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Uncaging the beast

Sheldon Rothblatt

16 February 1989
Victorian Anthropology 
by George Stocking.
Collier Macmillan, 429 pp., £22, October 1987, 0 02 931550 6
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... anthropology. McLennan and Tylor, Malinowski and Pitt-Rivers come to mind. No one has done more to examine their leading concepts (‘culture’, ‘evolution’) or place them in perspective than GeorgeStocking of the University of Chicago. His brilliant essays and intellectual leadership have virtually built an academic specialty. And Victorian Anthropology is unquestionably his masterpiece, a ...
23 May 1996
After Tylor: British Social Anthropology 1888-1951 
by George Stocking.
Athlone, 570 pp., £50, January 1996, 0 485 30072 9
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... English literature, and so far as I knew not in any other field either. Had I but known it, the dispassionate historian I was seeking existed and had already begun to make his presence felt. In 1966 GeorgeStocking had argued (in ‘On the Limits of “Presentism” and “Historicism” in the Historiography of the Behavioural Sciences’) that anthropology could not be said to have a proper history ...

Destined to Disappear

Susan Pedersen: ‘Race Studies’

19 October 2016
White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations 
by Robert Vitalis.
Cornell, 272 pp., $29.95, November 2015, 978 0 8014 5397 7
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... international relations scholar in this era who directly challenged white privilege by supporting equal citizenship rights and colonial self-determination. All were, as the historian of anthropology GeorgeStocking put it, ‘evolutionists’: that is, they assimilated ‘races’ to ‘stages’ of the human evolutionary past, and then assumed each had to develop separately and at its own pace. After ...

A Light-Blue Stocking

Helen Deutsch: Hester Lynch Salusbury Thrale Piozzi

14 May 2009
Hester: The Remarkable Life of Dr Johnson’s ‘Dear Mistress’ 
by Ian McIntyre.
Constable, 450 pp., £25, November 2008, 978 1 84529 449 6
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... over a century, she still arouses ardent admiration or intense dislike.’ His fellow Johnsonians Sir Walter Raleigh and A.E. Newton were also admirers (Newton, in an essay entitled ‘A Light-Blue Stocking’, wrote that Hester was the female writer he would most like to meet because, ever ‘charming and fluffy’ unlike the formidable and mannish George Eliot, she did not require ‘a preliminary ...
15 March 1984
Swans Reflecting Elephants: My Early Years 
by Edward James, edited by George​ Melly.
Weidenfeld, 178 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 297 77988 5
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... almost as many abortions as periods. She was good-looking. The divorce and its aftermath came on the last of the 11 tapes which recorded Edward’s recollections of the first 27 years of his life. George Melly handled the tapes and later pruned and rearranged their contents. The book didn’t appear until five years later, but the recording had been a rush job for George, occupying four days between ...
5 January 1989
The King’s Jaunt: George​ IV in Scotland, 1822 
by John Prebble.
Collins, 399 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 00 215404 8
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... fur sporran, had I been able (aged nine) to find out from such a book as this latest work of John Prebble’s that all these tartans were nothing but hype: a stunt devised chiefly by Scott to make George IV’s visit to Edinburgh in August 1822 as splendiferous as possible. In his anonymous shilling pamphlet ‘HINTS addressed to the INHABITANTS OF EDINBURGH AND OTHERS in prospect of HIS MAJESTY’S ...

Short Cuts

Marina Warner: The Flood

6 March 2014
... I face More of the epic would be discovered under the sand as time went on. In 1990 Stephanie Dalley added more lines to her edition from newly recovered pieces, but most of what’s left has probably been smashed in the course of the Iraq wars. It seems proper that a place of fire and dust, its skin scarred by warfare, should be the origin of the story of the Flood today: devastation in negative ...

Unmistakable

Michael Rogin

20 August 1998
Celebrity Caricature in America 
by Wendy Wick Reaves.
Yale, 320 pp., £29.95, April 1998, 0 300 07463 8
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... The stocking cap, solid black on top and red-ribbed across the tube, an eye popping out at the face end. Red outline for ear, forked red line for mouth, blue-grey near-rectangle vertically placed for shoulder ...
22 June 2000
British Clubs and Societies 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World 
by Peter Clark.
Oxford, 516 pp., £60, January 2000, 0 19 820376 4
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... in early Georgian times, many were social, like the Sublime Society of Beefsteaks, some debating, like the Robin Hood, while others were aesthetic, like the Society of Dilettanti. When, early in George III’s reign, the Duchess of Newcastle drew up her own guide to ‘what’s on in London’, she listed not merely theatres, pleasure gardens and so on, but ‘the Macaroni Club, Boodle’s Club ...

Elizabeth Bishop’s Aviary

Mark Ford: Elizabeth Bishop’s Aviary

29 November 2007
... by that terrible heat, through the red sky? Blackened boards, shiny black like black feathers – pieces of furniture, parts of boats, and clothes – I picked up a woman’s long black cotton stocking. Curiosity. My mother said sharplyPut that down! I remember clearly, clearly – But since that night, that day, that reprimand I have suffered from abnormal thirst – A number of these details ...

In Pursuit of an Heiress

Nicholas Penny: Hermann von Pückler-Muskau

15 June 2016
Letters of a Dead Man 
by Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, edited and translated by Linda Parshall.
Dumbarton Oaks, 753 pp., £55.95, May 2016, 978 0 88402 411 8
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... presumably cost him a great deal of money); he speaks of adoring the ‘soulful blue eyes’ and kissing the ‘velvet’ hand of Lady Garvagh (who was married to a cousin of the prime minister, George Canning), of peeping beneath the scanty rags of a comely Irish harvester, and playing charades with teenage girls in the house of Lady Morgan in Dublin. The tone is oddly like that of someone who is ...

It Rhymes

Michael Wood

6 April 1995
TheWild Party 
by Joseph Moncure March, with drawings by Art Spiegelman .
Picador, 112 pp., £9.99, November 1994, 0 330 33656 8
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... is; who wish Eliot had written more of Sweeney Agonistes and less of the Four Quartets; who can imagine Lorenz Hart and Marianne Moore in the same lineup; who like poems that could be set to music by George Gershwin or Kurt Weill, brittle and easy, wearing their sadness lightly, unafraid of the obvious. ‘We may never ever meet again/On the bumpy road to love’; ‘Oh it’s a long long while/From May ...
19 October 2006
Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 305 pp., £20, October 2006, 0 571 22859 3
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... crowd of onlookers. There, shivering in silk and chiffon, the debutantes waited with their mothers and fathers to curtsey to the queen. After this initiation ceremony, dating back to the reign of George III, they would be officially ‘out’, launched into the world, the London Season and the marriage market. It was, as Jessica Mitford wrote two years later, ‘the specific, upper-class version of ...

Biting Habits

Hugh Pennington: The Zika Virus

18 February 2016
... disorders’ are cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, victims of which have paralysis ascending from their legs, sometimes leading to respiratory failure, and loss of feeling with a ‘glove and stocking’ distribution. It isn’t rare. Neither is microcephaly. I looked after people with it when I was a nurse in a hospital for the intellectually disabled (established 150 years ago as the Asylum for ...
12 December 1996
... been largely abandoned as a medium of exchange because of hyperinflation and the collapsing banking system, and where all investment and most of management time and effort are devoted to finding and stocking goods that will be useful in barter exchange – everything from aero-engines to potatoes. But there is no evidence that moderate rates of inflation are damaging. Or rather, there are a few ...

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