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The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... and green of the hills. This is where you find Tibbie Shiel’s Inn, where the Blackwood’s boys James Hogg and Christopher North used to come to liquefy their rhetoric. We entered from a smirr of rain, snoking for supper. It turned out supper was something that happened in the glen before 6.30 p.m. A lady in a white lab coat emerged to remind us of the ...

Satanic School

Rosemary Ashton, 7 May 1987

Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo in Modern Culture 
by James Twitchell.
Columbia, 311 pp., £15.60, December 1986, 0 231 06412 8
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Shelley and his Circle 1773-1822: Vols VII and VIII 
edited by Donald Reiman and Doucet Devin Fischer.
Harvard, 1228 pp., £71.95, October 1986, 0 674 80613 1
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Shelley’s Venomed Melody 
by Nora Crook and Derek Guiton.
Cambridge, 273 pp., £25, August 1986, 0 521 32084 4
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The Journals of Mary Shelley 1814-1844 
edited by Paula Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert.
Oxford, 735 pp., £55, March 1987, 0 19 812571 2
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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Selected Letters 
edited by H.J. Jackson.
Oxford, 306 pp., £19.50, April 1987, 0 19 818540 5
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... of course between liking to feel the past strange and liking to feel it familiar.’ Thus Henry James in the Preface to The Aspern Papers, the germ of which was the story of an American Shelley-worshipper seeking out the eighty-year old Claire Clairmont to trick or wheedle her into handing over precious documents illuminating her youthful relations with ...

A Bit of a Lush

Christopher Tayler: William Boyd, 23 May 2002

Any Human Heart 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 504 pp., £17.99, April 2002, 9780241141779
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... often someone available to explain this state of affairs. In Armadillo, for example, it’s George Hogg, an implausibly lyrical loss adjuster. ‘No, my friends,’ he tells his team, ‘life does not run smoothly along tracks that we have laid down . . . However much we seem to have it under control, to have every eventuality covered, all risks taken into ...

Deadheaded Sentences

Andrew O’Hagan: A Disservice to Dolly, 4 August 2022

Run Rose Run 
by Dolly Parton and James Patterson.
Century, 439 pp., £20, March, 978 1 5291 3567 1
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The Stories of My Life 
by James Patterson.
Century, 358 pp., £20, June, 978 1 5291 3687 6
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... AnnieLee has a source of secret pain? OK. A husband, a baby? Or is it some sociopathic Boss Hogg type back in Shit-Town, who treated her horribly when she was somebody else with a double-barrelled Christian name? You get the picture. The past won’t leave AnnieLee alone and she has to be beaten up by a couple of bogeymen who always seem able to find ...


Paul Foot: The Buttocks Problem, 5 September 1996

... that Trench had been a crusted Tory ever since, at the age of 19, he had campaigned for Quintin Hogg in the ‘appeasement’ by-election in Oxford in 1938. Never mind that drift and complacency were two of Trench’s most enduring characteristics. The arch-flogger, arch-creep and arch-hypocrite had somehow established himself as a wonderful teacher (which ...

He saw, he wanted

Jenny Diski: Murder at Wrotham Hill, 8 November 2012

Murder at Wrotham Hill 
by Diana Souhami.
Quercus, 325 pp., £18.99, September 2012, 978 0 85738 283 2
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... who travelled for his work), the abolition clause was dropped. In the Commons debate Quintin Hogg spoke with grim logic: We have just been hanging our defeated enemies after the trials at Nuremberg. They were prosecuted not as an act of war but as an act of what was claimed to be justice … If we were going to say that it was at all times and in all ...

Being two is half the fun

John Bayley, 4 July 1985

Multiple Personality and the Disintegration of Literary Character 
by Jeremy Hawthorn.
Edward Arnold, 146 pp., £15, May 1983, 0 7131 6398 4
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Doubles: Studies in Literary History 
by Karl Miller.
Oxford, 488 pp., £19.50, June 1985, 9780198128410
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The Doubleman 
by C.J. Koch.
Chatto, 326 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 9780701129453
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... a more simplistic and old-fashioned attitude. But arguably, even some classics of the genre, like Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner or Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, suffer from our getting the point too soon, seeing what the author would be at. This is where Dickens scores so heavily, and Emily Brontë. Who shall say whether Quilp and Little ...


Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... housekeepers, repairs to tennis courts, swimming-pools; there’s even a suggestion that Douglas Hogg claimed for cleaning out his moat. The papers are suddenly full of pictures of Home Counties mansions set in acres of manicured lawns, straight out of Country Life, allegedly maintained at taxpayers’ expense. Proof, in case anyone has forgotten, that the ...

Old Europe

Jeremy Harding: Britain in Bosnia, 20 February 2003

Indictment at The Hague: The Milosevic Regime and the Crimes of the Balkan Wars 
by Norman Cigar and Paul Williams.
New York, 339 pp., $24.95, July 2002, 0 8147 1626 1
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Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia 
by Brendan Simms.
Penguin, 464 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 14 028983 6
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Under Orders: War Crimes in Kosovo 
by Fred Abrahams.
Human Rights Watch, 593 pp., £18, October 2001, 1 56432 264 5
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Milosevic: A Biography 
by Adam LeBor.
Bloomsbury, 386 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 7475 6090 0
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... whining about the agony of the Balkans. Hurd and Rifkind, and minor figures such as Douglas Hogg, all fancied themselves as men of steel, cool under fire, especially if it happened to be raining down on Sarajevo. They had their own Ottoman agenda. In their view Bosnian-Serb extremism was merely a case of referred pain: the real problem would surely turn ...

Hail, Muse!

Seamus Perry: Byron v. Shelley, 6 February 2003

The Making of the Poets: Byron and Shelley in Their Time 
by Ian Gilmour.
Chatto, 410 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7110 3
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Byron and Romanticism 
by Jerome McGann.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £47.50, August 2002, 0 521 80958 4
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... than his father’s because of its connections with royalty (she was remotely descended from King James I of Scotland); at school, he boasted so much about the (alleged) venerability of his title that he was facetiously nicknamed ‘the Old English Baron’. Occasionally the pretension turned more prickly: invited to join a formal procession, he sulked for ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories, 24 January 2013

The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... was the scene of a ‘strange and recurring tragedy’ which provided the point of departure for James Frazer’s anthropological classic, The Golden Bough. The grove was guarded by a wary figure, a priest and a murderer, ever on his guard against an assailant who would try to murder him in order to take his place: ‘Such was the rule of the sanctuary. A ...

Take a bullet for the team

David Runciman: The Profumo Affair, 21 February 2013

An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... resignation, there were two further, short-lived secretaries of state for war (Joseph Godber and James Ramsden). Within a year Harold Wilson’s incoming Labour government had abolished the post altogether, amalgamating its duties into the Ministry of Defence. Profumo killed off his job at the same time that he was destroying his own career. What Profumo ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... in media savvy. He stood among the sureties and supporters: Tony Benn, Jemima Khan, Bianca Jagger, James Fox and Bella Freud, and the five or so young people I associated with WikiLeaks. We were led up to seats in the gallery they’d saved for friends. As soon as I sat down and looked down at the court I saw Esther Addley of the Guardian. She saw ...

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