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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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... war between the two revolutions has been re-fought in our own century, most notably between the Whig 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 ...

On the Titanic

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ocean Liners’ at the V&A

24 May 2018
... to sun deck. Meanwhile in real ships the deck became as much a social space as the interior, swimming 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 ...
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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... blessed by the imprimatur of better-than-average English reviews. And while it is true that some American 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 ...
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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... up, got tired of him or married – the last hard for him to bear. An earlier biographer of Forrest Reid – 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 ...

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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... But let’s talk football for a while. I am writing this piece, by the way, several days before the 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 ...

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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... October alone. The Telegraph still uses him as sexual deviancy’s whipping-boy (‘his behaviour often 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 ...

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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... If Greeneland 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 ...
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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... for suspecting anyone of being guilty of these murders, for until the grim day in February two years 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 ...

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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... fun,’ joked A.P. Herbert. ‘We are not here for fun. There is no reference to fun in any Act of 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 ...
7 December 1989
... one of the men with a cut lip and a black eye. His evidence, said the judges, ‘does not help the appeal’. 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 ...

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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... readership. With a foreword by the president of the Brigade, the book is dedicated to the Brigade’s 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 ...

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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... and liking Fascism, while Liddell Hart disliked Fascism and liked his own kind – pulled them 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 ...
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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... the same test on a series of quite different substances – on nitrocellulose lacquer, for instance, 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 ...

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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... seem to be the cosy heartland of belles-lettres, a place where nothing urgent is ever said. Recently, 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 ...

Short Cuts

James Francken: The Booker Prize shortlist

2 November 2000
... bone to justify a punt: Margaret Atwood’s novel The Blind Assassin and Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans (reviewed in the LRB, 5 October and 13 April) are quoted at 2-1 and 5-2 with William Hill. And it’s difficult to fancy the four other shortlisted novelists. Trezza Azzopardi’s The Hiding Place – the 7-1 outsider and the only first novel on the list – is narrated by Dolores Gauci ...

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