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Shaggy Fellows

David Norbrook, 9 July 1987

A History of Modern Poetry: Modernism and After 
by David Perkins.
Harvard, 694 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 674 39946 3
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Collected Poems 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 207 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 14 008383 9
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The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill 
by Henry Hart.
Southern Illinois, 305 pp., $24.95, January 1986, 0 8093 1236 0
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... poetry and explored by his own. Beauty is no absolute guarantee of truth or morality; art may illuminate or corrupt. As David Perkins points out in Modernism and After, Pound is incomparable amongst modern poets for the rhythmic subtlety of his evocation of sensuous beauty, of the play of light and shade. For ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Corbyn Surge, 27 August 2015

... the Labour Party, putting the decision entirely in the hands of its members for the first time, may elect Jeremy Corbyn. It’s tempting to see this as another IDS moment. But it’s something more than that. The election of IDS was wishful, whereas this looks much more wilful. Deluded Tory members seemed genuinely to believe that Duncan Smith was a widely ...

Skipwith and Anktill

David Wootton: Tudor Microhistory, 10 August 2000

Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Oxford, 351 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 19 820781 6
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A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the Second Earl of Castlehaven 
by Cynthia Herrup.
Oxford, 216 pp., £18.99, December 1999, 0 19 512518 5
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... Both David Cressy and Cynthia Herrup believe they are writing microhistory, a word coined by Italians, but used to describe above all the work of Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre, 1983) and Robert Darnton (The Great Cat Massacre, 1984). Microhistorians have turned to the verbatim records of interrogations kept in the law courts of early modern Europe (or at least those parts of Europe where Roman law procedures were followed) to reconstruct the detailed stories of individual trials ...
The Socialist Agenda 
edited by David Lipsey.
Cape, 242 pp., £7.95, January 1981, 0 224 01886 8
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The Future of Socialism 
by Anthony Crosland.
Cape, 368 pp., £8.95, January 1981, 0 224 01888 4
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Politics is for people 
by Shirley Williams.
Allen Lane/Penguin, 230 pp., £8.50, April 1981, 0 7139 1423 8
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... damage on his torn and battered colleagues. Roy Hattersley’s quaintly-named Solidarity Campaign may reverse some of the wilder decisions taken at the Wembley conference in January, but even if it does the Party will still be committed to an electoral college of some sort, and the leadership will still be even more obviously in thrall to an incompetent and ...

Is this the end of the UK?

David Runciman: The End of the UK?, 27 May 2010

... final whistle blows it is possible for everyone to discover they have lost. On the morning of 7 May it was hard for any of the party leaders to avoid feeling that they had received the cold shoulder. There was a delightful, unnerving symmetry about it; each side had received just enough votes and seats to let them have a sniff of power, but not enough votes ...

A Diverse Collection of Peoples

Daniel Lazare: Shlomo Sand v. Zionism, 20 June 2013

The Invention of the Jewish People 
by Shlomo Sand.
Verso, 344 pp., £9.99, June 2010, 978 1 84467 623 1
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The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland 
by Shlomo Sand.
Verso, 295 pp., £16.99, January 2013, 978 1 84467 946 1
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... So says the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, issued in Tel Aviv on 14 May 1948. Shlomo Sand’s last two books have questioned the document’s assumptions: were the Jews ‘forcibly exiled’ or did they go abroad in search of new opportunities? If they ‘never ceased to pray and hope for their return’, why did so few bother to ...

After the May Day Flood

Seumas Milne, 5 June 1997

... cannot be recovered’? It is a beguiling thought – though Blair’s understanding of radicalism may prove to be only distantly related to the usual interpretation. A more reliable guide to the future is likely to be found in the mantra the new Prime Minister repeated on the threshold of 10 Downing Street on his first day in office: ‘We were elected as New ...
Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... Evan Luard’s Socialism Without the State, John Horam’s calls for ‘market socialism’ and David Owen’s evocation of the co-operative, decentralist element in the British socialist tradition exemplified a widespread mood, with which the old Right of the Labour Party had no more in common than had the Left. It was not as new a mood as he seems to ...

The Politics of Now

David Runciman: The Last World Cup, 21 June 2018

The Fall of the House of Fifa 
by David Conn.
Yellow Jersey, 336 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 224 10045 8
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... power, some moments now look like straws in the wind. In late November 2010 the English FA sent David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham to Fifa headquarters in Zurich to lobby on its behalf before the vote for the right to host the 2018 World Cup. Two old Etonians and an alumnus of Chingford County High ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 21 May 2015

... can make an immediate difference. The most chilling moment on election night was hearing Theresa May, when asked what she now wanted a Conservative government to do that it had been prevented from doing by having to work with the Lib Dems in coalition, answer that her first priority was to pass legislation that would empower the security forces and the ...

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny, 23 January 2020

... Renoir (unfortunately), Picasso. But sculptors have less frequently turned to painting, which may explain why many art historians have found it so difficult to believe that the Florentine sculptor and goldsmith Andrea Verrocchio (1435-88) took up painting relatively late in his career and then abandoned it on recognising the extraordinary ability of his ...

Show Business

David Hare, 4 September 1980

Moguls 
by Michael Pye.
Temple Smith, 250 pp., £9.75, June 1980, 0 85117 187 7
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The Movie Brats 
by Michael Pye and Linda Myles.
Faber, 273 pp., £5.25, June 1979, 0 571 11383 4
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... executives for potentially offensive photographs or slogans.) When Pye drifts on to portraits of David Merrick and Trevor Nunn, the book loses its way, and the last essay, on Robert Stigwood, is fanzine stuff. The film Sergeant Pepper is presented as a dismaying hiccup in Stigwood’s otherwise brilliant career. No consolation is offered to those who paid to ...

Country Life

David Cannadine, 5 November 1981

The Victorian Countryside 
edited by G.E. Mingay.
Routledge, 380 pp., £25, July 1981, 0 7100 0734 5
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... glamour status which has been bestowed upon its upstart urban neighbour. In popular terms, this may be because of the very different relationship which these two subjects have with contemporary perceptions of the urban and the rural environment. For the many who spurn and despise the city, and regard urbanisation as a cultural and environmental ...

A Kind of Gnawing Offness

David Haglund: Tao Lin, 21 October 2010

Richard Yates 
by Tao Lin.
Melville House, 206 pp., £10.99, October 2010, 978 1 935554 15 8
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... resembles Tao Lin’s; ‘Dakota Fanning’ is a high-school student in New Jersey. Their names may be a comment on the media-saturated culture of contemporary America, and may also hint that, like many child actors, these protagonists are in over their heads. In 2006, the year Richard Yates is set, the real ...

Too Proud to Fight

David Reynolds: The ‘Lusitania’ Effect, 28 November 2002

Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ 
by Diana Preston.
Doubleday, 543 pp., £18.99, May 2002, 0 385 60173 5
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Lusitania: Saga and Myth 
by David Ramsay.
Chatham, 319 pp., £20, September 2001, 1 86176 170 8
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Woodrow Wilson 
by John Thompson.
Longman, 288 pp., £15.99, August 2002, 0 582 24737 3
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... from the southern coast of Ireland. For centuries sea captains have used it as a landmark. On 7 May 1915 a local family named Henderson, picnicking on the promontory in bright sunshine, were admiring a huge passenger liner with four raked-back funnels steaming eastward close to shore. Suddenly a vast plume of water and smoke towered above her decks. Within ...

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