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6 December 1979
The Storyteller 
by Alan Sillitoe.
W.H. Allen, 285 pp., £5.95
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... It isn’t easy to talk about storytelling … Explanations only mystify. Sophisticated people may be able to explain their way out of mystification, and good luck to them, but a storyteller may well succeed in explaining his way into it which, believe me, ladies and gentlemen, is bad luck for him ...
5 August 1993
The Complete Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Ernest Jones 1908-1939 
edited by Andrew Paskauskas, introduced by Riccardo Steiner.
Harvard, 836 pp., £29.95, May 1993, 0 674 15423 1
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... The first chapter of Ernest Jones’s misleadingly entitled autobiography, Free Associations, ends with a bemusing paragraph about the Welsh ‘servant who acted also as a nurse’ during Jones’s early childhood: ‘One of my memories of this nurse was that she taught me two words to designate the male organ, one for it in a flaccid state, the other in an erect ...
13 November 1997
The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Harvard, 728 pp., £23.50, October 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: The Secret History of the Cuban Missile Crisis 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 420 pp., £25, September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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... October 1962 was not August 1914 because John Kennedy had learned the lessons of Munich, which may be summarised as follows: get angry in private, think before you speak, say what you want, make clear what you’re prepared to do, ignore bluster, repeat yourself as often as necessary and keep the pressure on. Where Kennedy learned the mixture of forbearance and resolution which lies at the heart of international peace and good marriages is a mystery; his mother and father were no better at solving problems than Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler ...

Accepting Freud

Stuart Hampshire

4 December 1980
Freud 
by Ronald Clark.
Weidenfeld, 652 pp., £9.95, July 1980, 0 297 77661 4
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... to the suspicion, and he has, in fact, made use of some useful sources which were not available to Ernest Jones. The most important are the original series of letters to Wilhelm Fliess without the excisions which had apparently been intended to protect Freud’s posthumous reputation. So far, the suspicions have proved not to be unfounded. Other letters have ...
21 October 1993
The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications, Reconsiderations and Provocations 
by John Lewis Gaddis.
Oxford, 301 pp., £19.50, July 1992, 0 19 505201 3
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Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953-71 
by Douglas Brinkley.
Yale, 429 pp., £22, February 1993, 0 300 04773 8
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The Quest for Stability: Problems of West European Security 1918-1957 
edited by Rolf Ahmann, A.M. Birke and Michael Howard.
Oxford, 546 pp., £50, June 1993, 0 19 920503 5
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... or quasi-coalition regimes beholden to Moscow.’ If that was indeed the intention – and it may well have been – there would have been little objection to it on the part of Russia’s wartime allies, who in 1945 were in no mood to peer too closely behind a semi-respectable democratic façade. A policy of ‘Finlandisation’ in East and Central Europe ...

Spurning at the High

Edward Pearce: A poet of Chartism

6 November 2003
Ernest Jones, Chartism and the Romance of Politics 1819-69 
by Miles Taylor.
Oxford, 290 pp., £45, January 2003, 0 19 820729 8
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... checked in our days’ speaks the caution of 1867 as against the enthusiasm of 1832. But Ernest Jones could have done with Will Ladislaw’s luck. If Ladislaw’s connections with a ‘good family’ had been hopelessly vitiated by a parentage involving foreign and thus dubious, blood, Jones was well connected and wholly English, although born and ...

The Undertaking

Thomas Lynch

22 December 1994
... will have died of cerebral-vascular or coronary difficulties, two of cancer, one each of vehicular mayhem, diabetes and domestic violence. The spare change will be by act of God or suicide – most likely the faith healer. The figure most often and most conspicuously missing from the insurance charts and demographics is the one I call THE BIG ONE, which refers ...
18 August 1994
The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson. Vol. I: 1854-April 1874 
edited by Bradford Booth and Ernest Mehew.
Yale, 525 pp., £29.95, July 1994, 0 300 05183 2
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The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson. Vol. II: April 1874-July 1879 
edited by Bradford Booth and Ernest Mehew.
Yale, 352 pp., £29.95, July 1994, 0 300 06021 1
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... Fifties by Bradford Booth. Indeed before his death in 1968 Booth had, with some assistance from Ernest Mehew, more or less completed it, but on what appeared to Mehew as faulty principles. Thus the present elaborate and magnificent edition, which is to run to eight volumes, is largely Mehew’s own work. One gets the impression that it could hardly have ...

