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Great Man

David Blackbourn: Humboldt, 16 June 2011

Nature’s Interpreter: The Life and Times of Alexander von Humboldt 
by Donald McCrory.
Lutterworth, 242 pp., £23, November 2010, 978 0 7188 9231 9
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... a stylish comedy that gently mocks Humboldt’s belief in an ordered and interconnected universe. Donald McCrory’s new biography, pious in tone and lumpishly written, could hardly be more different. Humboldt was part of a great flowering of German intellectual life in the decades either side of 1800, the period when Germaine de Staël called Germany ...

On the Sofa

David Thomson: ‘Babylon Berlin’, 2 August 2018

... of bingeing is to commit to the frenzy without any hope of rational control or order. That is why Donald Trump is the exact leader for our time: he is so blind to order and meaning because he is inextricably caught up in the binge of himself, of being Trump every moment, and of knowing that every moment is both new and exactly like every earlier moment. He is ...

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