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Green Thoughts

Colin Ward

19 January 1989
Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... one to sleep.’ And in his introduction Stanley Clinton Davis comments: ‘the pollution of the seas is not principally a scientific or an economic problem. It is a political problem.’ The late BarbaraWard tackled global green issues on the plane of international politics: the rate at which the rich nations squander natural resources, the desperate needs of the poor nations, and the ways in which ...

Knowing

Frank Kermode

3 December 1981
Bliss 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 296 pp., £6.50, November 1981, 0 571 11769 4
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Exotic Pleasures 
by Peter Carey.
Picador, 192 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 330 26550 4
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... deceives him with a coarse American, and, messy amorist, visits her husband in hospital while leaking this man’s semen, though she presumably passes within range of a lavatory on her way to the ward: the book has quite a lot of fast-moving, gripping and orginal sex, including a scene in which three women, in various parts of a house, have more or less simultaneous and audible orgasms. There is ...

Take a bullet for the team

David Runciman: The Profumo Affair

21 February 2013
An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... them. Opposition politicians floated rumours and conspiracy theories in the hope that the newspapers might bite. Davenport-Hines finds all this contemptible: men (and the occasional woman, such as Barbara Castle) bent on power and using prurience and censoriousness as a way to get it. It is all too easy to take the moral high ground when politicians are making a mockery of their own public standards ...
6 December 1984
Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 462 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 340 24465 8
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... According to Barbara Tuchman, quoted on the jacket, there is ‘a startling royal family scandal buried at the heart’ of this biography of Queen Mary. What steaming titbit can her fellow American, Anne Edward...

Blights

Patricia Craig

23 April 1987
A Darkness in the Eye 
by M.S. Power.
Heinemann, 212 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 434 59961 1
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The Stars at Noon 
by Denis Johnson.
Faber, 181 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 571 14607 4
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Like Birds in the Wilderness 
by Agnes Owens.
Fourth Estate, 138 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 947795 51 0
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Fool’s Sanctuary 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Hamish Hamilton, 132 pp., £8.95, April 1987, 0 241 12035 7
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A Fatal Inversion 
by Barbara​ Vine (Ruth Rendell).
Viking, 317 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 670 80977 2
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Sisters of the Road 
by Barbara​ Wilson.
Women’s Press, 202 pp., £3.95, March 1987, 0 7043 4073 9
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The price you pay 
by Hannah Wakefield.
Women’s Press, 245 pp., £4.95, March 1987, 0 7043 4072 0
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... outline on episodes of political manoeuvring, but he falls very short as a social commentator. One of his few female characters is a prostitute – driven to it, we’re to gather, by the need to ward off hardship from her ‘terrified mother’, whose husband has been carted off to Long Kesh. Isn’t Power aware of the funds set aside for prisoners’ dependents? The business of being ...

Well, was he?

A.N. Wilson

20 June 1996
Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman 
by Sally Peters.
Yale, 328 pp., £18.95, April 1996, 0 300 06097 1
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... to stick up for Wilde at the time of Oscar’s fall from grace. As a youngish and middle-aged man, he devoted hours of his time to the largely unrewarding work of a councillor in the St Pancras Ward of London. Thanks to Shaw, the first ladies’ lavatory in England was constructed at the top of Parkway in Camden Town. The campaign to build the loo was in its way an archetypally Shavian act of ...

Fear among the Teacups

Dinah Birch: Ellen Wood

8 February 2001
East Lynne 
by Ellen Wood, edited by Andrew Maunder.
Broadview, 779 pp., £7.95, October 2000, 1 55111 234 5
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... with inherited wealth. The privileges of a gentleman must be earned as Isabel’s prosperous husband Archibald Carlyle earns them – through steady toil. His second wife, the trying and triumphant Barbara Hare, is less grand than Isabel, but she has more common sense. Her devoted ordinariness is what fits her for marriage with the up-and-coming Carlyle. Isabel is doomed from the moment she enters the ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland

11 July 1991
The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... is omitted from the Companion’s account of Harraden – not, I suspect, because the editors don’t know about it, but because they don’t want to read Harraden’s career that way. In its Mary Ward entry, the Companion studiously does not mention her setting up a Settlement in working-class London (it survives as the Mary Ward Centre), nor her pioneering play-centres for the children of working ...

