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Town-Cramming

Christopher Turner: Cities, 6 September 2001

Cities for a Small Country 
by Richard Rogers and Anne Power.
Faber, 310 pp., £14.99, November 2000, 0 571 20652 2
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Urban Futures 21: A Global Agenda for 21st-Century Cities 
by Peter Hall and Ulrich Pfeiffer.
Spon, 384 pp., £19.99, July 2000, 0 415 24075 1
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... and urban overcrowding persists in the minds of public and planners alike,’ Richard Rogers and Anne Power argue in Cities for a Small Country, ‘and fuels an almost obsessive desire for low-density, suburban homes.’ What happened, they ask, to ‘the English love of cities’? Should we blame the town planner Ebenezer Howard for the love affair ...

Real Power

Conrad Russell, 7 August 1986

Revel, Riot and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660 
by David Underdown.
Oxford, 324 pp., £17.50, November 1985, 0 19 822795 7
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The Reign of Henry VIII: Personalities and Politics 
by David Starkey.
George Philip, 174 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 540 01093 6
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... always look for the organisation of the court. In examining Thomas Cromwell’s relations with Anne Boleyn and with the Privy Chamber, he has made it very hard indeed to see the rise of Thomas Cromwell as marking the beginning of modern bureaucracy. His evidence, as Sir Geoffrey Elton has admitted, makes some substantial holes in Elton’s notion of a ...

Real women stay at home

Anne Hollander, 12 July 1990

Laura Ashley: A Life by Design 
by Anne Sebba.
Weidenfeld, 207 pp., £15, May 1990, 0 297 81044 8
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... reaping the profits of a business. To accomplish this double manoeuvre, as we learn from Anne Sebba’s book, she had to find a man who would not only be a clever business partner but a dominating sort of husband, for whom she could play The Angel while managing refractory children household and business accounts, creative projects and inner ...

La Bolaing

Patrick Collinson: Anne Boleyn, 18 November 2004

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn 
by Eric Ives.
Blackwell, 458 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 631 23479 9
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... differently, we may well ask whether we are abroad if we visit the England of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. In September 1528, Henry wrote to Anne: ‘No more to you at this present, mine own darling, for lack of time, but that I would you were in mine arms or I in yours, for I think it long since I kissed you.’ This ...

Anne’s Powers

G.C. Gibbs, 4 September 1980

Queen Anne 
by Edward Gregg.
Routledge, 483 pp., £17.50, April 1980, 0 7100 0400 1
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... as Cromwell. Nor was the monarch meant to be a figurehead. It was his job to govern; executive power was vested in him: it was for him to formulate policies and to order them to be carried out. This did not mean that he was to exercise arbitrary power. In coming to important decisions he was supposed to ask for ...

Magical Orange Grove

Anne Diebel: Lowell falls in love again, 11 August 2016

Robert Lowell in Love 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Massachusetts, 288 pp., £36.50, December 2015, 978 1 62534 186 0
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... By then Lowell had completed his first year at Harvard and was engaged to Parker’s cousin Anne Dick. That year’s programme included studying 75 Elizabethan plays; Anne, who didn’t set foot on this Mount Athos, was told to read Troilus and Cressida and post her comments. Lowell returned them with tart ...

No Fol-de-Rols

Margaret Anne Doody: Men in suits, 14 November 2002

The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity: England 1550-1850 
by David Kuchta.
California, 299 pp., £29.95, May 2002, 0 520 21493 5
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... revolution of 1688 was impossible without this companion feminisation of fashion.’ Men’s power was now proclaimed in ‘sumptuary renunciation rather than sumptuary law’, and ‘the new regime’s elites claimed modesty as their own.’ In the 19th century, the old aristocracy of gentry and commercial elite had to give way to the advances of a ...

