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So what if he was

Paul Foot, 25 October 1990

No Other Choice 
by George Blake.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 224 03067 1
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Inside Intelligence 
by Anthony Cavendish.
Collins, 181 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 9780002157421
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... long ago for British Intelligence. George Blake was very left-wing, and is now slightly less so. Anthony Cavendish has always been very right-wing. Both authors write of their profound respect for one of their former bosses, George K. Young. Young, who died recently, was deputy head of MI6 until he joined the merchant bankers Kleinwort Benson in ...


Paul Foot, 2 March 1989

The Wilson Plot: The Intelligence Services and the Discrediting of a Prime Minister 
by David Leigh.
Heinemann, 271 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 434 41340 2
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A Price too High 
by Peter Rawlinson.
Weidenfeld, 284 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 297 79431 0
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... the time had mostly been in active service in colonial wars, notably in Palestine. Harry Wharton, Anthony Cavendish, Maurice Oldfield, the arch-racialist George Kennedy Young – all these were in MI5 or MI6 either during or after the war. All of them shared the deeply reactionary ideas which had traditionally inspired the secret service. This, of ...

Happy Knack

Ian Sansom: Betjeman, 20 February 2003

John Betjeman: New Fame, New Love 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 736 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 7195 5002 5
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... admirable even – except perhaps in the case of Betjeman’s relationship with Elizabeth Cavendish, a woman with whom he shared much of his later life, and about whom Hillier tells us very little. Betjeman and Cavendish met in 1951 at a dinner party; he was 45 and she was 25. ...

That Satirical Way of Nipping

Fara Dabhoiwala: Learning to Laugh, 16 December 2021

Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain 
by Ross Carroll.
Princeton, 255 pp., £28, April, 978 0 691 18255 1
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... and endless lawsuits for defamation. In 1638 Thomas Hobbes advised his aristocratic tutee Charles Cavendish ‘to avoid all offensive speech, not only open reviling but also that Satirical way of nipping’ that young noblemen were prone to: it would provoke ‘many just occasions of Duel’. Laughing at others, he warned, was a sign of prideful ...


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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... from the arts faculties) in the Apostles but the brilliant scientists at the Cavendish Laboratory. Even the Kremlin, Sinclair argues, learned more from Cambridge physicists than from Cambridge moles. The key figure in the flow of Cambridge atomic physics to the Kremlin was, he believes, Peter Kapitsa, who arrived at the ...

Horror like Thunder

Germaine Greer: Lucy Hutchinson, 21 June 2001

Order and Disorder 
by Lucy Hutchinson, edited by David Norbrook.
Blackwell, 272 pp., £55, January 2001, 0 631 22061 5
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... only made all things without them jar But in their breasts raised up a civil war. According to Anthony à Wood’s Athenae Oxonienses, and Sidney Lee who follows Wood in the DNB, Order and Disorder is the work of Sir Allen Apsley (1616-83). The poem described by Lee as ‘rarely accessible’, now easily accessible in David Norbrook’s modern spelling ...

Lurching up to bed with the champion of Cubism

Nicholas Penny: Douglas Cooper, 20 January 2000

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence and Douglas Cooper 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 320 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 224 05056 7
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... adventuress who had married and supposedly murdered Mabel Cooper’s first cousin “Caviar” Cavendish’. He is careful to note that life at this social altitude could be dangerous for ordinary folk. He is also keen to let us know that he sometimes felt ‘overdosed’ by great art and was relieved to escape from grand hotels and three-star restaurants ...

Supermac’s Apprenticeship

Ian Gilmour, 24 November 1988

Macmillan 1894-1956 
by Alistair Horne.
Macmillan, 537 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 27691 4
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... Macmillan’s rival, Rab Butler, chose a biographer from outside his own party, but his and Anthony Howard’s political outlooks may have been closer to each other than Mr Horne’s and Macmillan’s ‘not very good’ Toryisms. After an undistinguished three years at Eton, a first in Mods at Oxford, a flirtation with Rome together with Ronnie Knox, a ...

Pick the small ones

Marina Warner: Girls Are Rubbish, 17 February 2005

Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from around the World 
by Mineke Schipper.
Yale, 422 pp., £35, April 2004, 0 300 10249 6
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... in 1963, jostle Ghanaian proverbs collected by Schipper from Peggy Appiah and her son Kwame Anthony Appiah; Persian mottoes are lined up beside Brazilian, Finnish, Irish and Creole ones, as well as numerous examples from different African regions and groupings. Schipper stoutly defends her method: ‘Mutual knowledge is an important key to peaceful ...

Launch the Icebergs!

Tim Lewens: Who Was Max Perutz?, 15 November 2007

Max Perutz and the Secret of Life 
by Georgina Ferry.
Chatto, 352 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 7011 7695 2
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... off for Munich to speak about haemoglobin at a conference in 1962. He imagined a journalist, ‘Anthony Scooper … who follows my every step’: ‘MFP settled in a empty carriage, immediately unpacked various coloured files and proceeded to work on manuscript of world-shaking discovery relating to Secret of Life … Ventured a few words by offering to ...

Rah, Rah, Cheers, Queers

Terry Castle: On Getting Married, 29 August 2013

... Judy’s turn … [cry?] …) Victory is sweet, even if glimpsed from afar. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Sunday denied a request from Proposition 8 supporters to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licences in California. Dozens of same-sex weddings have taken place in the state since Friday, following the Supreme Court’s decision on ...

Baring his teeth

Peter Clarke, 25 June 1992

The Macmillans: The Story of a Dynasty 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 370 pp., £18.50, April 1992, 0 434 17502 1
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... as he proudly told a friend. ‘I was at the club the other night, where were Tennyson, Browning, Anthony Trollope, Lord Houghton, Lord Stanley, Tom Taylor, Fitzjames Stephen ... with all of whom I had a pleasant gossip.’ With all of them? But even on such a loquacious evening he still spared a thought for ‘how much better worthy of such company dear ...

Spying made easy

M.F. Perutz, 25 June 1987

Klaus Fuchs: The man who stole the atom bomb 
by Norman Moss.
Grafton, 216 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 246 13158 6
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... colleagues who trusted him and the country that had given him shelter: but no more abnormal than Anthony Blunt, who made friends with the King while spying for Russia. It has been said that Fuchs handed atomic secrets to an ally and that he merely put into effect the policy of sharing atomic secrets with the Soviet Union that the great Danish physicist Niels ...

There are some limits Marlowes just won’t cross

Christopher Tayler: Banville’s Marlowe, 3 April 2014

The Black-Eyed Blonde 
by Benjamin Black.
Mantle, 320 pp., £16.99, February 2014, 978 1 4472 3668 9
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... an admirer of German Romanticism and 17th-century painting, a reimaginer of such figures as Anthony Blunt and Paul de Man, and a frequent raider of mathematics and cosmology, Banville is – no question – one of the fancy boys, sometimes verging on being a clever-clever darling. (‘As one of your most darkly glowing luminants has observed’ is the ...

Making a Mouth in a Contemptuous Manner

John Gallagher: Civility Held Sway, 4 July 2019

In Pursuit of Civility: Manners and Civilisation in Early Modern England 
by Keith Thomas.
Yale, 457 pp., £25, June 2018, 978 0 300 23577 7
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... necessities of the body.’ The transition to bodily inhibition took place quite slowly, however: Anthony Wood complained that when Charles II’s courtiers left Oxford, they also left ‘their excrements in every corner, in chimneys, studies, coal-houses, cellars’. True civility was the property of the city. ‘Since classical times,’ Thomas ...

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