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I Will Tell You Everything

Rosemary Hill: Iris Murdoch

22 April 2010
Iris Murdoch: A Writer at War – Letters and Diaries 1939-45 
edited by Peter Conradi.
Short Books, 303 pp., £16.99, January 2010, 978 1 906021 22 1
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With Love and Rage: A Friendship with Iris Murdoch 
by David Morgan.
Kingston, 143 pp., £13.99, March 2010, 978 1 899999 42 2
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... back to London and realising that life will never be the same again. In the letters that make up the rest of the book, simultaneous correspondences with two Oxford contemporaries, Frank Thompson and David Hicks, Murdoch, if still not quite a writer, is now at war and no longer the ingénue of the student troupe. The ‘playtime of the ’30s when we were all conscience-ridden spectators’ was over ...

At Tranquilina’s Knee

G. Cabrera Infante

2 June 1983
The Fragrance of Guava: Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza in conversation with Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 126 pp., £9.95, May 1983, 0 86091 065 2
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... closer than in any English dialect, including Pidgin. But Garcia Marquez makes the homophones become synonyms every week. It was with characteristic British reserve, though, that Lieutenant-Colonel DavidMorgan, Commandant of the 1st Battalion of the Seventh Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Riders, set about straightening things out. The Gurkhas are the British soldiers whom, in an ugly slur, Garcia ...

Gaelic Communist

Graham Walker

12 October 1989
James Connolly: A Political Biography 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 244 pp., £9.95, October 1989, 0 7190 2958 9
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James Connolly: Selected Writings 
edited by P. Beresford Ellis.
Pluto, 256 pp., £8.95, April 1988, 9780745302676
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... figures in whom the dilemmas, conundrums and contradictions of Ireland are more comprehensively and intensively concentrated than Connolly. The welcome and long overdue appearance of Austen Morgan’s book provides an opportunity to assess the state of the Connolly historiography and to examine themes which are central to his reputation. The book is a critical study which, in conjunction with ...

Attercliffe

Nicholas Spice

17 May 1984
Present Times 
by David​ Storey.
Cape, 270 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 224 02188 5
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The Uses of Fiction: Essays on the Modern Novel in Honour of Arnold Kettle 
edited by Douglas Jefferson and Graham Martin.
Open University, 296 pp., £15, December 1982, 9780335101818
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The Hawthorn Goddess 
by Glyn Hughes.
Chatto, 232 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7011 2818 6
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... 47 years old, father of five, separated from his wife – takes notes on the Saturday afternoon match. One eye on the game below, he chats to his fellow journalists: ‘the pug-nosed, the pug-eared Morgan’, Davidson-Smith (‘overcoated’, ‘deerstalker-hatted’) and Freddie Fredericks, Frank Attercliffe’s aging and alcoholic mentor, and co-author with him of Pindar’s Weekend Round-up, a ...
1 June 1989
The Well-Known Troublemaker: A Life of Charlotte Charke 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 231 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 0 571 14743 7
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The Ladies: Female Patronage of Restoration Drama 
by David​ Roberts.
Oxford, 188 pp., £22.50, February 1989, 0 19 811743 4
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The Complete Lover: Eros, Nature and Artifice in the 18th-Century French Novel 
by Angelica Goodden.
Oxford, 329 pp., £32.50, January 1989, 0 19 815820 3
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... In her ingenious ‘autobiography’ of Delariviere Manley, A Woman of No Character (1987), Fidelis Morgan contrived an effect of literary trompe l’oeil. Artfully interweaving extracts from Manley’s ‘secret histories’, The Adventures of Rivella (1714) and The New Atalantis (1709), with passages of ...

Leadership

T.H. Breen

10 May 1990
The First Salute 
by Barbara Tuchman.
Joseph, 347 pp., £15.95, March 1989, 0 7181 3142 8
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Sister Republics: The Origins of French and American Republicanism 
by Patrice Higonnet.
Harvard, 317 pp., £19.95, December 1988, 0 674 80982 3
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Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America 
by Edmund Morgan.
Norton, 318 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 393 02505 5
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... Barbara Tuchman writes, ‘produce other men, not new men. Half-way “between truth and endless error” the mould of the species is permanent. That is the earth’s burden.’ Edmund Morgan and Patrice Higonnet are less pessimistic. They see the great ideological transformations of the 18th century as a continuing challenge. To be sure, those who dreamed of creating a genuine liberal ...

