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Empire of the Doctors

C.A. Bayly, 8 December 1994

Colonising the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in 19th-Century India 
by David Arnold.
California, 354 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 520 08124 2
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Public Health in British India: Anglo-Indian Preventive Medicine 1815-1914 
by Mark Harrison.
Cambridge, 324 pp., £19.95, March 1994, 0 521 44127 7
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... to the Indian population, though often through the efforts of Indian doctors and philanthropists. David Arnold’s book covers the early 19th century in greater detail and includes a chapter on the anguished responses to the first cholera pandemic of 1818-25. He provides fascinating material on the period when Europeans were trying to come to grips with ...

Tic in the Brain

Deborah Friedell: Mrs Dickens, 11 September 2008

Girl in a Blue Dress 
by Gaynor Arnold.
Tindall Street, 438 pp., £9.99, August 2008, 978 0 9556476 1 1
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... Too late, David Copperfield realises that he has married an imbecile: Dora is good-looking and affectionate, but she’s useless with a cookery book and incapable of managing servants. She calls her husband ‘Doady’ and begs him to accept that she can never be more to him than a ‘child-wife’. Worst of all, she will never be able to appreciate his genius ...

Transcendental Criticism

David Trotter, 3 March 1988

The Renewal of Literature: Emersonian Reflections 
by Richard Poirier.
Faber, 256 pp., £14.95, March 1988, 0 571 15013 6
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... and wiser persons, for which it is eminently unsuited. It has paid too much attention to Matthew Arnold, ‘the source and sustenance of a still prevailing humanistic thrust in Anglo-American criticism’. Arnold is reproved for having recommended culture as the help out of present difficulties, and as a treasure house of ...

Mrs Schumann’s Profession

Denis Arnold, 22 May 1986

The Cambridge Music Guide 
edited by Stanley Sadie and Alison Latham.
Cambridge, 544 pp., £15, October 1985, 0 521 25946 0
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Tudor Music 
by David Wulstan.
Dent, 378 pp., £20, October 1985, 0 460 04412 5
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The Music Profession in Britain since the 18th Century: A Social History 
by Cyril Ehrlich.
Oxford, 269 pp., £22.50, January 1986, 0 19 822665 9
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Clara Schumann: The Artist and the Woman 
by Nancy Reich.
Gollancz, 346 pp., £15.95, October 1985, 0 575 03755 5
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Lorenzo Da Ponte: The Life and Times of Mozart’s Librettist 
by Sheila Hodges.
Granada, 274 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 246 12001 0
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... the better class of sleeve-note in his record collection will hardly have need of it. The title of David Wulstan’s book Tudor Music promises well. The periodisation of music into ‘Medieval’ and ‘Renaissance’ is misleading for virtually every country except Italy, and Professor Wulstan’s selection of the Tudor monarchs as setting a time-scale has ...

Turns of the Screw

Hugh Barnes, 7 August 1986

Mating Birds 
by Lewis Nkosi.
Constable, 184 pp., £8.95, July 1986, 0 00 946724 6
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Lost Time 
by Catharine Arnold.
Hodder, 220 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 340 38783 1
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The Bridge 
by Iain Banks.
Macmillan, 259 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 333 41285 0
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Incidents at the Shrine 
by Ben Okri.
Heinemann, 130 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 434 53230 4
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Things fall apart 
by Chinua Achebe.
Heinemann, 150 pp., £3.50, July 1986, 0 435 90526 0
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The Innocents 
by Carolyn Slaughter.
Viking, 219 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 670 81016 9
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... The first novels of Lewis Nkosi and Catharine Arnold raise issues that have been in the news of late: racist oppression in South Africa and the ugly behaviour of the smart set at England’s oldest universities. Neither phenomenon is new, but that is not all they have in common: both can be regarded as symptoms of madness, which is always making news – this, at any rate, is the diagnosis favoured by Nkosi and Arnold ...

Pastiche

Norman Stone, 21 July 1983

The Invention of Tradition 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £17.50, March 1983, 0 521 24645 8
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... One of Arnold Toynbee’s Laws was that, in any civilisation, mannered imitation of the past was a Bad Thing: he chose the Poles’ decision to reconstruct the Old City of Warsaw after 1945 as an instance, and would have much preferred to see them raze the ruins and build a ‘city of towers’ on modernistic lines ...

When the pistol goes off

Peter Clarke, 17 August 1989

Arnold Toynbee: A Life 
by William McNeill.
Oxford, 346 pp., £16.95, July 1989, 0 19 505863 1
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... An even more striking exemplar was the remarkable career at Balliol College, Oxford of Uncle Arnold, after whom not only his nephew but Toynbee Hall in the East End of London were posthumously named. Carrying the name Arnold Toynbee was a double-edged privilege, as the behaviour of the family testifies; when the young ...

