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‘Damn right,’ I said

Eliot Weinberger: Bush Meets Foucault, 6 January 2011

Decision Points 
by George W. Bush.
Virgin, 497 pp., £25, November 2010, 978 0 7535 3966 8
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... an NSC meeting in late April. ‘Why isn’t anybody stopping these looters?’ ‘By the time Colin gets to the White House for the meeting, this had better be fixed.’ ‘We need to find out what he knows,’ I directed the team. ‘What are our options?’ ‘Damn right,’ I said. ‘Where the hell is Ashcroft?’ I asked. ‘Go,’ I ...

Rancorous Old Sod

Colin Burrow: Homage to Geoffrey Hill, 20 February 2014

Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952-2012 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 973 pp., £35, November 2013, 978 0 19 960589 7
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... about Hill. Our heaviness is his heaviness; our mishearings of the past, our tendency to ‘grant inequity from afar to be in equity’s covenant’ by hearing inequity in ‘in equity’, are his problems too. And he attacks himself every bit as savagely as he attacks his age: ‘Rancorous, narcissistic old sod – what/makes him go on? We ...

The Lie that Empire Tells Itself

Eric Foner: America’s bad wars, 19 May 2005

The Dominion of War: Empire and conflict in North America 1500-2000 
by Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton.
Atlantic, 520 pp., £19.99, July 2005, 1 903809 73 8
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... of a populist, racist imperialism in which liberty became an entitlement of white men. Ulysses S. Grant consolidates the power of the nation-state through his victory in the Civil War, and as president tries to reconcile ‘American power with American values’ by adopting a ‘peace policy’ towards the remaining Indians, but to no lasting effect. The ...

Our National Hodgepodge

Colin Kidd and Malcolm Petrie, 29 June 2017

... are technically ‘third countries’ from the viewpoint of the EU; although there were moves to grant the islands ‘passporting’ rights, whether these will materialise post-Brexit appears doubtful. Despite this, the principle of ‘equivalence’ – adhering to a regulatory regime comparable to the EU’s – has allowed them to provide financial ...

The Empty Bath

Colin Burrow: ‘The Iliad’, 18 June 2015

Homer: ‘The Iliad’ 
translated by Peter Green.
California, 560 pp., £19.95, May 2015, 978 0 520 28141 7
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... the outcome? We know that a god has told Priam to go, and we know that a god has told Achilles to grant his request. But we also know that the gods don’t always say what they mean and that people don’t always obey the gods, and that Achilles can do things that are completely outside the norms of human behaviour. All that danger and strangeness is ...


Tam Dalyell: Argentina in 1984, 6 September 1984

... simply got on the telephone from Bourges to their engineer at Bahia Blanca, Monsieur Hervé Colin, to explain to him in a seven-hour call how to marry a surface-to-surface Exocet to the wing of an aircraft, so today the French merrily continue to supply Argentina with the weapons themselves. To preserve the proprieties, they do it through Israel. But ...

Ti tum ti tum ti tum

Colin Burrow: Chic Sport Shirker, 7 October 2021

Along Heroic Lines 
by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 330 pp., £20, April, 978 0 19 289465 6
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... by, contrarieties that are both underfoot and aloft. To one side, a greater-than-usual refusal to grant the world’s insistence that such-and-such is impossible (or indisputable or inescapable or inevitable … ). To the other, a greater-than-usual refusal to be broken – or broken in – by the insistence of things, the fact that such-and-such ...

Cobban’s Vindication

Olwen Hufton, 20 August 1981

Origins of the French Revolution 
by William Doyle.
Oxford, 247 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 19 873020 9
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... and Ravitch exposed the myth of an increasing noble stranglehold on offices in church and state. Colin Lucas pertinently observed that this was a society of aristocratic aspirations defining itself by the status symbols of the past – land, seigneurial rights and office – rather than the economic resources of the future. There certainly was a large group ...

How long before Ofop steps in?

