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Pareto and Elitism

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 3 July 1980

The Other Pareto 
edited by Placido Bucolo.
Scolar, 308 pp., £15, April 1980, 0 85967 516 5
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by G. Lowell Field and John Higley.
Routledge, 135 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 7100 0487 7
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Elites in Australia 
by John Higley and Don Smart.
Routledge, 317 pp., £9.50, July 1979, 9780710002228
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... Elitists are a cheerless class and Vilfredo Pareto was no exception. He certainly led a cheerless life. He gave up a career as an engineer for writing and politics, but although he succeeded Léon Walras to the Chair of Political Economy at Lausanne he never obtained an academic post in Italy itself, and on the two occasions on which he stood for parliament in that country he was defeated (as he saw it) by corruption ...

Family Values

Michael Wood, 17 October 1996

The Last Don 
by Mario Puzo.
Heinemann, 482 pp., £15.99, October 1996, 0 434 60498 4
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... Puzo’s new novel, now sitting comfortably at number four in the New York Times bestseller list. Don Domenico Clericuzio, the ageing mobster grandee in this book, is said to have led his family to ‘the very heights of power’, using only the instruments of ‘a Borgia-like cruelty and a Machiavellian subtleness, plus solid American business ...


Marilyn Butler, 18 November 1982

The Trouble of an Index: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. XII 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 166 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 7195 3885 8
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Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 404 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 7195 3974 9
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by Frederic Raphael.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 500 01278 4
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Byron’s Political and Cultural Influence in 19th-Century Europe: A Symposium 
edited by Paul Graham Trueblood.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 333 29389 4
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Byron and Joyce through Homer 
by Hermione de Almeida.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 333 30072 6
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Byron: A Poet Before His Public 
by Philip Martin.
Cambridge, 253 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 521 24186 3
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... to grow old in my own esteem – and in my esteem age is not estimable.’ Raphael writes of ‘a smart touch of heterodoxy, the most consistent of all Byron’s doxies’. He quotes Byron’s own reminiscence of his cousin, Margaret Parker, ‘one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings’, only to round off the paragraph by observing that Margaret Parker ...


D.A.N. Jones, 12 July 1990

A Sort of Clowning: Life and Times, 1940-59 
by Richard Hoggart.
Chatto, 225 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7011 3607 3
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Tilting at Don Quixote 
by Nicholas Wollaston.
Deutsch, 314 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 233 98551 4
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Finger Lickin’ Good: A Kentucky Childhood 
by Paul Levy.
Chatto, 202 pp., £13.95, May 1990, 0 7011 3521 2
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How Many Miles to Babylon? 
by Adewale Maja-Pearce.
Heinemann, 154 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 434 44172 4
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... wartime Navy, his officer-like qualities, his OLQ, were favourably remarked. However, Tilting at Don Quixote is a desperate sort of memoir, sometimes almost distraught. Wollaston has long been haunted by a remark from his Winchester schoolmaster, suggesting that it was impossible for him to be ‘slotted in’, like other Wykehamists. He is still made uneasy ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Cold fish at the royal household, 20 November 2003

... tipple, gin and Dubonnet, in equal half measures, with two lumps of ice and a slice of lemon’. I don’t suppose this practice originated with George III, but you never know. Burrell once entered the royal sitting-room, ‘late at night, not long before bedtime, and there she sat, in a smart silk dress in her chair at the ...

A Little Bit of Showing Off

Adam Phillips: Isherwood’s 1960s, 6 January 2011

The Sixties: Diaries 1960-69 
by Christopher Isherwood, edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 756 pp., £30, November 2010, 978 0 7011 6940 4
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... a period without glamour,’ Isherwood writes in a diary entry for 18 May 1962, apropos his lover Don Bachardy’s birthday. ‘He blames me because his birthday isn’t marvellous, and I would blame him under the same circumstances.’ Isherwood feared these times without glamour – if they were without glamour – because he was about to be in his sixties ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Miami Vice’, 17 August 2006

Miami Vice 
directed by Michael Mann.
August 2006
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... cops using repossessed goods as a glossy cover for their assumed criminal characters. This is why Don Johnson drives a Ferrari and has two fancy boats. Miami Vice, the title, sounds more like the name of a rock group or a basketball team than a police department, but the series has its interesting undertow, and there is a wonderful moment in the pilot where ...

