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A Model Science

George Miller, 3 November 1983

Mental Models: Towards a Cognitive Science of Language, Inference and Consciousness 
by P.N. Johnson-Laird.
Cambridge, 513 pp., £27.50, August 1983, 0 521 24123 5
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... Cognition has become fashionable. Half a dozen academic disciplines are currently scrambling to establish ownership. The philosophers, who got there first, are being jostled by empiricists, but are relaxing none of their traditional claims. To psychologists, cognition is a ‘problem’ that only they can analyse experimentally. Social anthropologists feel that their concern for culture gives them some special claim to cognition ...

Psychotropicana

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen: The realities of depression, 11 July 2002

La Fatigue d’être soi: Dépression et société 
by Alain Ehrenberg.
Odile Jacob, 414 pp., €8.35, August 2001, 2 7381 0859 8
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Comment la Dépression est devenue une épidémie 
by Philippe Pignarre.
Découverte, 92 pp., €14.48, September 2001, 2 7071 3517 8
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... the individual, unemployment and so on. This argument isn’t new: at the end of the 19th century, George Miller Beard was already associating ‘neurasthenia’ with the ‘nervous fatigue’ brought on by the pressures of living in large American cities. The problem with this sociological explanation is that it explains nothing. Even supposing that ...

Brexit and the Constitution

George Letsas, 16 March 2017

... that the Supreme Court reverted to the archaic notion of parliamentary sovereignty in the Miller judgment. Anxious to justify its decision that the executive doesn’t have the constitutional power to affect individual rights grounded in EU law, the majority subsumed these rights under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. ‘Consistently with ...

Presidential Criticism

John Sutherland, 10 January 1991

Victorian Subjects 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 330 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0820 8
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Tropes, Parables, Performatives: Essays on 20th-Century Literature 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 266 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0836 4
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... as they make their way to the annual convention of the Modern Languages Association. J. Hillis Miller is one of the handful who matter. Like those mystic few who know the Coca Cola formula, such people shouldn’t be allowed to travel on the same plane. The collective loss would be irreparable. Harvester Press salutes ...

Pouting

Karl Miller: Smiley and Bingham, 9 May 2013

A Delicate Truth 
by John le Carré.
Viking, 310 pp., £18.99, April 2013, 978 0 670 92279 6
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The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham 
by Michael Jago.
Biteback, 308 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 1 84954 513 6
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... Bear of that night sky being the series of novels lit by the round English gentleman, spymaster George Smiley, he who wipes his glasses with the thick end of his unfailing tie. Among the features of these spy stories is a concern with patriotism and uncertainty, not least with the uncertainties of patriotism. There are passages which can be hard to ...

Waiting for the Dawn to Come

Rachel Bowlby: Reading George Eliot, 11 April 2013

Reading for Our Time: ‘Adam Bede’ and ‘Middlemarch’ Revisited 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Edinburgh, 191 pp., £19.99, March 2012, 978 0 7486 4728 6
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... still moment, away from the concerns of its particular milieu. In Reading for Our Time, J. Hillis Miller is moved to comment more than once on this passage about a spectator alone with a view. To readers familiar with Miller, it will come as no surprise. In a literary journey that has now reached its seventh decade (his ...

Hormone Wars

A. Craig Copetas, 23 April 1992

Crazy Cock 
by Henry Miller.
HarperCollins, 202 pp., £14.99, March 1992, 0 00 223943 4
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The Happiest Man Alive 
by Mary Dearborn.
HarperCollins, 368 pp., £18.50, July 1991, 0 00 215172 3
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... sneered the American expatriate. ‘The game has no place in my life.’ I don’t know if Henry Miller was a football fan, but after reading his long-lost novel Crazy Cock, which was located by Miller scholar Mary Dearborn, together with Dearborn’s biography of the quintessential American writer in Paris, I suspect that ...

Gissing may damage your health

Jane Miller, 7 March 1991

The Collected Letters of George Gissing. Vol. I: 1863-1880 
edited by Paul Mattheisen, Arthur Young and Pierre Coustillas.
Ohio, 334 pp., £47.50, September 1990, 0 8214 0955 7
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... My great-aunt Clara and George Gissing were friends during the last ten years of his life. He wrote to her about once a week, always as Miss Collet, and quite often bared his soul to her. She was an expert on women’s work and a civil servant. During his lifetime she gave him money to educate his sons, and after he died she not only arranged with Downing Street for a Civil List pension for them ...

