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Lawful Resistance

Blair Worden, 24 November 1988

Algernon Sidney and the English Republic 1623-1677 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £27.50, August 1988, 0 521 35290 8
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Seeds of Liberty: 1688 and the Shaping of Modern Britain 
by John Miller.
Souvenir, 128 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 285 62839 9
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Reluctant Revolutionaries: Englishmen and the Revolution of 1688 
by W.A. Speck.
Oxford, 267 pp., £17.50, July 1988, 9780198227687
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War and Economy in the Age of William III and Marlborough 
by D.W. Jones.
Blackwell, 351 pp., £35, September 1988, 0 631 16069 8
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Robert Harley: Speaker, Secretary of State and Premier Minister 
by Brian Hill.
Yale, 259 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 300 04284 1
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A Kingdom without a King: The Journal of the Provisional Government in the Revolution of 1688 
by Robert Beddard.
Phaidon, 192 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780714825007
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... G.M. Trevelyan, who in 1939 published The English Revolution 1688-9, and the Marxist Christopher Hill, who responded the following year with The English Revolution 1640. To the Victorians, 1688 became a less uncomfortable subject once the hardship of the 1840s had passed. Macaulay, indeed, gave the Revolution a fresh justification and a fresh appeal. It ...

English Fame and Irish Writers

Brian Moore, 20 November 1980

Selected Poems 1956-1975 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 136 pp., £3.95, October 1980, 0 571 11644 2
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Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 224 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 571 11638 8
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... magazines, notably the New Yorker, have welcomed the talents of John McGahern, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, Edna O’Brien and Benedict Kiely, among others, one could give long odds against a manuscript by an unknown Irish novelist or poet seeing the light of first publication in Boston or in New York. So it’s back to London and the old Anglo-Irish ...

On the Titanic

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ocean Liners’ at the V&A, 24 May 2018

... pools were moved outdoors and decor streamlined. Most modern of all was the Orion, designed by Brian O’Rorke for the Orient Line in 1934. O’Rorke declared war on ‘plush and chintz’, instead using Bakelite, chrome and fabrics by Marion Dorn. The Orion was ‘the first British ship to truly adopt modernist principles’ and was probably what Evelyn ...

Escaping from Belfast

V.S. Pritchett, 5 February 1981

Green Avenue: The Life and Writings of Forrest Reid 1875-1947 
by Brian Taylor.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 521 22801 8
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... Russell Burlingham – found this subject difficult to discuss in 1953. So, even now, does Brian Taylor, but he has treated it with delicacy and understanding. If Forrest Reid was ‘a case’, Taylor shows that ‘a case’ is in itself a crude simplification of a life. All ‘cases’ are different: Reid was an instance of the man whose desires are ...

Football Mad

Martin Amis, 3 December 1981

The Soccer Tribe 
by Desmond Morris.
Cape, 320 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 9780224019354
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... England v. Hungary encounter on 18 November. By the time you read me, anything might be happening. Brian Clough or Bob Stokoe or Elton John could be the new England manager, nursing bruised dreams for the World Cup in 1986. On the other hand, Sir Ron Greenwood might even now be contentedly inspecting the hotels in Bilbao, hoping to find a likely venue for the ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde, 5 February 1998

The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... hovered dangerously close to being that of a paedophile,’ snorted Christopher Hart on the day Brian Gilbert’s movie Wilde was released). Julia Prewitt Brown sees him as a philosophical heavyweight; and celebrates his ‘dodginess’ in order to instal him in a post-dualist tradition of aesthetic theory – a missing link between Kierkegaard and ...

Educating the Blimps

Geoffrey Best: Military history, 10 June 1999

Alchemist of War: The Life of Basil Liddell Hart 
by Alex Danchev.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 297 81621 7
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Studies in British Military Thought: Debates with Fuller and Liddell Hart 
by Brian Holden Reid.
Nebraska, 287 pp., £30, October 1998, 0 8032 3927 0
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... apart in the later Thirties. The relationship of these two ‘revolutionaries’ is explored by Brian Holden Reid, a senior member of the famous Department of War Studies at King’s College, London, and the author of a standard work on Fuller’s military thinking. He describes the likenesses between the two men very well: Fundamentally Fuller and Liddell ...

