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Scrum down

Paul Smith, 14 November 1996

Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity 
edited by John Nauright and Timothy Chandler.
Cass, 260 pp., £35, April 1996, 0 7146 4637 7
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... imperial world force was already looking shadowy, with the failure of imperial federation and Joseph Chamberlain’s concept of imperial Zollverein to grip colonial sentiment. Rugby was in part, for South Africans especially, a means of adapting British cultural implantations for the creation of a distinctive and differentiating identity. The alienness of ...

Artovsky Millensky

Andrew O’Hagan: The Misfit, 1 January 2009

Arthur Miller, 1915-62 
by Christopher Bigsby.
Weidenfeld, 739 pp., £30, November 2008, 978 0 297 85441 8
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... the American state itself seemed fascistic, the shadow of Goebbels falling over the dark face of Joseph McCarthy, giving renewed vigour to Miller, and such as Miller, as they advocated resistance to the evil forces of their time. For Miller, The Crucible was not merely a searing objection to the McCarthy witch-hunt, but a potent denunciation of the Fascist ...

Like Cooking a Dumpling

Mike Jay: Victorian Science Writing, 20 November 2014

Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age 
by James Secord.
Oxford, 306 pp., £18.99, March 2014, 978 0 19 967526 5
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... mind between science and revolution. The great experimental chemist of the previous generation, Joseph Priestley, had believed it self-evident that the progress of reason and science would lead to a general reformation of religion and politics: ‘The English hierarchy (if there be anything unsound in its constitution) has equal reason to tremble even at an ...

How far shall I take this character?

Richard Poirier: The Corruption of Literary Biography, 2 November 2000

Bellow: A Biography 
by James Atlas.
Faber, 686 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 14356 3
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... she gets for conceiving him ‘immaculately’, with a dove standing for the Holy Ghost while Joseph was busy with his carpentry. Joyce, a writer Bellow has read and taught all his life, allows Buck Mulligan in Ulysses to give a comic twist to Stephen Dedalus’s similar pretensions that he is of divine origins and divinely inspired: I’m the queerest ...

On Liking Herodotus

Peter Green, 3 April 2014

The Histories 
by Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland.
Penguin, 834 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7139 9977 8
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Herodotus: Vol. I, Herodotus and the Narrative of the Past 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 495 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958757 5
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Herodotus: Vol. II, Herodotus and the World 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 473 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958759 9
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Textual Rivals: Self-Presentation in Herodotus’ ‘Histories’ 
by David Branscome.
Michigan, 272 pp., £60.50, November 2013, 978 0 472 11894 6
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The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus 
by Joseph Skinner.
Oxford, 343 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 979360 0
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... Xerxes’ invasion and its eventual defeat? Here probably the greatest aid to clarity is Joseph Skinner’s exhaustive monograph The Invention of Greek Ethnography. Skinner’s subtitle, ‘From Homer to Herodotus’, is significant. The fact that ethnographic prose is a fifth-century phenomenon, he writes, has encouraged the idea that ‘ethnography ...

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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... than fifty years. It was engineered by several extraordinarily persuasive dealers, most notably Joseph Duveen, who ensured that some of the richest men in the US – Henry Clay Frick, Henry Huntington, Joseph Widener and Andrew Mellon among them – employed only two types of contemporary artist (often recommended by ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... of the easily available material comes from Tolkien’s own publisher. Shippey’s books, like Joseph Pearce’s Tolkien: Man and Myth (1998), are published by Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins, which has published the Tolkien oeuvre since taking over Allen and Unwin in 1990. Humphrey Carpenter’s 1977 authorised biography and his 1981 edition of the ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie, 5 April 2012

Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... of the rhythm section Bowie would work with for the next five years – Alomar on guitar, George Murray on bass, Dennis Davis on drums – and the new emphasis on production over composition in the song-making process. Bowie’s new onstage persona, the Thin White Duke, a vampiric cross between Aleister Crowley and Prospero with fascist overtones, having ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... newspapers. If I were a voter in the Blackburn constituency my vote would go to Craig Murray, the ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan, who resigned from the diplomatic service over the foreign secretary’s refusal to discount information obtained by torture in the prisons of Uzbekistan, a decision that means torture is likely to continue. If there is a ...

Outside the text

Marilyn Butler, 19 December 1985

The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory 
by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 352 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 811730 2
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The Politics of Language: 1791-1819 
by Olivia Smith.
Oxford, 269 pp., £19.50, December 1984, 0 19 812817 7
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... censored and distorted, to a degree that significantly changed their direction, by the publisher Murray. Coleridge himself went on editorialising and re-interpreting ‘The Ancient Mariner’, which supplies McGann’s most intricate and fascinating example: ‘The Ancient Mariner’ becomes itself an elaborate commentary upon literary transmission, and a ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... Hewlett, Anthony Hope, W.J. Locke, E.V. Lucas, J.W. Mackail, John Masefield, A.E.W. Mason, Gilbert Murray, Henry Newbolt, Owen Seaman, G.M. Trevelyan, H.G. Wells and Israel Zangwill (Arthur Quiller-Couch and Rudyard Kipling sent messages of support). At first glance, this may seem to be the literary and intellectual establishment in its pomp. Reference works ...

Little Englander Histories

Linda Colley: Little Englandism, 22 July 2010

A Mad, Bad & Dangerous People? England 1783-1846 
by Boyd Hilton.
Oxford, 757 pp., £21, June 2008, 978 0 19 921891 2
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Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld, 1780-1939 
by James Belich.
Oxford, 573 pp., £25, June 2009, 978 0 19 929727 6
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... founded in 1802 by a group of Scottish Whigs, together with the Quarterly Review published by John Murray, a firm established by a Scot, are described as setting the tone of ‘early 19th-century politics’. So how exactly does all this make up a history of England? Hilton brushes the question aside: ‘All that was admirable about Scotland was subsumed into ...

White Power

Thomas Meaney, 1 August 2019

Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America 
by Kathleen Belew.
Harvard, 330 pp., £23.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 28607 8
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Revolutionaries for the Right Anti-Communist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War 
by Kyle Burke.
North Carolina, 337 pp., June 2018, 978 1 4696 4073 0
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... right-wing networks that channelled millions of dollars from respectable sources (the beer magnate Joseph Coors was a major donor) to anti-communist causes and counter-insurgency operations around the world. Their largesse was spread wide. Liebman founded the Friends of Rhodesian Independence, which led tours for US government officials and professors, while ...

High Jinks at the Plaza

Perry Anderson, 22 October 1992

The British Constitution Now 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Heinemann, 289 pp., £18.50, April 1992, 0 434 47994 2
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Constitutional Reform 
by Robert Brazier.
Oxford, 172 pp., £22.50, September 1991, 0 19 876257 7
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Anatomy of Thatcherism 
by Shirley Letwin.
Fontana, 364 pp., £6.99, October 1992, 0 00 686243 8
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... often feature the talents of American neo-conservatism – Alan Bloom, Harvey Mansfield, Joseph Epstein, Hilton Kramer, Charles Murray, Paul Craig Roberts, Irving Kristol, even such names for the connoisseur as Richard Cornuelle – they are among the fruits of a mutually beneficial association. For on the one ...

The Darwin Show

Steven Shapin, 7 January 2010

... 3000 of the rapidly produced 1860 second edition – books offered for sale by the publisher John Murray at the same time included 7600 copies of an account of the Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and 3200 copies of Samuel Smiles’s Self-Help. From 1860 to 1865, the monthly sales of ‘the book that made the modern world’ were less than 30, although a ...

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