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Is It Glamorous?

David Simpson: Stefan Collini among the Intellectuals, 6 March 2008

Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 544 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 19 929105 5
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... a time – a very considerable sum. These are among the many striking items of information in Stefan Collini’s Absent Minds, whose title appears to accept the myth that the book disputes: that there are no British intellectuals – intellectuals are always elsewhere – or that those who think of themselves as intellectuals are really ...

Memories of Frank Kermode

Stefan Collini, Karl Miller, Adam Phillips, Jacqueline Rose, James Wood, Michael Wood and Wynne Godley, 23 September 2010

... Stefan Collini writes: ‘Yes, I’d like that very much. That really would be something to look forward to.’ Frank was already weakened and wasted by throat cancer, but my suggestion that we go to watch some cricket at Fenner’s did seem genuinely to appeal to him. There wasn’t much to look forward to by this point ...

Athenian View

Michael Brock, 12 March 1992

Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain, 1850-1930 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 383 pp., £40, September 1991, 0 19 820173 7
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... In seven of the nine chapters in this fine book Dr Collini depicts the denizens of the Athenaeum in its great days. T.H. Huxley, having left his umbrella at Matthew Arnold’s, asks his friend to ‘bring it next time you come to the club’. Leslie Stephen, elected in 1877 on the strength of his History of English Thought in the 18th Century, enjoys the irony that this defence of free thought has given him ‘admission to a respectable haunt of bishops and judges ...


John Sutherland: Matthew Arnold, 19 March 1998

A Gift Imprisoned: The Poetic Life of Matthew Arnold 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £17.99, March 1998, 0 7475 3671 6
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... in America and by Raymond Williams’s Arnoldian meditations in Culture and Society in Britain, Stefan Collini produced his impressive Matthew Arnold: A Critical Portrait in 1994. And there have been two cap-à-pie biographies: Park Honan’s in 1981 (with its provocative identification of ‘Marguerite’) and Nicholas Murray’s two years ago (with ...

Frank Kermode

Mary-Kay Wilmers: On Frank Kermode, 9 September 2010

... nationalism he has a go at a senior contributor, Neal Ascherson, along the way. In the same spirit Stefan Collini takes a disparaging glance at Christopher Hitchens, a former contributor well known for his repertory of disparaging glances. No hard feelings, one hopes. ‘No harm done.’ ‘No hard feelings, one hopes.’ Inscrutable? Ironic? Playful? Or ...

Burrinchini’s Spectre

Peter Clarke, 19 January 1984

That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in 19th-Century Intellectual History 
by Stefan Collini, Donald Winch and John Burrow.
Cambridge, 385 pp., £25, November 1983, 9780521257626
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... study in intellectual history, and its authorship exemplifies the unity and coherence of the art. Stefan Collini has made his reputation as the historian of late 19th-century sociological thought. Donald Winch has long been known for path-breaking studies of the Smithian and Keynesian epochs. John Burrow’s elegant anatomy of the evolutionary paradigm ...


Jeremy Harding: Hitchens, 31 March 2011

... a whiff of well-hung grouse in the reactions he provokes, and it tends to linger in the house. Stefan Collini, for the opposition, imagines Hitchens ‘as twilight gathers and the fields fall silent, lying face down in his own bullshit’ (LRB, 23 January 2003). Colin MacCabe, for the friends, tells us that passages of the memoir, Hitch-22, are ...

Swearing by Phrenology

John Vincent, 3 February 2000

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism 
by Conrad Russell.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £12.95, September 1999, 0 7156 2947 6
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... Mill of On Liberty was not venerated outside sectarian circles until well into this century, as Stefan Collini has demonstrated. For his contemporaries, Mill’s standing rested mainly on his earlier, more hardminded achievement as logician and economist, which has little to do with his status today as a high priest of modern hedonistic ...


Frank Kermode: Being a critic, 27 May 1999

... except maybe a few dedicated followers of F.R. Leavis, here the subject of a judicious piece by Stefan Collini, who understandably wonders why he should believe that ‘the possibility of living a truly human existence depends on the quality of reviewing in the literary weeklies’. But he is only saying the claim is too high, not that it ...

