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A Win for the Gentlemen

Paul Smith, 9 September 1993

Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain 
by G.R. Searle.
Oxford, 346 pp., £40, March 1993, 0 19 820357 8
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... of ‘entrepreneurial’ needs closer attention). Spawned by Scutari and Sebastopol out of Adam Smith, the great watchwords of private enterprise – competition, performance and testing – rode out to do battle with bureaucracy, nepotism and sloth. A.H. Layard had ‘often heard it said’, he told the Commons, ‘why does not the Government allow ...

There is no cure

Michael Wood: Freud’s Guesswork, 6 July 2006

The Penguin Freud Reader 
edited by Adam Phillips.
Penguin, 570 pp., £14.99, January 2006, 0 14 118743 3
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... and that, of course, would in no way rob the drives of their mythic power, or their importance. Adam Phillips quotes Wittgenstein’s remark about the mythology and its inducement at the head of his introduction to the Penguin Freud Reader, a very rich selection of Freud’s writing, long and short, which includes the letter to Romain ...


Tom Nairn: Australian Blues, 18 November 2004

... thesis of the general slide into sadism. The same evening, Shaun of the Dead opened for lively business: a black comedy in which the living dead, vexed by exclusion from globalising affluence, rise up and take over North London. There has been no let-up in the despondency since then. One hears repeatedly of the ‘Saturday Night ...

Mubarak’s Last Breath

Adam Shatz, 27 May 2010

... life. Even during the age of liberal nationalism after the First World War, when it had a lively parliamentary life, popular sovereignty was sharply curtailed by British power. Since the 1952 coup which brought Nasser to power, it has been ruled by military dictatorship, although the establishment of multi-party politics in the late 1970s brought a ...

The sea is the same sea

Adam Shatz: Bibi goes to Washington, 30 August 2018

Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu 
by Anshel Pfeffer.
Hurst, 423 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 84904 988 7
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... began. Still, Israeli liberals could reasonably invoke the country’s free elections and lively press as evidence of democratic vitality, at least for Jews. Under Netanyahu, not only has the occupation become even more entrenched, but the line between Israel and the occupied territories has continued to blur. Ahmed Tibi, a Palestinian member of the ...

Mythic Elements

Stephen Bann, 30 December 1982

Queen of Stones 
by Emma Tennant.
Cape, 160 pp., £6.95, November 1982, 0 224 02601 1
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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 
by William Kotzwinkle, based on a screenplay by Melissa Mathison.
Arthur Barker, 246 pp., £6.95, November 1982, 0 213 16848 0
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Tales of Afghanistan 
by Amina Shah.
Octagon Press, 128 pp., £6.50, November 1982, 0 900860 94 4
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The Masque of St Eadmundsburg 
by Humphrey Morrison.
Blond and Briggs, 228 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 85634 127 4
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A Villa in France 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 206 pp., £6.95, October 1982, 0 575 03103 4
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Collected Stories: Vol. III 
by Sean O’Faolain.
Constable, 422 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 09 463920 5
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Work Suspended and Other Stories 
by Evelyn Waugh.
Penguin, 318 pp., £2.75, November 1982, 0 14 006518 0
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... colossally successful film. Michelangelo’s renowned image of God making finger contact with Adam (known to viewers of London Weekend Television through the surrogate emblem of Melvyn Bragg conducting the live electricity of the Arts) has been hijacked for the dust-cover of this generic hybrid. Let us pause before the engaging image of the outstretched ...

Someone else’s shoes

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 23 November 1989

A Treatise on Social Justice. Vol. I: Theories of Justice 
by Brian Barry.
Harvester, 428 pp., £30, May 1989, 0 7450 0641 8
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Innocence and Experience 
by Stuart Hampshire.
Allen Lane, 195 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 7139 9027 9
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... about the public good at all) agree that our own present sense of what, exactly, these two more lively kinds of argument for justice now are, and of how we might decide between them, owes almost everything to John Rawls. Barry, certainly, has no doubt: Rawls is simply ‘the greatest political philosopher of the century’. But Rawls’s qualities, as Barry ...

