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Witchiness

Marina Warner: Baba Yaga, 27 August 2009

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg 
by Dubravka Ugrešić, translated by Ellen Elias Bursác, Celia Hawkesworth and Mark Thompson.
Canongate, 327 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84767 066 3
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... crone, not even Sir Frederick Ashton and Robert Helpmann as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella, or Ian McKellen camping it up as Widow Twankey, can approach the monstrosity of Baba Yaga. At the close of Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, the mysterious Dr Bagay herself sprouts feathers and finds her mouth stretching into a beak, and takes off on another kind of magical ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... Labour Party together. The British left anathematised the EEC as a capitalist club. For E.P. Thompson, it was ‘a group of fat, rich nations feeding each other goodies’. Barbara Castle, Michael Foot and Tony Benn led a powerful Labour campaign against the Common Market, in itself a pejorative term on the left. But Roy Jenkins and others on Labour’s ...

For ever Walsall

Angus Calder, 21 March 1985

Rural Life in England in the First World War 
by Pamela Horn.
Gill and Macmillan, 300 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 312 69604 3
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Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 9780500250914
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Labour and Society in Britain: 1918-1979 
by James Cronin.
Batsford, 248 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7134 4395 2
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Women in England 1870-1950: Sexual Divisions and Social Change 
by Jane Lewis.
Wheatsheaf, 240 pp., £16.95, November 1984, 0 7108 0186 6
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... version of English continuity. As Cairns Craig has argued in Cencrastus, Christopher Hill and E.P. Thompson see class struggle as fundamental to English history, but conceive that history to be ‘shaped as an autonomous inner trajectory defined by the conflicts and the accommodations between classes which do not need to be understood except in their relations ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... with a stairway to heaven. The steps, coincidentally, chime in with a poem by the recently dead Ian Hamilton printed in the LRB. We are on a kind of stair. The world below Will never be regained; was never there Perhaps. And yet it seems We’ve climbed to where we are With diligence, as if told long ago How high the highest rung. 23 January. To ...

A New Kind of Being

Jenny Turner: Angela Carter, 3 November 2016

The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography 
by Edmund Gordon.
Chatto, 544 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 7011 8755 2
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... begin with, she imagined the Barbarians as a biker gang, and read Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson,’ Gordon tells us. But then she became hugely absorbed by events in the world outside, in particular the événements in Paris, and upped the calibre of her reading to Lévi-Strauss and Adorno. ‘One felt one was living on the edge of the ...

O brambles, chain me too

Tom Paulin: Life and Vowels of Andrew Marvell, 25 November 1999

World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 294 pp., £20, September 1999, 0 316 64863 9
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Marvell and Liberty 
edited by Warren Chernaik and Martin Dzelzainis.
Macmillan, 365 pp., £47.50, July 1999, 0 333 72585 9
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Andrew Marvell 
edited by Thomas Healy.
Longman, 212 pp., £12.99, September 1998, 0 582 21910 8
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... That Most Excellent Citizen and Uncorrupted Member of Parliament, as his first biographer Edward Thompson described him in 1776, the year of James Barry’s engraving. Andrew Marvell, whose father was an Anglican clergyman, was born in the East Riding of Yorkshire in 1621, and entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1633 at the age of 12. He left Cambridge in ...

Holy Boldness

Tom Paulin: John Bunyan, 16 December 2004

Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent 
by Richard Greaves.
Stanford, 693 pp., £57.50, August 2002, 0 8047 4530 7
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Theology and Narrative in the Works of John Bunyan 
by Michael Davies.
Oxford, 393 pp., £65, July 2002, 0 19 924240 2
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The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ 
by Isabel Hofmeyr.
Princeton, 320 pp., £41.95, January 2004, 0 691 11655 5
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... According to E.P. Thompson, The Pilgrim’s Progress and The Rights of Man are the two ‘foundation texts’ of the English working-class movement. It is above all in John Bunyan, he argues, that we find ‘the slumbering Radicalism’ which was preserved through the 18th century, and broke out again and again in the 19th ...

No Waverers Allowed

Clair Wills: Eamonn McCann, 23 May 2019

War and an Irish Town 
by Eamonn McCann.
Haymarket, 288 pp., £14.99, October 2018, 978 1 60846 567 5
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... distinction between the granting of civil rights and concessions to revolution. Under the Reverend Ian Paisley’s banner of ‘No Surrender’, Protestant extremists fought back. By August, Belfast ‘was desperate … inconceivably horrific’: the minority Catholic population were burned out of their homes and there were pitched battles between the security ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... copy for rudeboy journalists. Jonathan Meades (‘Robin behaved badly before anyone else did’), Ian Penman, John Williams, Elizabeth Young – they’ve all done him. And been stretchered back to the cab. A Cook tribute is the contemporary equivalent to the apprentice’s passing-out ceremony. In both cases, you’re likely to end up legless in a ...

Anglo-Egyptian Attitudes

Marina Warner, 5 January 2017

... Haddock with his wild torrents of expletives, the Tweedledum and Tweedledee detectives Thomson and Thompson and above all the locales (Caribbean piracy, the pyramids, Aztec human sacrifice, Andean sun worship) gripped me, made me laugh and gasp and keep reading. When I’ve worried that my colonial background and the adventure yarns of the empire have ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... than three hundred staff were deployed immediately. Or that the council’s director of education, Ian Heggs, was in discussion on the morning of 14 June with the heads of eight local schools (I’ve seen the emails) about pupils from the tower. Nor that the education officers met with school heads and arranged for pupils to have psychological support and to ...

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