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Trollope’s Delight

Richard Altick, 3 May 1984

The Letters of Anthony Trollope 
edited by John Hall.
Stanford, 1082 pp., $87.50, July 1983, 0 8047 1076 7
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Anthony Trollope: Dream and Art 
by Andrew Wright.
Macmillan, 173 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 34593 2
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... which produced the 47 novels. This solitary biographical datum contributes to the subtitle of Andrew Wright’s Anthony Trollope: Dream and Art, but in the nature of the case it cannot supply a sustained thesis. Happily, between the book’s introduction and epilogue it is almost completely lost sight of, so that ...

Suppose the Archduke had ducked

Andrew Berry: Game theory and human evolution, 7 September 2000

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny 
by Robert Wright.
Little, Brown, 435 pp., £22.50, March 2000, 0 316 64485 4
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... having given birth to Social Darwinism. Progress, however, has now found a new champion in Robert Wright. Wright, then on the staff of the New Republic, first entered the fray in 1990, with a lengthy (and unfavourable) review of Gould’s anti-progress manifesto, Wonderful Life. Then, deciding perhaps to make a career out ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 29 June 2016

... issued under the Australian Crimes Act 1914. They were looking for a man named Craig Steven Wright, who lived with his wife, Ramona, at 43 St Johns Avenue. The warrant was issued at the behest of the Australian Taxation Office. Wright, a computer scientist and businessman, headed a group of companies associated with ...

Molehunt

Christopher Andrew, 22 January 1987

Sword and Shield: Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus 
by Jeffrey Richelson.
Harper and Row, 279 pp., £11.95, February 1986, 0 88730 035 9
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The Red and the Blue: Intelligence, Treason and the University 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 297 78866 3
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Inside Stalin’s Secret Police: NKVD Politics 1936-39 
by Robert Conquest.
Macmillan, 222 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 333 39260 4
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Conspiracy of Silence: The Secret Life of Anthony Blunt 
by Barrie Penrose and Simon Freeman.
Grafton, 588 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 246 12200 5
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... encountered what he called the ‘social hierarchy’ in which Burgess and Blunt moved so easily. Andrew Sinclair helps to cut the moles down to size. The real intellectual élite in inter-war Cambridge, he reminds us, were not the moles or their contemporaries (mostly from the arts faculties) in the Apostles but the brilliant scientists at the Cavendish ...

Living It

Andrew O’Hagan: The World of Andy McNab, 24 January 2008

Crossfire 
by Andy McNab.
Bantam, 414 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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Strike Back 
by Chris Ryan.
Century, 314 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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... Vietnam, and Generation Kill, an account published in 2004 by the Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright of the battalion’s efforts to provide heroes during the blitzing of Iraq the previous year, gives a startling picture of tough young men up to their eyeballs in fantasy. ‘They were a new breed of warrior unrecognisable to their forebears,’ ...

Scandal in Pittsburgh

David Nasaw: Andrew Mellon, 19 July 2007

Mellon: An American Life 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 779 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 7139 9508 4
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... There is nothing so enervating,’ Andrew Carnegie wrote in 1891, ‘nothing so deadly in its effects upon the qualities which lead to the highest achievement, moral or intellectual, as hereditary wealth.’ Boys born with silver spoons in their mouths, Carnegie said, were likely to choke on them. To spare them from ruin, and society from being despoiled by dynastic wealth, he argued for a nearly 100 per cent tax rate on large estates ...

When Chicago Went Classical

Andrew Saint: A serial killer and the World’s Fair, 1 April 2004

Devil in the White City 
by Erik Larson.
Bantam, 496 pp., £7.99, April 2004, 0 553 81353 6
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... Ho-o-den, a tiny Japanese temple built by Japanese craftsmen. It entranced the young Frank Lloyd Wright and set him imagining buildings of simple space and candid materials, worlds away from the Great Court. The main response, however, was exhilaration at an exemplary grandeur. Testimony to the spell of 1893 comes from many visitors. None is more compelling ...

Answering back

James Campbell, 11 July 1991

The Intended 
by David Dabydeen.
Secker, 246 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 436 20007 4
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Cambridge 
by Caryl Phillips.
Bloomsbury, 185 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 0 7475 0886 0
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Lucy 
by Jamaica Kincaid.
Cape, 176 pp., £11.99, April 1991, 0 224 03055 8
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... of the poets Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown, and next a line of novelists headed by Richard Wright, began the task of reclamation about two generations earlier than the Caribbean writers who identified – if one can nowadays put it that way – with Europe, specifically England. Their literary industry, centred largely in London, only really switched ...

