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Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Looking Ahead

18 May 2000
... if you accept his peculiarly solipsistic sense of ‘cosmic’. It’s certainly an alternative to playing strategy games. Someone who, in all likelihood, didn’t spend his adolescence on acid is DouglasMurray, a 21-year-old undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, who’s written a biography of Lord Alfred Douglas. Tina Brown flew all the way from New York to meet young Douglas (Murray not Alfred ...

Too Young

James Davidson: Lord Alfred Douglas

21 September 2000
Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas 
by Douglas Murray.
Hodder, 374 pp., £20, June 2000, 0 340 76770 7
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... not enjoy the ‘Privilege enjoyed by your Grace of being descended from the bastard son of a French whore’. Robbie Ross, guardian of Wilde’s memory, was a favourite target. At a party in 1912, Douglas (now 42 years of age) made a noisy entrance, strode across the room and declared ‘you are nothing but a bugger and a blackmailer.’ Ross ran into another room. Bosie pursued him, still shouting ...

Necrophiliac Striptease

Thomas Jones: Mummies

6 February 2014
The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 321 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 19 969871 4
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... gored and trampled to death by an elephant he’d wounded but failed to kill when he shot it with too small a gun. Ingram is one of three men – the others are the amateur Egyptologist Thomas DouglasMurray (1841-1911) and the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, who died within weeks of opening the tomb of Tutankhamun in February 1923 – whose stories Roger Luckhurst reconstructs in his alluring book ...

Short Cuts

William Davies: Jordan Peterson

2 August 2018
... now.’ Uproarious cheer. ‘OK, we’ll keep going.’ He feigns surprise at this outcome, sinks back into his black leather regency armchair and turns again to his interlocutors, Sam Harris and DouglasMurray. I’d cheered for the first option, not least because I was interested to know how on earth it was going to work. The O2 was less than a third full, but even so, that’s an audience of six ...

What Is Great about Ourselves

Pankaj Mishra: Closing Time

20 September 2017
The Retreat of Western Liberalism 
by Edward Luce.
Little, Brown, 240 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 4087 1041 8
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The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea 
by Bill Emmott.
Economist, 257 pp., £22, May 2017, 978 1 61039 780 3
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The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics 
by David Goodhart.
Hurst, 256 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 799 9
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The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 143 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam 
by Douglas Murray.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 4729 4224 1
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... Bill Clinton captured ‘Americans’ imaginations about our shared destiny’, to abandon identity politics and help liberalism become once more a ‘unifying force’ for the ‘common good’. DouglasMurray, associate editor of the Spectator, thinks that Trump might just save Western civilisation. The ideas and commitments of the new prophets of decline do not emerge from any personal experience ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Sokal 2.0

25 October 2018
... clearly, this is what a lot of influential people believe. By their friends you shall know them. Among those most delighted by this episode have been Niall Ferguson, Steven Pinker, David Deutsch and DouglasMurray: weirdly few non-white non-men. I recommend that, on their next visit to Portland, these people spend some time in a dog park or two ...
15 May 1980
‘A heart for every fate’: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. 10, 1822-1823 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 239 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 7195 3670 7
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... Langley Moore’s Lord Byron: Accounts Rendered, for in these months in Genoa (October 1822 – June 1823) Byron was settling his accounts with his creditors, with his public, with his publisher John Murray, with his mistress, and making arrangements to settle his accounts with life and fame. Late in this volume we see Byron discussing a collected edition of his poems with J.W. Lake. Elsewhere Byron ...
6 December 1984
... or Magdalen – 3 they made his way much smoother. No truck with the Callaghans or Maudlings4 but real peers! All other poets so much less friended, uncouther. He had great talent – but Lord Alfred Douglas and Evelyn Waugh (less awful) – really, who needs them?5 Lord Alfred needed selling to the smugglers6 for a few beers, with his ghastly poems (and who, now, reads them?). I’d rather they honoured ...

You Have Never Written Better

Benjamin Markovits: Byron’s Editor

20 March 2008
The Letters of John Murray​ to Lord Byron 
edited by Andrew Nicholson.
Liverpool, 576 pp., £25, June 2007, 978 1 84631 069 0
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... The relationship between Byron and his editor John Murray lasted a little over ten years. It began in March 1812 with the publication of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, which made Byron’s name. (‘I awoke one morning and found myself famous,’ he famously ...
3 July 1997
Number One Millbank: The Financial Downfall of the Church of England 
by Terry Lovell.
HarperCollins, 263 pp., £15.99, June 1997, 0 00 627866 3
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... distribute the revenues of the cathedrals and bishops where the clergy needed it most. This organisation very soon started to show signs of the malaise it was set up to cure. One man, Charles Knight Murray, assumed great power over the Church estates, but forgot to tell the Commissioners that he was a director of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and an eager speculator in railway shares. To pay ...

Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter

6 October 2011
The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... ich bin bei dir.’ As in most elegies, not least those in which men elegise their lovers, there is something self-regarding here. We learn considerably less about the dead woman than we learn about Douglas Dunn’s dead wife in his 1985 Elegies. Some readers may find it odd that the poem ends with the dead woman comforting the grieving husband; except that the German words spoken in the last line may ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment

5 April 2007
The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... so Sher looks through all that Scottish mind and heart to the paper, cash and receivables behind. Other scholars, such as William Zachs in his study of the London-based Scottish publisher John Murray, have passed this way but none with such labour or at such Darntonian length. The heart or backbone of Sher’s enterprise is an ‘empirical database’ of 115 Scottish authors and 360 works ...
21 January 1988
The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect 
by George Davie.
Polygon, 283 pp., £17.95, September 1986, 0 948275 18 9
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... tradition. In Edinburgh, formulating the canon of the new university study of English Literature, Blair tried to inscribe a marked Scottish presence. But works such as the Ossianic poems, Home’s Douglas, Ramsay’s The Gentle Shepherd and Wilkie’s Epigoniad dropped away, and the emphasis that remained was almost exclusively on English (with Classical) texts and standards. Scottish literature, like ...

Speaking in Tongues

Robert Crawford

8 February 1996
The Poetry of Scotland: Gaelic, Scots and English 1380-1980 
edited and introduced by Roderick Watson.
Edinburgh, 752 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 7486 0607 6
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... big, general anthology to offer us work in Gaelic, Scots and English (note the word order) from the medieval period to the present. Catherine Kerrigan’s Anthology of Scottish Women Poets (1991), Douglas Dunn’s Faber Book of 20th-century Scottish Poetry (1992), and Daniel O’Rourke’s Dream State; The New Scottish Poets (1994) all offer work in the three languages, but, as their titles indicate ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford

20 April 1989
Northlight 
by Douglas​ Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... of the verse of Heaney, Harrison and Dunn, but it also produces very different kinds of poetry. Martianism had nothing to do with Mars, everything to do with home, the place where Craig Raine (like Murray or Dunn) feels richest. Surely Martianism comes from the ‘Ithaca’ section of Ulysses, the quintessence of home seen from abroad. Home can be a bit smug, though; and sometimes constricting. The ...

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