Search Results

Advanced Search

1 to 15 of 37 results

Sort by:

Filter by:

Contributors

Article Types

Authors

Subjects

The vanquished party, as likely as not innocent, was dragged half-dead to the gallows

Alexander Murray: Huizinga’s history of the Middle Ages, 19 March 1998

The Autumn of the Middle Ages 
by John Huizinga, translated by Rodney Payton.
Chicago, 560 pp., £15.95, December 1997, 0 226 35994 8
Show More
Show More
... Positively medieval,’ we say, implying a scheme of historical periods which underlies most of what we think and do. The Middle Ages, to 1485, were barbarous and, luckily for them, also an ‘age of faith’; then came the Renaissance with its humane values and realism, a recognisable ancestor to the modern world. The job of testing the assumptions behind this distinction is never-ending, and we must be grateful to scholars who have done it well ...

Protection Rackets

Alexander Murray: Gang Culture in the Middle Ages, 30 April 2009

The Crisis of the 12th Century: Power, Lordship and the Origins of European Government 
by Thomas Bisson.
Princeton, 677 pp., £23.95, November 2008, 978 0 691 13708 7
Show More
Show More
... Young men who join gangs are participating in an alternative system of social cohesion. Each gang upholds its collective will through a range of penalties which include death, torture and mutilation, and keeps poverty at bay by theft and the sale of contraband, or, in more mature organisations, by kidnap and racketeering. In time, leadership concentrates in the man whose mastery of the idiom is the most complete, and he becomes the ‘godfather’, his authority protected, outside his immediate family, by a perimeter wall of terror ...

The Sword is Our Pope

Alexander Murray: Religion in Europe, 15 October 1998

The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity, 371-1386 AD 
by Richard Fletcher.
HarperCollins, 562 pp., £25, September 1997, 0 00 255203 5
Show More
Show More
... To the modern eye the European Middle Ages were palpably Christian, with all those cathedrals and crusades. But in the minds of the Renaissance scholars who invented the term, the adjective ‘middle’ meant that the Middle Ages began with the fall of the Roman Empire c.400, and for a substantial fraction of that time ‘medieval Christendom’ was largely not Christian at all ...

Into Your Enemy’s Stomach

Alexander Murray: Louis IX, 8 April 2010

Saint Louis 
by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Gareth Evan Gollrad.
Notre Dame, 947 pp., £61.95, February 2009, 978 0 268 03381 1
Show More
Show More
... Can a political leader be a saint? Private morality can’t be the sole criterion. Politicians have to make decisions in a cruel and perplexing world, and some consequences of even the best decisions will be morally repugnant. The question is inveterate. Our medieval forebears answered it by simply declaring some people to be ‘saints’. An early medieval king remembered as a saint was nearly always one who had either opted out of active kingship to lead a private life of exemplary piety while others did the dirty work, or one who had been killed in a Christian cause ...

They were less depressed in the Middle Ages

John Bossy: Suicide, 11 November 1999

Marx on Suicide 
edited by Eric Plaut and Kevin Anderson, translated by Gabrielle Edgcomb.
Northwestern, 152 pp., £11.20, May 1999, 0 8101 1632 4
Show More
Suicide in the Middle Ages, Vol I: The Violent Against Themselves 
by Alexander Murray.
Oxford, 510 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 19 820539 2
Show More
A History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Johns Hopkins, 420 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 8018 5919 0
Show More
Show More
... Europe, and one of the supposed critical moments was the 16th-century Reformation, which is where Alexander Murray’s Suicide in the Middle Ages comes in. The present descriptive volume is the first of an opus tripartitum. Here Murray offers the corpus of evidence, both narrative and legal, for the five hundred or ...

Raider of the Lost Ark

Richard Pankhurst: In Soho, 24 May 2001

The Pale Abyssinian: A Life of James Bruce, African Explorer and Adventurer 
by Miles Bredin.
Flamingo, 290 pp., £7.99, March 2001, 0 00 638740 3
Show More
Show More
... biography of Bruce to have been published in over two centuries. The first, by the Orientalist Alexander Murray, which is included in the second and third editions of Bruce’s Travels (1805, 1813), is brief but important, revealing discrepancies between Bruce’s original notebook and his subsequently published narrative. The second, much ...

What the hell happened?

