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African History without Africans

Basil Davidson: Portugal’s Empire, 18 February 1999

The Lusiads 
by Luí Vaz de Camões, translated by Landeg White.
Oxford, 258 pp., £6.99, October 1997, 0 19 283191 7
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Counterinsurgency in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War, 1961-1974 
by John Cann.
Greenwood, 216 pp., $59.95, February 1998, 0 313 30189 1
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The Decolonisation of Portuguese Africa 
by Norrie MacQueen.
Longman, 280 pp., £15.99, February 1998, 0 582 25993 2
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African Guerrillas 
edited by Christopher Clapham.
James Currey, 208 pp., £40, September 1998, 0 85255 815 5
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... revolts and upsets, seldom disciplined and by no means always effective, which, as discussed in Christopher Clapham’s new collection, can be handily gathered under the heading ‘African guerrillas’. This term does no justice to one or two of the more impressive of these movements of revolt, and is gravely misleading in the case of the Eritrean ...


Tom Phillips, 2 April 1981

English Art and Modernism 1900-1939 
by Charles Harrison.
Allen Lane, 416 pp., £20, February 1981, 0 7139 0792 4
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... If that famous omnibus has not yet reached Clapham, its poor browbeaten passenger, the unwitting touchstone of our century’s discourse, should he turn his thoughts towards art, might reasonably assume that Modernism and Modern Art were acceptable ways of referring to what is going on at the moment. He would perhaps be bewildered and dismayed to learn that we are so well into Post-Modernism that Neo-Modernism must be just over the hill ...


Christopher Ricks, 20 May 1982

My Sister and Myself: The Diaries of J.R. Ackerley 
edited by Francis King.
Hutchinson, 217 pp., £8.95, March 1982, 9780091470203
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... interesting remark in the book is hers. For the introduction says: ‘She died in a hospice in Clapham, reduced (in her own words) “to a rag and a bone and a hank of air” and yet splendidly serene.’ For if Nancy really did, original with the minimum of alteration, refashion that great line of Kipling, she did a braver thing than anything that ...

Funhouse Mirror

Christopher L. Brown: ‘Capitalism and Slavery’, 14 December 2023

Capitalism and Slavery 
by Eric Williams.
Penguin, 304 pp., £9.99, February 2022, 978 0 241 54816 5
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... and the empire as a force for progress and civilisation. The record of Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect provided much to criticise. ‘The abolitionists were not radicals. In their attitude to domestic problems they were reactionary.’ But Williams disliked their champions and those who claimed to inherit their legacy more than he did the ...

Humdrum Selfishness

Nicholas Guyatt: Simon Schama’s Chauvinism, 6 April 2006

Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution 
by Simon Schama.
BBC, 448 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 563 48709 7
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... in London’s anti-slavery movement before the American Revolution and a leading member of the Clapham Sect (other members included William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, who orchestrated the British campaign against the slave trade). Sharp was a bundle of energy and full of contradictions. He pestered the powerful to address the difficulties facing ...

Funny Mummy

E.S. Turner, 2 December 1982

The Penguin Stephen Leacock 
by Robertson Davies.
Penguin, 527 pp., £2.95, October 1981, 0 14 005890 7
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Jerome K. Jerome: A Critical Biography 
by Joseph Connolly.
Orbis, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 85613 349 3
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Three Men in a Boat 
by Jerome K. Jerome, annotated and introduced by Christopher Matthew and Benny Green.
Joseph, 192 pp., £12.50, August 1982, 0 907516 08 4
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The Lost Stories of W.S. Gilbert 
edited by Peter Haining.
Robson, 255 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 86051 200 2
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... caused the unlikeliest people to fall about laughing. In 1953 it may have caused hysteria on the Clapham omnibus as readers devoured the Pitman’s Advanced Shorthand version published (as Christopher Matthew reminds us) that year. Jerome would surely have relished such a spectacle; or would he have felt, as the Almighty ...

Water’s water everywhere

Jerry Fodor, 21 October 2004

Kripke: Names, Necessity and Identity 
by Christopher Hughes.
Oxford, 247 pp., £35, January 2004, 0 19 824107 0
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... True, we sometimes presuppose more logic than you’re likely to come across on the omnibus to Clapham. But I’m told that an intelligent reading of Heidegger requires knowing more about Kant, Hegel and the Pre-Socratics than I, for one, am eager to learn. Anyhow, our arguments are better than theirs. So sometimes I wonder why nobody (except ...

