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The Purchas’d Wave

Bernard Rudden: The history of London’s water supply, 22 July 2004

London's New River 
by Robert Ward.
Historical Publications, 248 pp., £17.95, October 2003, 0 948667 84 2
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... years later it returned to private enterprise, when the City handed over its public powers to a goldsmith called Hugh Myddelton, whose name still adorns the streets of Islington. Three years after that it became a public-private initiative, with James I underwriting half the costs in return for half the profits. In 1631, Charles I was persuaded to swap ...

His Father’s Children

Sissela Bok, 5 April 1984

Collected Works of John Stuart Mill. Vol. I: Autobiography and Literary Essays 
edited by John Robson and Jack Stillinger.
Toronto, 766 pp., £35, March 1982, 0 7100 0718 3
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... author of The History of British India.’ The father-author thus announced at the beginning of John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography dominated his life from early childhood on. Did he in any sense author his son’s life as he authored his books? John Stuart Mill wrote his own Life in large part to work out an answer to ...


Jeremy Harding: The Late Jonas Savimbi, 21 March 2002

... at length by the British branch of the International Freedom Federation – patronised by Jimmy Goldsmith and John Aspinall, and run by a yoofish wild bunch who had come up through the Federation of Conservative Students in the second Thatcher term. When Savimbi rejected the results of the elections in 1992 (which proved ...

Phantom Jacks

John Bayley, 5 January 1989

Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times 
by George Sayer.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 333 43362 9
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J.B. Priestley 
by Vincent Brome.
Hamish Hamilton, 512 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 9780241125601
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Eddy: The Life of Edward Sackville-West 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £16, October 1988, 0 370 31164 7
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... But what irritated Priestley was his rejection of the 18th-century novelists – Fielding, Sterne, Goldsmith, Smollett – whom Priestley most admired, whom he had learnt from, before whom he ‘felt humble’. Leavis, Priestley said, ‘did mischief to the art he was boarded and lodged to serve’ – rather a revealing comment. ‘To be an author was to ...


John Upton: Damilola Taylor, 4 January 2001

... and the shops grow shabbier. Here on the corner of Peckham Road and Southampton Way is Oliver Goldsmith School, which Damilola Taylor attended. Another group of policemen stands outside it. Behind the railings which line one side of the building are laid out the inevitable floral tributes to the boy – a line of cellophane bouquets stretching for twenty ...

Green Martyrs

Patricia Craig, 24 July 1986

The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse 
edited by Thomas Kinsella.
Oxford, 423 pp., £12.50, May 1986, 0 19 211868 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry 
edited by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 415 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 571 13760 1
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Irish Poetry after Joyce 
by Dillon Johnston.
Dolmen, 336 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 85105 437 4
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... various confident and sagacious Anglo-Irish voices were raised in deliberation or mockery. Swift, Goldsmith, Sheridan: these turn up in the Oxford anthology, alongside the anonymous authors of such demotic verses as ‘Lilli Burlero’ – the title and refrain of this Orange song is surely the transliteration of an Irish phrase, An lile ba leir ee- ba linn ...

Balfour’s Ghost

Peter Clarke, 20 March 1997

Why Vote Conservative? 
by David Willetts.
Penguin, 108 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026304 7
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Why Vote Liberal Democrat? 
by William Wallace.
Penguin, 120 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026303 9
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Why Vote Labour? 
by Tony Wright.
Penguin, 111 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026397 7
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... intermittently filled this kind of slot, beginning in 1947, when they commissioned the Labour MP John Parker and the Conservative MP Quintin Hogg, now Lord Hailsham, to produce books of a couple of hundred pages each. ‘When the manuscripts were received,’ the publishers were forced to reveal, ‘it was found that while Mr Parker had kept closely to the ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell, 1 April 2004

... John Taylor, the journalist, newspaper editor and poet, was born in 1757. His grandfather, the legendary ‘Chevalier’ Taylor, had been oculist to George II, and afterwards, so his grandson assures us, to ‘every crowned head in Europe’. He was as famous for his womanising as for his knowledge of ophthalmology, but most famous, perhaps, for his habit of prefacing every operation he performed with a long speech in praise of his own skill, composed in what he claimed was ‘the true Ciceronian’, with each main verb cunningly held back to the end of the sentence ...

