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Modernity

George Steiner

5 May 1988
Visions and Blueprints: Avant-Garde Culture and Radical Politics in Early 20th-century Europe 
edited by Edward Timms and Peter Collier.
Manchester, 328 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 7190 2260 6
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... out of the abyss. Limitations on length must have inhibited Helga Geyer-Ryan. Her contribution on Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history is characteristically intelligent and dense (she thinks in German, which, in this context, is altogether an advantage). But her sketch makes use neither of the polemic correspondence between Benjamin and Adorno, nor of ...

On the Beaches

Richard White: In Indian Country

21 March 2002
Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America 
by Daniel Richter.
Harvard, 317 pp., £17.95, January 2002, 0 674 00638 0
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... called You Are There. The pretence was that a reporter, who in my mistaken memory was always Walter Cronkite, would be on hand as a historical event unfolded. No matter what the century, the reporters were from the 1950s, with notepads or microphone in hand. ‘General Washington, General Washington,’ Mr Cronkite would call to ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Queer British Art

6 September 2017
... soft rounded contour of a feminine breast’. The ‘subtler threads of temperament’ that Walter Pater had adduced in Winckelmann’s Hellenism were more than hinted at in works like Walter Crane’s The Renaissance of Venus (1877), where the goddess is in most physical respects, as writer and artist W. Graham ...

Social Workers

David Cannadine

5 October 1995
Royal Bounty: The Making of a Welfare Monarchy 
by Frank Prochaska.
Yale, 352 pp., £19.95, October 1995, 0 300 06453 5
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... money to a handful of deserving indigents once each year; and from the Normans until the early Georges, largesse was distributed to the poor at royal pageants and progresses. Even adding occasional personal gifts, and the sporadic exercise of the royal touch, this was scarcely significant: on the whole, they preferred to leave charity to the Church and the ...
5 March 1981
Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... he expanded and elucidated Virgil, his translation left nothing out. Royle is right to mention Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh as ‘one of the few intellectual giants of his day’ – ‘that noble wit of Scotland’, as Dryden called him – but he might have told us that his Aretina (1660) was the first novel by a Scotsman (and he mght have mentioned Sir ...

Whacks

D.A.N. Jones

4 March 1982
The Works of Witter Bynner: Selected Letters 
edited by James Kraft.
Faber, 275 pp., £11, January 1982, 0 374 18504 2
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A Memoir of D.H. Lawrence: The Betrayal 
by G.H. Neville, edited by Carl Baron.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £18, January 1982, 0 521 24097 2
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... Two characters in pursuit of their author: such are George Neville and Witter Bynner, two chunks of raw material, anxious to tell the world about their cook. George Neville went to school with D.H. Lawrence and supposed himself the ‘original’ of George Saxton in The White Peacock: in his memoir he congratulates himself upon his useful contribution to Lawrence’s conception of true manliness ...

America is back

Alan Brinkley

1 November 1984
... Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale have presented the American electorate with as clear an ideological choice as any set of Presidential candidates in the 20th century. The two men disagree fundamentally on their prescriptions for the economy, their approaches to national defence, their views of foreign policy, their stances on social issues ...
22 November 1979
The True Interpreter 
by Louis Kelly.
Blackwell, 282 pp., £15
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... work. Could there be a connection? On the philosophic front, thinkers such as I.A. Richards, Walter Benjamin, W.V.O. Quine have made of translation the centre of a theory of meaning. All communication between source and receptor, even within one’s native tongue, has been recognised as analogous to the model of meaning-transfer between languages. To ...
20 October 1983
Elizabeth R.: A Biography 
by Elizabeth Longford.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £10.95, September 1983, 0 297 78285 1
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Aristocrats 
by Robert Lacey.
Hutchinson/BBC, 249 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 09 154290 1
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The Cult of the Prince Consort 
by Elizabeth Darby and Nicola Smith.
Yale, 120 pp., £10, October 1983, 0 300 03015 0
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... down from precedent to precedent until they are nearly flat. Her theory of monarchy is that of Walter Bagehot, the Victorian journalist and banker, still believed in by Mr St John-Stevas. She even refers in more than one place to ‘St Bagehot’, which I fear reflects the uncritical adoration this smart performer received in academic quarters in the ...

Even Uglier

Terry Eagleton: Music Hall

20 December 2012
My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall 
by John Major.
Harper, 363 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 00 745013 8
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... The title ‘Prime Minister of Mirth’ was awarded not to Major but to the music-hall comic George Robey, with his red nose and half-moon eyebrows. The two men have little in common beyond their right-wing views. It is true that many actors spring to life only when they step on stage. Yet one could be forgiven for thinking that even a couple of ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Gerrit Dou

5 October 2000
... from The Grocery Shop by Gerrit Dou (1613-75), now in the Queen’s Collection – bought by George IV for 1000 guineas in 1817. Dou’s reputation (and prices) were then still high. He gave tremendous value. He attended closely to the play of light as it came through a window or was thrown out by a candle. He rendered the textures of wood, metal, fabric ...

Clan Gatherings

Inigo Thomas: The Bushes

24 April 2008
The Bush Tragedy: The Unmaking of a President 
by Jacob Weisberg.
Bloomsbury, 271 pp., £16.99, February 2008, 978 0 7475 9394 2
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... in the just discovered oilfields of East Texas. Among those who followed in his footsteps were the George Bushes, father and son, both of whom bought oil leases in the hope of generating an unstoppable flow of cash. In The Bush Tragedy, Jacob Weisberg shows how Bush family traits explain some of George W.’s tactics and ...

In the Land of the Free

Christian Lorentzen

22 November 2012
... Mitt Romney has now joined Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale in the political void that awaits any rejected American presidential nominee who doesn’t care to linger into senatorial senescence. Dole appeared in adverts for Viagra. Dukakis has been a public transport activist. Mondale, in 2002, at the age of 74, ran an 11-day campaign for his old Minnesota Senate seat after Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash ...

Who Will Lose?

David Edgar

23 September 2008
Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future 
by Newton Minow and Craig LaMay.
Chicago, 219 pp., £11.50, April 2008, 978 0 226 53041 3
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... nor was he tempted four years later, when he had a clear lead over his anti-war challenger George McGovern. Only in 1976 – when Nixon’s post-resignation successor Gerald Ford found himself languishing 33 points behind the challenger, Jimmy Carter – did an incumbent president have sufficient incentive to address the limitations of the 1934 ...

He speaks too loud

David Blackbourn: Brecht

2 July 2014
Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life 
by Stephen Parker.
Bloomsbury, 704 pp., £30, February 2014, 978 1 4081 5562 2
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... he read what you would expect a clever young man to read – the French symbolist poets, Stefan George, Rilke, Wedekind, Nietzsche – but he was also interested in street cries and fairground songs, whose rhythms found their way into his earliest ballads. When war broke out he was attracted by the idea of heroic sacrifice, and the first money he earned ...

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