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Frances Spalding: Art in postwar Britain, 15 April 1999

New Art New World: British Art in Postwar Society 
by Margaret Garlake.
Yale, 279 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 300 07292 9
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Cultural Offensive: America’s Impact on British Art since 1945 
by John Walker.
Pluto, 304 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 7453 1321 3
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... In the same year that the Kitchen Sink artists were honoured in Venice, one of them – Jack Smith – won first prize at the John Moores exhibition in Liverpool, with his Creation and Crucifixion. Thanks to these successes, 1956 could be said to have marked the apotheosis of realism; it was also the year that the death-blow was delivered to the movement ...

Thinking about Death

Michael Wood: Why does the world exist?, 21 March 2013

Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story 
by Jim Holt.
Profile, 307 pp., £12.99, June 2012, 978 1 84668 244 5
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... David Deutsch in Headington, to John Leslie in Canada, to Derek Parfit, again in Oxford. He meets Roger Penrose in New York, has phone conversations with Steven Weinberg and John Updike. These conversations become a way of evoking possibilities as much as seeking answers, and some of these possibilities are fascinating, whatever our scepticism may be about ...

England’s End

Peter Campbell, 7 June 1984

English Journey 
by J.B. Priestley.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 434 60371 6
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English Journey, or The Road to Milton Keynes 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth/BBC, 158 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 563 20299 8
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Crisis and Conservation: Conflict in the British Countryside 
by Charlie Pye-Smith and Chris Rose.
Penguin, 213 pp., £3.95, March 1984, 0 14 022437 8
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Invisible Country: A Journey through Scotland 
by James Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 164 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 297 78371 8
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Literary Britain 
by Bill Brandt.
Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Hurtwood Press, 184 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 905209 66 4
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... and vermin need more protection than the flocks and crops. In Crisis and Conservation Charlie Pye-Smith and Chris Rose marshal such arguments. The one characteristic which measures aesthetic and ecological value objectively is complication. The greater the number of species, and the greater the variety of the habitats supporting them, the better; theory and ...

What’s so good about Reid?

Galen Strawson, 22 February 1990

Thomas Reid’s ‘Inquiry’: The Geometry of Visibles and the Case for Realism 
by Norman Daniels.
Stanford, 160 pp., £25, May 1989, 0 8047 1504 1
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Common Sense 
by Lynd Forguson.
Routledge, 193 pp., £30, November 1989, 0 415 02302 5
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Thomas Reid and the ‘Way of Ideas’ 
by Roger Gallie.
Reidel, 287 pp., £42, July 1989, 0 7923 0390 3
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Philosophy and Science in the Scottish Enlightenment 
edited by Peter Jones.
John Donald, 230 pp., £20, October 1989, 0 85976 225 4
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Studies in the Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment 
edited by M.A. Stewart.
Oxford, 328 pp., £37.50, January 1990, 0 19 824967 5
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Thomas Reid 
by Keith Lehrer.
Routledge, 311 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 415 03886 3
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... the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense, in 1764, the year in which he succeeded Adam Smith in the chair of moral philosophy at Glasgow. At 70 he retired to prepare his lectures for publication. They appeared as the Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man and the Essays on the Active Powers of Man, in 1785 and 1788 respectively.Reid had notable ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... to Mike Molloy, a Mirror reporter. Molloy confronts Gould, who refers him to his solicitor, Sir Roger Pelham. A few minutes later when the phone rang again Raymond still hadn’t moved. He picked up the receiver, his hand still shaking. Pelham confirmed that Molloy had been in touch with him.      ‘I presume you made no comment,’ said ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... Chris Carduff, who had offered to send her any books she wanted, for a copy of Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher. An account of a 30,000-mile journey around the continent by two naturalists, it was originally published in 1955 and was being reissued in memory of Peterson, who had recently died. Fitzgerald wanted it, however, for the sake ...

Where the Apples Come From

T.C. Smout: What Makes an Oak Tree Grow, 29 November 2007

Woodlands 
by Oliver Rackham.
Collins, 609 pp., £25, September 2006, 0 00 720243 1
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Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees 
by Richard Mabey.
Chatto, 289 pp., £20, October 2007, 978 1 85619 733 5
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Wildwood: A Journey through Trees 
by Roger Deakin.
Hamish Hamilton, 391 pp., £20, May 2007, 978 0 241 14184 7
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The Wild Trees: What if the Last Wilderness Is above Our Heads? 
by Richard Preston.
Allen Lane, 294 pp., £20, August 2007, 978 1 84614 023 5
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... towards maintaining large, sunny open spaces, even in early prehistory. Twenty years ago, Alan Smith and other archaeologists proposed that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers would have found an advantage in enlarging and manipulating grassy areas where wild grazing animals gathered, and in encouraging nuts and berries to grow on the edge of the wood or in ...

