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Poisoned Words

Ian Williams, 5 May 1988

Indictment: Power and Politics In the Construction Industry 
by David Morrell.
Faber, 287 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 571 14985 5
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... builders of Chernobyl? For the Kariba North Bank power station, however, there is now a memorial-David Morrell’s Indictment. Mr Morrell is the chairman of Mitchell Construction, the original contractors for the KNB project, and his book breaks ground unturned since Samuel Smiles’s Lives of the Engineers. In his ...

Carnivals of Progress

John Ziman, 17 February 1983

Sir William Rowan Hamilton 
by Thomas Hankins.
Johns Hopkins, 474 pp., £19.50, July 1981, 0 8018 2203 3
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Gentlemen of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 
by Jack Morrell and Arnold Thackray.
Oxford, 592 pp., £30, August 1981, 0 19 858163 7
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The Parliament of Science: The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1831-1981 
edited by Roy MacLeod and Peter Collins.
Science Reviews, 308 pp., £12.25, September 1982, 0 905927 66 4
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... to the British scientific community than any other institution, including the Royal Society. Morrell and Thackray go into the first decade or so of the BAAS in fine detail. There are plenty of light touches. For the York meeting Lord Milton is told that ‘philosophers are very fond of venison. Can you contribute to the culinary part of science by ...
The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell. Vol. VII: Theory of Knowledge: The 1913 Manuscript 
edited by Elizabeth Ramsden Eames and Kenneth Blackwell.
Allen and Unwin, 258 pp., £35, May 1984, 0 04 920073 9
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Freedom and Morality, and Other Essays 
by A.J. Ayer.
Oxford, 182 pp., £15, June 1984, 0 19 824731 1
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More of My Life 
by A.J. Ayer.
Collins, 224 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 00 217003 5
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... met in May 1913, Wittgenstein told him that it was all wrong, and, as Russell admitted to Ottoline Morrell, he did not know how to answer Wittgenstein’s objections. He never published the whole of what he had written, and it is likely that what he did publish was the part that did not particularly interest Wittgenstein, while he suppressed the part on which ...

One for water, one for urine

Stephen Smith, 3 December 1992

An Evil Cradling 
by Brian Keenan.
Hutchinson, 297 pp., £16.99, September 1992, 0 09 175208 6
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Hostage: The Complete Story of the Lebanese Captives 
by Con Coughlin.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 316 90304 3
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... have missed during his captivity. Employed by the same organisation as McCarthy’s friend Jill Morrell, I was asked by the children to pass on a collection of their work to her. One picture had been painted by a boy called Timothy, who was born on the day that McCarthy was seized. When McCarthy was held hostage in Beirut, journalists found themselves ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... can be tolerated, and might even be enjoyed, as piano-players in the funhouse of letters. Early in David Plante’s diaries, we find him tinkling away, dropping names in basso profundo, as if knowing people and knowing what they do in private can be the thing that makes one special. He is 28 years old when he comes to London from the US (a little younger than ...

Leave off saying I want you to be savages

Sandra Gilbert: D.H. Lawrence, 19 March 1998

D.H. Lawrence: Dying Game 1922-30 
by David Ellis.
Cambridge, 814 pp., £25, January 1998, 0 521 25421 3
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... countless critical treatises, and even apart from his still oddly scandalous paintings at which, David Ellis reports, 13,000 visitors to London’s Warren Gallery gawked in the early summer of 1929, he was a figure of extraordinary fascination, even during his lifetime. Paradoxically, then, to contemplate works by the author of that famous critical maxim ...

Seeing in the Darkness

James Wood, 6 March 1997

D.H. Lawrence: Triumph To Exile 1912-22 
by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 943 pp., £25, August 1996, 0 521 25420 5
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... his ecstasies of annihilation. Carey plucks a sentence from a letter written in 1915 to Ottoline Morrell. The war had ravaged Lawrence. Before it began he had felt that English life was on the edge of a resurrection. The slaughter in France undermined his foundations. Lawrence was given, like Céline, to overstatement: ‘It would be nice if the Lord sent ...

Solipsism

Ian Hacking, 4 February 1988

The False Prison: A Study of the Development of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy, Vol. I 
by David Pears.
Oxford, 202 pp., £19.50, September 1987, 0 19 824771 0
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Wittgenstein’s Nephew 
by Thomas Bernhard.
Quartet, 120 pp., £8.95, February 1987, 0 7043 2611 6
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... persuaded by Wittgenstein that it was wrong. Pears repeats Russell’s remarks to Ottoline Morrell on this event, suggesting too heavily that everything occurred on a walk on a single afternoon. In fact, Russell, in 1914, about to go the Eastern seaboard of the US to lecture on logic, sequestered himself for a week with Wittgenstein and a shorthand ...

Keeping up the fight

Paul Delany, 24 January 1991

D.H. Lawrence: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £19.95, August 1990, 0 333 49247 1
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D.H. Lawrence 
by Tony Pinkney.
Harvester, 180 pp., £30, June 1990, 0 7108 1347 3
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England, My England, and Other Stories 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Bruce Steele.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 0 521 35267 3
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The ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ Trial (Regina v. Penguin Books Limited) 
edited by H. Montgomery Hyde.
Bodley Head, 333 pp., £18, June 1990, 0 370 31105 1
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Boy 
by James Hanley.
Deutsch, 191 pp., £11.99, August 1990, 0 233 98578 6
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D.H. Lawrence: A Literary Life 
by John Worthen.
Macmillan, 196 pp., £27.50, September 1989, 0 333 43352 1
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... that could cure it. ‘Surgery is pure hate of the defect in the loved thing,’ he told Ottoline Morrell, ‘and it is surgery we want, Cambridge wants, England wants. I want.’ To be sure, he included himself in the list of things defective, which may justify Meyers’s cagey statement that Lawrence was ‘in some respects abnormal’. Meyers’s ...

Herberts & Herbertinas

Rosemary Hill: Steven Runciman, 19 October 2016

Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman 
by Minoo Dinshaw.
Penguin, 767 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 241 00493 7
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... His books were popular with his ‘grandest and smartest acquaintances’ such as Ottoline Morrell. The First Bulgarian Empire was followed by Byzantine Civilisation and The Medieval Manichee, which was finished in 1940 but not published until 1947. By then Runciman had acquired a reputation as an erudite historian with a rich prose style and a touchy ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012, 3 January 2013

... and without a smile R. feels that for this alone they deserve to win. Brian, Stewie, David Mamet, Alan Bennett and Yasmina Reza in Family Guy. 25 April. At five a car comes to take me down to Silk studios on Berwick Street to record a voiceover (of my own voice) for an episode of Family Guy, the story being that Brian, the dog, has written a ...

Dreams of the Decades

Liz Jobey: Bill Brandt, 8 July 2004

Bill Brandt: A Life 
by Paul Delany.
Cape, 336 pp., £35, March 2004, 0 224 05280 2
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Bill Brandt: A Centenary Retrospective 
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... for his own psychic traumas. In this reading Delany is following Brandt’s earlier critics, David Mellor and Ian Jeffrey, who identified in Brandt’s photographs coded expressions of his disturbed psyche. They contain what Delany identifies as ‘symbols and obsessions peculiar to himself’. Ever since Brandt became the focus of academic study in the ...

The History Boy

Alan Bennett: Exam-taking, 3 June 2004

... never far away and there’s a persistently jeering note perhaps bred by the habit of contention. David Starkey sneers, too, but I feel this is more cosmetic. None of this posing, though, is altogether new. A.J.P. Taylor was its original exponent, certainly on television, and was every bit as pleased with himself as the new breed of history boys. Still with ...

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