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Grand Old Man

Robert Blake

1 May 1980
The Last Edwardian at No 10: An Impression of Harold Macmillan 
by George Hutchinson.
Quartet, 151 pp., £6.50, February 1980, 0 7043 2232 3
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... is hard to treat in proper perspective. To steer the course between defamation and flattery, while at the same time avoiding grey caution, is not always easy. In spite of these and other problems Mr GeorgeHutchinson has been remarkably successful in this short and admirably written biography. It is a portrait which is recognisable and vivid, essentially sympathetic but not uncritical. A valuable by ...

White Lies

James Campbell: Nella Larsen

5 October 2006
In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Colour Line 
by George Hutchinson.
Harvard, 611 pp., £25.95, June 2006, 0 674 02180 0
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... she had cut herself off from all her relatives, to save them from embarrassment by association, and to spare herself further pain. For the rest of her days, she was constrained to pass as black. GeorgeHutchinson’s remarkable In Search of Nella Larsen is full of savage ironies; for example, Marie and Peter Larsen, together with their daughter, Anna, moved at one point to a new Chicago ...

Who was he?

Charles Nicholl: Joe the Ripper

7 February 2008
The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath 
by Charles van Onselen.
Cape, 672 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 224 07929 7
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... Aaron Kosminski, who was incarcerated in an asylum though never charged with the murders. Other Jewish suspects were John Pizer, a shoemaker known as ‘Leather Apron’; Severin Klosowski alias George Chapman; Michael Ostrog, described by a police investigator as ‘a mad Russian doctor and convict, and unquestionably a homicidal maniac’; and Joseph Isaacs. A few brief sightings of the Ripper ...

Not Biographable

Patrick Collinson: The Faithful Thomas Cromwell

29 November 2007
Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII’s Most Notorious Minister 
by Robert Hutchinson.
Weidenfeld, 360 pp., £20, February 2007, 978 0 297 84642 0
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... account of English constitutional history. But in telling the story of the English monarchy, David Starkey found no occasion even to mention Cromwell’s name.* Now, with the publication of Robert Hutchinson’s biography of Cromwell, it is as if Beria has come back to haunt us, requiring a further revision of the Encyclopedia. And the analogy is not so far-fetched, since Hutchinson tells us that ...

Two-Faced

Peter Clarke

21 September 1995
LSE: A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 
by Ralf Dahrendorf.
Oxford, 584 pp., £25, May 1995, 0 19 820240 7
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... The troubles at the LSE go back a long way. Perhaps they began on the day in July 1894 when Henry Hutchinson shot himself, thus activating the terms of the will that he had made. A loyal if morose member of the Fabian Society from Derby, Hutchinson had stipulated that the bulk of his sizeable fortune – ...

His Little Game

Andrew Boyle

27 July 1989
The Blake Escape: How we freed George​ Blake – and why 
by Michael Randle and Pat Pottle.
Harrap, 298 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 245 54781 9
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... a British citizen, having served in the French Foreign Legion and the British Army. On his death in 1936 – a bad period not only in England but throughout Europe – he left a widow and the young George in somewhat reduced circumstances. The change of name from Behar to Blake was understandable enough. However, there were further complications which did not help the boy, then rising twelve: one of ...

Rabbits Addressed by a Stoat

Stefan Collini: Émigré Dons

12 July 2017
Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University, 1930-45 
edited by Sally Crawford, Katharina Ulmschneider and Jaś Elsner.
Oxford, 396 pp., £75, March 2017, 978 0 19 968755 8
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... The answer, according to the editors’ introduction to Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University 1930-45, isn’t any of the great institutions that may come to mind, but Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man. As the result of a slightly panicky policy of interning ‘enemy aliens’ after the fall of France, large numbers of refugee German scholars – most but not all of whom ...
2 May 1985
Letters of Dorothy Wordsworth: A Selection 
edited by Alan Hill.
Oxford, 200 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 19 818539 1
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Dorothy Wordsworth 
by Robert Gittings and Jo Manton.
Oxford, 318 pp., £12.50, March 1985, 0 19 818519 7
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The Pedlar, Tintern Abbey, The Two-Part Prelude 
by William Wordsworth, edited by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Cambridge, 76 pp., £7.95, January 1985, 0 521 26526 6
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The Ruined Cottage, The Brothers, Michael 
by William Wordsworth, edited by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Cambridge, 82 pp., £7.95, January 1985, 0 521 26525 8
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... hypocritical about the process: it is as natural as the strength that flowed into Antaeus from the earth beneath his feet. Women whom Wordsworth went to bed with – Annette Vallon, his own wife Mary Hutchinson – instantly conceived. He was a natural magnet for love and fortune, a fertility spirit who himself retained a spirit’s anonymity, the image in the shrine whose passivity is emphasised by the ...