Ei kan nog vlieg

Dan Jacobson: Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiw!, 2 January 2003

Way Up Way Out 
by Harold Strachan.
David Philip, 176 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 86486 355 1
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... and then a Lilienthal glider which flew. Furthermore, he explained a problem which had caused the Wright brothers near-total despair and near-abandonment of the Kittyhawk project: how to use a rudder to cancel unwanted drag on the outside wing in a turn when extra lift was needed there to bank the aircraft into the turn. Inspired by Bellum (who of course ...

Into the Gulf

Rosemary Hill, 17 December 1992

A Sultry Month: Scenes of London Literary Life in 1846 
by Alethea Hayter.
Robin Clark, 224 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 0 86072 146 9
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Painting and the Politics of Culture: New Essays on British Art 1700-1850 
edited by John Barrell.
Oxford, 301 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198173922
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London: World City 1800-1840 
edited by Celina Fox.
Yale, 624 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 300 05284 7
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... and the critic with it. To suggest, as David Solkin does in his conclusion, that Joseph Wright’s An Experiment on the Bird in the Air Pump can ‘offer us a timely word of warning, before we join the chorus of acclamation for those market forces we see marching in apparent triumph across the world today’ is to take a Haydonesque leap into ...

Whenever you can, count

Andrew Berry: Galton, 4 December 2003

A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics 
by Nicholas Wright Gillham.
Oxford, 416 pp., £22.50, September 2002, 0 19 514365 5
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... on its success in positioning – or repositioning – him in relation to the Holocaust. Nicholas Wright Gillham’s new Life isn’t quite satisfying in this regard. It does an excellent job of laying out Galton’s many mini-careers, and closes with a brief overview of the events that led to Nazi eugenics. Galton, we learn, ‘would have been horrified had ...

Spicy

Nicholas Spice, 15 March 1984

The Fetishist, and Other Stories 
by Michel Tournier, translated by Barbara Wright.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 00 221440 7
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My Aunt Christina, and Other Stories 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 207 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 575 03256 1
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Mr Bedford and the Muses 
by Gail Godwin.
Heinemann, 229 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 434 29751 8
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Alexandra Freed 
by Lisa Zeidner.
Cape, 288 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 224 02158 3
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The Coffin Tree 
by Wendy Law-Yone.
Cape, 195 pp., £8.50, January 1984, 0 224 02963 0
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... questionnés par la lumiére, émergeait la face blême et bouffie de l’ennui.’ Barbara Wright surmounts the biggest problems in translating Tournier with idiomatic ease and inventiveness, so it’s odd to find her lapsing now and again into un-English Latinisms like ‘inexistence’ for inexistence, ‘marmoreal’ for marmoréen, or ...

Other People’s Mail

Bernard Porter: MI5, 19 November 2009

The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5 
by Christopher Andrew.
Allen Lane, 1032 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 7139 9885 6
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... as MI5 and MI6 had to be kept so secret; MI5 remained officially secret for 80 years. Christopher Andrew has another explanation, however. It was just a ‘taboo’, he writes (quoting the historian Michael Howard), like ‘intra-marital sex’. Everyone knew it went on, and was ‘quite content that it should, but to speak, write or ask questions about ...

What architects said before they said ‘space’

Andrew Saint: The vocabulary of modern architecture, 30 November 2000

Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture 
by Adrian Forty.
Thames and Hudson, 335 pp., £28, April 2000, 0 500 34172 9
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... route of the architect ran between the drawing board and the building site. After Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, both as cavalier with language as they were scrupulous with architectural detail, you could scarcely be thought an internationally significant architect unless you not only built but wrote and globetrotted, discoursing as you went. The ...

For the Good of Our Health

Andrew Saint: The Spread of Suburbia, 6 April 2006

Sprawl: A Compact History 
by Robert Bruegmann.
Chicago, 301 pp., £17.50, January 2006, 0 226 07690 3
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... sustainability in general. But ideals can rapidly switch around. When, in the 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright explored the possibilities of the extended city in his Broadacre City scheme, he saw the automobile as the saviour of the common man, the route to a democratic utopia. Now, for the good of our health and the planet, we are being asked to abandon our cars ...

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