Things that are worth naming

Linda Colley, 21 November 1991

A Passion for Government: The Life of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough 
by Frances Harris.
Oxford, 421 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 19 820224 5
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... she is. And she is powerful. Flanking her are her four daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, Henrietta and Anne. She would marry two of them off to dukes, and two of them to earls. And when the time came, she would net as partners for her seven granddaughters five dukes, an earl and a viscount. As for her husband and son, she would outlive them both by years. Viewed ...

Ye must all be alike

Catherine Gallagher, 27 January 1994

Writing Women in Jacobean England 
by Barbara Kiefer Lewalski.
Harvard, 431 pp., £35.95, February 1993, 0 674 96242 7
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... and other interests against the advice of their male relatives, independently exercised cultural power and even openly questioned male prerogatives in their writing. Writing Women in Jacobean England draws its evidence from the books and careers of nine Jacobean women, devoting a chapter to each and arranging them in three sections: ‘The Royal ...

‘Porter!’

Penelope Gilliatt, 19 May 1983

The Life of Katherine Anne Porter 
by Joan Givner.
Cape, 572 pp., £15, March 1983, 0 224 02093 5
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... This one is 572 pages long and it took the author twenty years to write. Longer than Katherine Anne Porter found to write the whole of her resplendent work. Joan Givner’s book might be called light plane reading, except that it is heartlessly grave, gravid though fruitless, and would take the most receptive astronauts a moon-flight to try to sleep ...
... position to be in. [pause] Air! Wind! World! Collate my bones! I am what most people talk about, a power spot. I stole fire, I knew what I was doing. That was last week. I’m bored again. Enter Chorus. Hah, I smell you! Talk! CHORUS: How strangely beautiful your driveway in the dawn. But why blue and why you? PROM: Govt wanted to enforce an analogy between ...

Tolerant Repression

Blair Worden, 10 May 1990

Thomas Starkey and the Commonweal 
by Tom Mayer.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £32.50, April 1989, 0 521 36104 4
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Politics and Literature in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 317 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 631 13566 9
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The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Portraits at the Court of Henry VIII 
by Retha Warnicke.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 521 37000 0
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English Travellers Abroad 1604-1667 
by John Stoye.
Yale, 448 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 300 04180 2
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... of Edmund de la Pole in 1513, of the Duke of Buckingham in 1521, of More and Fisher in 1535, of Anne Boleyn and her alleged lovers in 1536, of Thomas Cromwell and the Protestants burned without trial in 1540, of the surviving supporters of Catherine of Aragon and of the Marquis of Exeter in 1540-1, of the Earl of Surrey in 1547. Thomas More, observed ...

Only Sleeping

Anne Barton: Variations on Elizabeth I, 10 July 2003

England’s Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy 
by Michael Dobson and Nicola J. Watson.
Oxford, 348 pp., £19.99, November 2002, 0 19 818377 1
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... to occupy the English throne. Yet, during a long reign of 44 years, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn contrived to steer a middle course in religion between the beliefs of her Catholic subjects on the one hand and clamorous Puritans on the other (the so-called Elizabethan Settlement), evade fatal entanglements, whether marital or military, on the ...

Royal Bodies

Hilary Mantel, 21 February 2013

... were bankrupt and miserable. It was ridiculous, of course. She was one individual with limited power and influence, who focused the rays of misogyny. She was a woman who couldn’t win. If she wore fine fabrics she was said to be extravagant. If she wore simple fabrics, she was accused of plotting to ruin the Lyon silk trade. But in truth she was all body ...

How to Be Tudor

Hilary Mantel: Can a King Have Friends?, 17 March 2016

Charles Brandon: Henry VIII’s Closest Friend 
by Steven Gunn.
Amberley, 304 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4456 4184 3
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... On​ their West Country progress in the summer of 1535, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn visited Thornbury Castle near Bristol. Thornbury is an upmarket hotel now, a popular choice for guests working through their bucket list. Now that every narrative is a ‘journey’, TripAdvisor is an illuminating guide to what people expect when they go in search of the past ...

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