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Dreams of Avarice

Patrick Parrinder, 29 August 1991

A Closed Eye 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 255 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 0 224 03090 6
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Underwood and After 
by Ronald Frame.
Hodder, 246 pp., £14.99, August 1991, 0 340 55359 6
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Lemprière’s Dictionary 
by Lawrence Norfolk.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 530 pp., £14.95, August 1991, 1 85619 053 6
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... existence offers some insight into wealth and its corruptions. Lemprière’s Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk is an astonishingly assured first novel, stretching across two centuries and much of the known world, with a title reminiscent of Foucault’s Pendulum. Both books construct a web of skulduggery and institutional conspiracy, the one involving the ...

Festschriftiness

Susan Pedersen, 6 October 2011

Structures and Transformations in Modern British History 
edited by David Feldman and Jon Lawrence.
Cambridge, 331 pp., £50, January 2011, 978 0 521 51882 6
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The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain 
edited by Simon Gunn and James Vernon.
California, 271 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 9845909 5 7
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Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin 
edited by Clare Griffiths, John Nott and William Whyte.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, April 2011, 978 0 19 957988 4
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... turn’ in an essay published in Social History in 1992, a tempest ensued. Jon Lawrence and Miles Taylor, two of Stedman Jones’s recent PhD students, insisted that Mayfield and Thorne had entirely misunderstood their mentor’s work, which they felt should be judged not in terms of its theoretical affiliations but according to an ...

Feasting on Power

John Upton: David Blunkett’s Criminal Justice Bill, 10 July 2003

... United Kingdom, the so-called Diplock Courts in Northern Ireland. In their study of those courts, John Jackson and Sean Doran suggest that the arrangement leads to an ‘adversarial deficit’ – the judge’s increased inquisitorial role changes the nature of the proceedings. Pressure is placed on defendants to refrain from contesting the prosecution case ...

The Last Cigarette

John Bayley, 27 July 1989

Memoir of Italo Svevo 
by Livia Veneziani Svevo, translated by Isabel Quigly.
Libris, 178 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 1 870352 40 8
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... sort of social attitudes. Modernism also saw them in the mass, and disliked or ignored it: D.H. Lawrence, like Wyndham Lewis, made a principle out of such generalised contempt. As an ordinary person one would perhaps rather be despised by Modernism than recruited into the socialist pantheon, for there are at least two great writers, usually counted as ...

The Earnestness of Being Important

P.N. Furbank, 19 August 1982

John Buchan: A Memoir 
by William Buchan.
Buchan and Enright, 272 pp., £9.95, May 1982, 0 907675 03 4
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The Best Short Stories of John Buchan. Vol. II 
edited by David Daniell.
Joseph, 240 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 9780718121211
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... The nice thing about John Buchan is that he was on the side of books. He thought, it is true, that he ought to have been a Guardian, shaping the Empire, or dominating Cabinets, or, at worst, ‘a power behind the throne’. However, after his spell in Milner’s ‘Kindergarten’, the nation didn’t seem to want him in the Guardian line, so he did the next best thing and became an entertainer ...

Poets and Pretenders

John Sutherland, 2 April 1987

The Great Pretender 
by James Atlas.
Viking, 239 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 9780670814619
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The Position of the Body 
by Richard Stern.
Northwestern, 207 pp., $21.95, November 1986, 0 8101 0730 9
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The Setting Sun and the Rolling World 
by Charles Mungoshi.
Heinemann, 202 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 434 48166 1
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Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 9780224024235
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... hot topic among literary critics at the moment, particularly the so-called ‘new historicists’. Lawrence Lipking’s The Life of the Poet: Beginning and Ending Poetic Careers (1981), for instance, elegantly demonstrates how ‘the idea of the poet’ framed literary lives from Keats onwards. Richard Helgerson’s Self-Crowned Laureates (1983) does the same ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Spectator, 25 January 2001

... keen old buzzard’, against right-wing accusations that his report into the case of Stephen Lawrence, with its ‘Ceausescu-ish recommendation that it should be possible to legislate against racism even in a private place’, is yet another instance of ‘the race relations industry’ and ‘political correctness gone mad’. (Criticism didn’t come ...

