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Prussian Officers

William Doyle

23 January 1986
Frederick the Great: A Military Life 
by Christopher Duffy.
Routledge, 407 pp., £17.95, September 1985, 0 7100 9649 6
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Society, Government and the Enlightenment: The Experiences of 18th-Century France and Prussia 
by C.B.A. Behrens.
Thames and Hudson, 248 pp., £16, August 1985, 0 500 25090 1
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Religious Toleration and Social Change in Hamburg 1529-1819 
by Joachim Whaley.
Cambridge, 248 pp., £25, August 1985, 0 521 26189 9
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... again. During all this time it would appear, however, that the look of Prussian history has scarcely altered. Those who study it seem obsessed, as they always have been, with battles and bureaucracy. ChristopherDuffy’s main preoccupation is with the first. There are 41 pages of battle maps, and the minutiae of every engagement Frederick the Great fought are chronicled and analysed in the loving detail ...

Taking Sides

John Mullan: On the high road with Bonnie Prince Charlie

22 January 2004
The ’45: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Untold Story of the Jacobite Rising 
by Christopher Duffy.
Cassell, 639 pp., £20, March 2003, 0 304 35525 9
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Samuel Johnson in Historical Context 
edited by J.C.D. Clark and Howard Erskine-Hill.
Palgrave, 336 pp., £55, December 2001, 0 333 80447 3
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... it dramatises the sheer chanciness of history and undermines the retrospective sense of inevitability that invariably comes with our confident discovery in the past of patterns and developments. ChristopherDuffy even provides a map of the likely troop movements to the north of London, making graphically real the imaginary confrontation with which I began. He counts out all the groups of soldiers that ...

Through Trychay’s Eyes

Patrick Collinson: Reformation and rebellion

25 April 2002
The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 232 pp., £16.95, August 2001, 0 300 09185 0
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... Eamon Duffy’s celebrated The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c.1400-c.1580 (1992), which opened our eyes to the vitality of late medieval English Catholicism, was a book born when its ...

The Crowe is White

Hilary Mantel: Bloody Mary

24 September 2009
Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 249 pp., £19.99, June 2009, 978 0 300 15216 6
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... Catholic queen, he had done most harm. The burnings were a spectator sport; at Dartford in the summer of 1555, ‘thither came … Fruiterers wyth horse loades of Cherries, and sold them.’ Eamon Duffy says: ‘We should not project modern sensibilities onto the people of the past.’ But in a cruel world, these were exemplary cruelties. Those who saw 11 men and two women burned together in June ...

Shee Spy

Michael Dobson

8 May 1997
The Secret Life of Aphra Behn 
by Janet Todd.
Deutsch, 545 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 233 98991 9
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... Twenty years ago, when Maureen Duffy first published The Passionate Shepherdess: Aphra Behn, 1640-89, Behn was still known principally as the celebrated but largely unread founder of women’s writing, the figure who had been hymned but ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland

17 July 1980
Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... among novelists, some not as easily abbreviated as the Dictionary’s. Was it fear, diffidence or shame, for instance, that made Eric Blair rechristen himself at the start of his career? As Christopher Hollis tells us: ‘The reasons he gave for changing his name are oddly unconvincing. He complained that Blair was a Scots name and that he disliked Scotland because of its association with the deer ...

Like choosing between bacon and egg and bacon and tomato

Christopher​ Tayler: The Wryness of Julian Barnes

15 April 2004
The Lemon Table 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 213 pp., £16.99, March 2004, 9780224071987
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... the point of the adverb? Still, the opportunities for wryness aren’t the only attraction of age. In Metroland, one of Barnes’s many frighteningly sensible women points out to the narrator, Christopher Lloyd, that the attraction of the idea of fast-forwarding to a sprightly 65 might have something to do with fearing the responsibilities of adult life – a fear that he eventually overcomes. Jean ...
21 August 1997
God’s Gift to Women 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 9780571177622
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... poetry collection The Queen of Sheba. It is insistent in W.N. Herbert’s poem ‘Featherhood’ and Janice Galloway’s Foreign Parts. It bridges writing as different as the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Kate Clanchy or David Kinloch, and the fiction of Christopher Whyte or A.L. Kennedy. Some of these poets and novelists are wary of each other. Jamie recently refused to read with Irvine Welsh ...

Conspiracy Theories

Eamon Duffy: Charisma v. Authority

29 January 2009
Flesh Made Word: Saints’ Stories and the Western Imagination 
by Aviad Kleinberg, translated by Jane Marie Todd.
Harvard, 340 pp., £19.95, May 2008, 978 0 674 02647 6
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... of profane culture. Saints’ lives belonged to the people, and they did not stick to the Church’s rules. Whatever popes or preachers might say, for ordinary people miraculous protectors like St Christopher mattered more than founders of the faith like St Paul. Like the secular folk tales they often resembled, the legends of the saints swam in the opposite direction from Christian orthodoxy, because ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England

18 October 2007
Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... a few side-glances at much recent fascinating reassessment of Mary’s religious policies: where A.G. Dickens half a century ago described a Marian ‘reaction’, a posse of historians led by Eamon Duffy, Christopher Haigh, John Edwards and Loades himself have found a reformation as full of potential as anything that Protestants did, indeed the largest-scale attempt to restore Catholicism up till ...

Remember Me

John Bossy: Hamlet

24 May 2001
Hamlet in Purgatory 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Princeton, 322 pp., £19.95, May 2001, 0 691 05873 3
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... Instead, we have a body of historians much more appropriate to Greenblatt’s intuitions, as well as more representative of the state of 16th-century history: Natalie Zemon Davis, David Cressy, Eamon Duffy. More privately, there is the story he tells us in his prologue about his acceding, if sheepishly, to the unspoken wishes of his dead father by saying Kaddish for him. Which seems a more human ...

What the Public Most Wants to See

Christopher​ Tayler: Rick Moody

23 February 2006
The Diviners 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 567 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 571 22946 8
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... different kind of divination is still going on Florida, eventually to be ended only by Supreme Court fiat. Few characters in the ensuing story are interested in the disputed election result. Annabel Duffy, an idealistic African American intern at an independent film company called Means of Production, is too busy placating her boss to follow the news. Vanessa, the boss, is Rosa Elisabetta’s daughter ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies

3 February 2000
The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher​ Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... than hackneyed fragments. Nobody seems to be listening. Last year set records: even without counting the millennial gift books already piling up on remainder tables, 1999 marked the appearance of Christopher Ricks’s successor to Arthur Quiller-Couch’s Oxford Book of English Verse, published a hundred years ago, revised in 1939, and followed in 1972 by Helen Gardner’s New Oxford Book; of the Longman ...

Sex’n’Love

Blake Morrison

21 February 1991
The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... too shaming to admit. The partiality of these anthologies is frustrating, and will be so especially to those who have one without the other. Those who have both will find that, among contemporaries, Christopher Reid and Michael Hofmann are classified as love poets but Craig Raine and Tony Harrison as blue versifiers. Only a few poets make both, including Seamus Heaney, who has two poems unworthy of him in ...

Man Is Wolf to Man

Malcolm Gaskill: C.J. Sansom

13 January 2020
Tombland 
by C.J. Sansom.
Pan Macmillan, 866 pp., £8.99, September 2019, 978 1 4472 8451 2
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... In​ 2000 Christopher Sansom took a year off from his job as a solicitor to write a novel: it had occurred to him that the dissolution of the monasteries might make a good backdrop to a murder mystery. He finished it ...

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