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Ave, Jeeves!

Emily Wilson: Rom(an) Com, 21 February 2008

Plautine Elements in Plautus 
by Eduard Fraenkel, translated by Tomas Drevikovsky and Frances Muecke.
Oxford, 459 pp., £79, November 2006, 0 19 924910 5
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Plautus: ‘Asinaria – The One about the Asses’ 
translated by John Henderson.
Wisconsin, 252 pp., £13.50, December 2006, 0 299 21994 1
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Terence: The Comedies 
translated by Peter Brown.
Oxford, 338 pp., £9.99, January 2008, 978 0 19 282399 1
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Terence: Comedies 
translated by Frederick Clayton.
Exeter, 290 pp., £45, January 2006, 0 85989 757 5
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... Olaudah Equiano or Harriet Jacobs. The Roman story of slavery is told from the perspective of the masters. Slavery made Roman cultural life possible, but Roman authors usually either ignored it, or made jokes about it. Roman comedy – the plays of Plautus (c.254-184 BC) and Terence (c.185-159 BC) – as well as the two comic novels, the Satyricon by ...

Ich dien

Michael Neill: Shakespeare and the Servants, 22 October 2009

Shakespeare, Love and Service 
by David Schalkwyk.
Cambridge, 317 pp., £50, June 2008, 978 0 521 88639 0
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... same language would have expressed a more literal truth. In that world the relationship between masters and servants in many respects resembled that between parents and children – even if ‘a seruants place and dutie’ was acknowledged to be ‘of more abiect and inferiour kinde’, as William Gouge put it in Of Domesticall Duties (1622). By the ...

Dummy and Biffy

Noël Annan, 17 October 1985

Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... KGB and MI6 are interchangeable. Who can forget A.J.P. Taylor’s jibe that no spy ever told his masters anything of value they could not have gleaned from the press? Or Malcolm Muggeridge’s chronicles of his wasted time in the farce of paying agents in Lorenço Marques during the war? Perhaps Cyril Connolly said the last word on the spy story when in ...

Thinking the unthinkable

John Naughton, 4 September 1980

... by refusing to debate the calculus of savagery, intellectuals are allowing the military and their masters to obfuscate the nature of the horrors which are being planned. The callous technical vocabulary of holocaust remains unexposed, its dreadful euphemisms remain unexplicated: cant about ‘mutual assured destruction’ (which has the appropriate acronymn ...

Top Brands Today

Nicholas Penny: The Art World, 14 December 2017

The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... artist. He hasn’t the slightest doubt that ‘contemporary art’ is ‘the New Old Masters’. When, in 2015, Hirst and Koons arrived in the Gulf at the behest of Sheikha Al-Mayassa, it was ‘like putting Michelangelo and da Vinci in the same room’.De Pury offers one explanation for the huge market that has grown up for contemporary ...

Franklin D, listen to me

J. Hoberman: Popular (Front) Songs, 17 September 1998

Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs and the American Left, 1926-53 
edited by Ronald Cohen and Dave Samuelson.
Bear Family Records, DM 390, June 1996
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... greatest hits when you can invest in a boxed set, complete with alternate takes, unreleased masters, demo tapes, and radio air checks? Long defunct record labels are catalogued and repackaged as the CD ‘revolution’ churns up all manner of forgotten material. Issued in time for Christmas a few years back, The Beatles: Live at the BBC proved to be ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: David Wilkie, 31 October 2002

... money from, pictures of this sort: for Sir George Beaumont The Blind Fiddler; for the financier John Julius Angerstein (who paid 800 guineas) The Village Holiday; for the Prince Regent Blind Man’s Buff (finished 1813). Wilkie became an associate and then a member of the Royal Academy while very young; he was knighted and made a painter to the King. He was ...

