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Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... by Moore’s raw disapproval, and is wooden and unconvincing. Brian and Jacqueline Moore met Frank and Jean Russell in New York in 1963, and the two couples, all of them interested in journalism and writing, began to hang out together. In the summer of 1964, Jacqueline and their son Michael went to Long Island while ...

Picasso and Cubism

Gabriel Josipovici, 16 July 1981

Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective 
edited by William Rubin.
Thames and Hudson, 464 pp., £10.95, July 1980, 0 500 23310 1
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Picasso: His Life and Work 
by Roland Penrose.
Granada, 517 pp., £9.99, May 1981, 0 7139 1420 3
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Portrait of Picasso 
by Roland Penrose.
Thames and Hudson, 128 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 500 27226 3
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Viva Picasso: A Centennial Celebration, 1881-1981 
by Donald Duncan.
Allen Lane, 152 pp., £12.95, May 1981, 0 7139 1420 3
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Picasso: The Cubist Years, 1907-1916 
by Pierre Daix and Joan Rosselet.
Thames and Hudson, 376 pp., £60, October 1979, 9780500091340
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Picasso’s Guernica: The Labyrinth of Vision 
by Frank Russell.
Thames and Hudson, 334 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 0 500 23298 9
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... destruction: look at the whole period and you see a miracle of invention and reconstruction. Frank Russell’s study of ‘Guernica’ to some extent bears out this contention. We know so much about the background to the painting and the stages it went through that it was a good idea to study it in detail and in the way he does. I have never seen an ...

Russell and Ramsey

Ray Monk, 29 August 1991

Russell’s Idealist Apprenticeship 
by Nicholas Griffin.
Oxford, 409 pp., £45, January 1991, 0 19 824453 3
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Philosophical Papers 
by F.P. Ramsey, edited by D.H. Mellor.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 521 37480 4
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The Philosophy of F.P. Ramsey 
by Nils-Eric Sahlin.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £27.50, November 1990, 0 521 38543 1
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... who do not already know it that the world centre for the study of the life and work of Bertrand Russell is at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. Shortly before he died Russell sold his vast collection of manuscripts and personal papers to McMaster for a huge sum of money in order to finance the various projects of ...
The Provisional IRA 
by Patrick Bishop and Eamonn Mallie.
Heinemann, 374 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 434 07410 1
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Ten Men Dead 
by David Beresford.
Grafton, 432 pp., £3.50, May 1987, 0 586 06533 4
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... hostility to the SDLP’s greatest achievement to date, the Hillsborough pact. An able Unionist, Frank Millar, who supports devolution, can also be expected to take a good number of Protestant votes. Much of the background to the current state of the IRA is knowledgeably sketched by Eamonn Mallie and Patrick Bishop. Anyone looking for startling new ...


Frank Kermode, 4 April 1996

Bertrand RussellThe Spirit of Solitude 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 720 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 224 03026 4
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... This enormous book covers the first 49 years of Bertrand Russell’s life, from his own birth in 1872 to the birth of his first son in 1921. It is not clear how many volumes are still to come; this one gives little more than half the life, and there are crowded years ahead, though it is possible they may be less interesting ...

Bertie and Alys and Ottoline

Alan Ryan, 28 May 1992

The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell. Vol. I: The Private Years, 1884-1914 
edited by Nicholas Griffin.
Allen Lane, 553 pp., £25, March 1992, 0 7139 9023 6
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... Bertrand Russell has been dead for twenty years, but his ability to arouse strong emotions seems undiminished. The Economist’s reviewer of these letters – perhaps carried away by pre-election anxiety – offered the opinion that Russell was ‘a moral dwarf’, while others have commented pretty sharply on the disparity between the honesty with which Russell faced the ruin of his intellectual projects and the duplicity and self-deception of his marital and extra-marital dealings ...

Hysterical Vigour

Frank Kermode, 23 October 2008

by Philip Roth.
Cape, 233 pp., £16.99, September 2008, 978 0 224 08513 7
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... establishment in his home town, Newark, New Jersey. As an atheistic Jew and disciple of Bertrand Russell, studying in what he had understood to be a secular school, Marcus was indignant. And to a young man of his explosive temperament that meant trouble: trouble so serious that, as he tells his story, it becomes evident that he is already dead, killed by ...