Be flippant

David Edgar: Noël Coward’s Return, 9 December 1999

1956 and All That 
by Dan Reballato.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 415 18938 1
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Collected Plays: Six 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 415 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Plays: Seven 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 381 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Revue Sketches and Parodies 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 282 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73390 4
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Noël Coward: A Life in Quotes 
edited by Barry Day.
Metro, 116 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 9781900512848
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Noël Coward: The Complete Lyrics 
Methuen, 352 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 413 73230 4Show More
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... In the film about Noël Coward that Adam Low made for Arena in 1998, there is a shot of Arnold Wesker watching a recording of a Royal Court fundraising gala in which Coward is marvellous but clearly miserable as the restaurant owner in an extract from Wesker’s The Kitchen. Less emblematic but equally germane is the story, told in Philip Hoare’s 1995 biography, of Coward’s visit to the Court to see David Storey’s grittily realistic Rugby League play The Changing Room ...

The Trouble with Nowhere

Martin Jay, 1 June 2000

The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy 
by Russell Jacoby.
Basic Books, 256 pp., £17.95, April 1999, 0 465 02000 3
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Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts 1905-40 
edited by Catriona Kelly.
Penguin, 378 pp., £9.99, September 1999, 0 14 118081 1
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The Faber Book of Utopias 
edited by John Carey.
Faber, 560 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780571197859
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The Nazi War on Cancer 
by Robert Proctor.
Princeton, 390 pp., £18.95, May 1999, 0 691 00196 0
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... the outcome is a bit of a let-down, for he turns out – hang onto your hats – to be Matthew Arnold. ‘The 19th-century critic denounced the culture of his day in the name of something better, a more thoughtful and graceful culture,’ Jacoby approvingly notes. ‘Today most observers and scholars reject this as naive and élitist. In confounding ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley, 11 July 2002

Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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TheCat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... between Sybille Bedford’s thirty-year-old life of Aldous and the awaited definitive biography by David Bradshaw. With the passing of time, Murray can tell us things prohibited to his predecessor by discretion and the libel laws. At the same time, like Murray’s other biographies, this one holds the central ground of its subject very ably and maintains a ...

Convenient Death of a Hero

Arnold Rattenbury, 8 May 1997

Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin/Stanford, 120 pp., £12.95, December 1996, 0 85036 457 4
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... intellectual and Communist – following similar books in memory of John Cornford, Julian Bell and David Haden-Guest, all killed in the Spanish Civil War. (The present title, Beyond the Frontier, nods towards Stansky and Abrahams’s 1966 Journey to the Frontier, a reworking of the lives of Cornford and Bell.) Immediately after the war Frank became for many of ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic, 27 May 1999

... at UCL have often gone to people with a foot in the literary world outside the academy. David Masson, who succeeded Arthur Hugh Clough at UCL, wrote an immense Life of Milton, ran his department with great success, and in his spare time edited Macmillan’s Magazine. His successor Henry Morley was, as Sutherland says, ‘a heroic populariser’, a ...

Afternoonishness

Jeremy Harding: Syd Barrett, 2 January 2003

Madcap: The Half-Life of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s Lost Genius 
by Tim Willis.
Short Books, 175 pp., £12.99, October 2002, 1 904095 24 0
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... yet clever certainly and likeable apparently, he wrote the two 1967 Pink Floyd hits ‘Arnold Layne’ and ‘See Emily Play’ before stumbling into a maze of mental distress from which there was no obvious exit. Rapid decline and obscurity are part of the Barrett legend, as are ideas of madness and genius. And so, as he turns 57, it only remains ...

Nemesis

David Marquand, 22 January 1981

Change and Fortune 
by Douglas Jay.
Hutchinson, 515 pp., £16, June 1980, 0 09 139530 5
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Life and Labour 
by Michael Stewart.
Sidgwick, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 0 283 98686 7
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... beaten by Jay, who had the sense to play safe ‘with a series of sonnets in the manner of Matthew Arnold, Wordsworth and Keats’. At Oxford, he loudly proclaims his intention of competing for the Chancellor’s English Essay prize, only to forget all about it. As a new backbencher in the House of Commons, he ‘recklessly’ moves a critical amendment to the ...

The Truth about Consuela

Tim Parks: Death and Philip Roth, 4 November 2010

Nemesis 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 280 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 224 08953 1
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... Roth’s scheme. In the exhilarating opening pages of The Dying Animal, the exuberant 62-year-old David Kepesh, ever ‘vulnerable to female beauty’, has evaded retribution for abandoning his wife and child many years before and, largely thanks to the genius that won him a professorship and regular appearances on radio and TV, has been able to enjoy a life ...

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