Coalition Phobia

Brian Harrison

4 June 1987
Labour People, Leaders and Lieutenants: Hardie to Kinnock 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 370 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 19 822929 1
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J. Ramsay MacDonald 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 276 pp., £19.50, June 1987, 0 7190 2168 5
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Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical 
by Patricia Romero.
Yale, 334 pp., £17.50, March 1987, 0 300 03691 4
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Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst 
by Barbara Castle.
Penguin, 159 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008761 3
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... If there is a third successive Conservative election victory this summer, Labour will plunge once more into debating its own history. Not reluctantly, because as Kenneth Morgan points out, the Party ‘has been captivated, even obsessed, by its history’; even more than the Conservatives it is, he says, ‘a prisoner of its past’. Yet the debate will probably be more ...

Making doorbells ring

David​ Trotter: Pushing Buttons

22 November 2018
Power Button: A History of Pleasure, Panic and the Politics of Pushing 
by Rachel Plotnick.
MIT, 424 pp., £30, October 2018, 978 0 262 03823 2
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... destructive potential. The Edison Manufacturing Company was responsible for one of the most disgusting documentary films ever made, Electrocuting an Elephant (1903). Still, Edison pales beside Hank Morgan, the time-travelling protagonist of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889), who wages modern American war on the cream of medieval European chivalry. The final battle ...

All Those Arrows

Donald MacKenzie: A Major Cause of the Financial Crisis

25 June 2009
Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe 
by Gillian Tett.
Little, Brown, 338 pp., £18.99, April 2009, 978 1 4087 0164 5
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... tangible human beings.’ She whispered to the man sitting beside her, asking who the key actors in the ceremony were – those up on the conference hall’s stage. ‘They used to all work at J.P. Morgan,’ he answered. ‘It’s like this Morgan mafia thing. They sort of created the credit derivatives market.’ The answer surprised her. J.P. Morgan was not Goldman Sachs; it wasn’t an exciting ...
11 December 1997
A History of the American People 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 925 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 297 81569 5
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... slavery into the mainland colonies; had they not done so, he writes, ‘it is quite possible that the American Civil War would not have taken place.’ Johnson manages to ignore the work of Edmund Morgan, David Brion Davis and numerous other scholars of the past thirty years who have demonstrated that slavery was an intrinsic element of American life almost from the beginning of the colonial era, and ...

One word says to its mate

Claire Harman: W.S. Graham

4 October 2001
The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Snow and Margaret Snow.
Carcanet, 401 pp., £12.95, November 1999, 1 85754 445 5
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... in 1939, but failed his Army medical anyway and was sent to work in a Clydeside torpedo factory. He wrote The Seven Journeys at this time (it wasn’t published until 1944) and made friends with David Archer, the publisher and bookseller whose Scott Street Arts Centre in Glasgow was a venue for the avant-garde of the interwar years. Graham met Dylan Thomas there, who was sufficiently impressed to ...

Born Again

Phillip Whitehead

19 February 1981
Face the future 
by David​ Owen.
Cape, 552 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 224 01956 2
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... himself to the centre of the political stage writes a book on politics, he will suffer the condescension of his seniors, the condemnation of his critics, and the faint sniggers of academics offstage. David Owen has had his prescription for Britain patronised by Grimond and Powell, dissected by Ken Coates, and treated like a first-year undergraduate’s essay by Professor Peter Townsend. With his ...
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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... expensive stay at the Ritz Hotel and there, to the fury of the Labour minority, the matter was left. The cover-up was carefully supervised by the Tory Whips office, in particular by two young MPs, David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts and Andrew Mitchell, whose father, David Mitchell, is also a Tory MP, and once chose Neil Hamilton to be his Parliamentary Private Secretary. The Guardian had told a bit of ...
4 September 1986
Ocean of Story: The Uncollected Stories of Christina Stead 
edited by R.G. Geering.
Viking, 552 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 670 80996 9
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The Salzburg Tales 
by Christina Stead.
498 pp., £4.95, September 1986, 0 86068 691 4
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... t exist without the other. And that Australian walk appears in some of her stories, given to characters with whom she identifies. The secure sense of national identity came from her father: ‘David was an Adam,’ she wrote of him. ‘Australia was his prolific and innocent garden.’She was forty years away but always on the move, living (to put the places in roughly chronological order), in ...

All hail, sage lady

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Crown’

15 December 2016
... it was produced for American digital broadcaster Netflix at a cost of £100 million, but that is what it costs these days to make England look like England. The show was created and written by Peter Morgan, its majesty and its wit are his – it would take an American ‘writers’ room’ of a dozen to do wrong what he does right – and a slew of British directing talent led by Stephen Daldry has ...

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