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Non-Party Man

Ross McKibbin: Stafford Cripps, 19 September 2002

The Cripps Version: The Life of Sir Stafford Cripps 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 574 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 7139 9390 1
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... the Cripps papers were closed to other scholars. The result was that the unofficial biographies by Chris Bryant (1997) and Simon Burgess (1999) – whose quality Clarke graciously acknowledges – were written without access to Cripps’s personal papers. This was unfortunate. In general, Clarke writes, the exclusion blighted rather than fostered ...

The Absolute End

Theo Tait: Ali Smith, 26 January 2012

There but for the 
by Ali Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 356 pp., £16.99, June 2011, 978 0 241 14340 7
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... for ‘readable’, ‘enjoyable’ books that ‘zip along’. But I felt some sympathy for Chris Mullin when he complained that the London literary world – ‘those who know best’ – had told him and his fellow panellists, from the outset, which books they ‘must’ include on the shortlist, and had reacted with fury when they were ignored. I ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive, 10 June 1999

... as the Shelley of the Thirties, he was later described by Geoffrey Grigson as the ‘Rupert Brooke of the Depression’.) Isherwood, he grudgingly conceded, could claim ‘accomplishment’. Isherwood returned the tepid compliment, 12 years later, with a script for the Tony Richardson production of The Loved One. The movie regularly makes the lists of ...

A Common Playhouse

Charles Nicholl: The Globe Theatre, 8 January 2015

Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle That Gave Birth to the Globe 
by Chris Laoutaris.
Fig Tree, 528 pp., £20, April 2015, 978 1 905490 96 7
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... by Henry VIII in 1538, whereupon its five-acre precinct became a prime piece of Tudor real estate. Chris Laoutaris’s Shakespeare and the Countess gives a remarkably detailed account of its residents in the 1590s, some of them very distinguished, and of their efforts to exclude one who would become more distinguished than any of them. Blackfriars is an ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis, 1 July 1999

The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... sums as an endorser of various products, flies his own jet, and married (then divorced) movie star Brooke Shields. I still think either Sedgman, Laver or Drobny (to say nothing of Agassi’s erstwhile brother-in-law Gonzales) could have taken the King of Las Vegas handily, his amazing speed, anticipation and racket control notwithstanding. The core of ...

For ever Walsall

Angus Calder, 21 March 1985

Rural Life in England in the First World War 
by Pamela Horn.
Gill and Macmillan, 300 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 312 69604 3
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Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 9780500250914
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Labour and Society in Britain: 1918-1979 
by James Cronin.
Batsford, 248 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7134 4395 2
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Women in England 1870-1950: Sexual Divisions and Social Change 
by Jane Lewis.
Wheatsheaf, 240 pp., £16.95, November 1984, 0 7108 0186 6
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... The land, England within its ‘natural’ boundaries, is ultimately the key to everything. Rupert Brooke did not suppose that some far corner of a foreign field would be for ever the back streets of Walsall. As that very effective exponent of One Nation Conservatism, Stanley Baldwin, put it in 1924: ‘To me England is the country, and the country is ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... sole franchise. Spirit has been left to the Official Millennium Poet. Simon Armitage, according to Chris Meade, director of the Poetry Society, ‘seems just right to us because he has lightness of touch and has written recently about the universe and the stars’. Essentially the Dome is showbiz. Old showbiz, resting showbiz, between projects showbiz: David ...

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