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Only the Camels

Robert Irwin: Wilfred Thesiger, 6 April 2006

Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer 
by Alexander Maitland.
HarperCollins, 528 pp., £25, February 2006, 0 00 255608 1
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... a soldier and the British consul in Addis Ababa, was a powerful influence on her son’s life. Alexander Maitland introduces this biography with his meeting with Thesiger in Kathleen’s Chelsea flat in 1964: Cocooned in a woollen shawl and an old-fashioned lace-trimmed mob cap, she lay propped up on pillows, with writing paper and books spread out ...

Dunbar’s Disappearance

Sally Mapstone: William Dunbar, 24 May 2001

The Poems of William Dunbar 
edited by Priscilla Bawcutt.
Association for Scottish Literary Studies, £70, May 1999, 0 948877 38 3
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... Scotland, were familiar with his poetry – is an important issue. A colophon to the 16th-century Maitland Folio manuscript copy of Dunbar’s ‘To speik of science, craft, or sapience’, a poem which criticises learning detached from its moral application, states: ‘Quod Dumbar at Oxinfurde’. Did Dunbar go to Oxford during the 1501 trip? It is ...

Good Things: Pederasty and Jazz and Opium and Research

Lawrence Rainey: Mary Butts, 16 July 1998

Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life 
by Nathalie Blondel.
McPherson, 539 pp., £22.50, February 1998, 0 929701 55 0
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The Taverner Novels: ‘Armed with Madness’, ‘Death of Felicity Taverner’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 18 6
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The Classical Novels: ‘The Macedonian’, ‘Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 384 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 42 9
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‘Ashe of Rings’ and Other Writings 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £18.50, March 1998, 0 929701 53 4
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... that. Scarcely a month after the birth of her daughter in 1920, Butts became the lover of Cecil Maitland, an aspiring writer who would eventually be overwhelmed by alcoholism, drug abuse and suicidal impulses. She left Rodker, naively hoping that she could maintain some form of relationship with both men. Her affair with ...

We are all Scots here

Linda Colley: Scotland and Empire, 12 December 2002

The Scottish Empire 
by Michael Fry.
Tuckwell/Birlinn, 580 pp., £16.99, November 2002, 9781841582597
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... corrupt electoral system prior to 1832 may have encouraged some Scottish proconsuls like Thomas Maitland, Governor of Malta and the Ionian Islands, to take a particularly dim and manipulative view of colonial assemblies. Scotland’s churches produced distinctive forms of missionary activity, while the fact that few Scottish, as compared with English and ...

How we declare war

Conor Gearty: Blair, the Law and the War, 3 October 2002

... in search of it leads to no document, merely to the Crown, which, as the legal historian F.W. Maitland famously wrote in 1908, ‘does nothing but lie in the Tower of London to be gazed at by sightseers’. Tucked underneath it is an old idea, not a piece of paper: the Royal Prerogative. The British Constitution resembles the shed of an inveterate ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... the period from 1660 – this is omitting foreign authors, pseudonymous characters like ‘Captain Alexander Smith’, and others whose masculinity may be nominal. It would be rash to expect all these to qualify for Spender’s epithet ‘good’. But if Ann Emelinda Skinn and M. Peddle (two of Dale’s hundred best tunes) deserve a place in the record, it is ...

Anti-Dad

Adam Mars-Jones: Amis Resigns, 21 June 2012

Lionel Asbo: State of England 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 288 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 224 09620 1
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... holding, and never will hold.’ It’s the specific image of the pregnant widow, quoted from Alexander Herzen, that seems so clumsy: ‘The departing world leaves behind it, not an heir, but a pregnant widow. Between the death of the one and the birth of the other, much water will flow by, a long night of chaos and desolation will pass.’ The image is ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... writer’, and he cut some contributions by more than half. One enemy he certainly made was Alexander Balloch Grosart DD, who was invited to contribute several entries for the first volumes, principally on 17th-century divines. As early as October 1883, Stephen was complaining that he had ‘had my usual letter of abuse from that old fool ...

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