Dear Sphinx

Penelope Fitzgerald

1 December 1983
The Little Ottleys 
by Ada Leverson and Sally Beauman.
Virago, 543 pp., £3.95, November 1982, 0 86068 300 1
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TheConstant Nymph 
by Margaret Kennedy and Anita Brookner.
Virago, 326 pp., £3.50, August 1983, 0 86068 354 0
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The Constant Novelist: A Study of Margaret Kennedy 1896-1967 
by Violet Powell.
Heinemann, 219 pp., £10.95, June 1983, 0 434 59951 4
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... not warn her that Ada was going to escape, as she did at the age of 18, into a luckless marriage. Ernest Leverson, a diamond merchant’s son, was unfaithful, a gambler, and couldn’t manage the money, although it is true that Ada was extravagant, and notably more so after she met Oscar Wilde. She became Wilde’s fast friend, and for a few golden years was ...

Great Creatures

Christopher Small

17 August 1989
Sacred Elephant 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 175 pp., £9.95, July 1989, 0 224 02642 9
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... why no Kipling? The ‘authorities’ support one another, often repetitiously (thus one account may reappear in slightly different versions). Nothing objectionable in that: we’re not looking for ‘scientific’ evidence, although Williams uses it, along with evidence of other kinds. The two parts are as intimately complementary as verse and gloss in The ...

Anthropologies

Edmund Leach

2 August 1984
Nomads and the Outside World 
by A.M. Khazanov, translated by Julia Crookenden.
Cambridge, 369 pp., £37.50, February 1984, 0 521 23813 7
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The House of Si Abd Allah: The Oral History of a Moroccan Family 
edited by Henry Munson.
Yale, 320 pp., £17.95, April 1984, 0 300 03084 3
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Ruth Benedict: Patterns of a Life 
by Judith Modell.
Chatto, 255 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 7011 2771 6
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... Khazanov’s global comparative study of pastoral nomadism is unique. The level of erudition may be indicated by the bare statistic that the bibliography runs to 48 closely printed pages of which 23 refer exclusively to works in Russian. For those who are not specialists in the field at this level of intensity, and perhaps even for those who are, the 16 pages of Ernest Gellner’s ‘Foreword’ provide essential reading ...

Our Way

John Gray

22 September 1994
Conditions of Liberty: Civil Society and Its Rivals 
by Ernest Gellner.
Hamish Hamilton, 225 pp., £18.99, August 1994, 0 241 00220 6
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... has interpreted that collapse as an episode in the global spread of civil society – defined by Ernest Gellner as ‘that set of diverse non-governmental institutions which is strong enough to counterbalance the state and, while not preventing the state from fulfilling its role of keeper of the peace and arbitrator among major interests, can nevertheless ...
7 January 1988
A Class Society at War: England 1914-18 
by Bernard Waites.
Berg, 303 pp., £25, November 1987, 0 907582 65 6
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Working for Victory? Images of Women in the First World War 
by Diana Condell and Jean Liddiard.
Routledge, 201 pp., £19.95, November 1987, 0 7102 0974 6
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The Countryside at War 1914-18 
by Caroline Dakers.
Constable, 238 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 09 468060 4
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When Jim Crow met John Bull: Black American Soldiers in World War Two Britain 
by Graham Smith.
Tauris, 265 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 9781850430391
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... was about to experience unprecedented class conflict when the war broke out,’ and that Ernest Bevin declared in 1914, for what it was worth, that the country was on the eve of ‘one of the greatest industrial revolts the world has ever seen’. In the event, the fierce, class-rooted, industrial strife which had disfigured the early years of the ...

What’s not to like?

Stefan Collini: Ernest Gellner

2 June 2011
Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography 
by John Hall.
Verso, 400 pp., £29.99, July 2010, 978 1 84467 602 6
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... When Ernest Gellner was teaching at the Central European University in Prague in 1995, the last year of his life, he cultivated informal social relations with the graduate students there. One student ‘confessed to unease when Gellner sat down to watch television with him – saying it was as if Max Weber had dropped by ...

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