You must not ask

Marina Warner, 4 January 1996

Lewis Carroll: A Biography 
by Morton Cohen.
Macmillan, 592 pp., £25, November 1995, 0 333 62926 4
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The Literary Products of the Lewis Carroll-George MacDonald Friendship 
by John Docherty.
Edwin Mellen, 420 pp., £69.95, July 1995, 0 7734 9038 8
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... banter and jokes and compliments and fuss and names interlaced in acrostics; he took flattering, lively photographs of his friends for keepsakes, and even, as has become notorious, undressed them for the occasion – never without the consent of the mothers. Kisses were his reward: he teases in letters about the giving and the taking of them. The strangeness ...

The Case of Adriano Sofri

Carlo Ginzburg, 3 April 1997

... pentiti, and the role they have played, particularly in the Mafia trials, has long been a lively one in Italy. A number of the charges against Andreotti, for example, are based on statements taken from pentiti. Italian law is clear: charges laid by pentiti must be corroborated independently. Marino, however, was confused about the colour of the car ...

Manly Love

John Bayley, 28 January 1993

Walt Whitman: From Moon to Starry Night 
by Philip Callow.
Allison and Busby, 394 pp., £19.99, October 1992, 0 85031 908 0
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The Double Life of Stephen Crane 
by Christopher Benfey.
Deutsch, 294 pp., £17.99, February 1993, 0 233 98820 3
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... of small-time papers, was doing the same thing in the opposite way, among corpses rather than lively bodies. But Whitman, who took to Poe at once and liked his work, had a dark side too, and a sensuous passion for the dead and their graves, for night as the mother, and for oblivion. When his friend Horace Traubel, who also wanted to be his ...

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 ...

Consider the lions

Peter Campbell, 22 July 1993

The House of Gold 
by Richard Goy.
Cambridge, 304 pp., £60, January 1993, 0 521 40513 0
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The Palace of the Sun 
by Robert Berger.
Pennsylvania State, 232 pp., £55, April 1993, 0 271 00847 4
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... not a minor strand in architectural history. There have been active designers – Classicists like Adam, Goths like Pugin, Hellenists like Stuart and Modernists like Venturi, as well as historians (Ruskin, Pevsner, Banham) – who have had opinions on the future as well as the past of architecture. The emulating eye may be self-serving and envious, but it is ...

The Virtue of Incest

Marina Warner, 7 October 1993

Elizabeth’s Glass 
by Marc Shell.
Nebraska, 365 pp., £30.95, July 1993, 0 8032 4216 6
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... as well he might, for as he points out, the manuscript conjoins three of the most brilliant and lively-minded queens of the era: Marguerite of Navarre was the compiler of The Heptameron, a collection of secular tales, as well as a Reformist sympathiser, friend of Calvin and patron of independent scholars; Catherine Parr also composed religious ...


Susan Pedersen: A.J.P. Taylor, 10 May 2007

A.J.P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe 
by Chris Wrigley.
Tauris, 439 pp., £25, August 2006, 1 86064 286 1
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... penchant for academic squabbling and a string of unconventional marriages. But three biographers? Adam Sisman came first, publishing a lively and well-written study in 1994. Although the scholarly achievements and disappointments were chronicled, Taylor’s personality and public engagements – with the Communist Party ...

When it is advisable to put on a fez

Richard Popkin: Adventures of a Messiah, 23 May 2002

The Lost Messiah: In Search of Sabbatai Sevi 
by John Freely.
Viking, 275 pp., £20, September 2001, 0 670 88675 0
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... and the new kabbalistic ideas coming from the school of Isaac Luria in Palestine. John Freely’s lively book is basically a retelling of Scholem’s story enriched by the author’s knowledge of the Ottoman background. His one significant addition to Scholem is his suggestion as to where Sabbatai might be buried. Freely has omitted all of Scholem’s ...

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