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Defoe or the Devil

Pat Rogers, 2 March 1989

The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe 
by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Yale, 210 pp., £20, February 1988, 0 300 04119 5
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The ‘Tatler’: Vols I-III 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 590 pp., £60, July 1987, 0 19 818614 2
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The ‘Spectator’: Vols I-V 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 512 pp., £55, October 1987, 9780198186106
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... unargued de-attribution could be almost as incautious a proceeding as its opposite has been. Donald Bond’s splendid edition of the Spectator first appeared in 1965, and has been standard since then. Its reissue, along with the first proper modern edition of the Tatler, coincided with Bond’s 90th birthday. The ...


John Bayley, 9 September 1993

The Life of Ian Fleming 
by Donald McCormick.
Peter Owen, 231 pp., £18.50, July 1993, 0 7206 0888 0
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... that seems to have gone on with Ian Fleming. One could hardly say that his fantasy life with James Bond was a case of straightforward compensation. Employers courted him; he charmed the bosses; girls fell over each other to get to bed with him. Or so it seemed, and still seems to his latest biographer, who knew him fairly well in the wartime naval and ...

Fallen Language

Donald Davie, 21 June 1984

The Lords of Limit: Essays on Literature and Ideas 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Deutsch, 203 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 233 97581 0
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... are prompted by Geoffrey Hill’s formidably erudite and compacted essay, ‘Our Word is Our Bond’, which reappears now in The Lords of Limit, a volume which, it must be said, in everything from format to price does very great credit to the publishers. This particular essay has provoked in another attentive reader, John Lucas (LRB, Vol. 5, No 20), the ...

Bang-Bang, Kiss-Kiss

Christian Lorentzen: Bond, 3 December 2015

directed by Sam Mendes.
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The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters 
edited by Fergus Fleming.
Bloomsbury, 391 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6547 7
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Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir 
by Robert Harling.
Robson, 372 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 84 95493 65 1
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... About​ two thirds of the way into Spectre, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is tied to a chair in the desert crater headquarters of Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), the head of Spectre and by coincidence both the son and the murderer of a man who took the young Bond under his wing ...

End-of-the-World Trade

Donald MacKenzie: The credit crisis, 8 May 2008

... it and any losses, the senior tranche is usually regarded as very safe (equivalent to a corporate bond with the highest rating, AAA), and super-senior as even safer than that. Correspondingly, investors in these tranches have to accept rates of return substantially lower than those in the equity and mezzanine tranches. For a structure as complicated as a CDO ...

Old America

W.C. Spengemann, 7 January 1988

Look homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe 
by David Herbert Donald.
Bloomsbury, 579 pp., £16.95, April 1987, 0 7475 0004 5
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From this moment on: America in 1940 
by Jeffrey Hart.
Crown, 352 pp., $19.95, February 1987, 9780517557419
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... country through study and then begin to remember it as their own birthplace. Others, like David Donald and Jeffrey Hart, remember it first and then study it up in order to flesh out their memories with circumstantial detail. In either case, historiography is given the task that Wordsworth assigned to poetry: to reconcile the seemingly unrelated worlds of ...

In the Marketplace

Peter Campbell: At the picture-dealer’s, 3 April 2003

... as one trawls London galleries from Lisson Street, close by the Edgware Road in the west, on to Bond Street and Cork Street, down to Saint James’s and out east to Hoxton Square. Underpinning it all is the one thing you cannot see: the relationship between artist and dealer. The Shop Sign exists because Gersaint gave Watteau brotherly as well as ...

Just how fast?

Donald MacKenzie: High-Frequency Trading, 7 March 2019

... price movements in the US – especially in the CME’s share-index futures and government-bond futures – frequently lead those in Europe, Asia and Latin America. That makes the speed at which price data from the CME are received hugely important to the world’s automated trading systems. Fast transmission of price data used to involve fibre-optic ...

Fear in the Markets

Donald MacKenzie: The ways in which ‘finance theory’ becomes part of what it examines, 13 April 2000

... Long-Term Capital Management was set up in 1993 by John Meriwether, previously a successful bond trader and then senior manager at the US investment bank, Salomon Brothers. Meriwether recruited to LTCM, from Salomon and elsewhere, an impressive team of experienced traders and specialists in mathematical finance. Much of its trading was with leading ...


James Meek: The Rise of the Private Army, 2 August 2007

Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army 
by Jeremy Scahill.
Serpent’s Tail, 452 pp., £12.99, August 2007, 978 1 84668 630 6
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... In a James Bond film, viewer credulity gets its toughest workout with the hero’s tour of, and subsequent escape from, the villain’s lair. This power-crazed evil genius, this smug gentleman in a tightly tailored suit posing as a bold entrepreneur: how was he able to construct a paramilitary base over a dozen square miles in the middle of, say, the United States, without its raising an eyebrow among the local constabulary? How did he get the zeppelin hangar past the county planning board? Such vast amounts of concrete ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: In the Bunker, 2 July 2020

... in the popular imagination (and perhaps in reality too) with evil megalomaniacs: every other Bond villain is to be found lurking in an underground lair – under the influence, perhaps, of the Führerbunker in Berlin. In March 1999 Slobodan Milošević was said by the New York Post to be ‘holed up in a fortified underground bunker in Belgrade’. In ...

Farewell Sovereignty

Stephen Sedley: The Case for the Regicides, 9 February 2006

The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold 
by Geoffrey Robertson.
Chatto, 429 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7011 7602 4
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... indefatigable George Thomason’s collection. Robertson is not alone in setting store by these. Donald Veall, in his seminal survey of the legal pamphlets in the Thomason Tracts, The Popular Movement for Law Reform 1640-60, singled out Cooke as one of the most lucid and persuasive of the law reformers writing at and after the climax of the war. Even if he ...

The Marked Man

Audrey Gillan: Portrait of a Paedophile, 21 September 2000

... one with a square black face. James said it wasn’t a fake, his sister had bought it for him on Bond Street. They hadn’t been in contact for ten years, he said, and it was a present to seal their reconciliation. I asked to see the watch, but it wasn’t heavy enough to be the real thing and the word ‘Gucci’ was set off-centre. So what is the story of ...

Empty Cookie Jar

Donald MacKenzie: Ethnoaccountancy, 22 May 2003

Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego and the Death of Enron 
by Robert Bryce.
PublicAffairs, 394 pp., £9.99, November 2002, 1 903985 54 4
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Enron: The Rise and Fall 
by Loren Fox.
Wiley, 384 pp., £18.50, October 2002, 0 471 23760 4
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... displaced. Underperforming corporate assets were sold off, workforces were dramatically shrunk, bond-holders paid – and both raiders and shareholders were greatly enriched. Gradually, corporations built defences. Enron, for example, was born in 1985 when InterNorth, a larger pipeline company, merged with Kenneth Lay’s Houston Natural Gas and thus ...

If you don’t swing, don’t ring

Christopher Turner: Playboy Mansions, 21 April 2016

Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics 
by Beatriz Preciado.
Zone, 303 pp., £20.95, October 2014, 978 1 935408 48 2
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Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny 
by Holly Madison.
Dey Street, 334 pp., £16.99, July 2015, 978 0 06 237210 9
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... He bought a plot of land in a well-to-do neighbourhood of Chicago and invited the architect Donald Jaye to design him the ultimate bachelor pad. The scheme was denied planning permission, but the drawings were published in the May 1962 issue of the magazine. The ‘almost cartoonishly modern’ three-storey building, as Preciado describes it, was to ...

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