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Protestant Country

George Bernard, 14 June 1990

Humanism, Reform and the Reformation: The Career of Bishop John Fisher 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and Eamon Duffy.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £27.50, January 1989, 0 521 34034 9
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The Blind Devotion of the People: Popular Religion and the English Reformation 
by Robert Whiting.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 521 35606 7
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The Reformation of Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society, 1485-1603 
by Stanford Lehmberg.
Princeton, 319 pp., £37.30, March 1989, 0 691 05539 4
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Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Weidenfeld, 271 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 297 79343 8
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The Birthpangs of Protestant England: Religious and Cultural Change in the 16th and 17th Centuries 
by Patrick Collinson.
Macmillan, 188 pp., £29.50, February 1989, 0 333 43971 6
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Life’s Preservative against Self-Killing 
by John Sym, edited by Michael MacDonald.
Routledge, 342 pp., £29.95, February 1989, 0 415 00639 2
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Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 
by Nigel Smith.
Oxford, 396 pp., £40, February 1989, 0 19 812879 7
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... feature came to be the provision of music, which is fascinatingly discussed by Stanford Lehmberg. George Herbert went twice a week to Salisbury Cathedral, ‘and at his return, he would say that his time spent in prayers and cathedral music elevated his soul and was heaven on earth.’ Cathedral choirs sang the difficult music of Tallis, Byrd and ...

In the Line of Fire

George O’Brien: The Sniper, 28 November 2002

... According to one early theory, the reason some of the murder sites were close to branches of Michael’s, the craft-store chain, was that the shooter wished to be thought of as the Archangel Michael, expecting the cowed populace to recall the name’s meaning (‘who is like God’) and to realise the end was nigh. The ...

Mothers

Michael Church, 18 April 1985

Gypsy and Me: At Home and on the Road with Gypsy Rose Lee 
by Erik Lee Preminger.
Deutsch, 277 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 233 97736 8
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George Thomas, Mr Speaker: The Memoirs of Viscount Tonypandy 
Century, 242 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 7126 0706 4Show More
Toff down Pit 
by Kit Fraser.
Quartet, 129 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 7043 2513 6
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Menlove: The Life of John Menlove Edwards 
by Jim Perrin.
Gollancz, 347 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 575 03571 4
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... her early death from cancer, in a rush of love. There seems to have been nothing problematic about George Thomas’s relationship with his mother, even if he has dedicated his memoirs not to her but to the Mother of Parliaments. His mercifully long-lived Mam was, he tells us in his first paragraph, ‘the single most important influence in my life’, and that ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Ides of March’, 1 December 2011

The Ides of March 
directed by George Clooney.
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... George Clooney’s The Ides of March is a slow and modest political drama that often feels like a faster and better thriller. There’s no crime, just misbehaviour and deals and dangerous knowledge, but it generates quite a bit of the suspense and discomfort we associate with crime movies. We don’t want the truth of the story to be true, and we wish the characters would not act in the way they have already set about acting ...

Ediepus

Michael Neve, 18 November 1982

Edie: An American Biography 
by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
Cape, 455 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 224 02068 4
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself 
by Jan Kerouac.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 233 97487 3
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... a haunted history stretching from 1774 to the present: the author, Jean Stein, and her co-editor, George Plimpton, of the Paris Review, acknowledge the familial dimension by providing a ‘genealogy of principal characters’ near the end of the book. The founding father was Judge Theodore Sedgwick who came to Stockbridge ‘after the Revolution’, and who ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Swing Time’, 4 April 2019

... careful, non-intrusive touch of the directors (Mark Sandrich for Top Hat and Shall We Dance and George Stevens for Swing Time); and there are the differences among Irving Berlin (Top Hat), Jerome Kern (Swing Time) and George Gershwin (Shall We Dance) as composers. There is some amazing dialogue (in this case by Allan ...

Vicarious Sages

Michael Mason, 3 November 1983

John Forster: A Literary Life 
by James Davies.
Leicester University Press, 318 pp., £25, June 1983, 0 7185 1164 6
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Mr George Eliot: A Biography of George Henry Lewes 
by David Williams.
Hodder, 288 pp., £12.95, June 1983, 0 340 25717 2
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Johnnie Cross 
by Terence de Vere White.
Gollancz, 153 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 575 03333 9
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... after the death of either man. The coincidence is made more striking by the similarities between George Henry Lewes and John Forster. They were two of the stars of Victorian literary journalism: much in demand as editors, and absolutely reliable in their capacity to produce essays and reviews of first-rate quality on a huge range of topics at an intimidating ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan, 31 March 2005

The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... as an editor. His narrative is entirely about being taken seriously by Elton John, Princess Diana, George Michael, Anthea Turner, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, Patsy Kensit, Ian Botham, Jordan, Mohammed al Fayed, Cherie Blair, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. (If there are names in that list you haven’t heard of, don’t worry, none ...

