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Ian Hamilton: Literary pay and literary prizes, 18 June 1998

Guide to Literary Prizes, 1998 
edited by Huw Molseed.
Book Trust, 38 pp., £3.99, May 1998, 0 85353 475 6
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The Cost of Letters: A Survey of Literary Living Standards 
edited by Andrew Holgate and Honor Wilson-Fletcher.
W Magazine, 208 pp., £2, May 1998, 0 9527405 9 1
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... The Horizon survey, in fact, serves as a model for this new investigation. In 1946, George Orwell, Stephen Spender, Herbert Read and Julian Maclaren-Ross each testified that he could manage on £1000 a year net. V.S. Pritchett needed a bit more. Elizabeth Bowen raised a few eyebrows at the time by confessing that ‘I would like to have £3500 a year ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll, 1 December 2011

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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11.22.63 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... theories. According to the defector Vasili Mitrokhin and the historian of intelligence Christopher Andrew, ‘by the late 1970s the KGB could fairly claim that far more Americans believed some version of its own conspiracy theory of the Kennedy assassination, involving a right-wing plot and the US intelligence community, than still accepted the main findings ...

Mandela: Death of a Politician

Stephen W. Smith: Mandela, the Politician, 9 January 2014

... as a Kumbaya invitation to join hands for a moral-historical promenade. In reality, as Stephen Ellis was able to show in 2011, Mandela joined the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party in 1960 to help impose the SACP’s strategic choice of armed struggle on a reluctant ANC leadership. Mandela was the first leader of the ANC’s ...

Suppose the Archduke had ducked

Andrew Berry: Game theory and human evolution, 7 September 2000

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny 
by Robert Wright.
Little, Brown, 435 pp., £22.50, March 2000, 0 316 64485 4
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... multifarious products, and not in any general sense ‘better’ than even the lowliest bacterium. Stephen Jay Gould, in particular, has insisted that the anthropocentric Victorian perspective was fuelled more by theology than by sound biology. Like his pet theme, Spencer’s reputation, too, has been eclipsed. In the 1890s, he was well enough known to receive ...

Successive Applications of Sticking-Plaster

Andrew Saint: The urban history of Britain, 1 November 2001

The Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Vol. III: 1840-1950 
edited by Martin Daunton.
Cambridge, 944 pp., £90, January 2001, 0 521 41707 4
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... It is often a corrective as well as a relief to read about local experience and activity. Thus Stephen Royle’s chapter on small towns, heavily based on Leicestershire, seems at first to paint a picture of stagnation (Hinckley’s ‘stinking state’ in 1840 etc) and cultural decline. Then abruptly he tells us that Edwardian Market Harborough, a town ...

One Single Plan

Andrew Berry: Proto-Darwinism, 17 March 2005

Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire: A Visionary Naturalist 
by Hervé le Guyader, translated by Marjorie Grene.
Chicago, 302 pp., £31.50, February 2004, 0 226 47091 1
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... Geoffroy’s enthusiasm for transformationism – as evolution was known in those days – was, in Stephen Jay Gould’s accurate assessment, ‘fitful’ at best. Even the outcome has been subject to revision. Goethe may have considered Geoffroy the winner, but others have with equal conviction accorded Cuvier the laurels, seeing his as a victory of sound ...

Why read Clausewitz when Shock and Awe can make a clean sweep of things?

Andrew Bacevich: The Rumsfeld Doctrine, 8 June 2006

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq 
by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor.
Atlantic, 603 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 352 4
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... of war with considerable enthusiasm. In addition to Wolfowitz and Feith, the group included Stephen Cambone, Lawrence Di Rita, William Luti and, on a part-time basis, Richard Perle, who chaired the Defense Policy Board. Several of them had had a hand in rebuilding the armed forces, kicking the Vietnam syndrome, and winning the Cold War in the 1980s in ...

I want my wings

Andrew O’Hagan: The Last Tycoons, 3 March 2016

West of Eden: An American Place 
by Jean Stein.
Cape, 334 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 0 224 10246 9
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... four hours every day – just in case she was taken ill in the night and had to go to hospital. Stephen Sondheim remembers seeing her in Ravello during the shooting of John Huston’s madcap movie Beat the Devil. ‘I recall her sitting at an umbrella table in the square,’ Sondheim says, ‘rehearsing a scene with Edward Underdown, who played her ...

