7123 5792 0
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... who read about Brooke in the papers knew nothing of this, and nothing of his charm and beauty (Leonard Woolf: ‘His looks were stunning – it is the only appropriate adjective’; W.B. Yeats: ‘the handsomest young man in England’; H.W. Nevinson: ‘the whole effect was almost ludicrously beautiful’). The principal driver of myth-creation was the ...

A Ripple of the Polonaise

Perry Anderson: Work of the Nineties, 25 November 1999

History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the Nineties 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Allen Lane, 441 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7139 9323 5
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... inside source, he could be counted, by the mid-Eighties, among the select group of academics – Hugh Thomas, Brian Crozier, Norman Stone, Leonard Schapiro and others – lending extra-mural advice and assistance to Mrs Thatcher. Urban’s refreshingly forthright memoir, Diplomacy and Disillusion at the Court of Margaret ...

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