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30 October 1997
The City of Light 
by Jacob d’Ancona, translated and edited by David Selbourne.
Little, Brown, 392 pp., £22.50, October 1997, 0 316 63968 0
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... Unfortunately, that annotation, in a crabbed European imitation of a Chinese hand, includes a phrase corresponding exactly to our ‘terra incognita’, a label unknown to Chinese cartography. DavidSelbourne was probably unaware of these fakes when he embarked on his translation of the text he now entitles The City of Light, but it is worth pointing them out, just to make clear that the notion ...
4 June 1987
Forever England 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth/BBC, 174 pp., £9.95, April 1987, 0 563 20466 4
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Nottinghamshire 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Grafton, 170 pp., £14.95, March 1987, 0 246 12852 6
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Left behind: Journeys into British Politics 
by David Selbourne.
Cape, 174 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 224 02370 5
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... to the cartography of class – Beryl Bainbridge’s benign Forever England follows up her television series. Alan Sillitoe has written a coffee-table book, Nottinghamshire, with photographs by David Sillitoe. And DavidSelbourne has put his New Society pieces together in Left Behind: Journeys into British Politics. Forever England is like a little chat among compatriots in the North and South ...
24 November 1994
The Principle of Duty 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 288 pp., £17.99, June 1994, 1 85619 474 4
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... DavidSelbourne’s The Principle of Duty is described on the dust-jacket as ‘the most comprehensive theory of civic society written in English since Locke’. ‘In English’ is wise: it excludes Montesquieu ...

Big Fish

Frank Kermode

9 September 1993
Tell Them I’m on my Way 
by Arnold Goodman.
Chapmans, 464 pp., £20, August 1993, 1 85592 636 9
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Not an Englishman: Conversations with Lord Goodman 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 237 pp., £17.99, August 1993, 1 85619 365 9
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... The portrait of Lord Goodman on the jacket of his memoirs is from a photograph; the one on DavidSelbourne’s book is from a portrait by Lucian Freud. In the first he looks severe but quizzical, a kind man but not a man to be put upon; in the second he looks quite desperately sad, as if he had done much ...
27 May 1993
The Spirit of the Age: An Account of Our Times 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 388 pp., £20, February 1993, 1 85619 204 0
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... that this is ‘an alternative, Jewish history of our times’. ‘History’ is not quite accurate. A huge quantity of press-cuttings have been fed into its pages, but they are mere grist to Selbourne’s meditative mill. What he aims to do is tell us the meaning of our times by placing them in a self-consciously Hebraic perspective. The Christians and (more especially) the Muslims have taken over ...
20 December 1984
... immediately after the assassination was also convenient. It became possible to cast the events into available, well-used moulds. One of these turned up, somewhat oddly, in the New Statesman, where DavidSelbourne argued that what had been persistently overlooked was the fact that India wasn’t a country at all, but a sub-continent. This thesis has some truth in it, but there hangs about it an ...

Wolfing it

Angela Carter

23 July 1987
Honey from a Weed: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades and Apulia 
by Patience Gray.
Prospect, 374 pp., £17.50, November 1986, 0 907325 30 0
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A Table in Provence: Classic Recipes from the South of France 
collected and illustrated by Leslie Forbes.
Webb and Bower/Joseph, 160 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 86350 130 3
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The Joyce of Cooking: Food and Drink from James Joyce’s Dublin 
by Alison Armstrong, foreword by Anthony Burgess.
Station Hill Press, 252 pp., $18.95, December 1986, 0 930794 85 0
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... That is what the genre is all about. M.F.K. Fisher had pioneered the culinary autobiographical novel in the US years before the Penguin school of cookery writers found its greatest star in Elizabeth David in the late Fifties and early Sixties. For these writers, and for Patience Gray, cookery is what the open road was to Cobbett or the natural history of Selbourne to Gilbert White. There is, however ...

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