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Oh, Lionel!

Christopher Hitchens, 3 December 1992

P.G. Wodehouse: Man and Myth 
by Barry Phelps.
Constable, 344 pp., £16.95, October 1992, 9780094716209
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... to a massed chorus of happy endings. Oscar Wilde doesn’t get so much as a walk-on part in Barry Phelps’s hearty, upbeat, point-missing celebration of the man he rather tryingly calls ‘The Master’. This further omission helps to materialise Alexander Cockburn’s surmise that ‘Wodehouse’s almost pathological prudery in sexual matters, a ...

Only Incognito

Gaby Wood, 6 July 1995

Katharine Hepburn 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 549 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 297 81319 6
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... only a movie. The Philadelphia Story was written specifically for and partly about her by Philip Barry. It had a two-year run on Broadway, and (since Howard Hughes had bought her the rights) she starred in the film version for MGM. Quite apart from the life it portrayed, for a time The Philadelphia Story was her life. Many scripts were written with her in ...

Thoughts on the New Economic History

David Cannadine, 15 April 1982

The Economic History of Britain since 1700. Vol. 1: 1700-1860 
edited by Roderick Floud and Donald McCloskey.
Cambridge, 323 pp., £25, October 1981, 0 521 23166 3
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The Economic History of Britain since 1700. Vol. II: 1860 to the 1970s 
edited by Roderick Floud and Donald McCloskey.
Cambridge, 485 pp., £30, October 1981, 0 521 23167 1
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The Population History of England 1541-1871: A Reconstruction 
by E.A. Wrigley.
Edward Arnold, 779 pp., £45, October 1982, 0 7131 6264 3
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The Decline of British Economic Power since 1870 
by M.W. Kirby.
Allen and Unwin, 211 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 04 942169 7
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The Coming of the Mass Market 1850-1914 
by Hamish Fraser.
Macmillan, 268 pp., £16, February 1982, 0 333 31034 9
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... was least comprehensive. There are bound to be reservations about the use of the venerable Phelps Brown and Hopkins index of real wages as a reliable guide to the standard of living which is such a central concept for their argument, and it is a source of regret, especially from the late 18th century onwards, when the experience of economic growth was ...

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