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Coalition Phobia

Brian Harrison, 4 June 1987

Labour People, Leaders and Lieutenants: Hardie to Kinnock 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 370 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 19 822929 1
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J. Ramsay MacDonald 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 276 pp., £19.50, June 1987, 0 7190 2168 5
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Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical 
by Patricia Romero.
Yale, 334 pp., £17.50, March 1987, 0 300 03691 4
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Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst 
by Barbara Castle.
Penguin, 159 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008761 3
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... Labour will plunge once more into debating its own history. Not reluctantly, because as Kenneth Morgan points out, the Party ‘has been captivated, even obsessed, by its history’; even more than the Conservatives it is, he says, ‘a prisoner of its past’. Yet the debate will probably be more painful than in the recent past, because it will need to be ...

Gaelic Communist

Graham Walker, 12 October 1989

James Connolly: A Political Biography 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 244 pp., £9.95, October 1989, 0 7190 2958 9
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James Connolly: Selected Writings 
edited by P. Beresford Ellis.
Pluto, 256 pp., £8.95, April 1988, 9780745302676
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... and intensively concentrated than Connolly. The welcome and long overdue appearance of Austen Morgan’s book provides an opportunity to assess the state of the Connolly historiography and to examine themes which are central to his reputation. The book is a critical study which, in conjunction with other recent published work, redresses the ...

Diary

Christopher Harvie: Cars and Cuckoo Clocks, 26 January 1995

... the first seven years of her administration, but the fact that Ben Pimlott, Philip Ziegler and Austen Morgan, three heavyweight biographers of Harold Wilson, under whose premiership the petroleum exploitation and taxation regime was set up, fail to mention it. In Scotland, up until the Eighties, we had contrived an equally toxic sort of alienation: a ...

So much was expected

R.W. Johnson, 3 December 1992

Harold Wilson 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 811 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 00 215189 8
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Harold Wilson 
by Austen Morgan.
Pluto, 625 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 7453 0635 7
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... seems clear enough. Well, not quite, for Pimlott is quoting one Wilson source on the matter, while Morgan, citing Harold on a different occasion, tells us that this all happened on 18 July, not 4 July, and that the idea that the romance would have been over had Gladys believed the stuff about becoming prime minister, was really just a family joke and not ...

Big Acts

Ross McKibbin, 19 February 1981

Portrait of a Progressive: The Political Career of Christopher, Viscount Addison 
by Kenneth Morgan and Jane Morgan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £15, May 1980, 9780198224945
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... The Doctors Morgan had the happy idea of converting Jane Morgan’s doctoral thesis on the career of Christopher Addison into a book and the result is this important and sympathetic biography. As they point out in their preface, he has hitherto had no worthwhile study; R. J. Minney’s biography is, they rightly note, ‘very unsatisfactory’ and drawn from a narrow range of sources ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... start with her struggle to locate the material. Her ‘100 good women writers before Jane Austen’ are an arbitrary bunch, many obtained from a hacker’s job on Janet Todd’s Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1660-1800. Spender calls this a ‘Dictionary of Women Novelists’ – a significant blunder. Todd covers ...

Jane Austen’s Word Process

Marilyn Butler, 25 June 1987

Computation into Criticism: A Study of Jane Austen’s Novels and an Experiment in Method 
by J.F Burrows.
Oxford, 245 pp., £25, February 1987, 0 19 812856 8
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... Why put the novels of Jane Austen onto a computer? The first thing that strikes you about Computation into Criticism is what it says about its Australian author’s dedication, or obsessiveness, or just plain nerve. Most literary research is cheap, and indeed looks very cheap as long as the cost of maintaining libraries is not counted in ...

In praise of Brigid Brophy

John Bayley, 5 March 1987

Baroque ’n’ Roll 
by Brigid Brophy.
Hamish Hamilton, 172 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 241 12037 3
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... equally fascinating. There is Mozart as a letter-writer, and Mozart with Da Ponte and with Jane Austen; an essay ‘In Praise of Ms Navratilova’, and another doing the same for Lodge and Shakespeare. These ‘Reflections and Reviews’, some of which appeared in the London Review of Books, include a brilliant piece on Murasaki and Fanny Burney, and an ...

The Tories’ Death-Wish

Kenneth O. Morgan, 15 May 1980

Tariff Reform in British Politics 
by Alan Sykes.
Oxford, 352 pp., £16, December 1979, 0 19 822483 4
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... saw significant inroads into the purity of free trade, with imperial preference embodied in Austen Chamberlain’s 1919 Budget, the ‘safeguarding’ of key industries and attempts to rescue the currency in the face of depreciated exchanges overseas. To attribute the quasi-protectionism of the post-war coalition simply to its Tory majority simply will ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: Orders of Service, 18 April 2019

... isn’t a very literary phrase either, appearing nowhere in the published works of Dickens, James, Austen or Joyce (I searched on Gutenberg). It doesn’t appear in George Eliot’s books either (not even in Scenes of Clerical Life, or in the one she translated, Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity) and, for all the expiring heroes in their novels, neither ...

Cheeky

Norman Page, 16 March 1989

Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas Hardy: The Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... urn than a heap of shards. All we know of Hardy, moreover, leads us to suspect that, as with Jane Austen and others, some of the letters we should most like to read are missing. In the final volume, for instance, the most frequent recipient of his surviving letters is his publisher. Sir Frederick Macmillan, the letters to him deal mainly with matters of ...

Laundering Britain’s Past

Marilyn Butler, 12 September 1991

The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 1095 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 297 81207 6
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... Vienna in 1815. Britain’s Lord Castlereagh, the future suicide, was remembered at home by Lady Morgan for ‘his cloudless smile ... his untunable voice and passion for singing all the songs in The Beggar’s Opera’. In Vienna he behaved like the Ulster Protestant he was, staying in with his wife and household on a Sunday to sing hymns to a ...

No Clapping

Rosemary Hill: The Bloomsbury Memoir Club, 16 July 2014

The Bloomsbury Group Memoir Club 
by S.P. Rosenbaum, edited by James Haule.
Palgrave, 203 pp., £20, January 2014, 978 1 137 36035 9
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... Keynes reports, are driven out when the English arrive supported by the rival forces of Jane Austen: ‘Miss Bates had vanquished Brünnhilde, and Mr Weston’s foot was firmly planted on the neck of Wotan.’ Dr Melchior himself, somewhat to Rosenbaum’s puzzlement, plays little part in the memoir and is entirely absent from The Economic Consequences ...

Always on Top

Edward Said: From Birmingham to Jamaica, 20 March 2003

Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-67 
by Catherine Hall.
Polity, 556 pp., £60, April 2002, 0 7456 1820 0
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... identity of these critics, but the realisation that writers like Conrad and Kipling, or Jane Austen and John Stuart Mill, thought and wrote without the natives in mind as an audience. An Indian or Jamaican woman reading Kim or Jane Eyre was able to bring to light the usually unstated colonial and male-dominated ideological assumptions behind the form of ...

Refugees from the Past

James Meek: Jameson on Chandler, 5 January 2017

Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 87 pp., £12.99, July 2016, 978 1 78478 216 0
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... is either Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Scandinavian or Celtic: Marlowe, Riordan, Sternwood, Ohls, Morgan, Conquest, Potter, Petersen, Haviland. A small number of characters with names that are vaguely Euro-Catholic are grudgingly brought into individual focus: Canino, Brunette, Florian, Menendez, Agostino, Vannier, Palermo, Degarmo. Otherwise, a person is a ...

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