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“... The third and final volume of the Webb diaries, which covers the period 1905 to 1924, is appropriately subtitled ‘The Power to Alter Things’. Hitherto Beatrice had been mainly the stay-at-home book-writer and social entertainer, while Sidney pursued his activities in the London County Council as well as in the London School of Economics which the Webbs had ...”
“... over the country. Distribution of wealth, it was felt, would take care of itself by means of massive and inevitable economic growth, so we didn’t really have to think about it. The predictions of BeatriceWebb, to the effect that Britain would go down in trade and wealth, that there would be a brain drain to America (on whose military strength we would become dependent), that we had too high a ...”
“... The final entry in Volume One of this diary, dated 23 July 1892, left Beatrice safely married to her Sidney, but lamenting that, according to current convention, as ‘Mrs Sidney Webb’ she would lose both her names. The next entry is dated 16 August and is divided between a brief reference to two delightful days of ‘real honeymoon in the Wicklow Hills’ and interviews with ...”
“...Beatrice Potter was born in 1858 at Standish on the edge of the Cotswolds. Her father, Richard Potter, was a well-to-do (mainly self-made) businessman to whom she was devoted. Relations with her mother seem ...”
“... said of Ben Jonson, I suppose Shaw would have to be fitted into the second category. He had always been lucid, splendidly persuasive though failing to persuade, but he now grew too wild for credit. BeatriceWebb, who had at first disliked him, then saw his value and took him on for life. She was always at hand to scold and restrain him, but as time went by her task became too difficult. At one important ...”
“... in today’s money – should be applied by his executors ‘to the propaganda and other purposes of the said Society and its Socialism’. What he could hardly have anticipated was that Sidney Webb would use his position as an executor to deflect most of the money away from the obvious political uses that had been intended. George Bernard Shaw’s indignant account of a subsequent meeting of ...”
“... science and letters, and he shows it to be saturated in Christian tropes of humility, contempt of the body and dying in order to be reborn. Whether it’s Carlyle fretting about his unruly bowels or BeatriceWebb insisting on meagre meals, Darwin protesting that anyone with a modicum of patience could have equalled his achievements, or Pater preaching pure sensation purged of feeling, there is much ...”
“... and professional association he may all the same – as Holroyd conjectures – have had other ideas, and even fancied himself the son of the flamboyant Lee rather than of his wretched father; BeatriceWebb, it seems, was sure he was Lee’s son. What he certainly owed to Lee was his early knowledge of music, the principal positive educational attainment of his Dublin childhood. Other benefits were ...”
“... I can’t help it being “Beauty and the Beast,” ’ wrote Sidney Webb to Beatrice Potter shortly before their marriage in 1892, ‘ – if only it is not a case of Titania and Bottom!’ The courtship of this super-extraordinary pair – ‘two active self-centred people ...”
“... and on: to Margaret Sanger, who disseminated information about contraception despite being hounded by the US Government, and abandoned her husband and at times her children to fulfil her mission; to BeatriceWebb, who eschewed sex and children for politics; to Edith Bland (the children’s writer E. Nesbit), who reluctantly enlarged her household with her husband’s mistress and illegitimate daughter ...”
“... Omsk and then to St Petersburg University, despite the existence of Jewish quotas. Although Maisky never identified as a Jew, that was how he was generally seen in English upper-class circles. Even BeatriceWebb, Maisky’s close friend, wondered at one point how Ribbentrop and the Nazis ‘felt towards the stocky, ugly Jew-tartar Soviet emissary, who compares more to a shrewd businessman negotiating in ...”
“... her temper rising, said: ‘I am within my rights ... I don’t have to be out until twelve.’ At this point the manager intervened with ‘This is the Hon. Mrs Frank Pakenham’ and ‘This is Mrs BeatriceWebb.’ The two then fell over each other to exchange civilities. As her Diaries show, Mrs Webb had fought a stiff fight not to be called Lady Passfield: but the author admits to no qualms about ...”
“... at the centre of that immense panopticon called the Shaw Canon because reading or watching your work we’re addressed first by a tannoy then we enter your nearly Bauhaus foyer – nearly because BeatriceWebb designed its utility furniture – we look up and see a security camera on the ceiling – that’s not fair though I mean you were the last person to care about private property but you watch ...”
“... of the Victorian age – among them George Eliot, G.H. Lewes, the historian J.R. Seeley, the natural scientist John Tyndall, and many social scientists and social reformers such as Charles Booth and Beatrice Potter (later Webb). Moreover, many who could not accept the whole package of Comtean positivism still tacitly or explicitly acknowledged its intellectual inspiration. Both Darwin and Herbert Spencer ...”
“... no wonder that many of the great 19th-century historians employed professional copyists. Prescriptions of this kind reached their apotheosis in the little essay on ‘The Art of Note-Taking’ which BeatriceWebb included in My Apprenticeship (1926). It propounded the famous doctrine of ‘only one fact on one piece of paper’. In his delightful autobiography, Memories Migrating, the late John Burrow ...”