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Works of Art

Peter Lamarque, 2 April 1981

Art and Its Objects 
by Richard Wollheim.
Cambridge, 270 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 0 521 22898 0
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Works and Worlds of Art 
by Nicholas Wolterstorff.
Oxford, 372 pp., £20, December 1980, 0 19 824419 3
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... in common between, say, Ulysses, Der Rosenkavalier, the ‘Donna Velata’ and Donatello’s St George in virtue of which they are all works of art? As if that were not hard enough, try adding prints, films, dances and buildings and the problem becomes intractable. Yet traditionally the aim of aesthetics has been to undertake an abstraction from the ...
Jeremy Thorpe: A Secret Life 
by Lewis Chester, Magnus Linklater and David May.
Fontana, 371 pp., £1.50
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... innocently, with people with South African associations. In fact, Harold Wilson, like Lloyd George, has been caught out telling the truth, even if the truth was rather irrelevant. The final pages give a version of what the jury thought, said and voted. The authors know next to nothing of Newton, the man who did the shooting. But then nobody knows. Sins ...

Anne’s Powers

G.C. Gibbs, 4 September 1980

Queen Anne 
by Edward Gregg.
Routledge, 483 pp., £17.50, April 1980, 0 7100 0400 1
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... could not be provided by her husband. For if Anne was not a very intelligent woman. Prince George of Denmark seems to have been a very stupid man, an amiable ass who in the war enjoyed the empty honour of generalissimo of all English forces, and also occupied the office of Lord High Admiral. The extent to which he was occupied by that office is ...

Punch-up at the Poetry Reading

Joanna Kavenna: Dorothy Porter’s verse novel, 7 May 1998

The Monkey's Mask 
by Dorothy Porter.
Serpent’s Tail, 264 pp., £9.99, October 1997, 1 85242 549 0
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... Sherlock Holmes tugging on his pipe in the fog-drenched London streets, Philip Marlowe swilling whiskey, waiting for the phone to release him from the solitude of his seedy office, Fitz – ‘Cracker’ – barking at imbecile bureaucracy: the detective is perennially cast as a disaffiliated flâneur, wandering the urban sprawl, collecting pay cheques from the highest bidder ...

Ballooning

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 June 1986

The Unknown Conan Doyle: Letters to the Press 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 377 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 436 13303 2
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... When in December 1926 the creator of Hercule Poirot disappeared the creator of Sherlock Holmes somehow possessed himself of one of her gloves, and at once took it to a Mr Horace Leaf with a result which he describes in a letter to the Morning Post, written on 16 December (ten days, that is, after Agatha Christie had vanished), and now reprinted in the present volume of selections from Conan Doyle’s letters to the press ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont, 21 July 1983

Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... carried messages between Archbishop Laud and the Papal agent at the Court of Henrietta Maria, George Con. Antrim had, as early as the beginning of 1638, presented to Charles I and Henrietta Maria a plan to take an army of his Ulster clansmen (he claimed to be able to raise 10,000) to Scotland to crush Protestant rebellion. When the King needed his ...

By All Possible Art

Tobias Gregory: George Herbert, 18 December 2014

Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert 
by John Drury.
Penguin, 396 pp., £9.99, April 2014, 978 0 14 104340 1
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... The world, the flesh and the devil keep coming back, and must be rejected again and again. George Herbert’s poems vividly describe the inner weather of Christian devotion. It’s all there: self-abasement before God; horror at his absence; meditation on the boundless enormity of sin; meditation on the boundless generosity of Christ’s ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: The Other Atticus Finch, 30 July 2015

... rather extravagantly – is a set of views about black people that might put him on a par with George Wallace, a circumstance requiring you to suddenly un-imagine the noble lawyer, now no longer the decency machine who has long lived in your head as segregation’s mythic antidote. To some commentators, he is the same man, a Southern agrarian fighting ...

Diary

Leah Price: The Death of Stenography, 4 December 2008

... reprints of published fiction: Robinson Crusoe, Around the World in Eighty Days, all the Sherlock Holmes stories and even an unabridged run of the Strand Magazine. The depositories of copyright libraries are littered with Victorian shorthand editions of A Christmas Carol, Aesop’s fables, English-Welsh and English-Hindi dictionaries, the Old and New ...

Mother’s Boys

David A. Bell, 10 June 1993

The Family Romance of the French Revolution 
by Lynn Hunt.
Routledge, 220 pp., £19.99, September 1992, 0 415 08236 6
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... culprits at the time, but such is the nature of historical inquiry that even the occasional Holmes among historians failed to make the charges stick for long. Nonetheless, each generation of specialists enthusiastically brought new techniques and methodologies to the same gigantic, confusing mass of clues. Recently, though, many historians of France ...

Evil Man

Simon Schaffer: Joseph Priestley, 21 May 1998

The Enlightenment of Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1733 to 1773 
by Robert Schofield.
Pennsylvania State, 328 pp., £35.95, January 1998, 0 271 01662 0
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... This halt in the narrative of Priestley’s remarkable career invites comparison with Richard Holmes’s biography of Coleridge, which stopped just as his protagonist set sail in spring 1804 for Mediterranean exile, or with Janet Browne’s recent first volume of a large-scale life of Charles Darwin. Holmes asks what we ...

Who would you have been?

Jessica Olin: No Kids!, 27 August 2015

Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids 
edited by Meghan Daum.
Picador, 282 pp., £17.99, May 2015, 978 1 250 05293 3
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... for adoption, although that is certainly another way of choosing ‘not to have kids’.) Anna Holmes’s first pregnancy, at 19, results from ‘the sort of constant, frenzied and, yes, unprotected sex that many of those in the midst of early adulthood know not to engage in but engage in anyway’. Full disclosure: ‘I would become pregnant twice ...

Great Thoughts

E.S. Turner, 7 May 1981

The Macmillan Treasury of Relevant Quotations 
edited by Edward Murphy.
Macmillan, 658 pp., £3.95, August 1980, 0 333 30038 6
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... is well represented, but 21 of the 26 references against his name relate to works by the unindexed George F. Woodberry (another English humorist, D. B. Wyndham-Lewis, has his entries indexed under Percy Wyndham Lewis). The genuine Wodehouse entries are not really vintage, which may well be the result of trying to find unhackneyed passages. Indeed, the search ...

Give me the man

Stephen Holmes: The pursuit of Clinton, 18 March 1999

Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis 
by Alan Dershowitz.
Basic Books, 275 pp., £15.95, January 1999, 0 465 01628 6
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The Case against Lameduck Impeachment 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Seven Stories, 80 pp., $8, February 1999, 1 58322 004 6
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... kneeling before the rule of law, they seemed interested only in the perjury of one Democrat. When George Bush pardoned former Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger, who had been indicted for perjury, no Republican seemed worried that the pardon would ‘send a message’ that perjury in a good cause was excusable. To get their man, the clumsy architects of ...

What’s in it for Obama?

Stephen Holmes: The Drone Presidency, 18 July 2013

The CIA, a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth 
by Mark Mazzetti.
Penguin, 381 pp., £22.50, April 2013, 978 1 59420 480 7
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... who recently became the agency’s director. Having served as its deputy executive director under George W. Bush, Brennan returned to government in 2008 as Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser and, in some accounts, as a kind of father confessor, blessing the president’s lethal strikes as fully compliant with Catholic thinking about morally just ...

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