Departure and Arrival Times

Sheldon Rothblatt, 18 August 1983

The History Men: The Historical Profession in England since the Renaissance 
by John Kenyon.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.50, March 1983, 0 297 78081 6
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... he gives. One must assume that ‘economic and social history’ means everything from Sir John Clapham and Max Weber to the theory of mental states, the study of working-class culture, anthropology, demography, political sociology and social psychology, urban history, the study of the family, and the history of science and technology. Would Kenyon’s ...

A New Kind of Being

Jenny Turner: Angela Carter, 3 November 2016

The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography 
by Edmund Gordon.
Chatto, 544 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 7011 8755 2
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... next two years. She returned to Britain in 1971, settling at first in Bath and then from 1976 in Clapham, where she lived with Pearce and raised her son and became ill with the lung cancer that would kill her in February 1992. Her early books ploughed a lonely, unconscionably peculiar furrow between kitchen-sink realism, cheesy sci-fi gothic horror and a ...

Who Cares?

Jean McNicol, 9 February 1995

The Report of the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis 
by Jean Ritchie, Donald Dick and Richard Lingham.
HMSO, 146 pp., £9.50, February 1994, 0 11 701798 1
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Creating Community Care: Report of the Mental Health Foundation into Community Care for People with Severe Mental Illness 
by William Utting.
Mental Health Foundation, 76 pp., £9.50, September 1994, 0 901944 17 3
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Finding a Place: A Review of Mental Health Services for Adults 
HMSO, 94 pp., £11, November 1994, 0 11 886143 3Show More
The Falling Shadow: One Patient’s Mental Health Care. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fatal Incident at the Edith Morgan Centre, Torbay, on 1 September 1993 
by Louis Blom-Cooper, Helen Hally and Elaine Murphy.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 7156 2662 0
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... not until the following June that Susan Parashar realised that the man who had frightened her was Christopher Clunis, on trial at the Old Bailey for murdering Jonathan Zito on the northbound Piccadilly Line platform at Finsbury Park tube station on 17 December 1992. According to his solicitor, Christopher Clunis, who was ...


Will Self: Walking out of London, 20 October 2011

... image-theft. Once again, despite the day’s walk, I found myself unable to sleep that night. The Christopher is a coaching inn on the Eton side of the river. Behind its olde worlde façade a tarmac lane extends, lined with refurbed hutches full of swags, pelmets and throw cushions – all the luxury stuffing. Boy and dog slept, I pored over the maps worried ...

Keller’s Causes

Robin Holloway, 3 August 1995

Essays on Music 
by Hans Keller, edited by Christopher Wintle, Bayan Northcott and Irene Samuel.
Cambridge, 269 pp., £30, October 1994, 0 521 46216 9
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... as ‘Criticism’, and followed by another 13 called ‘Towards a Theory of Music’. These are Christopher Wintle’s categories, and his Preface remarks ‘a continuity’ within Keller’s thought: ‘the concerns of one essay often lead into those of the next.’ This is certainly true but turns out to be an ambiguous advantage. Keller’s ...

Wire him up to a toaster

Seamus Perry: Ordinary Carey, 7 January 2021

A Little History of Poetry 
by John Carey.
Yale, 303 pp., £14.99, March 2020, 978 0 300 23222 6
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... obscure or factitious’. ‘Are you allowed to be as funny as that about a sacred subject?’ Christopher Ricks, his commissioning editor, is said to have asked; and being funny is obviously an important element in the iconoclasm. When Ian Hamilton asked him to reflect on the contemporary poetry scene in 1972 for the Review, Carey duly noted some ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... threw that group into crisis and most of Hobsbawm’s fellow-travellers (E.P. Thompson, Christopher Hill) left the party then or soon afterwards. Hobsbawm did not, concluding that the Soviet invasion, however agonising, was a necessary step in light of the danger of counter-revolution: ‘If we had been in the position of the Soviet government, we ...

Walk on by

Andrew O’Hagan, 18 November 1993

... I laughed, imagining the guy in the bus with the microphone, the tour operator, pointing to Sir Christopher Wren’s construction, on the left, and on the right, pointing to me, Baroness Thatcher’s. I felt edgy at that corner though; it was too open; I was getting a lot of looks and the City is notoriously tight with beggars, indeed with everyone. I ...

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