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1086, 1886, 1986 and all that

John Dodgson, 22 May 1986

Domesday: 900 Years of England’s Norman Heritage 
edited by Kate Allen.
Millbank in association with the National Domesday Committee, 192 pp., £3, March 1986, 0 946171 49 1
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The Normans and the Norman Conquest 
by R. Allen Brown.
Boydell, 259 pp., £19.50, January 1985, 0 85115 427 1
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The Domesday Book: England’s Heritage, Then and Now 
edited by Thomas Hinde.
Hutchinson, 351 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 09 161830 4
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Domesday Heritage 
edited by Elizabeth Hallam.
Arrow, 95 pp., £3.95, February 1986, 0 09 945800 4
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Domesday Book through Nine Centuries 
by Elizabeth Hallam.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.50, March 1986, 0 500 25097 9
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Domesday Book: A Reassessment 
edited by Peter Sawyer.
Arnold, 182 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 7131 6440 9
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... on professionals the need to keep on working at the meaning of the text. John Blair and G.H. Martin scan the text for evidence of the state of Secular Minster Churches and Borough towns respectively. Howard Clarke, on the Domesday ‘satellites’, follows up Galbraith and presents a concise list of the MSS which contain the texts of the ...

Did Harold really get it in the eye?

Patrick Wormald: The Normans, 3 June 2004

The Battle of Hastings, 1066 
by M.K. Lawson.
Tempus, 288 pp., £16.99, October 2003, 0 7524 1998 6
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The Normans: The History of a Dynasty 
by David Crouch.
Hambledon, 345 pp., £25, July 2002, 1 85285 387 5
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Domesday Book: A Complete Translation 
edited by Ann Williams and G.H. Martin.
Penguin, 1436 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 14 143994 7
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... You had your 1917 in 1066,’ a Russian diplomat was once said to have told his British counterpart. The ruling class of England, and much of the rest of Britain, was re-created by the Norman Conquest. Most of the nobly born have at one time or another sought to find progenitors among the Companions of the Conqueror, and the words ‘noble’, ‘gentle’ and ‘aristocrat’ themselves come from French ...

Ripping Yarns

John Sutherland, 8 April 1993

Tennyson 
by Michael Thorn.
Little, Brown, 566 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 316 90299 3
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Tennyson 
by Peter Levi.
Macmillan, 370 pp., £20, March 1993, 0 333 52205 2
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... a poet for the wild Sixties. A provocative spin was given to the debate by Robert Bernard Martin in his Tennyson: The Unquiet Heart (1980). Martin traced the Tennysonian gloom back to the fear of stigmatising illness. Young Alfred’s formative years, according to this biography, were ...

Pretty Good Privacy

Brian Rotman, 1 June 2000

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography 
by Simon Singh.
Fourth Estate, 402 pp., £16.99, September 1999, 1 85702 879 1
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In Code: A Mathematical Journey 
by Sarah Flannery.
Profile, 292 pp., £14.99, April 2000, 1 86197 222 9
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Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption 
by Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau.
MIT, 346 pp., £10.50, April 1999, 0 262 54100 9
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... access to the information designed to encrypt it? The answer, pioneered by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman in the early 1970s, is to reject a principle of cryptography apparently so obvious as to go unchallenged until then: namely, that deciphering is the reverse of enciphering and that encryption and decryption keys are identical. Rejecting this ...

Her Anti-Aircraft Guns

Lorna Scott Fox: Clarice Lispector, 8 April 2010

Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector 
by Benjamin Moser.
Haus, 479 pp., £20, September 2009, 978 1 906598 42 6
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The Apple in the Dark 
by Clarice Lispector, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Haus, 445 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 906598 45 7
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... hungry romantics, but martyrs. The plot, if it can be called one, is as follows. A man called Martin has committed a crime, the nature of which he has repressed. Fleeing a German who might be after him, he finds himself in a desert where he relinquishes the signs of his humanity – language, intelligence – in order to try to rebuild himself and his ...

Fortress Mathematica

Brian Rotman: John Nash and Paul Erdos, 17 September 1998

The Man who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdös and the Search for Mathematical Truth 
by Paul Hoffman.
Fourth Estate, 320 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 1 85702 811 2
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Proofs from the Book 
by Martin Aigner and Günter Ziegler.
Springer, 210 pp., £19, August 1998, 3 540 63698 6
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A Beautiful Mind: Genius and Schizophrenia in the Life of John Nash 
by Sylvia Nasar.
Faber, 464 pp., £17.99, September 1998, 0 571 17794 8
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... Being affectionate with numbers, endlessly wondering about them, loving them, is, though impersonal and bloodless, no more strange perhaps than being possessed by the endless ramifications of cricket or trout fishing. Being consumed by numbers to the exclusion of all else, sounds deranged. The Hungarian mathematician, Paul Erdös, number theorist and combinatorialist extraordinary, eccentric, socially dysfunctional, obsessive, childishly egocentric, helplessly dependent on fellow number freaks to feed him, transport him, put him up and put up with him, was certainly outside the normal range, but not insanely so ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor, 18 February 2016

The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... Dickens), and neither do most authors from roughly the second half of the 20th century onwards. Martin Amis is not M.L. Amis. Between these two periods, however, this largely male habit of self-designation spreads thick and fast: H.G., T.S., W.B., E.M., D.H., L.P., W.H. and so on. No doubt some doctoral student will one day explain why. Perhaps it has to do ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... the children are dead. In the same programme there’s another playlet, Advice to Iraqi Women by Martin Crimp. I’d dearly love to have written both of them and it would have done more good, I’m sure, than going on the march. 15 December. As I’m correcting the proofs of this Diary the news breaks of the arrest of Saddam Hussein. It ought to matter, and ...

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