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All my eye and Betty Martin

Roy Harris, 1 December 1983

A Dictionary of Mottoes 
by L.G. Pine.
Routledge, 303 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780710093394
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Newspeak: A Dictionary of Jargon 
by Jonathon Green.
Routledge, 263 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9685 2
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The Oxford Miniguide to English Usage 
by E.S.C. Weiner.
Oxford, 412 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 19 869127 0
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The Oxford Dictionary of Current Idiomatic English: Volume II 
by A.P. Cowrie, R. Mackin and I.R. McCaig.
Oxford, 685 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 19 431150 3
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A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath 
by Kenneth Hudson.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 333 28517 4
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A Dictionary of Catch-Phrases 
by Eric Partridge.
Routledge, 278 pp., £5.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9989 4
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... the psychology of motto-bearing too. Why, one wonders, does Newquay Urban District Council have a Cornish motto which is either obscene or incomprehensible? (Tight-lipped Pine says darkly, ‘Untranslatable at present’: we look forward with bated breath to future editions.) So many and varied are the available fields for a modern lexicographer to plunder ...

Exasperating Classics

Patricia Craig, 23 May 1985

Secret Gardens 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Allen and Unwin, 235 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 04 809022 0
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Reading and Righting 
by Robert Leeson.
Collins, 256 pp., £6.95, March 1985, 9780001844131
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Pipers at the Gates of Dawn 
by Jonathan Cott.
Viking, 327 pp., £12.95, August 1984, 0 670 80003 1
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... mentions a childhood friend accidentally drowned, and a brother who may have met his end in a Cornish pool, to account in part for the clergyman-author’s harping on water, and on life underwater. Very little of conventional Christianity gets into The Water-Babies, even in the form of allegory: instead you find a peculiar parallel religion, as Carpenter ...

Knife, Stone, Paper

Stephen Sedley: Law Lords, 1 July 2021

English Law under Two Elizabeths: The Late Tudor Legal World and the Present 
by John Baker.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £22.99, January, 978 1 108 94732 9
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The Constitutional Balance 
by John Laws.
Hart, 144 pp., £30, January, 978 1 5099 3545 1
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... awaiting execution in Jamaica were reprieved to celebrate a royal visit, but whether by then Isaac Cornish had been hanged I never found out.By the later 16th century women, though excluded from the professions, the universities and the church, could own property, and could trade, contract and sue just as men could, provided they were unwed or widowed and, if ...

Good Things: Pederasty and Jazz and Opium and Research

Lawrence Rainey: Mary Butts, 16 July 1998

Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life 
by Nathalie Blondel.
McPherson, 539 pp., £22.50, February 1998, 0 929701 55 0
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The Taverner Novels: ‘Armed with Madness’, ‘Death of Felicity Taverner’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 18 6
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The Classical Novels: ‘The Macedonian’, ‘Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 384 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 42 9
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‘Ashe of Rings’ and Other Writings 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £18.50, March 1998, 0 929701 53 4
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... Salterns, the family house in Dorset. Her great-grandfather, Isaac Butts, had been the patron of William Blake, and her father gave her daily lessons in observation in the Blake Room, which housed 34 of his water-colours, engravings, portraits and sketches. In 1905, however, her father died and nine months later the contents of the Blake Room were sold to a ...

Benson’s Pleasure

Noël Annan, 4 March 1982

Edwardian Excursions: From the Diaries of A.C. Benson 1898-1904 
edited by A.C. Benson and David Newsome.
Murray, 200 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 9780719537691
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Geoffrey Madan’s Notebooks 
edited by John Gere and John Sparrow.
Oxford, 144 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 19 215870 8
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... a hand upon them and would have been indignant if anyone had made the familiar imputation – as William Cory and Oscar Browning were at Eton when their open interest in good looks was rewarded by the headmaster’s request that they resign from the staff. Benson published Cory’s poems and translations (‘They told me, Heraclitus’), which, together with ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... good place not to go out from. A self-curated mausoleum of memories: photographs, toys, magazines, William Morris wallpaper, Arts and Crafts furniture; a library of Victorian and Edwardian fiction, Stevenson, Meredith, Wells, Conrad, W. Pett Ridge. Moorcock, with his sacred cats in a basket, brings up a map of London on his screen, shifting and rearranging ...

Dephlogisticated

John Barrell: Dr Beddoes, 19 November 2009

The Atmosphere of Heaven: The Unnatural Experiments of Dr Beddoes and His Sons of Genius 
by Mike Jay.
Yale, 294 pp., £20, April 2009, 978 0 300 12439 2
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... office, the banks and the castle, and to issue a demand that George III dismiss the government of William Pitt and make peace with the French Republic. Just before the arrests, an English medical student studying in Edinburgh, John Edmonds Stock, had been sent down to London by Watt with a letter to the London Corresponding Society inviting them to mount a ...

Come and Stay

Arnold Rattenbury, 27 November 1997

England and the Octopus 
by Clough Williams-Ellis.
CPRE, 220 pp., £10.95, December 1996, 0 946044 50 3
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Clough Williams-Ellis: RIBA Drawings Monograph No 2 
by Richard Haslam.
Academy, 112 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 1 85490 430 2
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Clough Williams-Ellis: The Architect of Portmeirion 
by Jonah Jones.
Seren, 204 pp., £9.95, December 1996, 1 85411 166 3
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... Association (DIA), the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE), the National Trust, William Morris’s old Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and elsewhere, with the old ‘Amenity Brigade’, as he was to call it. There can hardly have been a conservation or planning society in his lifetime in which he was not active, if not among ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... Gallery tells me that Breakspears was once the childhood home of Elizabeth Stephen, the bride of William Hallett, who together constitute Gainsborough’s Morning Walk, and that Reynolds’s Captain Tarleton used to hang in the house. Captain Tarleton is one of the paintings (another being Millais’s Lorenzo and Isabella) which would figure in a dream ...

The Leopard

James Meek: A Leopard in the Family, 19 June 2014

... rebellion was still an individual, not a corporate activity; not the rebel as Mel-Gibson-as-William-Wallace plus army, but the rebel as Sid Vicious or David Bowie. For many Scots, self-determination, rather than nationalism, remains the cause. Now, 35 years later, were I living in Scotland, I’d vote yes to independence, despite the short-term economic ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew O’Hagan: British farming, 22 March 2001

... is amazing. It has everything – 50 kinds of tea, 400 kinds of bread, kosher chicken schnitzels, Cornish pilchards – and everywhere I turned that day there was some bamboozling elixir of the notion of plenty. Their own-brand products are made to high standards: the fresh meat, for example, is subject to much higher vigilance over date and provenance than ...

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