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John Ellis, 14 May 1992

Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... essay on Othello in Addressing Frank Kermode is a particularly bad case. The books by Jackson, Harrison and Turner exemplify in various ways the kinds of problems which occur in a field where theory is so distant from practical reality. Jackson’s starting-point is his conviction that modern literary theory is founded on the work of Marx, Saussure and ...

Golf Grips and Swastikas

William Feaver: Francis Bacon’s Litter, 26 February 2009

Francis Bacon: Incunabula 
edited by Martin Harrison and Rebecca Daniels.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £39.95, September 2008, 978 0 500 09344 3
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... Illustration surely means just illustrating the image before you, not inventing it.’ Martin Harrison, the editor of the Bacon catalogue raisonné currently in preparation, has produced a scrapbook of illustrational materials from Bacon’s studio floor, among them dog-eared pages torn from magazines, newspaper cuttings with rusty paper clips still ...

Bernard Levin: Book Two

Clive James, 6 December 1979

Taking Sides 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 281 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 330 26203 3
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... For all his faults, the absence of Bernard Levin has been one of the best reasons for missing the Times during the months it has been off the streets. His first book since The Pendulum Years, and indeed only the second book he has ever published, Taking Sides is part compensation for not being able to read his latest opinions in less durable form ...

Votes for Women, Chastity for Men

Brian Harrison, 21 January 1988

Troublesome People: Enemies of War, 1916-1986 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Hamish Hamilton, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 241 12105 1
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Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 
by Susan Kingsley Kent.
Princeton, 295 pp., £22, June 1987, 0 691 05497 5
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Women, Marriage and Politics, 1860-1914 
by Pat Jalland.
Oxford, 366 pp., £19.50, November 1986, 0 19 822668 3
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An Edwardian Mixed Doubles: The Bosanquets versus the Webbs. A Study in British Social Policy, 1890-1929 
by A.M. McBriar.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, July 1987, 0 19 820111 7
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... the question begs for a rejoinder, yet Taylor gets off scot-free. Moorehead’s epigraph from Bernard Shaw is also provoking: ‘After all, we have to admit that it is always the troublesome people who force us to remedy the abuses that we lazily let slide.’ By failing to comment, she prevents herself from bringing out the full pathos of the ...

Un-American

Mike Jay: Opium, 21 June 2012

Opium: Reality’s Dark Dream 
by Thomas Dormandy.
Yale, 366 pp., £25, March 2012, 978 0 300 17532 5
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... whether the use of the drug was compatible with the Hippocratic oath, or whether, as George Bernard Shaw charged, it was turning them into ‘licensed murderers’. It was in the United States, where addiction was seen as peculiarly un-American – resulting in ‘a life of weakness, decadence and, above all, social uselessness’ – that the movement ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... at the age of 58, the structure he had created proved its durability, and his successor, Brian Harrison, another Oxford historian, was able to bring the whole enormous project to completion on the date that Matthew had laid down 11 years before. It is tempting to think of Matthew and Harrison as the Stephen and Lee of ...

Mongkut and I

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 30 January 1992

The Romance of the Harem 
by Anna Leonowens, edited by Susan Morgan.
Virginia, 285 pp., £10.50, August 1991, 0 8139 1328 4
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... to produce the best-selling Anna and the King of Siam in 1944. The first film, starring Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne, soon followed. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical comedy opened on Broadway in 1951, with Yul Brynner as the King and Gertrude Lawrence as Anna. Deborah Kerr took Anna’s part when the musical in turn became a movie, while Brynner ...

On the State of the Left

W.G. Runciman, 17 December 1981

The Forward March of Labour Halted? 
by Eric Hobsbawm, Ken Gill and Tony Benn.
Verso, 182 pp., £8.50, November 1981, 0 86091 041 5
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... the Left, but by no means all are intellectuals. There is not only Professor Raymond Williams but Bernard Dix of NUPE and Jack Adams, Convenor at BL, Longbridge; not only Martin Jacques, editor of Marxism Today, but Peter Carter, UCATT regional organiser; not only Royden Harrison, professor of social history at Warwick, but ...