A Slight Dash of the Tiresome

Brian Harrison, 9 November 1989

The Blind Victorian: Henry Fawcett and British Liberalism 
edited by Lawrence Goldman.
Cambridge, 199 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 521 35032 8
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... and to understate the potential popularity of ideas of free competition, despite what Stefan Collini sees as a ‘quite exaggerated sense of the capacity of individuals to control their own lives’. Goldman’s outlook on Fawcett’s economics leads him to undervalue the importance, not only to Fawcett but to Late Victorian Liberal ...
The Dons 
by Noël Annan.
HarperCollins, 357 pp., £17.99, November 1999, 0 00 257074 2
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A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A.L.Rowse 
by Richard Ollard.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 7139 9353 7
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... One of the few commentators who did not share the widespread admiration for Our Age was Stefan Collini (in an essay now reworked and reprinted in his English Pasts).* Sensing its ambivalent and sometimes contradictory voices, Collini teasingly observed that the book really had two authors: ‘Noel ...

No More Scissors and Paste

Mary Beard: R.G. Collingwood, 25 March 2010

History Man: The Life of R.G. Collingwood 
by Fred Inglis.
Princeton, 385 pp., £23.95, 0 691 13014 0
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... archaeology and had made one or two notable contributions to academic philosophy. But as Stefan Collini observes in his chapter on Collingwood in Absent Minds, if he had died in 1938 from his first stroke, his work would probably have earned ‘only a small footnote in the more conscientious surveys of 20th-century British philosophy and ...

No Law at All

Stephen Sedley: The Governor Eyre Affair, 2 November 2006

A Jurisprudence of Power: Victorian Empire and the Rule of Law 
by R.W. Kostal.
Oxford, 529 pp., £79.95, December 2005, 0 19 826076 8
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... in the Jamaica controversy. He is troubled by the verdict of historians such as Catherine Hall and Stefan Collini that the organised attempts to bring Eyre and others to justice had, in Hall’s words, absolutely no effect. I doubt whether this is the real issue. Practically everything that happens has some effect. The Colonial Office, the War Office and ...

As if Life Depended on It

John Mullan: With the Leavisites, 12 September 2013

Memoirs of a Leavisite: The Decline and Fall of Cambridge English 
by David Ellis.
Liverpool, 151 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 1 84631 889 4
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English as a Vocation: The ‘Scrutiny’ Movement 
by Christopher Hilliard.
Oxford, 298 pp., £57, May 2012, 978 0 19 969517 1
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The Two Cultures? The Significance of C.P. Snow 
by F.R. Leavis.
Cambridge, 118 pp., £10.99, August 2013, 978 1 107 61735 3
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... storm of comment’. It has now been republished with a lengthy and attentive introduction by Stefan Collini, along with a later lecture, ‘Luddites? Or, There Is Only One Culture’, in which Leavis responds to critics of his earlier performance. The performance survives rather well. At the time he was widely condemned for bad academic manners ...

Oxford University’s Long Haul

Sheldon Rothblatt, 21 January 1988

The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. I: The Early Oxford Schools 
edited by J.I. Catto.
Oxford, 684 pp., £55, June 1984, 0 19 951011 3
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. III: The Collegiate University 
edited by James McConia.
Oxford, 775 pp., £60, July 1986, 9780199510139
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. V: The 18th Century 
edited by L.S. Sutherland and L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 949 pp., £75, July 1986, 0 19 951011 3
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Learning and a Liberal Education: The Study of History in the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, 1880-1914 
by Peter Slee.
Manchester, 181 pp., £25, November 1986, 9780719018961
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... in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. John Burrow, Reba Softer, Doris Goldstein, Donald Winch, Stefan Collini, Dwight Culler, Deborah Wormell and Rosemary Jann among others have written on one or another dimension. As a secondary but related argument, Slee says that scholars have tended to use the word ‘professional’ as if it only applied to ...

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