The Lie-World

James Wood: D.B.C. Pierre, 20 November 2003

Vernon God Little 
by D.B.C. Pierre.
Faber, 279 pp., £10.99, January 2003, 0 571 21642 0
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... characterises its effect as ‘like the Osbournes invited the Simpsons round for a root beer, and Don DeLillo dropped by to help them write a new song for Eminem,’ without telling us why that particular party would be enjoyable or even tolerable. Pierre’s splendour is the creation of a voice, that of a bitter, troubled but ...

Beware of counterfeits

Dror Wahrman: 18th-century fakery, 6 June 2002

The Perreaus and Mrs Rudd: Forgery and Betrayal in 18th-Century London 
by Donna Andrew and Randall McGowen.
California, 346 pp., £24.95, November 2001, 0 520 22062 5
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The SmartThe True Story of Margaret Caroline Rudd and the Unfortunate Perreau Brothers 
by Sarah Bakewell.
Chatto, 321 pp., £17.99, April 2001, 9780701171094
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... Donna Andrew and Randall McGowen’s The Perreaus and Mrs Rudd and Sarah Bakewell’s The Smart both tell the same story, but approach it in very different ways. Bakewell’s eloquent version reads rather like an 18th-century romance. Andrew and McGowen, on the other hand, situate the story in its wider contemporary setting. Indeed, it is only against ...

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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... her putting the matter of her marriage rather briskly. ‘Husbands are not possessions and I don’t want the sort of love that is demanded at pistol-point,’ she said. ‘He was very tall and very beautiful. I’m so lucky. I had 55 years with that glorious man.’ Some of those years, however, seem somewhat lighter on their feet once you’ve had the ...

I couldn’t live normally

Christian Lorentzen: What Sally did next, 23 September 2021

Beautiful World, Where Are You 
by Sally Rooney.
Faber, 352 pp., £16.99, September, 978 0 571 36542 5
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... in Rooney’s writing: her characters either think of themselves as ‘special’ – that is, smart and sensitive but stranded among normal people – or they yearn to be normal rather than fucked up and damaged. There is a relentless keeping score on this account, not only of who is a ‘normal’ person but of who is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ...

At the Movies

Andrew O’Hagan: M. Night Shyamalan, 17 July 2008

The Happening 
directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
June 2008
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... reality is then likely to be beyond talking about, and unlike the successful novelist, say, or the smart young painter, a director (owing to his relationship with millions of dollars and a prideful notion of the masses) will often disappear in a miasma of tasteless lunacy. There have been many such messianic disasters in the history of cinema and they each ...

Ceaseless Anythings

James Wood: Robert Stone, 1 October 1998

Damascus Gate 
by Robert Stone.
Picador, 500 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 37058 8
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... a belief, is now an idle liberty. Writers such as Robert Stone, Joan Didion, John Irving and even Don DeLillo, are praised for their ‘realism’, for the solidity of their plots, the patience of their characterisation, the capillary spread of their social portraits, the leverage of their political insight. Robert Stone is one of the best contemporary ...

Absolutely Bleedin’ Obvious

Ian Sansom: Will Self, 6 July 2006

The Book of Dave 
by Will Self.
Viking, 496 pp., £17.99, June 2006, 0 670 91443 6
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... clanking silver-balled whirr of grievances against the rich, the poor, the middle classes, the smart, the stupid, men, women, progress, change, order, chaos, the secular, the religious, and all of human endeavour. In a startling essay written to accompany Perfidious Man (2000), David Gamble’s book of photographs examining ‘the nature of masculinity at ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1984, 20 December 1984

... the script. He looks at me inquiringly, then puts a straight line through half a page. ‘Boring, don’t you think? Too tentative.’ He invariably crosses out all my ‘possiblys’ and ‘perhapses’. Sometimes I resent seeing a day’s work crossed out at a stroke (except that I can generally salvage it for something else). It is like having one’s ...

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