Boys wearing wings

Nicholas Penny, 15 March 1984

Caravaggio 
by Howard Hibbard.
Thames and Hudson, 404 pp., £22.50, May 1983, 0 500 09161 7
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Circa 1600: A Revolution of Style in Italian Painting 
by S.J. Freedberg.
Harvard, 125 pp., £21.25, January 1983, 0 674 13156 8
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Domenichino 
by Richard Spear.
Yale, 382 pp., £75, November 1982, 0 300 02359 6
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... from Caravaggio who is doing marvellous things in Rome ... He thinks little of the works of other masters ... All works of art he believes to be ‘Bagatelli’, child’s play, whoever by, and whatever of, unless they are made from life, and that there is no better course than to follow Nature. And so he will not make a single brushstroke without taking it ...

Spadework

John Brown, 18 November 1982

Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett 
by Richard Layman.
Junction, 285 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 86245 027 6
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... a repetition of Hammett’s account, via the character of Casper Gutman, of the Hospitalers of St John – the purpose of which, it seems, is to allow Layman to observe that, contrary to what Hammett/Gutman says, the Hospitalers refused to move from Rhodes to Malta and were given four islands by Charles V, not three. There are some crime novelists (Raymond ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Servant’, 9 May 2013

The Servant 
directed by Joseph Losey.
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... downstairs upstairs, you might say. The class situation is reversed, the servants are the new masters, the masters are humiliated. Actually, one of the films within the film does end there. Bogarde and Miles are sacked, everything seems to be over. And then in what is surely the best turn in the script, Bogarde ...

The light that failed

Peter Clarke, 18 September 1980

The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815-1848 
by Maxine Berg.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £16, April 1980, 0 521 22782 8
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Masters, Unions and Men 
by Richard Price.
Cambridge, 355 pp., £18.50, June 1980, 0 521 22882 4
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Work, Society and Politics 
by Patrick Joyce.
Harvester, 356 pp., £24, July 1980, 0 85527 680 0
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... for origins, pioneers, forerunners and precedents constituted the historiographical task. In Masters, Unions and Men Richard Price takes issue with this approach, which he identifies specifically with the work of the doyen of current practitioners, Henry Pelling. ‘Inconsistent even in the explanations that it does adduce to explain the rise of ...

Quod erat Hepburn

John Bayley, 3 April 1986

Katharine Hepburn: A Biography 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 395 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 340 33719 2
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... to marry her, including Leland Hayward, the agent and producer, and she had been nearly raped by John Barrymore, according to whom she had backed away against the wall of his dressing-room stammering: ‘No, no, my father doesn’t want me to have babies.’ Her mother, after all, apart from her social grandeur, was a serious and distinguished pioneer in the ...

Diary

Marina Warner: Why I Quit, 11 September 2014

... Essex, a place with a long history of boat-building and Dionysiac boho revels: Francis Bacon, John Deakin and ‘Dicky’ Chopping, who made a fortune designing the dust jackets for James Bond books, all drank in the Rose & Crown on the quayside at Wivenhoe. Constable condensed the dominant myth of the English countryside in his painting of a haywain ...

Among the Picts

John Sutherland, 18 August 1994

Stained Radiance: A Fictionist’s Prelude 
by J. Leslie Mitchell.
Polygon, 219 pp., £7.95, July 1993, 0 7486 6141 7
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The Speak of the Mearns 
by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
Polygon, 268 pp., £8.95, June 1994, 0 7486 6167 0
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... playing over an array of representative lives. He also incorporates a self-portrait in the form of John Garland, a clerk in the RAF struggling to write his first hyper-ironical novel. Garland, we’re told, ‘hated the Air Force. Like 90 per cent of those in the ranks, he had enlisted under the compulsion of hunger and unemployment. He had never forgiven the ...

In Cardiff

John Barrell: Richard Wilson, 25 September 2014

... in the last decades of the 18th century, before Wilson came to be forgotten. The portrait painter John Hoppner, an early adherent of the Joey-Barton-on-Question-Time school of cultural criticism, declared that ‘considering the qualities of Claude & Wilson as He shd. the qualities of two fine Women, He should acknowledge the beauties of Claude but say Wilson ...

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