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5 September 1996
Cambridge Women: Twelve Portraits 
edited by Edward Shils and Carmen Blacker.
Cambridge, 292 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 521 48344 1
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A Woman in History: Eileen Power 1889-1940 
by Maxine Berg.
Cambridge, 292 pp., £45, April 1996, 0 521 40278 6
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... instead that it was precisely by not making an aggressive nuisance of themselves that women eventually got what they wanted; that virtue and patience were ultimately rewarded. The Introduction, by EdwardShils, to Cambridge Women, a collection of essays on the lives of 12 (dead) women more or less – and some pretty remotely – connected with the University, is an extreme example of this second ...
22 May 1986
The past is a foreign country 
by David Lowenthal.
Cambridge, 489 pp., £27.50, November 1985, 0 521 22415 2
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... fiction more like history,’ while the past constructed by historians (and by some novelists) is more coherent than the past was when it happened. History has its predicaments. In the opinion of EdwardShils, it is being undone by ‘technology, rationality and government policy’. More importantly, it suffers from the disappearance of a broad ‘consensually-shared past’. The removal of ...
2 October 1997
... popular culture, and their attendance at the funeral, evoked a world of strong pleasures and emotional stimulation very attractive to young adults. Again, this is not as new as it appears: the future Edward VIII, as Prince of Wales, carefully cultivated his relationships with the stars of prewar popular culture and that – what in the interwar years was always called ‘glamour’ – was undoubtedly ...
13 June 1991
The Political Responsibility of Intellectuals 
edited by Ian MacLean, Alan Montefiore and Peter Winch.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £27.50, December 1990, 0 521 39179 2
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... the experiences of Eastern Europe, can no longer distance themselves from politics. Intellectual life is now nearly always politically funded and structured. A more traditional view is urged by EdwardShils, who contends that intellectuals always work within traditions, to which they feel primary responsibility. On the whole, Shils admires ‘institution intellectuals’, who can be exonerated for ...

The Unstoppable Upward

James Wolcott: ‘The Life of Saul Bellow’

24 January 2019
The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965-2005 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 864 pp., £35, November 2018, 978 0 224 10188 2
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... incidents and a useful guide to the biographer’s tradecraft, but pertinent to our immediate interest is the section where Atlas gives a draft of the work in progress to the social scientist EdwardShils – a long-time colleague and frenemy of Bellow’s at the University of Chicago – to vet for errors, misemphases, solecisms and overall tone and conditioning, much as the critic Dwight Macdonald ...

Djojo on the Corner

Benedict Anderson

24 August 1995
After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist 
by Clifford Geertz.
Harvard, 198 pp., £17.95, April 1995, 0 674 00871 5
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... Kroeber (1876), A.R. Radcliffe-Brown (1881), and Bronislaw Malinowski (1884), with Ruth Benedict (1887) at the tail end. The second generation were born in the decade 1901-11: Margaret Mead (1901), Edward Evans-Pritchard (1902), Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908), Edmund Leach (1910), Louis Dumont and Max Gluckman (1911). They were formed in the age of Hitler and Stalin, and, in the cases of France and ...
30 September 1999
Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... event in Venice in July 1960 (others in attendance were Moravia, Iris Murdoch and Herbert Read): The main event, from the point of view of sheer scandal, was a series of furious clashes between Mr Shils and William [Phillips], on the subject of mass culture, naturally. I swear Shils is Dr Pangloss reborn and without Dr Pangloss’s charm and innocence. I said so, in almost as many words, when I got ...

The Doctrine of Unripe Time

Ferdinand Mount: The Fifties

16 November 2006
Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties 
by Peter Hennessy.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, October 2006, 0 7139 9571 8
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... not Butskellism or even conservatism, it was the Doctrine of Unripe Time. In this they had one unfailing ally: the tomblike secrecy in which government was then conducted. The American sociologist EdwardShils pointed out that ‘the British ruling class is unequalled in secretiveness and taciturnity … No ruling class discloses as little of its confidential proceedings as does the British ...

How far shall I take this character?

Richard Poirier: The Corruption of Literary Biography

2 November 2000
Bellow: A Biography 
by James Atlas.
Faber, 686 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 14356 3
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... himself. Even the award in 1974 of the Nobel Prize didn’t appease him for long. Just a few years after that, his colleague and formerly close friend at the University of Chicago, the sociologist EdwardShils, sent a shrewd note of caution to Allan Bloom: ‘Better watch out for Saul today; he’s in a bad mood. The Nobel Prize is being announced, and you can’t win twice.’ Most of the ...

Is It Glamorous?

David Simpson: Stefan Collini among the Intellectuals

6 March 2008
Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 544 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 19 929105 5
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... interest. Such a display of professional modesty speaks for a different time; similarly, Noel Annan’s model of a tightly related British intellectual aristocracy driving the national culture, and EdwardShils’s celebration of postwar Britain as a haven for intellectuals (‘Outside the China of the Mandarins, no great society has ever had a body of intellectuals so integrated with, and so ...

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