Ready for a Rematch

Michael Byers: The Bushes and Saddam Hussein, 8 February 2001

... Tribalism may soon become the determinating factor in White House decision-making as well, for George W. Bush and his entourage don’t deal in shades of grey. As far as they’re concerned, the distinctions between good and evil, right and wrong, us and them, are perfectly clear; and within this world of absolutes the family feud is alive and well. After ...

A Very Bad Case

Michael Brock, 11 June 1992

Herbert Samuel: A Political Life 
by Bernard Wasserstein.
Oxford, 427 pp., £45, January 1992, 0 19 822648 9
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... than Hugh Gaitskell was ‘a desiccated calculating-machine’. These descriptions, by Lloyd George and Aneurin Bevan respectively, reveal little more than the effects of personal irritation on imaginative Welsh politicians. In his final chapter Professor Wasserstein draws attention to ‘a fundamental innocence’ and ‘supreme intellectual ...

Preventive Intercourse

Michael Mason, 22 October 1992

Predicaments of Love 
by Miriam Benn.
Pluto, 342 pp., £35, September 1992, 0 7453 0528 8
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Love in the Time of Victoria 
by Françoise Barret-Ducrocq, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 225 pp., £24.95, August 1992, 0 86091 325 2
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... was obviously investigating that enormously important, mysterious and unexplored Victorian figure: George Drysdale. She was certainly doing this as well as I was – perhaps much better. Worst of all, the spoor was old, the campfire ashes long extinguished. It appeared that any minute the world would hear, if not the whole truth about ...

Taking Darwin in

Michael Mason, 16 February 1984

Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and 19th-Century Fiction 
by Gillian Beer.
Routledge, 303 pp., £17.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9505 8
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... and natural selection, and also the narratives of certain Victorian novels: especially the work of George Eliot and Hardy, which is taken up in the last two-fifths of the book. Mrs Beer does not want to say that Darwin’s new biological history is on the same footing as fiction; she has too much respect for the veridical power of Darwin’s great hypothesis ...

Gentlemen Travellers

D.A.N. Jones, 15 September 1983

George Borrow: Eccentric 
by Michael Collie.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £19.50, November 1982, 0 521 24615 6
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A World of his Own: The Double Life of George Borrow 
by David Williams.
Oxford, 178 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 19 211762 9
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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East 
by Alexander Kinglake and Jan Morris.
Oxford, 279 pp., £2.95, November 1982, 0 19 281361 7
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Eothen 
by Alexander Kinglake and Jonathan Raban.
Century, 226 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 7126 0031 0
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... The cool, courteous Alexander Kinglake and the hot, contentious George Borrow are two of the best-liked and most influential travel writers of the 19th century. They were contemporaries for much of their long lives (Borrow died in 1881, aged 78, Kinglake in 1891, aged 82) but play very different roles in the 20th-century imagination ...

The Hierophant

Michael Ledger-Lomas: Servant King, 10 March 2022

George V: Never a Dull Moment 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 559 pp., £30, November 2021, 978 0 7011 8870 2
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For King and Country: The British Monarchy and the First World War 
by Heather Jones.
Cambridge, 576 pp., £29.99, September 2021, 978 1 108 42936 8
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... vision of upholstered modern life, as well as the tastes of its royal owners, Queen Mary and King George V. There was a working toilet made by John Bolding and Sons, and a gun room stocked with Purdey shotguns powerful enough to shoot flies. Artists created hundreds of paintings and books for its clubby, masculine library. Harold Nicolson gamely contributed a ...

The Charm before the Storm

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 9 July 1987

Speak, Memory 
by Vladimir Nabokov.
Penguin, 242 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008623 4
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The Russian Album 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 191 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3109 8
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The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff 
prepared in association with by Sonja Sinclair.
Toronto, 265 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 8020 2556 0
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A Little of All These: An Estonian Childhood 
by Tania Alexander.
Cape, 165 pp., £12.50, March 1987, 0 224 02400 0
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... way, I inherited an exquisite simulacrum – the beauty of intangible property, unreal estate.’ Michael Ignatieff was born in Canada in the 1940s. ‘My friends,’ he remarks a little sheepishly at the start of his book, ‘had suburban pasts or pasts they would rather not talk about. I had a past of Tsarist adventurers, survivors of revolutions, heroic ...

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