Seventy Years in a Colourful Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: The Soho Alphabet, 16 July 2020

Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia 
by Darren Coffield.
Unbound, 364 pp., £25, April, 978 1 78352 816 5
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... they call her Spender,’ Muriel said of the poet in his scampering years, before he became Sir Stephen. ‘She never puts her hand in her pocket.’ Members felt that drinking anywhere else wasn’t really drinking. Coffield’s book is a terrific ode to screeching – as well as a generous social history – and it lobs a multicoloured grenade into the ...

Seeing yourself dead

Nicolas Tredell, 21 February 1991

Love in a Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 62 pp., £11.99, March 1991, 0 571 16101 4
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Three Variations on the Theme of Harm: Selected Poetry and Prose 
by Douglas Oliver.
Paladin, 255 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 0 586 08962 4
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Spoils of War 
by John Eppel.
Carrefour Press, 48 pp., August 1989, 0 620 13315 5
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Music for Brass 
by Brian Waltham.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1990, 1 871471 20 6
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Lapidary 
by Rosamund Stanhope.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1990, 1 871471 19 2
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... Marriage, mortality, memory, the onset of middle age and the pressure of children criss-cross Andrew Motion’s latest collection. Should we treat the vivid images and incidents that comprise this volume as fragments to be fused into a unity? We might try to construct a single protagonist: a man entering mid-life, married, a father, aware of his own mortality and that of others, slipping at moments through the doors of memory into his childhood, into his adolescence, into an earlier, failed relationship ...

Diary

Melanie McFadyean: In the Wrong Crowd, 25 September 2014

... David Norris. Although neither of them was found guilty of carrying out the stabbing that killed Stephen Lawrence when they were finally tried in 2011, new scientific evidence demonstrated they had been very close to Lawrence when he was attacked – ‘proximity’, as the judgment allowing Dobson’s retrial stated, ‘for which no innocent explanation can ...
... television and I first suggested it to the BBC in 1975, but without success. Then, early in 1978, Stephen Gilbert commissioned it for a series called ‘The Other Side’, also being made from Pebble Mill, Birmingham. The immediate problem was to dramatise the relationship between Great-grandfather and Maxwell, which is merely reported in the story. It was ...

Kipling the Reliable

David Trotter, 6 March 1986

Early Verse by Rudyard Kipling 1879-1889 
edited by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 497 pp., £19.50, March 1986, 9780198123231
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Kipling’s India: Uncollected Sketches 1884-88 
edited by Thomas Pinney.
Macmillan, 301 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 333 38467 9
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Imperialism and Popular Culture 
edited by John MacKenzie.
Manchester, 264 pp., £25, February 1986, 9780719017704
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Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases 
edited by Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell.
Routledge, 1021 pp., £18.95, November 1985, 0 7100 2886 5
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... At the height of Empire, and of the literature of Empire, J.K. Stephen looked forward to a time When there stands a muzzled stripling,     Mute, beside a muzzled bore, When the Rudyards cease from Kipling     And the Haggards Ride no more. The Haggards have ridden rather precariously since the decline of Empire, if at all ...

Vienna discovers its past

Peter Pulzer, 1 August 1985

Refugee Scholars in America: Their Impact and their Experiences 
by Lewis Coser.
Yale, 351 pp., £25, October 1984, 0 300 03193 9
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The Viennese Enlightenment 
by Mark Francis.
Croom Helm, 176 pp., £15.95, May 1985, 0 7099 1065 7
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The Jews of Vienna, 1867-1914: Assimilation and Identity 
by Marsha Rozenblit.
SUNY, 368 pp., $39.50, July 1984, 0 87395 844 6
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... been in English, as the names of William Johnston, William McGrath, Carl Schorske, Allan Janik, Stephen Toulmin, Andrew Whiteside and John Boyer testify.* There are a number of plausible reasons for this. The first and most obvious is the great diaspora of Central European scholars brought about by the rise of Nazism in ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2004, 6 January 2005

... to play Scripps the religious boy, and doesn’t even bother to mention that he plays the piano; Andrew Knott from Wakefield, who comes in like the wind has blown the door open and knows the scene off by heart, as do several of the others. This is new, as actors would normally expect to read the scene and if they are bad readers, as many actors are, this ...

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