Alexander Star: Philip Roth, 4 February 1999

I Married a Communist 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 323 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 224 05258 6
Show More
Show More
... alone in the Berkshire woods, where he enjoys a visit from his old high-school English teacher, Murray Ringold. As the 90-year-old Murray passes several martini-flavoured nights on Nathan’s porch, their conversation returns again and again to Murray’s long dead brother Ira, who was ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Successive John Murrays, 8 November 2018

... Some things​ in the relations between authors and publishers never change. Dear Mr Murray, edited by David McClay (John Murray, £16.99), a collection of letters written to six generations of the Murray family, is full of familiar complaints ...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns, 31 March 1988

Pleasure 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 233 pp., £10.50, October 1987, 0 85628 167 0
Show More
Absurd Courage 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 254 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7126 1149 5
Show More
Laing 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 302 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 333 45633 5
Show More
The Part of Fortune 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 249 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 571 14921 9
Show More
In the Fertile Land 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 85635 716 2
Show More
Show More
... John Murray’s fiction has always seemed to arise directly from the circumstances of his own life. At first, his work concentrated on his childhood and adolescence among the tiny, depressed communities that straggle along the English side of the Solway Firth. He then broke with his working-class background and read Sanskrit and Avestan at Oxford, later studying classical Indian medicine ...

Mark Antony’s Last Throw

Michael Kulikowski: Hellenistic Navies, 25 October 2012

The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies 
by William Murray.
Oxford, 356 pp., £30, January 2012, 978 0 19 538864 0
Show More
Show More
... Triremes seem to have enjoyed a continuous history into late antiquity, but after the death of Alexander the Great, the kings and kinglets who competed for his legacy began to build much bigger ships, and the reason for this is more difficult to explain. The basic trieres was a ‘three’, but literary sources tell us of ‘fives’ and ‘sixes’, and ...

‘They got egg on their faces’

Leofranc Holford-Strevens: The Oxford English Dictionary, 20 November 2003

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary 
by Simon Winchester.
Oxford, 260 pp., £12.99, October 2003, 0 19 860702 4
Show More
Show More
... the early days of the project, from Dean Trench’s lecture of 1857 to the appointment of James Murray as editor in 1879. Much attention is given to the personalities: one would like to know why Trench was ‘deeply embarrassed’ by his participation in the Torrijos rebellion (the DNB indicates disillusion rather than personal failings). Herbert Coleridge ...

Speaking in Tongues

Robert Crawford, 8 February 1996

The Poetry of Scotland: Gaelic, Scots and English 1380-1980 
edited and introduced by Roderick Watson.
Edinburgh, 752 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 7486 0607 6
Show More
Show More
... Here (in English translation) are the great Latinist George Buchanan and the Gaelic poet Alexander Mac-Donald. Duncan Ban MacIntyre’s expansive 18th-century Gaelic poem on deer (echoes of which can be heard in Crichton Smith and Les Murray) is juxtaposed with John Davidson’s ‘A Runnable Stag’. This should ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment, 5 April 2007

The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
Show More
Show More
... Andrew Millar, William Strahan, Thomas Cadell (father and son) and George Robinson in London, and Alexander Kincaid, John Balfour, John Bell and William Creech in Edinburgh, were not ‘mechanicks’ as Strahan once complained, but collaborators in a London-Edinburgh publishing enterprise that put Scotland on the literary map. For John Pinkerton, an Edinburgh ...

Eminent Athenians

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 1 October 1981

The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain 
by Frank Turner.
Yale, 461 pp., £18.90, April 1981, 0 300 02480 0
Show More
Show More
... is well illustrated, though I hope no future author will reproduce the ghastly portrait of Gilbert Murray by a relation which the National Portrait Gallery foolishly accepted. The Victorians made the Greeks out to have been far more like themselves than they can have been: by now anthropology and sociology have shown how dangerous analogies between their ...

Mizzled

Roy Harris, 21 February 1985

Longman Dictionary of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk.
Longman, 1875 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 582 55511 6
Show More
The Private Lives of English Words 
by Louis Heller, Alexander Humez and Malcah Dror.
Routledge, 333 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 7102 0006 4
Show More
The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words 
by Bill Bryson.
Viking, 173 pp., £7.95, April 1984, 0 7139 1653 2
Show More
The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots 
by Joseph Shipley.
Johns Hopkins, 637 pp., $39.95, May 1984, 0 8018 3004 4
Show More
A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English 
by Eric Partidge and Paul Beale.
Routledge, 1400 pp., £45, May 1984, 0 7100 9820 0
Show More
Show More
... always carefully selected. Classic examples of the 19th-century attitude towards lexicography were Murray in England and Emile Littré in France. Neither man was lacking either on the authoritarian or on the imaginative side: but both chose to present themselves, in accordance with the spirit of the age, as mere collectors and arrangers of lexical ...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences