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Short Cuts

David Campbell: Climate Change, 5 November 2015

... The legal basis​ of international policy on global warming is the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which set the objective of stabilising greenhouse gas emissions at ‘a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’. Since it came into force in 1994, there has been an annual conference of the parties to the convention ...

Aspasia’s Sisters

Mary Lefkowitz, 1 September 1983

The Family, Women and Death: Comparative Studies 
by Sally Humphreys.
Routledge, 210 pp., £15, March 1983, 0 7100 9322 5
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The Golden Lyre: The Themes of the Greek Lyric Poets 
by David Campbell.
Duckworth, 312 pp., £28, February 1983, 0 7156 1563 7
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... textbook, Sir Maurice Bowra attempted to set the poems in a biographical and historical setting. David Campbell instead organises his survey by themes, thus avoiding speculation about chronology and political events for which little evidence exists other than the poems themselves. Unlike Richard Jenkyns in his recent essay on Sappho, ...

Short Cuts

Mary-Kay Wilmers: Remembering D.A.N. Jones, 2 January 2003

... he wrote and added: ‘I share the general view about paying respect to Unknown Soldiers.’ David had been a soldier himself, or at any rate done National Service, in Hong Kong, and probably had more sympathy for army life than most LRB contributors. Here he is, in a review of George Spater’s Life of Cobbett, brushing aside Hazlitt’s remarks about ...


John Lanchester: Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, 16 August 2007

The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries 
edited by Alastair Campbell and Richard Stott.
Hutchinson, 794 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 09 179629 7
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... because at the moment we have the upper hand. The person to whom Blair said that was Alastair Campbell, whom he appointed to run his press operation shortly after becoming party leader. It is worth noticing how accurate Blair’s sense of the press-government relationship is: it makes you wonder, if he saw things so clearly, how on earth he could have put ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Dirtiest Player Around, 10 October 2013

... violence that Brown wished on his enemies. The underling was working towards the Führer. Alastair Campbell, speaking on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics, thinks the proper analogy is with football. McBride was a rogue player so set on mindless aggression that he fouled people all over the pitch. He was like a footballer who was happy to kick his own ...

Maximum Embarrassment

David Marquand, 7 May 1987

Nye Bevan and the Mirage of British Socialism 
by John Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £15.95, March 1987, 0 297 78998 8
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The Political Diary of Hugh Dalton: 1918-40, 1945-60 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape, 752 pp., £40, January 1987, 0 224 01912 0
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... to office in the following decade, than some of their old opponents from the right. But, as John Campbell makes clear in this marvellously lucid and moving reassessment of the political career of Aneurin Bevan, the similarities with the Thirties were only skin-deep. This time, the schisms did touch the core of party purpose. Though Left and Right both called ...


Jenny Diski: Alastair Campbell’s Dodgy Novel, 6 November 2008

All in the Mind 
by Alastair Campbell.
Hutchinson, 297 pp., £17.99, November 2008, 978 0 09 192578 9
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... as possible. Although making sense in and of the world is not irrelevant to a review of Alastair Campbell’s first novel, All in the Mind, it was my initial plan, after reading it, to extend the preliminary discussion of the niceties of sanity and madness to about 2975 words, after which I would round up to a respectable 3000 words with a final ...

White Man’s Heaven

Michael Wood, 7 February 1991

Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin 
by James Campbell.
Faber, 306 pp., £14.99, January 1991, 0 571 15391 7
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James Baldwin: Artist on Fire 
by W.J. Weatherby.
Joseph, 412 pp., £17.99, June 1990, 0 7181 3403 6
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... Ah, si j’avais à écrire une histoire des noirs, Baldwin told a French reporter quoted by James Campbell, je devrais interviewer les blancs. James Baldwin’s thinking recalls Virginia Woolf’s view of the way women have been used as mirrors by men, and Simone de Beauvoir’s suggestion that the very notion of a ‘woman’ is a male invention. It is even ...

Lord Bounder

David Cannadine, 19 January 1984

F.E. Smith, First Earl of Birkenhead 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 918 pp., November 1983, 0 224 01596 6
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... There is,’ John Lord Campbell observed in his multi-volume, Mid-Victorian Lives of the Lord Chancellors, ‘no office in the history of any nation that has been filled with such a long succession of distinguished and interesting men as the office of Lord Chancellor.’ A roll-call which included such illustrious history-makers as Wolsey, More, Bacon and Clarendon lent some credence to Campbell’s hyperbole ...

At the Royal Academy

Peter Campbell: Turner’s watercolours, 4 January 2001

... noble nature was intentional. ‘Staffage’ is the word for human and animal extras, I find, and David Teniers the Younger, whose work Turner admired, is offered as the source of their plain looks. Whatever his narrative intention, foreground accents – not just people, but boats, buoys, goats, ducks – are important parts of the visual machinery. They ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Pompeo Batoni, 10 April 2008

... taken a couple of sessions for Batoni to get the sitter’s face onto canvas – the 12 he gave David Garrick were unusual. He made no preliminary drawings; when it came to finishing the figure a stand-in could take up the chosen position, usually a variation on a settled range of elegantly relaxed poses. Batoni, who was not cheap, was inclined to work ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... In the immediate aftermath of the report’s publication, the Napoleonic posture of Alastair Campbell, proclaiming his integrity from some sort of throne against a grand imperial backdrop, contrasted with the BBC employees’ mobbing of their departing director general to give us the two images with which Hutton will now always be associated. It is ...

At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell: Good plain painting and men in shirt-sleeves, 24 June 2004

... common in songs do not often get into pictures. Melancholy has a longer history. Caspar David Friedrich’s young man who stands, back towards you, looking out to sea could be suffering from it. Hopper’s men and women are ordinary Joes away from home or staying late at the office – lonely, a little sad, a bit miserable perhaps. His unpeopled ...

In Denbigh Road

Peter Campbell: David Sylvester, 7 February 2002

... David Sylvester, who contributed regularly to this paper, died last June. People who worked with him usually agree that he was the most engaged and patient looker at art they ever knew. Robert Rosenblum rightly says, in David Sylvester: The Private Collection, that there was something comical about his high seriousness, but it is also true that, ‘unlike the rest of us ironists’, he could make one feel (or at least feel one ought to feel) that ‘art might matter more than life itself ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: Under African Eyes, 23 June 2005

... We acquire mementos: an Eiffel Tower cigarette lighter, a mug from Margate, Michelangelo’s David on a key-ring. All say, in one way or another: ‘I was there.’ It is not just airport art and souvenir-shop knick-knacks that commemorate time in foreign parts. Trophies brought home by Grand Tourists and modern travellers – bits of marble and views of Venice, archaeological finds, sculpture hacked from ancient monuments, exotic pots and textiles – all are mementos as well as art-loot and museum specimens ...

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