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Peter Campbell: Anthony van Dyck, 16 September 1999

Anthony van Dyck 1599-1641 
by Christopher Brown and Hans Vlieghe.
Royal Academy, 360 pp., £22.50, May 1999, 9780847821969
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Anthony van Dyck: A Life, 1599-1641 
by Robin Blake.
Constable, 435 pp., £25, August 1999, 9780094797208
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... commissions by the time he was 21. In his admirable introduction to the exhibition catalogue, Christopher Brown writes that ‘it is impossible to over-emphasise the impact of Rubens’s new style on the young Van Dyck’ – the style, that is, of the pictures Rubens painted after his return from Italy in 1608. The demand for Rubens’s work went ...
TheSinking of the ‘Belgrano’ 
by Desmond Rice and Arthur Gavshon.
Secker, 192 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 436 41332 9
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Our Falklands War 
edited by Geoffrey Underwood.
Maritime Books, 144 pp., £3.95, November 1983, 0 907771 08 4
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... the Belgrano on orders from Fleet Headquarters at Northwood. Now we find the submarine commander, Christopher Wreford-Brown DSO, saying in Our Falklands War: We were tasked to look for and find the General Belgrano Group. It was reported to consist of the cruiser and escorts. We located her on our passive sonar and sighted ...

Credibility Brown

Christopher Hitchens, 17 August 1989

Where there is greed: Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain’s Future 
by Gordon Brown.
Mainstream, 182 pp., £4.95, May 1989, 1 85158 233 9
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CounterBlasts No 3: A Rational Advance for the Labour Party 
by John Lloyd.
Chatto, 57 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3519 0
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... are of an age, and both have backgrounds in a harder Left than the one they now espouse. Gordon Brown was one of the convenor/editors of the Red Paper for Scotland in the early Seventies, and John Lloyd saw the inside of the Communist Party before helping to found a pro-European Marxist tendency at about the same time. Rather touchingly, he uses the chorus ...

Corsock

Christopher Salvesen, 19 April 1984

... like a car’s – From the bigger smarter lines, Red and white Caledonian, Carruthers, yellow and brown: Its paintwork strangely faded With a bluey-mauve, chalky Only half-metallic bloom That made it seem like a shell Or even a kind of flower, As though already a part Of the narrow country roads Whose banks and hedges rubbed it With juices and tangled grass ...

Dead Button: China Command Aircrew

Christopher Middleton, 2 October 1997

... away we headed for home. No home. Told it was under attack, we Deviated, where to, beneath us brown Rice-paddies, we supposed, then up Soaring toward those mountain temples Ancient painters faintly inked in. Off the map. Again we deviated, where Nothing spoke, the radio spat and crackled, Rock was it, or sea? A bad situation. So you take hold on the ...

Christopher Hitchens states a prosecution case

Christopher Hitchens, 25 October 1990

Crossman: The Pursuit of Power 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 361 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 02592 9
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... on the Ministry of Technology. (Ah! The DEA! The Ministry of Technology! The tantrums of George Brown! Later that same day, Crossman dined with ‘Wedgwood Benn’ to discuss the menace of Radio Caroline. There is a decomposing madeleine wedged between every leaf of these diaries, which I have just reread.) In his lenient and chivalrous biography of ...

Doing Chatting

Eleanor Birne: Asperger’s, 9 October 2003

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time 
by Mark Haddon.
Cape, 272 pp., £10.99, May 2003, 0 224 06378 2
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... on the doorstep (a cycling accident, David claimed). The same chequered lino is there, the same brown curtains; the jigsaw my grandmother was in the middle of when she died is still out on the table, dusty and half-assembled. On the wall in the corridor hangs the granddaughter clock she left me and that I’ve never seen. David has trouble looking you in ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: A 17-year-old murder victim, 5 February 1998

... rear of the New Central Hotel in Blackpool. The police identified the body as that of 17-year-old Christopher Hartley. A minute or two went by before you began to wonder how they’d managed it. Presumably from fingerprints: police sources indicated that Christopher had a criminal record, though they didn’t want to make ...

Sticking with the Pagans

Christopher Kelly, 4 November 1993

Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire 
by Peter Brown.
Wisconsin, 192 pp., £36, December 1992, 0 299 13340 0
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... Classically-based culture was central to the political imagination of the later Roman upper class, Brown has revealed an elegant and powerful moral economy, underpinned by necessity (central government could not have functioned without the co-operation of the Empire’s upper classes in collecting taxes and keeping the peace) and continually reinforced through ...

Triumph of the Termites

Tom Nairn: Gordon Brown, 8 April 2010

The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Viking, 802 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 670 91851 5
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What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown?: How the Dream Job Turned Sour 
edited by Colin Hughes.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978 0 85265 219 0
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Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown 
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 1 84467 439 8
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... covers. A sad, thoughtfully dithering photo of the prime minister fronts What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown? The cover of Christopher Harvie’s book features a cartoon from the Independent: an apocalyptic lightning flash strikes and anoints David Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling ...

Amigos

Christopher Ricks, 2 August 1984

The Faber Book of Parodies 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 383 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 571 13125 5
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Lilibet: An Account in Verse of the Early Years of the Queen until the Time of her Accession 
by Her Majesty.
Blond and Briggs, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1984, 0 85634 157 6
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... is frequently welcomed by its victims, who recognise it as a compliment, however backhanded.’ Christopher Reid touches on all this, not backhandedly but caressingly, in his ‘Letter to Myself’ of Clive James: Dear Clive, I’ve meant to scribble you a letter For some time now. I know you like to get a Brown-noser ...

Bollockshire

Christopher Reid, 18 October 2001

... steps forward to greet you    with the same zombie gesture of exclamation, the last-ditch brown of – what could it be? Something to do with pigs?    Row on row    of miniature Nissen huts laid out like a new speculative estate in acres of glistening mud, behind an electronic gate . . .    But don’t stop now.    Press on, undistracted ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... we could be thought to have got onto her radar. In February 1989 the shadow chancellor, Gordon Brown, reviewed a collection of essays entitled Thatcherism in a manner that suggested he did not expect her, or her philosophy, to last the pace: ‘When Thatcherism becomes a “wasm”, everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about. Abroad, the term means ...

La Bête républicaine

Christopher Prendergast, 5 September 1996

The Dreyfus Affair: ‘J’Accuse’ and Other Writings 
by Emile Zola, edited by Alain Pagès, translated by Eleanor Levieux.
Yale, 208 pp., £25, June 1996, 0 300 06689 9
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Zola: A Life 
by Frederick Brown.
Farrar, Straus, 888 pp., £37.50, May 1996, 0 374 29742 8
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... to keep his wife, Alexandrine, moderately happy. This is the stuff of biography and Frederick Brown trawls through it in considerable detail. In this 888-page Life, he does the same with almost everything that catches his attention. There is indeed not much one can say about the book, for the reason that it itself has so much to say. ...

Silks and Bright Scarlet

Christopher Kelly: Wealth and the Romans, 3 December 2015

Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD 
by Peter Brown.
Princeton, 759 pp., £16.95, March 2014, 978 0 691 16177 8
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The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity 
by Peter Brown.
Harvard, 262 pp., £18.95, April 2015, 978 0 674 96758 8
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... The working out of these various, often divergent points of view is the concern of Peter Brown’s Through the Eye of a Needle. One of the great strengths of this humane and thoughtful discussion is Brown’s refusal to rush to its conclusion: the nexus of wealth, charitable giving and salvation that marks a ...

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