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The Professor

Marilyn Butler

3 April 1980
A Fantasy of Reason: The Life and Thought of William Godwin 
by Don Locke.
Routledge, 398 pp., £13.50, January 1980, 0 7100 0387 0
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... posterity among the honoured few who, during the past century, have totally failed in writing for the stage.’ Even the duns the postman brought him in later life cannot have been worse than that. DonLocke has been sufficiently amused by the life and impressed by the philosophy to try to forge the two together in a ‘philosophical biography’. An academic philosopher himself, he regards Godwin ...

Winner’s History

Howard Erskine-Hill

20 August 1981
Some Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution 
by Christopher Hill.
Weidenfeld, 100 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 297 77780 7
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The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714 
by Christopher Hill.
Nelson, 296 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 0 17 712002 9
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... In 12 short and easygoing chapters, originally the Merle Curti Lectures at the University of Wisconsin, Professor Hill’s account slides to and fro from causation to succession. For example: ‘Locke drew on the experiences of the revolutionary decades’ and is thus an ‘intellectual consequence’ of ‘the English Revolution’; and ‘the great revolution in human thought … echoed from ...
20 January 2011
Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist 
by Thomas Levenson.
Faber, 318 pp., £9.99, August 2010, 978 0 571 22993 2
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... 30 shillings, offering a mute but implacable commentary on the value of the British coinage. It was a hard problem; but something had to be done. One of the first to look into the issue was John Locke, who had always been a committed supporter of the Revolution. After spending most of the 1680s in political exile in the Dutch Republic, he had returned to England in triumph in February 1689 ...

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 Smart: The 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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... emulation, leading to a general corruption of morals, provided the alleged motive. The theory, finally, was provided by the prevalent philosophical-psychological wisdom: the belief running from Locke to Hartley that people were entirely dependent on external information transmitted by the senses confirmed man’s vulnerability to deception and false appearances. Everyone in 18th-century London ...
11 January 1990
Oxford History of the United States. Vol. VI: Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era 
by James McPherson.
Oxford, 904 pp., $35, June 1988, 0 19 503863 0
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Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 
by Eric Foner.
Harper and Row, 690 pp., $21.95, April 1988, 0 06 015851 4
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... given carte blanche to Southern adventurists – and McPherson follows prewar ventures in Central America in sufficient detail to convince us that this was no trivial threat. Drawing on the work of Don Fehrenbacher and Paul Finkelman, McPherson also presents a very clear explanation of the significance of the Dred Scott case, in which the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Taney declared the ...

What you see is what you get

Terry Eagleton: Bishop Berkeley

25 April 2013
The Correspondence of George Berkeley 
edited by Marc Hight.
Cambridge, 674 pp., £75, November 2012, 978 1 107 00074 2
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... of pure difference, in which subject and object, perceiver and perceived, were intimately allied. In some ways, his thought is a lot closer to Nietzsche and poststructuralism than it is to Leibniz or Locke. It certainly has more in common with Finnegans Wake than with Middlemarch. The Irish novel from Gulliver’s Travels and Melmoth the Wanderer to Dracula and The Third Policeman has generally ...

Common Thoughts

Eamon Duffy: Early Modern Ambition

23 July 2009
The Ends of Life: Roads to Fulfilment in Early Modern England 
by Keith Thomas.
Oxford, 393 pp., £20, February 2009, 978 0 19 924723 3
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... work was the ‘primal curse’, inflicted on humankind as a punishment for the Fall. Both classical and Christian orthodoxies informed early modern attitudes, so that the devoutly Protestant John Locke could assert on both counts that ‘labour for labour’s sake is against nature.’ There would be no work in heaven. But then in the second half of his chapter, on ‘the rewards of labour ...
23 January 1997
... performances should focus on one woman’s self-abandoned, isolated voicing of pain. Dido, Ariadne, Butterfly abandoned-fine. Theseus, Heracles, Attila abandoned? No: Heracles mad, Prometheus bound, Don Carlos betrayed. Other bad things happen to men. They are blinded, tortured or exiled, like Philoctetes and Coriolanus, in a political, not a sexual, un-selving. So far, Western tragedy and opera ...

Very very she

Margaret Anne Doody

22 April 1993
The Works of Aphra Behn. Vol. I: Poetry 
edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 481 pp., £55, September 1992, 1 85196 012 0
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Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works 
by Aphra Behn, edited by Janet Todd.
Penguin, 385 pp., £6.99, November 1992, 0 14 043338 4
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... grand style – just as, despite her contretemps with Charles II, she really had some belief in monarchy; and no faith at all in Whig puritans. That these two things, baroque style and monarchism, don’t necessarily go together we can see if we look at Milton, yet Milton, too, had no love of the middle class and despised its notions of propriety and decoration. Milton saved up his monarchism for ...

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