Into Thin Air

Marina Warner: Science at the Séances, 3 October 2002

The Invention of Telepathy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 334 pp., £35, June 2002, 0 19 924962 8
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... investigators during the last three decades of the 19th century, the period dealt with in Roger Luckhurst’s study. Photography was of inestimable importance in disseminating the performance of the mediums, as well as offering a deep metaphor for the relation between external matter and immaterial thought. While the interplay between psychology and ...

Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... spirit of the new music in the same way that the voice of Mahalia Jackson identified Gospel. John Smith’s discography of Johnny Cash, who was resident in Memphis at the time and also benefited from Phillips’s expertise, contributes to the idea of a movement. Presley’s intelligence, however, has always been in doubt. Joe Esposito, his infamous ...

Little Philadelphias

Ange Mlinko: Imagism, 25 March 2010

The Verse Revolutionaries: Ezra Pound, H.D. and the Imagists 
by Helen Carr.
Cape, 982 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 224 04030 3
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... poem had come a long way from ‘Casabianca’. As a historian, Carr is ecumenical: William Brooke Smith, a student who died of tuberculosis in 1908, is given as much consideration as Pound’s other early friend William Carlos Williams; Marianne Moore, who matriculated at Bryn Mawr in the same year as H.D., is barely mentioned. Snippets of truly mediocre ...

Mannequin-Maker

Patrick Parrinder, 5 October 1995

The Black Book 
by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Güneli Gün.
Faber, 400 pp., £14.99, July 1995, 0 571 16892 2
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... of distinguishing between the Brotherhood, the underground resistance movement that Winston Smith attempts to join, and the Inner Party or secret organisation sustaining Big Brother himself. In Lewis’s thriller That Hideous Strength, we are in no doubt that NICE, the Wellsian scientific research organisation dedicated to wiping out the world of ...

Turtles All the Way Down

Walter Gratzer, 4 September 1997

The End of Science 
by John Horgan.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £18.99, May 1997, 0 316 64052 2
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... the best-known figures (and popularisers) of our day, such as Stephen Hawking, Steven Weinberg and Roger Penrose, not to mention all the proponents of superstring theory. But Horgan has also found some more fitting targets for his scorn. The expansion of science, the increasingly brutish struggle for survival that scientists must endure and the opportunities ...

Soldier, Sailor, Poacher

E.S. Turner, 3 October 1985

Great Britons: 20th-Century Lives 
by Harold Oxbury.
Oxford, 371 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 19 211599 5
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The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes 
edited by Max Hastings.
Oxford, 514 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 19 214107 4
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The Long Affray: The Poaching Wars in Britain 
by Harry Hopkins.
Secker, 344 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 9780436201028
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... for international sanity’? Some subjects, like the Duke of Windsor, are let off lightly. Sir Roger Casement, executed for treason, was judged ‘honest and honourable’ by those who knew him, but the victim of ‘misguided extremism in time of war’. ‘Misguided’ is a useful word on these occasions. Nancy Mitford was ‘buried ... beside her ...

Misappropriation

Colin Kidd: Burke, 4 February 2016

Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke 
by Richard Bourke.
Princeton, 1001 pp., £30.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 14511 2
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Training Minds for the War of Ideas: Ashridge College, the Conservative Party and the Cultural Politics of Britain, 1929-54 
by Clarisse Berthezène.
Manchester, 214 pp., £75, June 2015, 978 0 7190 8649 6
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol. IV: Party, Parliament and the Dividing of the Whigs, 1780-94 
edited by P.J. Marshall and Donald Bryant.
Oxford, 674 pp., £120, October 2015, 978 0 19 966519 8
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... that his name provided cover during the 1980s for a Tory critique of Thatcherism. High Tories like Roger Scruton, for whom the priority of laissez-faire doctrine signalled a betrayal of authentic conservatism, invoked Burke as a counterweight to Thatcher’s reading – or misreading – of Friedrich von Hayek. Thatcher’s philosophical hero was, by a further ...

Who Knows?

Meehan Crist: The Voynich Manuscript, 27 July 2017

The Voynich Manuscript 
edited by Raymond Clemens.
Yale, 336 pp., £35, November 2016, 978 0 300 21723 0
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... Rudolf II at a reported price of six hundred ducats and that it was believed to be a work by Roger Bacon’. Rudolf II, emperor from 1576 until 1612, was obsessed with art, science and the occult. He moved his capital to Prague, one of the great artistic and scientific centres of the late Renaissance, where he built a new wing at the castle to house a ...

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