English Fame and Irish Writers

Brian Moore, 20 November 1980

Selected Poems 1956-1975 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 136 pp., £3.95, October 1980, 0 571 11644 2
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Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 224 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 571 11638 8
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... tongue, a tongue most of them no longer speak. Of course, there have been those – Farquhar, Goldsmith, Sheridan, Wilde and Shaw come to mind – who have made a triumphant transition to London and to an English fame. But it is as though Ireland releases these writers on their own recognisance that, henceforth, they will write and speak and live as ...

The Waugh between the Diaries

Ian Hamilton, 5 December 1985

The Diaries of Auberon Waugh: A Turbulent Decade 1976-1985 
edited by Anna Galli-Pahlavi.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 207 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 233 97811 9
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... much like it here. No, let him live. But still, what do you do if you’re a bachelor, or James Goldsmith, or a lesbian, or Welsh, or a good-looking nun, or Peter Parker, or a social worker, or a cat? You could always (well, not the cat) try taking Waugh to court. But who would want to stand up in the Old Bailey and declare himself not ‘the silliest man ...


Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... done – such as rubbishing the Heseltine campaign for leader in 1990 – Clark, the tycoon James Goldsmith and the zoo-keeper John Aspinall arranged a dinner with Conrad Black, owner of the Telegraph, to try to persuade him to order his (entirely independent) editor to stop backing Heseltine. Black refused, but we are left ...


Zachary Leader: Oscar Talk at the Huntington, 16 April 1998

... many of them) that Amis received: several hundred from Robert Conquest, Anthony Powell, John Betjeman, Philip Larkin and others. These letters help supply the answers to niggling editorial puzzles: for example, the identity of ‘Bluebell’ (Conquest’s dog), or ‘engine driver Hunt’, from a passage in a letter reading ‘Praed, Hood, Gilbert ...

The Need for Buddies

Roy Porter, 22 June 2000

British Clubs and Societies 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World 
by Peter Clark.
Oxford, 516 pp., £60, January 2000, 0 19 820376 4
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... Literary Club, whose gatherings at the Turk’s Head in Gerrard Street included Burke, Reynolds, Goldsmith, Sir Joseph Banks, Burney, Garrick, Sheridan, Gibbon and Adam Smith. In their role as self-appointed custodians of culture, literary clubs combined some of the functions of the Paris salon and the university the capital lacked. There was no true ...


Glen Newey: Life with WikiLeaks, 6 January 2011

... appeared in a Westminster court for a pre-extradition hearing, there was the odd spectacle of John Pilger and Ken Loach outside pledging surety for Assange’s bail, along with Jemima Khan, the daughter of the late tycoon and anarcho-capitalist James Goldsmith, whose contributions to British public life included ...


Peter Campbell, 4 December 1986

Survey of London: Vol. XLII. Southern Kensington: Kensington to Earls Court 
Athlone, 502 pp., £55, May 1986, 0 485 48242 8Show More
Follies: A National Trust Guide 
by Gwyn Headley and Wim Meulenkamp.
Cape, 564 pp., £15, June 1986, 0 224 02105 2
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The Botanists 
by David Elliston Allen.
St Paul’s Bibliographies, 232 pp., £15, May 1986, 0 906795 36 2
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British Art since 1900 
by Frances Spalding.
Thames and Hudson, 252 pp., £10.50, April 1986, 0 500 23457 4
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Paintings from Books: Art and Literature in Britain, 1760-1900 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 527 pp., £55, March 1986, 0 8142 0380 9
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History of the British Pig 
by John Wiseman.
Duckworth, 118 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 9780715619872
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... show buildings that are still quite recognisable today; pictures of the ‘Cromwell curve’, with John Fowler’s concrete bridge of 1867-9, are evidence of the scale of engineering work now masked by later building and softened by vegetation. The railways have proved adequate. Reading the plans of the St Mary Abbots Hospital, on the other hand, shows how ...

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