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Living with Armageddon

Dudley Young, 19 September 1985

The World of Lawrence: A Passionate Appreciation 
by Henry Miller.
Calder, 272 pp., £14.95, April 1985, 0 7145 3866 3
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... poverty: evidence, perhaps, that under certain conditions anachronism works, and not just for Young Fogeys. Puzzling matters here: but the emergence of these musicians in an otherwise extremely dry season does at least suggest that living with Armageddon is a complex business, which rightly inclines one to resist the corrosive simplicities in the voice of ...

Don’t forget the primitive

Mary Beard, 20 August 1992

Origins of the Sacred: The Ecstasies of Love and War 
by Dudley Young.
Little, Brown, 379 pp., £16.99, May 1992, 0 356 20628 9
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... bigotry and racism sheltering under the authority of ‘traditional’ Classical scholarship. Now Dudley Young (in a more modest 350 pages) joins in the campaign – with a differently aimed, but equally impassioned, attack on ‘the Greeks’ as we think we know them. For Young, the ‘achievements’ of Greek ...

False Brought up of Nought

Thomas Penn: Henry VII’s Men on the Make, 27 July 2017

Henry VII’s New Men and the Making of Tudor England 
by Steven Gunn.
Oxford, 393 pp., £60, August 2016, 978 0 19 965983 8
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... king, had died aged 52, in his privy chamber at Richmond Palace. But Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley, though rarely straying from the king’s side in his last disease-ridden and paranoid years, had been away from court and nobody had bothered to tell them. More than that: a faction of the late king’s advisers had decided to keep his death a secret ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... 12 February. A shoddy programme about the conviction of Jonathan King for offences against young men dating back twenty-five years and more. While it features some of the police involved, it manages not to ask the pertinent question: if these 15-year-old boys had been 15-year-old girls and romping round in Rolls-Royces even more famous than those of ...


Ruth Dudley Edwards: Peddling Books, 21 January 1988

... Ricketts were among the illustrators who often delighted and sometimes shocked public opinion; the young Max Beerbohm and Oscar Wilde among the best-known of the writers. And with the often splendid Yellow Book, first published in 1894, the firm achieved real notoriety and inspired innumerable parodies, comic verses and quips. Norman Gale, a long since ...

Eating people

Claude Rawson, 24 January 1985

Cannibalism and the Common Law: The Story of the Tragic Last Voyage of the ‘Mignonette’ 
by A.W.B. Simpson.
Chicago, 353 pp., £21.25, July 1984, 0 226 75942 3
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... from more recent conflicts – in Cambodia, for example. The Guardian reported in 1982 that young Argentinian soldiers captured in the Falklands ‘had been convinced that if they were captured they would be eaten’ – a variant of the cannibal imputation previously used by slave-traders to dissuade slaves from escaping to other masters or foreign ...

Alan Bennett writes about his new play

Alan Bennett: ‘The Habit of Art’, 5 November 2009

... café I cared for. There were undergraduates I knew at whom Auden made passes, though I was still young and innocent enough to find a pass as remarkable as the person making it.When he died in 1973 his death seemed to me less a loss to poetry – the poetry was largely over – than a loss to knowledge. Auden was a library in himself and now all this store ...

Uncrownable King and Queen

Christopher Sykes, 7 February 1980

The Windsor Story 
by J. Bryan and Charles Murphy.
Granada, 602 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 246 11323 5
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... is here conveniently known, is essentially familiar. Whether it is seen as the tale of the fatuous young charmer and the intriguing, ambitious witch, or, as they themselves chose to present it, as the pathetic picture of two orphans of the storm, victimised by the hound Baldwin, the main facts on which it is based are widely known and the subject of little ...

Chinaberry Pie

D.A.N. Jones, 1 March 1984

Modern Baptists 
by James Wilcox.
Secker, 239 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 9780436570988
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by Sven Delblanc, translated by Paul Britten Austin.
Secker, 153 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 9780436126802
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High Spirits 
by Robertson Davies.
Penguin, 198 pp., £2.50, January 1984, 0 14 006505 9
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by Dudley St John Magnus.
Angus and Robertson, 133 pp., £6.95, January 1984, 0 207 14565 2
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Train to Hell 
by Alexei Sayle.
Methuen, 152 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 413 52460 4
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The English Way of Doing Things 
by William Donaldson.
Weidenfeld, 229 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 0 297 78345 9
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... Like Golding’s novel, Speranza begins with the journal of a healthy, self-satisfied, idealistic young gentleman enjoying an adventurous voyage and uttering Enlightenment cries in Romantic language. ‘Oh, bliss, to be young in the light of morning over the sea! To awaken refreshed, ...


James MacGibbon: Fashionable Radicals, 22 January 1987

... a premium for the privilege of working for it. Huntington was an honourable exception. He paid his young aspirants 25 shillings a week, for which he worked us hard but gave us a thorough grounding in all aspects of the business: a grounding which is no longer possible, so far, at least, as the larger and more rigidly departmentalised firms are concerned. After ...

One Cygnet Too Many

John Watts: Henry VII, 26 April 2012

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England 
by Thomas Penn.
Penguin, 448 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 0 14 104053 0
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... aimed at parting Suffolk from his backers, the extortions of the king’s councillors Empson and Dudley which helped to produce the vast sums handed over to Maximilian as protection money against the threat from this third pretender. In 1506, Henry had a stroke of luck: Philip of Habsburg, the emperor’s son, was shipwrecked in England, and had to have ...


Simon Adams: Was Mary Queen of Scots a Murderer?, 11 June 2009

Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by Stephen Alford.
Yale, 412 pp., £25, May 2008, 978 0 300 11896 4
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... actually an extremely complex period, in which she tried to re-establish her influence over the young James VI, amid interminable negotiations over a compromise that would bring her captivity to an end. Mary’s demise was the result of yet another plot, the Babington Plot of 1586. This was a plan to murder Elizabeth and free Mary, to which Mary famously ...

On a par with Nixon

Stephen Alford: Bad Queen Bess?, 17 November 2016

Bad Queen Bess? Libels, Secret Histories, and the Politics of Publicity in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I 
by Peter Lake.
Oxford, 497 pp., £35, January 2016, 978 0 19 875399 5
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Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years 
by John Guy.
Viking, 494 pp., £25, May 2016, 978 0 670 92225 3
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... her reign. If equilibrium was occasionally upset by a new court favourite or power broker (Robert Dudley, say, or Christopher Hatton), or sometimes a policy (on military intervention abroad, perhaps, or, most divisive of all, on marriage alliances for the queen), much of the time the court functioned well. The challenge was to keep things going: to make ...

The Kiss

Gaby Wood, 9 February 1995

Jean Renoir: Letters 
edited by Lorraine LoBianco and David Thompson, translated by Craig Carlson, Natasha Arnoldi and Michael Wells.
Faber, 605 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 571 17298 9
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... Desire, and La Chienne as Scarlett Street, Buñuel re-made Diary of a Chambermaid in 1964, and Dudley Nichols’s idea of making Thieves like Us was taken up by Nicholas Ray in 1948 and by Robert Altman in 1974. All these stories, of course, were originally novels written by someone else, but we do get a sense that in Hollywood this process is less like ...

Scribblers and Assassins

Charles Nicholl: The Crimes of Thomas Drury, 31 October 2002

... men present at Marlowe’s death in Deptford. The early career of Thomas Drury seems to show us a young man of some promise: a student at Cambridge, a satellite of Sir Nicholas Bacon, a brother-in-law to Sir Edward Stafford. But then we start to hear of another side to his character. On 27 June 1580, Lord William Burgh filed a bill of complaint against ...

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