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Roll Call

Michael Stewart, 5 September 1985

Crowded Hours 
by Eric Roll.
Faber, 254 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 571 13497 1
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... Lord Roll is a very distinguished man, who has levitated over a period of 70 years or so from a small village in an obscure corner of Central Europe to the topmost rank of the British Establishment. He has had three separate careers. First he was an academic, writing among other things A History of Economic Thought, a valuable introduction to the subject still in print almost 50 years after its first publication ...


E.S. Turner: Kiss me, Eric, 17 April 2003

Dean Farrar and ‘Eric’: A Study of ‘Eric, or Little by Little’, together with the Complete Text of the Book 
by Ian Anstruther.
Haggerston, 237 pp., £19.95, January 2003, 1 869812 19 0
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... From the 11th century to the 19th not a single Eric was to be found in England, according to the Harrap Book of Boys’ and Girls’ Names. Then in 1858 the schoolmaster Frederic Farrar, not yet a dean, published that passionately morbid tale Eric, or Little by Little. This was the book which, in the face of much mockery, put the wind up two generations of youth ...

Captain Swing

Eric Hobsbawm, 24 November 1994

The Duke Ellington Reader 
edited by Mark Tucker.
Oxford, 536 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 19 505410 5
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Swing Changes: Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America 
by David Stowe.
Harvard, 299 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 0 674 85825 5
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... imbued with the influence of black music, and never more so than since the rise of rock and roll in the mid-Fifties. Indeed, since the days of ragtime the popular music business could not have existed without this continuous infusion. The jazz which was discovered as a heavyweight art in the late Twenties by little groups of impassioned aficionados, was ...


Eric Hobsbawm: My Days as a Jazz Critic, 27 May 2010

... Ray Charles, whom I had first heard as one of a handful of whites in a corner of a vast rock-and-roll dance in Oakland, California, when he was still known only to the black public. They did not dance much while he sang. By now not quite a major pop star but already a hipster saint, fourth in line to Lester Young, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, and ...

Reasons for thinking that war is a good thing

Eric Foner: The death of Liberalism, 27 June 2002

The Strange Death of American Liberalism 
by H.W. Brands.
Yale, 200 pp., £16, January 2002, 0 300 09021 8
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... a Republican, that New Deal liberalism truly became institutionalised. Rather than seeking to roll back liberalism, Eisenhower presided over the extension of Social Security benefits to ten million predominantly black agricultural and domestic workers who had initially been excluded from the programme at the insistence of powerful Southern Democrats in ...

Hard Beats and Spacey Bleeps

Dave Haslam, 23 September 1993

Will Pop Eat Itself? Pop Music in the Soundbite Era 
by Jeremy J. Beadle.
Faber, 269 pp., £7.99, June 1993, 9780571162413
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Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture 
edited by Anthony DeCurtis.
Duke, 317 pp., £11.95, October 1992, 0 8223 1265 4
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... DeCurtis. DeCurtis, a senior features editor at Rolling Stone, and editor of Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture (an anthology which includes some excellent essays and, thankfully, reveals a broader range of views than the editor’s), confesses in his introduction to the collection: ‘It [is] hard to convey to someone who has grown up in the late ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire, 2 January 2020

... with rounded two-storey nose and lower wings’. In front of it stands a column carved by Eric Kennington with images of flight and surmounted by a model of the Comet racing plane. The 1952 flight test hangar and the control tower are still standing, though the aerodrome closed in 1993 to become a business park.My half-brother, nearly a generation ...

A Spanish girl is a volcano

John Pemble: Apostles in Gibraltar, 10 September 2015

John Kemble’s Gibraltar Journal: The Spanish Expedition of the Cambridge Apostles, 1830-31 
by Eric Nye.
Macmillan, 416 pp., £100, January 2015, 978 1 137 38446 1
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... forty years of right-wing military dictatorship. In his introduction to John Kemble’s journal, Eric Nye accuses Greene of underestimating the seriousness of the Apostles. He reckons Greene had been misled by Carlyle’s Life of John Sterling, in which the Spanish venture is all about sorcerers’ apprentices wreaking mischief with Coleridgean mystical ...

Du Maurier: A Lament

Jeremy Harding, 24 March 1994

Cigarettes Are Sublime 
by Richard Klein.
Duke, 210 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 8223 1401 0
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... of them smoking. I also recall watching Casablanca at the theatre in Leeds University and smoking roll-ups throughout – a Virginia tobacco called The Ringer Returns, which came in a blue and yellow tin with the feathered head of an American Indian chief in a red roundel at the centre. I would be hard pressed now to roll...

They never married

Ian Hamilton, 10 May 1990

The Dictionary of National Biography: 1981-1985 
edited by Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 518 pp., £40, March 1990, 0 19 865210 0
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... to the Dictionary of National Biography there are photographs of David Niven, Diana Dors, Eric Morecambe, John Betjeman and William Walton. Dors has a leering ‘Come up and read me sometime’ expression on her face and Niven wears his yacht-club greeter’s smile. Morecambe seems to be laughing at one of his own jokes. Amiable images, devised no ...

Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones, 20 October 1983

The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael K 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... a useful, interesting disguise. He climbs buildings as if he were flying, his bandages unfurl and roll down to earth, caught by an admiring boy who returns them – ‘I brought your things, sir!’ – and fetches green corn-tips for the beast to eat. Sprinklers are hissing over the lawns and a fish is walking by the mareotic lake and a tree has shed its ...


John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare, 6 February 1986

... created here by Shakespeare’s Lost Play: ‘Edmund Ironside’. But by the time a copy of Eric Sams’s edition reaches me through theatrical hands, it’s been marked up and rejected. Understandably, because the play is dull and its attribution groundless. The verse is wooden and inert, yet the author’s verbal competence outstrips his dramatic ...


W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... are therefore wholly without previous experience of office? 1 January. Delighted to see a CH for Eric Hobsbawm and a CBE for David Lockwood in the New Year Honours. Would either have been honoured at all without the change of government? David, although Britain’s number one sociologist, is almost the only academic I know who is wholly without the vanity ...

The Age of EJH

Perry Anderson: Eric Hobsbawm’s Memoirs, 3 October 2002

Interesting Times: A 20th-Century Life 
by Eric Hobsbawm.
Allen Lane, 448 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 7139 9581 5
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... Adams’s eerie Wunderkammer at the beginning of the 20th. In this generally disappointing field, Eric Hobsbawm has entered the lists with a work he invites us to read as the ‘flip side’ of Age of Extremes, his great history of the 20th century: ‘not world history illustrated by the experiences of an individual, but world history shaping that ...

Our Fault

Frank Kermode, 11 October 1990

Our Age: Portrait of a Generation 
by Noël Annan.
Weidenfeld, 479 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 297 81129 0
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... a good deal of qualification, Michael Oakeshott; on the Left there is the author’s contemporary Eric Hobsbawm. Others’ heroes – Raymond Williams, for instance – are sometimes harshly dismissed (‘a nonconformist spellbinder, rhetorical, evasive and vacuous’). These judgments are made by an author whose discipline is the history of ideas. Like ...

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