Out of Sight, out of Mind

Frank Kermode: A.J. Ayer’s Winning Ways, 15 July 1999

A.J. Ayer: A Life 
by Ben Rogers.
Chatto, 402 pp., £20, June 1999, 9780701163167
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... thought. He had a department of varied talents and no orthodoxy except an un-Oxfordian devotion to Russell. The department, housed in Gordon Square, became famous, not least because of the Professor’s furious lifestyle. London offered everything: in Gordon Square a stream of celebrated visiting speakers and perpetual high-level discussion; in nearby ...

Just one more species doing its best

Richard Rorty, 25 July 1991

The Later Works 1925-1953. Vol. XVII: Miscellaneous Writings, 1885-1953 
by John Dewey, edited by Jo Ann Boydston.
Southern Illinois, 786 pp., $50, August 1990, 0 8093 1661 7
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by J.E. Tiles.
Routledge, 256 pp., £35, December 1988, 0 415 00908 1
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John Dewey and American Democracy 
by Robert Westbrook.
Cornell, 608 pp., $32.95, May 1991, 0 8014 2560 3
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Beloved Community: The Cultural Criticism of Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank and Lewis Mumford 
by Casey Blake.
North Carolina, 370 pp., $38.45, November 1990, 0 8078 1935 2
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... A.J. Ayer began his Bertrand Russell with his customary insouciance, saying that Russell was ‘unique among the philosophers of this century in combining the study of the specialised problems of philosophy, not only with an interest in both the natural and the social sciences, but with an engagement in primary as well as higher education, and an active participation in politics ...

The Ramsey Effect

Kieran Setiya, 18 February 2021

Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers 
by Cheryl Misak.
Oxford, 500 pp., £25, February 2020, 978 0 19 875535 7
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... music and painting with mathematics, economics and philosophy, the person you end up with is Frank Plumpton Ramsey. A fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, Ramsey was born in 1903 and died before he turned 27, having done extraordinary work in all three fields. He is revered by academics, his influence evinced by the almost comical range of ideas named ...

Around Here

Alice Spawls: Drifting into the picture, 4 February 2016

... When​ I walk up Bury Place on my way from Little Russell Street and the London Review office, I get the same view of the British Museum that Vilhelm Hammershøi recorded in 1906. Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s really there and not the painting. The row of buildings – now mostly hotels – that runs down Montague Street to the east of the museum is unchanged, the railings are the same, down to their gold tips, and though in the painting there’s no tree where a large plane tree ought to be, the scene looks just as it does now, in the thinnest light of the year ...

You would not want to be him

Colin McGinn, 19 November 1992

Bertrand RussellA Life 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 596 pp., £20, September 1992, 9781856191807
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... Bertrand Russell’s first and formative love affair was with symbolic logic. But the relationship, though fertile, was troubled. Beginning in rapture, as he moulded and extended the new concepts and techniques, sweeping away the barren detritus of two millennia, the affair eventually foundered on a stinging paradox, unexpected and intractable, which abruptly took the shine off the whole thing ...


Colin McGinn, 21 March 1996

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Cambridge Letters 
edited by Brian McGuinness and Georg Henrik von Wright.
Blackwell, 349 pp., £45, November 1995, 0 631 19015 5
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... you imagined I might be some day). This thought was very disagreeable to me. Wittgenstein to Frank Ramsey: A thing which is of much greater importance to me & was so on Saturday evening, is, that I still can’t understand how, being my supervisor & even – as I thought – to some extent my friend, having been very good to me you couldn’t care two ...

England’s Troubles

Frank Kermode, 17 October 1996

The Scent of Dried Roses 
by Tim Lott.
Viking, 275 pp., £16, September 1996, 0 670 86460 9
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... by self-help, neighbourliness, modest expectations. Girls tried to look like Lana Turner or Jane Russell but sought no other future than to become wives and mothers. Men, when the larking times of youth were past, looked after their families. They might live in a once pleasant suburb like Southall, now so sad and hideous that Jean mentions her hatred for it ...

Looking big

Asa Briggs, 12 March 1992

Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Engineering Knight-Errant 
by Adrian Vaughan.
Murray, 285 pp., £19.95, October 1991, 0 7195 4636 2
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... nor his fears, is perhaps less of a unique document than Vaughan maintains. Certainly the frank admission of ambition scarcely seems exceptional, although the language it is couched in is distinctive. In his urge to point to the inadequacies of Rolt’s biography, Vaughan sometimes seems to make too much of Brunel’s words, words which were initially ...

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