Train Loads of Ammunition

Philip Horne, 1 August 1985

Immoral Memories 
by Sergei Eisenstein, translated by Herbert Marshall.
Peter Owen, 292 pp., £20, June 1985, 0 7206 0650 0
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A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema: 1930-1980 
by Robert Ray.
Princeton, 409 pp., £48.50, June 1985, 0 691 04727 8
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Suspects 
by David Thomson.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 52014 1
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Cahiers du Cinéma. Vol. I: The 1950s. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge with the British Film Institute, 312 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 0 7100 9620 8
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... for ‘the melting life of fiction’. They see themselves as living in films, like Death Wish fan Bernard Goetz, or John W. Hinckley Jr thinking himself akin to Travis Bickle, the Taxi Driver: here Travis Bickle is the narrator’s son, and Thomson’s chapter on him acutely treats the ambiguous end of Scorsese’s film as a nightmarish, irreversible arrival ...

How long before Ofop steps in?

Patrick Carnegy, 16 March 2000

In House: Covent Garden, 50 Years of Opera and Ballet 
by John Tooley.
Faber, 318 pp., £25, November 1999, 9780571194155
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Never Mind the Moon: My Time at the Royal Opera House 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Bantam, 356 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 593 04355 3
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... aware, the only notable change was the replacement of Tooley’s technical director with John Harrison, who was to work miracles with the moribund stage equipment and has played a key role in devising the stage mechanics of the new theatre. Isaacs did create one or two wholly new jobs, bringing in John Cox, for example, as director of productions. The ...

Ecclefechan and the Stars

Robert Crawford, 21 January 1988

The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect 
by George Davie.
Polygon, 283 pp., £17.95, September 1986, 0 948275 18 9
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... cultures at this time included the development of English Studies because both countries were, in Bernard Bailyn’s terms, ‘England’s Cultural Provinces’ – full of provincials to be translated. Yet something Scottish persisted. Smith’s interest in the collection and presentation of minute facts impressed one of his Glasgow auditors, James ...

Oh God, what have we done?

Jackson Lears: The Strange Career of Robert Oppenheimer, 20 December 2012

Inside the Centre: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 224 06262 6
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... of 1940, when Hitler had taken over nearly all of Europe. At about the same time he met Kitty Harrison, whom he married on 1 November 1940, extending his social circle beyond parlour pinks to CP officials and organisers. The FBI opened a file on him on 28 March 1941.He was still a passionate teacher, but the summer of 1941 marked his decisive shift from ...

Maypoles

Conrad Russell, 5 September 1985

The Restoration: A Political and Religious History of England and Wales 1658-1667 
by Ronald Hutton.
Oxford, 379 pp., £17.50, June 1985, 0 19 822698 5
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... which must be asked is how far anti-Quakerism was a form of displacement aggression. Was it, like Bernard Levin belabouring Communism, a convenient way of tarring many less radical movements with guilt by association? The defence of maypoles shows a real hostility to what had become identified as ‘Puritanism’, yet belabouring ‘Puritans’ was a strategy ...

Rogue Socialists

Michael Mason, 1 September 1988

Francis Place, 1771-1854: The Life of a Remarkable Radical 
by Dudley Miles.
Harvester, 206 pp., £40, April 1988, 0 7108 1225 6
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Radical Underworld: Prophets, Revolutionaries and Pornographers in London, 1795-1840 
by Iain McCalman.
Cambridge, 338 pp., £27.50, March 1988, 0 521 30755 4
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... assenting to the non-Christian Mill Senior’s anti-sensualism there is the non-Christian Austin Harrison dissenting from his father the non-Christian, ‘positivist’ Frederic Harrison’s disgust about sex. According to the father, ‘a man who cannot learn self-control is a cad ... A loose man is a foul man ...

Afloat with Static

Jenny Turner: Hey, Blondie!, 9 December 2019

Face It 
by Debbie Harry.
HarperCollins, 352 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 0 00 822942 9
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... the band: Clem Burke, a big man and an enormous drummer; Jimmy Destri on Farfisa keyboard; Nigel Harrison on bass, Frank Infante and Stein on guitar. Only Burke, Chapman thought, had much proficiency as a musician; but the actual songs, he quickly saw, were ‘great’. ‘Sunday Girl’ was the work of Stein alone, but most of the others had music written ...

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