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Shuddering Organisms

Jonathan Coe, 12 May 1994

Betrayals 
by Charles Palliser.
Cape, 308 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 224 02919 3
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... Charles Palliser’s The Quincunx has been one of the more intriguing literary successes of recent years, and one which raises some interesting questions about the always fraught and problematic relationship between contemporary novelists and the reading public they like to imagine themselves serving. Briefly, the situation is this ...

Hoist that dollymop’s sail

John Sutherland: New Victorian Novels, 31 October 2002

Fingersmith 
by Sarah Waters.
Virago, 549 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 1 86049 882 5
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The Crimson Petal and the White 
by Michel Faber.
Canongate, 838 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 1 84195 323 7
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... knickers. In the critical afterword to The Quincunx, his 1989 attempt at a neo-Victorian novel, Charles Palliser says that the main ingredient of the recipe is ‘inversion’. Take Jane Eyre, turn it upside down, shake well and you get Wide Sargasso Sea. The simplest, and bestselling, example of such inversion is George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman ...

Joint-Stock War

Valerie Pearl, 3 May 1984

The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors 1547-1603 
by D.M. Palliser.
Longman, 450 pp., £13.95, April 1983, 0 582 48580 0
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After the Armada: Elizabethan England and the Struggle for Western Europe 1588-1595 
by R.B. Wernham.
Oxford, 613 pp., £32.50, February 1984, 0 19 822753 1
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The Defeat of the Spanish Armada 
by Garrett Mattingly.
Cape, 384 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 224 02070 6
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The First Elizabeth 
by Carolly Erickson.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 333 36168 7
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The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: Essays in Honour of Gordon Donaldson 
edited by Ian Cowan and Duncan Shaw.
Scottish Academic Press, 261 pp., £14.50, March 1983, 0 7073 0261 7
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... Dr Palliser’s The Age of Elizabeth is the latest volume in a series which seeks to relate English and British economic and social history from the Anglo-Saxons to the Welfare State. Its initial and terminal dates as given in the title appear to follow a publisher’s or general editor’s dictum under which successive volumes will start to cover the precise date on which a previous author closed his account ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel, 13 September 2018

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... the Thatcher government like Douglas Hurd and William Waldegrave as well as her private secretary Charles Powell, and the late Yehudi Avner, who was Israel’s ambassador in London between 1983 and 1988. When she became prime minister a number of pressing questions faced Thatcher at home and abroad: the economy, the unions, Ulster, Rhodesia, the Cold War in ...

Unhappy Childhoods

John Sutherland, 2 February 1989

Trollope and Character 
by Stephen Wall.
Faber, 397 pp., £17.50, September 1988, 0 571 14595 7
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The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope 
by R.H. Super.
Michigan, 528 pp., $35, December 1988, 0 472 10102 1
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Dickens: A Biography 
by Fred Kaplan.
Hodder, 607 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 340 48558 2
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Charlotte Brontë 
by Rebecca Fraser.
Methuen, 543 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 9780413570109
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... who go to live in another town: no less solid because out of view. A character like Plantagenet Palliser ducks in and out of novels for the best part of two decades, evolving between his appearances from odious young prig to noble old man. Like wine in the cellar, he was maturing, even when we couldn’t see him. The author, Trollope claimed in another ...

Hauteur

Ian Gilmour: Britain and Europe, 10 December 1998

This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 558 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 333 57992 5
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... Jenkins the other heroes are the usually unsung civil servants: Lee, O’Neill, Robinson, Butler, Palliser etc, who shepherded us into the Community with a skill and persistence which almost made up for the visionless complacency of their Forties’ and Fifties’ predecessors. Young is impressed by Heath’s ability at their crucial meeting in May 1971 to ...

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