Patrick Carnegy, 16 March 2000

In House: Covent Garden, 50 Years of Opera and Ballet 
by John Tooley.
Faber, 318 pp., £25, November 1999, 9780571194155
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Never Mind the Moon: My Time at the Royal Opera House 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Bantam, 356 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 593 04355 3
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... Webster’s reign was the Georg Solti era (1961-71). Tooley presided over the rather lesser era of Colin Davis (1971-86). Things, indeed, began to fall apart when Davis’s partnerships with Peter Hall and Götz Friedrich broke down. Tooley dutifully chronicles the years from 1947 to 1988, but only comes alive in his final 80 pages, with a disgruntled ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... and demand admiration. Not surprisingly, the catalogue commentary requires the combined efforts of Colin Amery, Mary Lutyens, Jane Brown, John Cornforth, Gavin Stamp and John Summerson to do justice to an architect whose career, in its range, dimensions and achievements, outshines Wren, Vanbrugh and the Adam brothers. Cloud-capp’d towers, gorgeous ...

Music and Beyond

Hans Keller, 21 October 1982

Hanns Eisler: Political Musician 
by Albrecht Betz, translated by Bill Hopkins.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £25, June 1982, 0 521 24022 0
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Music and Political: Collected Writings 1953-81 
by Hans Werner Henze, translated by Peter Labanyi.
Faber, 286 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 571 11719 8
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Vindications: Essays on Romantic Music 
by Deryck Cooke and Bryan Magee.
Faber, 226 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11795 3
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... an autonomous period with which, note for note, the movement eventually ends: we can only grant it Cookeian ‘precedence’ over the other themes inasmuch as it contains them, not in that they are ‘evolved’ from it, because you could just as well say that it is evolved from them! The essay in question is both the most extended and the weightiest ...

We are all Scots here

Linda Colley: Scotland and Empire, 12 December 2002

The Scottish Empire 
by Michael Fry.
Tuckwell/Birlinn, 580 pp., £16.99, November 2002, 9781841582597
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... power in India was dealt a major blow. No longer could cousin Angus from Arbroath or brother Colin from Caithness be eased so smoothly into the next soft billet in the Subcontinent. Smaller, private companies, however, were – at least initially – more easily managed. ‘Thank God,’ one of the directors of the Imperial British East Africa Company ...

Fog has no memory

Jonathan Meades: Postwar Colour(lessness), 19 July 2018

The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Postwar Britain 
by Lynda Nead.
Yale, 416 pp., £35, October 2017, 978 0 300 21460 4
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... quasi-anthropomorphic, ascribing to fogs memory and mimetic capacities. Nead goes on to grant meaning to other inanimate objects: immigrants’ clothes, knick-knacks, domestic appliances, packaging. She seems unwilling to accept that the world is neither meaningful nor meaningless but that it just is. The ‘kitchen sink’ painters insisted that ...

The Tribe of Ben

Blair Worden: Ben Jonson, 11 October 2012

Ben Jonson: A Life 
by Ian Donaldson.
Oxford, 533 pp., £25, October 2011, 978 0 19 812976 9
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The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson 
edited by David Bevington, Martin Butler and Ian Donaldson.
Cambridge, 5224 pp., £650, July 2012, 978 0 521 78246 3
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... sensibility that has often illuminated studies of Jonson makes its mark, most prominently in Colin Burrow’s editing of the poetry. Jonson’s allusions are not merely noted but felt.* Yet how widely will the feeling travel? Has the decline of classical education shamed us by restricting Jonson’s appeal? Or is Jonson’s addiction to classical sources ...

The Nazis Used It, We Use It

Alex de Waal: Famine as a Weapon of War, 15 June 2017

... this. ‘I would sup with the devil to get food to Abyei,’ he said. The following year, James Grant, then head of Unicef, accepted a dinner invitation from General Fadallah Burma Nasir, co-ordinator of what was called the ‘militia policy’. Grant left the dinner with a life-saving agreement: Operation Lifeline Sudan ...

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