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13 June 1991
Edmund Blunden: A Biography 
by Barry Webb.
Yale, 360 pp., £18.50, December 1990, 0 300 04634 0
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... One of the many excellent photographs BarryWebb has assembled shows Blunden going out to bat with Rupert Hart-Davis, in a match between Jonathan Cape and the Alden Press. That was in 1938. Blunden looks miniature, a frail determined Don Quixote ...
5 March 1981
The Illustrated Dictionary of British History 
edited by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 319 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 500 25072 3
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Who’s Who in Modern History, 1860-1980 
by Alan Palmer.
Weidenfeld, 332 pp., £8.50, October 1980, 0 297 77642 8
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... which may be sound publishing policy. Prominent figures in the American reform tradition seem to do pretty well, especially the women. Jane Addams is here, no doubt rightly, but not Beatrice Webb. Susan Anthony, Emily Balch, Carrie Catt, Mary Lease, Margaret Sanger – all these appear on the American side, balanced (if that is the right word) by no less than three Pankhursts (Emmeline ...
18 November 1982
The 1982 Budget 
edited by John Kay.
Blackwell, 147 pp., £10, July 1982, 0 631 13153 1
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Money and Inflation 
by Frank Hahn.
Blackwell, 116 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 631 12917 0
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Public Enterprise in Crisis: The Future of the Nationalised Industries 
by John Redwood.
Blackwell, 211 pp., £5.25, May 1982, 0 631 13053 5
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Controlling Public Industries 
by John Redwood and John Hatch.
Blackwell, 169 pp., £12, July 1982, 0 631 13078 0
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... towards management, and improve industrial relations. When did we last hear such arguments from any disinterested person? The reality of a nationalised industry is, alas, not something that Sidney Webb or Herbert Morrison ever contemplated. It is immensely grieving to say so, but most public enterprise has turned out to be just what all those selfish and heavy-handed capitalists predicted ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell

2 December 2010
J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... first page of ‘It’ on St Patrick’s Day with Irish pipers tuning up down in the street 12 floors beneath. In the parade along 5th Avenue they carried banner portraits of Sean McDermott, Kevin Barry and, no doubt, other martyrs. I didn’t stay long because the wind was bitter, the pavement covered in slush and my bones frozen to the marrow. These parades make the Americans look like imbeciles ...

I sizzle to see you

John Lahr: Cole Porter’s secret songs

19 November 2019
The Letters of Cole Porter 
edited by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh.
Yale, 672 pp., £25, October, 978 0 300 21927 2
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... By the Mississinewa’ (from Something for the Boys, 1943), two Indian squaws who share a husband dream of his homecoming ‘when we can laze in a daisy chain’. ‘But in the Morning No’ (from Du Barry Was a Lady, 1941) – a duet which went on for ten refrains and was banned from the airwaves – the courting couple politely enquire about the sexual possibilities for an early morning romp ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!

3 January 2019
... mentions not feeling he belongs to ‘the English Literary Happy Family’, as I hope neither do I.21 March. Reading a book about William Morris and Kelmscott, I come across a reminiscence by Philip Webb, who remarked to W.R. Lethaby: ‘The best of those times was that there was no covetousness; all went into the common stock … and then we were all such boys.’ This is how I remember my early ...

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