Costume Codes

David Trotter, 12 January 1995

Rebel Women: Feminism, Modernism and the Edwardian Novel 
by Jane Eldridge Miller.
Virago, 241 pp., £15.99, October 1994, 1 85381 830 5
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... sentence’ that Woolf thought Dorothy Richardson had evolved and literary feminism. Jane Eldridge Miller’s wide-ranging and perceptive study of Edwardian fiction by and about women is at its formidable best when most conclusively laying this view to rest. Miller stops short of Radclyffe Hall, but her aim is to define the ...

Sound Advice for Scotch Reviewers

Karl Miller, 24 January 1980

... refers in the letter to a number of acquaintances, some of them prominent, such as the jurist George Joseph Bell and the scientist Sir David Brewster, and some of them obscure. Close friends used to forgather with him at the house of Woodhall in the lea of the Pentland Hills, where the letter was written. The house was that of the philanthropic Miss ...

Big Stick Swagger

Colin Kidd: Republican Conspiracism, 6 January 2022

A Conspiratorial Life: Robert Welch, the John Birch Society and the Revolution of American Conservatism 
by Edward H. Miller.
Chicago, 456 pp., £24, January, 978 0 226 44886 2
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... So abrasively​ right-wing was George W. Bush’s gravel-voiced vice-president, Dick Cheney, that he got the nickname Darth Vader. Out of office he hammed up the part, making public entrances to the Imperial March from Star Wars. He once asked his wife, Lynne, if it annoyed her that people referred to him as Darth Vader ...

Get it out of your system

Jenny Diski, 8 May 1997

The Anatomy of Disgust 
by William Ian Miller.
Harvard, 313 pp., £16.50, April 1997, 0 674 03154 7
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... ready to show that these truths are not universal. It’s just possible, however, that William Miller has cracked the problem with his simple but glorious statement: ‘One simply did not drink pus, even back then.’ If we want to find a common response on which all people at all times and all places can agree, then the pus-drinking activity of St ...

The Big Store

Norman Hampson, 21 January 1982

The Bon Marché: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store 1869-1920 
by Michael Miller.
Allen and Unwin, 266 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 0 04 330316 1
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Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the 19th Century 
by Bonnie Smith.
Princeton, 303 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 691 05330 8
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Marianne into Battle: Republican Imagery and Symbolism in France 1789-1880 
by Maurice Agulhon, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Cambridge, 235 pp., £18.50, June 1981, 0 521 28224 1
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... replacement of Squire Allworthy by Mr Bounderby. In this interesting and original book, Michael Miller suggests that they may have ordered these things better in France. His subject is the history of the greatest of the 19th-century Paris department stores, the Bon Marché, from its creation until the 1914 War. In his conclusion, however, he suggests that ...

Feminist Perplexities

Dinah Birch, 11 October 1990

Seductions: Studies in Reading and Culture 
by Jane Miller.
Virago, 194 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 86068 943 3
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... price for admission. In her discriminating survey of the issues confronting feminism today, Jane Miller argues that it has been too high. The form of her book is a demonstration of this conviction, for it is an account of an intellectual dilemma which takes shape as an autobiography. She remembers her own experience as an undergraduate at Cambridge, where ...

Copying the coyote

Richard Poirier, 18 October 1984

The Principles of Psychology 
by William James, introduced by George Miller.
Harvard, 1302 pp., £14.95, December 1983, 0 674 70625 0
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A Stroll with William James 
by Jacques Barzun.
Chicago, 344 pp., £16, October 1983, 0 226 03865 3
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Becoming William James 
by Howard Feinstein.
Cornell, 377 pp., $24.95, May 1984, 0 8014 1617 5
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Essays in Psychology 
by William James, edited by Frederick Burkhardt and Fredson Bowers.
Harvard, 467 pp., £32, April 1984, 0 674 26714 1
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... When, in the summer of 1898, at the age of 56, William James went to Berkeley, California to deliver a series of lectures on pragmatism, he could have used his own life to illustrate the immensely difficult but successful application of one of its tenets: that truth is best seen as ‘what it is better for us to believe’, not as ‘as an accurate representation of reality’, and that what is better for us to believe is what can be ascertained only in and through our actions, not by consultation with fixed ideas or traditions or, notably in his case, by family example ...

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