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Under-Labourer

John Mullan, 19 September 1996

The Correspondence of Thomas Warton 
edited by David Fairer.
Georgia, 775 pp., $85, September 1995, 9780820315010
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... admired, History of English Poetry – but his learning was destined to a common obscurity. From David Fairer’s lovingly edited collection of the letters written by and to him, he emerges as the all-knowing but unworldly prof, likeable as the sharp-toothed Malone could never be and recognisable even in our age of Research Assessment Exercises. He ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton, 20 September 2001

Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... time the lonely outsider commemorated by Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and (more cannily) Wordsworth. David Fairer maintains that their Wertherisation of Chatterton’s alleged suicide concentrated the Romantic poets’ minds on their own social isolation, on the necessary dissidence of the poet’s task and the short time reserved for its ...

Bransonism

Paul Davis: Networking in 18th-century London, 17 March 2005

Aaron Hill: The Muses’ Projector 1685-1750 
by Christine Gerrard.
Oxford, 267 pp., £50, August 2003, 0 19 818388 7
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... twinklers of an hour, provoke my rage’) for Pope himself. Gerrard follows Howard Weinbrot and David Fairer in championing Hill’s biblical odes The Creation (1720) and The Judgment Day (1721) as significant expositions of the sublime in an age addicted to correctness; but the argument isn’t likely to persuade readers confronted by lines as poor as ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Shuffling Off into Obscurity, 5 May 2016

... David Laws​ ’s memoir of his time in government ends with everything in tatters: he has lost his seemingly safe seat, his party has gone from being a full partner in government to having the same number of MPs as the Democratic Unionists, his leader is shell-shocked and barely able to appear in public without breaking down ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 21 May 2015

... through reform of electoral boundaries under the existing first-past-the-post system to make it fairer (i.e. better for them). That’s the thing about first-past-the-post: the winners get to decide. And that means doubling down on the current system. It is not the case that a Tory government with a small majority won’t be messy too. Commentators are ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Corbyn Surge, 27 August 2015

... of institutional ones. It may well be true that much of what Corbyn stands for – including a fairer tax system, greater public ownership of key services and more support for the low-paid – is popular with a surprisingly wide swathe of the public. But it won’t make any difference if the news never gets beyond a divided and dysfunctional parliamentary ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... Betty Boothroyd has called on the media to provide ‘fairer and better balanced coverage’ of the House of Commons. ‘Above all,’ she has warned, they ‘should not use the occasion for highly generalised and unsubstantiated comments against Members of the House as a whole and the Parliamentary system’. The ‘occasion’ to which she refers is the inquiry being conducted by a new officer of her House, Sir Gordon Downey, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards ...

Opportunities

David Gilmour, 1 June 1989

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... in Britain, but his range is wider, his writing is more sensitive and his judgments are usually fairer, though it is unfair as well as slick to write of Berlinguer’s ‘Gucci socialism’, a phrase which more justly describes its author. He retains his gift for the felicitous phrase and an eye for humbug, and he remains a skilled puncturer of bloated ...

Blood Ba’th

David Gilmour, 2 February 1989

Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East 
by Patrick Seale.
Tauris, 552 pp., £19.95, October 1988, 1 85043 061 6
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... as he had once been duped by Kissinger, he was now comprehensively duped by the Israelis. At Camp David Sadat and Carter even thought they could handle Begin and Dayan, a pitiful notion when one compares those two naive and fundamentally decent men with the Israeli duo, two of the toughest and most obstinate characters in 20th-century ...

At the Villa Medici

Peter Campbell: 17th-Century Religous Paintings, 30 November 2000

... when a change of surface texture – say, between one fabric and another – must be registered. (David would let this French tradition of brushwork be the vehicle for political rather than religious probity.) This is a very different craft from the more energetic kind which makes surfaces in Rubens’s paintings seem more alive than the hair or fur or flesh ...

After the Referendum

LRB Contributors, 9 October 2014

... of the voters had left their quiet houses, voted ‘No’, gone home and shut the door. At seven David Cameron was on the radio. He intoned the words ‘our United Kingdom’ so many times I thought I’d be sick. Whose United Kingdom? Theirs. The Eton Mess and their cronies. Big Business. Neocons. The warmongers. Not ours. We left Edinburgh at ...
Once a Jolly Bagman: Memoirs 
by Alistair McAlpine.
Weidenfeld, 269 pp., £20, March 1997, 9780297817376
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... Order of the Brown Nose would stumble before long on an obsequious supplementary question from David Evans, one of the very first Tories to make a million out of privatisation (in his case from rubbish collection). Again and again, at Prime Minister’s Question Time, the blustering MP for Welwyn and Hatfield would rise to sing the praises of his hero in ...

The Earnestness of Being Important

P.N. Furbank, 19 August 1982

John Buchan: A Memoir 
by William Buchan.
Buchan and Enright, 272 pp., £9.95, May 1982, 0 907675 03 4
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The Best Short Stories of John Buchan. Vol. II 
edited by David Daniell.
Joseph, 240 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 9780718121211
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... volume of The Best Short Stories of John Buchan, excellently and informatively edited by David Daniell. In Buchan’s social outlook there is a strong ‘zoological’ streak (somewhat recalling Kipling). It is strong in The Half-Hearted, which I happen to have been rereading. People in this novel belong to ‘kinds’. Lewis Haytoun, when unhappy ...

Green Thoughts

Colin Ward, 19 January 1989

Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... class and steerage, between the bridge and the engineroom.’ To this comment Jonathon Porritt and David Winner respond by saying that ‘greens, by contrast, object to the standard Marxist indifference to ecology and point out that it is usually the poor who suffer the worst effect of environmental degradation.’ The interviews recorded in their book contain ...

Radical Aliens

David Cole: The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair, 22 October 2009

The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial 
by Moshik Temkin.
Yale, 316 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 300 12484 2
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... presented Sacco to her in a prejudicial one-on-one ‘show-up’, rather than in the much fairer ‘line-up’, in which the witness has to choose between several individuals. And several years after the trial, in 1925, a man already in jail for another murder committed during an armed robbery confessed that he had taken part in the South Braintree ...

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