Holy Roman Empire

Rosemary Dinnage, 3 November 1983

Cold Heaven 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 271 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 224 02099 4
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Time After Time 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 247 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 9780233975870
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Winter’s Tale 
by Mark Helprin.
Weidenfeld, 673 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 297 78329 7
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August 
by Judith Rossner.
Cape, 376 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 224 02172 9
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Kiss of Life 
by Keith Colquhoun.
Murray, 159 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 7195 4082 8
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... is the most famous sex ’n religion territory, its next-door neighbour must surely be Mooreland. Brian Moore has staked out a very specific American-Irish, Catholic subject-matter and has rightly earned high praise. Unlike Greene, he usually makes his central, guilt-ridden character a woman, and he is more inclined than Greene to take off into the fantastic ...

Dennis Nilsen, or the Pot of Basil

John Ryle, 21 February 1985

Killing for Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen 
by Brian Masters.
Cape, 352 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 224 02184 2
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Queens 
by Pickles.
Quartet, 289 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7043 2439 3
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Ritualised Homosexuality in Melanesia 
edited by Gilbert Herdt.
California, 409 pp., £19.95, October 1984, 0 520 05037 1
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... ago when a plumber found human remains in the sewer of the house where Nilsen lived in Muswell Hill there was no indication that any crime had even been committed. The victims were vagrant youths whom nobody missed, rent boys, no-hopers, waifs of the West End. They were seldom even reported missing. No wonder they went home with him. When they ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: Burning Letters, 7 July 1988

... even though we haven’t yet got round to it, and that Liverpool are the best club side in Europe, Brian, we can’t help being impinged upon, being made to realise that writing, alas, isn’t just a seamless embrace between writer and reader. The other day, for instance, I turned up the following harmless statement about myself: Barnes, Julian 1946- Julian ...

Inside the system

Paul Foot, 7 December 1989

... Two officers from Winson Green Prison at the time the men were admitted, Peter Bourne and Brian Sharp, gave evidence that the men were marked with injuries when they first came to the prison. The judges said that Peter Bourne was just trying to cover up for the fact that the men were beaten up in the prison. Of ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets, 10 June 1999

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... Parliament.’ From its grey, drizzly cover to its century-long plod of standard-length excerpts, Brian MacArthur’s anthology leaves you in no doubt: there’s precious little fun to be had protesting. There’s no skittish comedy or wry subversion here: The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest takes a serious approach: heavy subjects, heavily ...

Boys will be soldiers

Brian Harrison, 20 October 1983

Sure and Stedfast: A History of the Boys’ Brigade, 1883-1984 
edited by John Springhall.
Collins, 304 pp., £10, June 1983, 0 00 434280 1
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... officers, past, present and future; two of its authors are Brigade officers. John Springhall and Brian Fraser have collaborated on the British chapters; Michael Hoare has written the chapters on the movement overseas. The Brigade has shown an admirable willingness – by no means common among voluntary bodies – to give its historians free access to its ...

The Card-Players

Paul Foot, 18 September 1986

Error of Judgment: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings 
by Chris Mullin.
Chatto, 270 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 7011 2978 6
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... on nitrocellulose chips and nitrocellulose aerosol spray. Tests on all three proved positive. Dr Brian Caddy, head of the Forensic Science Unit at Strathclyde University, carried out exactly the same tests and found positive readings on a varnished wooden surface, a cigarette packet, a picture postcard, and two packs of old playing-cards. The convicted ...

Introversion Has Its Limits

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Essayism’, 8 March 2018

Essayism 
by Brian Dillon.
Fitzcarraldo, 138 pp., £10.99, June 2017, 978 1 910695 41 8
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Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found 
by Bella Bathurst.
Wellcome, 224 pp., £8.99, February 2018, 978 1 78125 776 0
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Proxies: A Memoir in Twenty-Four Attempts 
by Brian Blanchfield.
Picador, 181 pp., £9.99, August 2017, 978 1 5098 4785 3
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... though, publishers have seemed willing to take on and even promote this landlocked genre. Notting Hill Editions, which publishes essays exclusively, has established a prize of £20,000 for an unpublished submission of up to 8000 words. Fitzcarraldo awards a prize of £3000 to a book-length essay (minimum 25,000 words) not yet taken on by a publisher. There is ...

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