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One of the Lads

Mary Beard, 18 June 1998

Hadrian: The Restless Emperor 
by Anthony Birley.
Routledge, 424 pp., £40, October 1997, 9780415165440
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... did not treat him as badly as it might have done – or (who knows?) as he might have deserved. Anthony Birley does not have much time for problems of this kind. His new biography of Hadrian deals with the Villa at Tivoli in little more than a single page (mostly concerned with the names of other people of Spanish origin, like Hadrian, who might, or ...

Grande Dame

D.A.N. Jones, 18 July 1985

With Open Eyes: Conversations with Matthieu Galey 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Beacon, 271 pp., £19.95, October 1984, 0 8070 6354 1
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The Dark Brain of Piranesi, and Other Essays 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Richard Howard.
Aidan Ellis, 232 pp., £9.50, June 1985, 0 85628 140 9
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by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Walter Kaiser.
Aidan Ellis, 105 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 85628 138 7
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Coup de Grâce 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Grace Frick .
Black Swan, 112 pp., £2.50, October 1984, 9780552991216
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... In 1980 Ronald Syme in the London Review denounced it as a hoax. There is a Penguin translation by Anthony Birley, called Lives of the Later Caesars. To dip into it is rather like finding old newspapers under the lino, from 1956 or 1968, say, with time-serving editorials, eulogies of American Presidents, moralising news-stories by journalists missing the ...

Heroes of Our Time

Karl Miller, 19 May 1988

The Monument 
by T. Behrens.
Cape, 258 pp., £11.95, May 1988, 0 224 02510 4
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The Passion of John Aspinall 
by Brian Masters.
Cape, 360 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 224 02353 5
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... guards, to Vienna, and on to London, where she fell among art historians and was counselled by Anthony Blunt. Like the author of the book, who is a painter and who was then at the Slade, she discovered, he tells us, that ‘the people with the beautiful faces were also, mysteriously, the ones it was most fun to be with.’ The self-proclaimed ...

Napping in the Athenaeum

Jonathan Parry: London Clubland, 8 September 2022

Behind Closed Doors: The Secret Life of London Private Members’ Clubs 
by Seth Alexander Thévoz.
Robinson, 367 pp., £25, July, 978 1 4721 4646 5
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... This year​  marks the sixtieth anniversary of Anthony Sampson’s Anatomy of Britain, which gave a pioneering analysis of the ‘anonymous institutions’ that seemed to be running the country, and the relations between them. It was the most famous of several books published in the early 1960s exploring the idea of a British ‘Establishment’, as part of a discussion about failure in economic and social life ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... good and the unselfishness and ability to administer it’. An Eton teacher, ‘Red Robert’ Birley, had encouraged him to read the Marxist economist Harold Laski and to visit the school’s ‘mission’ in London’s East End, which David had found ‘very useful as it gives me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with members of the middle and lower ...

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