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1 June 1989
The Darkened Room: Women, Power and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England 
by Alex Owen.
Virago, 307 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 86068 567 5
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... of modern science, with its assumed basis in cool objectivity, specialised expertise, and the denial of personality and emotion, is intimately bound up with socially-constructed notions of maleness. AlexOwen’s solid and compelling new book makes it clear that the tenets of science’s disreputable sister, spiritualism, became just as entangled with ideas of gender. Spiritualism may be understood ...

Who will stop them?

Owen​ Hatherley: The Neo-Elite

22 October 2014
The Establishment and How They Get Away with It 
by Owen​ Jones.
Allen Lane, 335 pp., £16.99, September 2014, 978 1 84614 719 7
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... Part​ of what makes Owen Jones such a phenomenally successful figure by left-of-Labour standards is his ability to be several things at once. He is both insider, reporting back to ‘us’ about what ‘they’ think, and ...

One Click at a Time

Owen​ Hatherley

29 June 2016
PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future 
by Paul Mason.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £8.99, June 2016, 978 0 14 197529 0
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Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work 
by Nick Srnicek and Alex​ Williams.
Verso, 256 pp., £12.99, October 2015, 978 1 78478 096 8
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... Both​ Paul Mason’s PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future and Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’s Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work advocate things that seemed to have disappeared from thinking on the left sometime in the late 1960s: technological optimism ...

Diary

John Lanchester: A Month on the Sofa

11 July 2002
... and interesting. 9 June. At the last World Cup the cameramen would often, when Brazil were playing, focus in on Ronaldo’s blonde girlfriend in the crowd. What we didn’t know, but is revealed in Alex Bellos’s terrific book about Brazilian football culture, Futebol (Bloomsbury, 256 pp., £9.99, 6 May, 0 74755 403 x), is that he went on to marry a different blonde, Milene Domingues, who had the ...

At the Hop

Sukhdev Sandhu

20 February 1997
Black England: Life before Emancipation 
by Gretchen Gerzina.
Murray, 244 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 7195 5251 6
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Reconstructing the Black Past: Blacks in Britain 1780-1830 
by Norma Myers.
Cass, 162 pp., £27.50, July 1996, 0 7146 4576 1
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... were advertised: ‘To be SOLD. A Black Girl, the Property of John Bull, Eleven Years of Age, who is extremely handy, works at her Needle tolerably, and speaks English perfectly well. Enquire of Mrs Owen, at the Angel Inn, behind St Clement’s Church, the Strand.’ Huge, ornate images of negroes were displayed outside shops, taverns and coffeehouses, many of which bore names such as the Blackamoor ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum

25 October 2018
Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... event history did not repeat itself. It didn’t even rhyme: 2016 was 1975 through the looking-glass. Most of the surviving protagonists of the 1975 referendum – such as the former Europhiles David Owen and Nigel Lawson; Neil Kinnock, a prominent Labour anti in 1975; or Alex Salmond, then a youthful SNP anti-Marketeer – found themselves on the other side of the debate from their former selves. The ...

Smiles Better

Andrew O’Hagan: Glasgow v. Edinburgh

23 May 2013
On Glasgow and Edinburgh 
by Robert Crawford.
Harvard, 345 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 0 674 04888 1
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... tenders contradiction, that you cannot – despite my evil attempts – use the book as a primer on how to stoke up the ancient and holy rivalries. For that, we will have to content ourselves with Alex Salmond and Irvine Welsh, my two prime provocateurs and opponents when it comes to establishing Glasgow’s obvious claim to being Scotland’s only true city. Here are my compelling arguments: 1. In ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis

1 July 1999
The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... all of them longtime stars of Italian and world tennis. Latin Americans like Brazil’s Armando Viera, who perfected a unique over-the-shoulder lob return, Luis Ayala, the superb Chilean champion, or Alex Olmedo, an American Latino champion of rare grace: no reference to their achievements or presence at all. It was the variety of their game and their strongly contrasting personalities that gave ...

Diary

Clive James

19 August 1982
... out on a flat sea within four walls Well has this conflict been called chess with balls. This year the final’s between two ex-champs. Veteran Ray Reardon’s cool, calm and collected, While Alex Higgins twitches and gets cramps Whenever from his headlong rush deflected. I’d like to keep a foot in both these camps, Believing the two styles, deep down, connected. They fight it to a finish ...
9 April 1992
... such ramifications have taken on a European aspect, which slips into no categories known to the London literary world. It’s not just the foreign press, packing Gladstone’s gilt salon to hear Alex Salmond and your man present the SNP – though Scotland does seem the one class act in an election as depressingly hidebound as it is important. Think of those scores of German Literatur ...

Lowellship

John Bayley

17 September 1987
Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry 
edited by Steven Gould Axelrod and Helen Deese.
Cambridge, 377 pp., £17.50, June 1987, 0 571 14979 0
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Collected Prose 
by Robert Lowell, edited and introduced by Robert Giroux.
Faber, 269 pp., £27.50, February 1987, 0 521 30872 0
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... writing,’ said Lowell, ‘and we were.’ And to Berryman he wrote about their troubles that ‘these knocks are almost a proof of intelligence and valour in us.’ How unimaginable that Wilfred Owen should have written such a thing from the trenches, but then he was pushed into being a poet by circumstances. Like Baudelaire, Berryman and Lowell had to make their circumstances: otherwise they ...
21 March 1996
... A hundred thousand people turned up to the funeral of the first man to die, Bobby Sands, who, shortly before his death, had been elected MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone in a Westminster by-election. Owen Carron, Sands’s election agent, fought and won Sands’s seat in a subsequent by-election. Sinn Fein flourished. In local elections it found itself with over a hundred councillors. The Party also ...

Time Unfolded

Perry Anderson: Powell v. the World

2 August 2018
... popular subsequent device perhaps Greimas’s ‘semiotic square’, in which characters become so many ‘actants’ occupying six invariant positions in any given tale. ‘For a long time now,’ Alex Woloch writes in The One v. the Many, ‘characterisation has been the bête noire of narratology, provoking either cursory dismissal, lingering uncertainty or vociferous argument.’ Continuing ...

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