I haven’t been nearly mad enough

Jenny Diski: Modern Madness

6 February 2014
TheLast Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times 
by Barbara​ Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 296 pp., £18.99, February 2014, 978 0 241 14509 8
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... Madness is a childish thing,’ Barbara Taylor writes in The Last Asylum, a memoir of her two decades as a mental patient. The book records her breakdown, her 21-year-long analysis, her periods as an inmate at Friern Mental Hospital in ...

Wasps and all

Philip Horne

8 December 1988
A Chinese Summer 
by Mark Illis.
Bloomsbury, 135 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0257 9
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Three Uneasy Pieces 
by Patrick White.
Cape, 59 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 224 02594 5
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The Captain and the Enemy 
by Graham Greene.
Reinhardt, 189 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 1 871061 05 9
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View of Dawn in the Tropics 
by G. Cabrera Infante, translated by Suzanne Jill Levine.
Faber, 163 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 571 15186 8
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The House of Stairs 
by Barbara​ Vine.
Viking, 282 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 670 82414 3
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... seems to help Simon with his priorities: ‘The mystique around cancer makes it hard to set aside, even when it is not the most important thing.’ New importances are established in the cancer ward, where Simon talks to his neighbour, a man ‘like a skeleton with skin stretched over it’. The thin man mockingly volunteers that ‘I learnt a new word yesterday. Do you want to hear it ...
20 May 2015
... among them, Lassa and Marburg. Greene made his journey through the equatorial forests with a retinue of 26 porters and hammock bearers, two personal attendants and a full-time cook. His cousin Barbara went too (she said she was 23; Tim Butcher, in Chasing the Devil, reports her age as 27), though Greene scarcely mentions her. Her account of the trip was published in 1938, under the title Land ...

Henry James and Romance

Barbara​ Everett

18 June 1981
Henry James Letters. Vol. III: 1883-1895 
edited by Leon Edel.
Macmillan, 579 pp., £17.50, March 1981, 0 333 18046 1
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Culture and Conduct in the Novels of Henry James 
by Alwyn Berland.
Cambridge, 231 pp., £17.50, April 1981, 0 521 23343 7
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Literary Reviews and Essays, A London Life, The Reverberator, Italian Hours, The Sacred Fount, Watch and Ward 
by Henry James.
Columbus, 409 pp., £2.60, February 1981, 0 394 17098 9
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... and Conduct is that James was caught between contradictory definitions of Civilisation, and there is nothing in this thesis to separate ‘definition’ from ‘creation’, there is also nothing to ward off Berland’s conclusion that the novels are, for instance, ‘tragic’. The term is repeated a number of times, and with emphasis: the response it signifies is commonplace, though perhaps ...

He speaks too loud

David Blackbourn: Brecht

2 July 2014
Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life 
by Stephen Parker.
Bloomsbury, 704 pp., £30, February 2014, 978 1 4081 5562 2
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... deferred thanks to paternal string-pulling.) In October 1917 he enrolled as a medical student at Munich University; the following year he served briefly as an orderly, first in an amputation ward, then in a ward for sexually transmitted diseases, which provided material for the scurrilous work that was becoming his trademark. He knew which side he was on during the revolutionary upheavals at ...

Hallelujah Lasses

E.S. Turner: The Salvation Army

24 May 2001
Pulling the Devil’s Kingdom down: The Salvation Army in Victorian Britain 
by Pamela Walker.
California, 337 pp., £22.95, April 2001, 0 520 22591 0
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... is a standing joke; a flag with Blood and Fire on it is unfurled, not in murderous rancour, but because fire is beautiful and blood a vital and splendid red . . . (this from the preface to Major Barbara). In darkest London appearances could be deceptive. Those belligerent women who ambushed the hapless male on his way to the public house were not, as might be supposed, harpies eager to lure him into ...

Little was expected of Annie

Dinah Birch: The Story of an English Family

19 October 2006
Faith, Duty and the Power of Mind: The Cloughs and Their Circle 1820-1960 
by Gillian Sutherland.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £40, March 2006, 0 521 86155 1
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... studying to be a teacher, and by the time Arthur died she already had good experience running her own school in Ambleside, where her pupils included the tempestuous Mary Arnold, later Mrs Humphry Ward. Living with Arthur’s well-connected widow allowed Annie to mix with women of radical ideas and public ambition: Florence Nightingale, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, Bessie Rayner Parkes, Emily ...

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