Plain English

Denis Donoghue

20 December 1984
Nineteen Eighty-Four: Facsimile Edition 
by George​ Orwell, edited by Peter Davison.
Secker, 291 pp., £25, July 1984, 9780436350221
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Nineteen Eighty-Four 
by George​ Orwell, edited by Bernard Crick.
Oxford, 460 pp., £17.50, March 1984, 0 19 818521 9
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Inside the Myth. Orwell: Views from the Left 
edited by Christopher Norris.
Lawrence and Wishart, 287 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 85315 599 2
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The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George​ Orwell 
by George​ Woodcock.
Fourth Estate, 287 pp., £5.95, November 1984, 0 947795 05 7
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Orwell’s London 
by John Thompson.
Fourth Estate, 119 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 947795 00 6
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... in advance which ones are corrupt. Other books published in honour of Orwell’s year are: Orwell Remembered by Audrey Coppard and Bernard Crick (Ariel, 287 pp., £3.95, 5 January, 0 563 20200 9), George Orwell: A Personal Memoir by T.R. Fyvel (Hutchinson, reissue, 221 pp., £4.95, October 1983, 0 09 151741 9), Unwelcome Guerrilla. George Orwell and the ‘New Statesman’: An Anthology, edited by ...

Farewell to the Log Cabin

Colin Kidd: America’s Royalist Revolution

18 December 2014
The Royalist Revolution 
by Eric Nelson.
Harvard, 390 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 73534 7
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... vice-presidential nominee for 1972, Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, had been treated for depression, Sargent Shriver, who was married to Edward Kennedy’s sister Eunice, replaced Eagleton as George McGovern’s running mate. The Shrivers’ daughter Maria was later First Lady of California as the wife, subsequently estranged, of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Edward Kennedy thought his moment ...

Ah, la vie!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Lytton Strachey’s letters

1 December 2005
The Letters of Lytton Strachey 
edited by Paul Levy.
Viking, 698 pp., £30, March 2005, 0 670 89112 6
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... Lytton Strachey loved reading letters, including the published kind, but after glancing at a few sentences of George Meredith’s correspondence in 1912, he felt ‘so nauseated’, he told Virginia Woolf, that he shut the book at once: Is it prejudice, do you think, that makes us hate the Victorians, or is it the ...
11 December 1997
A History of the American People 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 925 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 297 81569 5
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... is that his approach to history is polemical, one-sided and prone to gross oversimplifications. An excellent storyteller, he describes very well those figures from the past whom he admires, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan. Those he dislikes, on the other hand, are little more than caricatures: Thomas Paine, for example, was ‘a man with a grudge against society, a spectacular grumbler ...

Is it a crime?

P.N. Furbank

6 June 1985
Peterley Harvest: The Private Diary of David Peterley 
edited by Michael Holroyd.
Secker, 286 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 436 36715 7
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... of which Pennington was the chief librarian, and the diary itself had been drastically abbreviated by Pennington and supplied with explanatory linking passages. When the work was first published by Hutchinson in 1960, rumour spread that it was a hoax, causing reviewers to treat it in a gingerly and somewhat hostile fashion; and then, very shortly afterwards, the book was withdrawn for undisclosed reasons ...
20 April 1989
William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 525 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 19 812828 2
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... less on incest. Where Mary Moorman can affirm that Wordsworth felt for Annette Vallon ‘all the worship of a great first love’, a passion ‘far more devastating than his schoolboy love for Mary Hutchinson.’ Gill refuses to speculate, prefacing his account of their relationship with the disclaimer: ‘If what follows seems timid, the reason is that caution seems best when we know so little.’ On ...

Democratic Sublime

Derek Hirst: Writing the English republic

19 August 1999
Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics 1627-60 
by David Norbrook.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £40, January 1999, 0 521 63275 7
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... Norbrook himself with conservatism for his unapologetic preoccupation with the traditionally masculine concerns of national politics. They will await the more eagerly his forthcoming study of Lucy Hutchinson, who, not content with protecting her regicide husband from the scaffold, wrote her own Creation epic. The case for the republican conscience resounds most eloquently in the impressive coda to this ...

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