Ejected Gentleman

Norman Page, 7 May 1987

John Galsworthy’s Life and Art: An Alien’s Fortress 
by James Gindin.
Macmillan, 616 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 333 40812 8
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... The Life and Letters of John Galsworthy by H.V. Marrot appeared at the end of 1935, not quite three years after its subject’s death, and must be one of the very last examples of what was by that time a gravely endangered species. In the preface to Eminent Victorians Strachey had wittily mocked the solemn pretensions of the Victorian and Edwardian monumental biography, ponderously discreet as an old-fashioned manservant: but 17 years later Marrot found it still possible to produce a work of unblushing hagiography ...

Land of Pure Delight

Dinah Birch: Anglicising the Holy Land, 20 April 2006

The Holy Land in English Culture 1799-1917: Palestine and the Question of Orientalism 
by Eitan Bar-Yosef.
Oxford, 319 pp., £50, October 2005, 0 19 926116 4
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... suspicious. In Apocalypse (1931), his final and most vehement repudiation of Christianity, D.H. Lawrence mocked what he had come to see as the complacencies of dissent: With nonconformity, the chapel people took over to themselves the Jewish idea of the chosen people. They were ‘it’, the elect, or the ‘saved’. And they took over the Jewish idea of ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... which he associates with the work of Williams, Young and Richard Hoggart, and before that of D.H. Lawrence, and which would appear here to have followed on a spell of postwar indifference. The working class is thought by these writers to be marked by a power of sympathy, of closeness and attachment, which makes them the emotional superiors of the rest of ...

At Tate Britain

Inigo Thomas: Frederick Swynnerton, 21 January 2016

... and there was nothing like empire to give vanity rocket-like lift. In Karsh’s photograph of John Buchan, who was governor of Canada in the 1930s, the wildly popular novelist wears a North American Indian war bonnet, his weathered face is in semi-profile, he’s wearing gloves, and he looks as if he could take on an army on his own. Sargent’s portrait ...

Puffed Wheat

James Wood: How serious is John Bayley?, 20 October 2005

The Power of Delight: A Lifetime in Literature: Essays 1962-2002 
by John Bayley, selected by Leo Carey.
Duckworth, 677 pp., £25, March 2005, 0 7156 3312 0
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... three most prominent Oxford professors of English since the war have all been populist pretenders. John Carey, scourge of Modernist ‘intellectuals’ and reliable dribbler of cold water on all forms of overheated aestheticism, comes across as the last defender of sensible English decency. Terry Eagleton, with his blokeish binarisms and comic’s ...

Do put down that revolver

Rosemary Hill, 14 July 2016

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House between the Wars 
by Adrian Tinniswood.
Cape, 406 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 224 09945 5
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... Tinniswood catches this kaleidoscopic world in snapshots: Nancy Astor jumping on the back of T.E. Lawrence’s motorbike and roaring down the drive at Cliveden, Stanley Baldwin sitting on a sofa at Fort Belvedere with Edward VIII, who had just decided to abdicate, both of them drinking whisky and crying. Indeed Lawrence and ...

Jolly Jack and the Preacher

Patrick Parrinder, 20 April 1989

A Culture for Democracy: Mass Communication and the Cultivated Mind in Britain between the Wars 
by D.L. LeMahieu.
Oxford, 396 pp., £35, June 1988, 0 19 820137 0
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... Sir Charles Worgan, a press baron, becomes the patron of a progressive theatre-manager, Holt St John. (Worgan also rather superbly patronises Oxford University, and receives an honorary doctorate for his efforts.) But Worgan soon falls out with St John, since he insists that art is an investment and that the theatre, like ...

War within wars

Paul Addison, 5 November 1992

War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... King’s College, London. His first book, a history of the Coldstream Guards written jointly with John Sparrow, was published in 1951. And there you have Michael Howard. Though he has grown in fame and distinction, and moved in governing circles on both sides of the Atlantic, and held four chairs including the Regius Professorship of Modern History at Oxford ...

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