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Per Ardua

Paul Foot

8 February 1996
In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... If you’d scanned the British industrial and financial scene in the boom spring of 1988 you would not have found a more successful, cockier City gent than GeraldJames. A public school education and a distinguished career as an accountant among the big names of the City (Barings, Ansbacher, Singer and Friedlander, Hill Samuel) had prepared him perfectly for his ...

Men in Love

Paul Delany

3 September 1987
Women in Love 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by David Farmer, Lindeth Vasey and John Worthen.
Cambridge, 633 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 521 23565 0
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The Letters of D.H. Lawrence: Vol. IV, 1921-24 
edited by Warren Roberts, James​ Boulton and Elizabeth Mansfield.
Cambridge, 627 pp., £35, May 1987, 0 521 23113 2
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... its foundations? Lawrence goes far to stack the dice against Birkin and make him a hero who is hard to like. He surrounds Birkin with intimates – Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, Hermione Roddice, Gerald Crich – who keep telling him that he is a crackpot preacher who should face up to his own unhappy consciousness. Further, Lawrence excludes from the novel the Great War – the adequate cause of ...

The Beast on My Back

Gerald​ Weissmann

6 June 1996
The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
by Allan Young.
Princeton, 327 pp., £28, March 1996, 0 691 03352 8
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... it ‘railway spine’, and attributed it to vaguely defined neurological mechanisms that originated in dorsal trauma. ‘Spinal irritation’ was a popular diagnosis at the time: Henry and William James acquired the disorder to sit out, as it were, the American Civil War. Their plucky sister Alice spent a lifetime in bed on account of her spinal affliction, the ‘dorsal trouble in the blood ...

Welly-Whanging

Thomas Jones: Alan Hollinghurst

6 May 2004
The Line of Beauty 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 501 pp., £16.99, April 2004, 9780330483209
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... Chord’, the first part of The Line of Beauty, is set in the summer of 1983. It is a time of innocence. Nick Guest has just graduated from Oxford, and is living in Notting Hill with the Feddens: Gerald and Rachel, and their children, Toby and Catherine. He is about to start a PhD on Henry James’s style at UCL. Toby Fedden was a contemporary of Nick’s at university: they weren’t exactly ...

Stewarts on the dole

Rosalind Mitchison

10 November 1988
Bonnie Prince Charlie 
by Rosalind Marshall.
HMSO, 208 pp., £8.50, April 1988, 0 11 493420 7
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Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Biography 
by Susan Maclean Kybett.
Unwin Hyman, 343 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 04 440213 9
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Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts 
by Frank McLynn.
Routledge, 640 pp., £24.95, September 1988, 0 415 00272 9
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Mary Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure 
by Jenny Wormald.
George Philip, 206 pp., £14.95, March 1988, 0 540 01131 2
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Mary Stewart: Queen in Three Kingdoms 
edited by Michael Lynch.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £25, July 1988, 0 631 15263 6
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The Shadow of a Crown: The Life Story of James​ II of England and VII of Scotland 
by Meriol Trevor.
Constable, 320 pp., £15, June 1988, 0 09 467850 2
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The Scottish Tory Party: A History 
by Gerald​ Warner.
Weidenfeld, 247 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 9780297791010
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The Elgins, 1766-1917: A Tale of Aristocrats, Proconsuls and their Wives 
by Sydney Checkland.
Aberdeen University Press, 303 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 08 036395 4
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... was to produce a devastating example of this scourge, so the disease certainly should not be discounted. The potato, which was to end it for all but fussy eaters, still awaited general adoption. But James Lind, in his definitive work on the causation of the disease, a work to which the author refers, points out the error of what she is here doing, a common medical sin of his day – that of ...
15 August 1991
Arms and the Man: Dr Gerlad Bull, Iraq and the Supergun 
by William Lowther.
Macmillan, 298 pp., £15.99, July 1991, 0 333 56069 8
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... It isn’t often that the public gets to see that James Bond is alive and well and still has his licence to kill. On 22 March last year, Gerald Bull, a Canadian scientist with a US passport, a wife back home and a mistress in Belgium, was shot dead outside his Brussels apartment with five shots from a silenced 7.65mm pistol. The assassin ...
25 February 1993
Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James​ Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James​ Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... of second-generation Mafia mufti. The business for the aspiring businessman, the boxer in the boardroom. (A high-profile exemplar of this style was the magnate, George Walker; once, according to James Morton, an ‘ally’ of Billy Hill and Eddie Chapman, later a frequently puffed adornment of the Thatcherite open market culture.) There is nothing new in the concept, quality tailoring bonded over ...

Making sentences

Philip Horne

21 November 1991
The Jameses: A Family Narrative 
by R.W.B. Lewis.
Deutsch, 696 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 233 98748 7
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Meaning in Henry James 
by Millicent Bell.
Harvard, 384 pp., £35.95, October 1991, 9780674557628
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... Forty-one years after F.O. Matthiessen’s suicide, and 44 after his big book The James Family: A Group Biography, here is R.W.B. Lewis, Matthiessen’s pupil at Harvard, with one on the same subject, nearly as big. Its very title twists a touch awkwardly to avoid repeating that of its ...
5 March 1987
William JamesHis Life and Thought 
by Gerald​ Myers.
Yale, 628 pp., £30, October 1986, 0 300 03417 2
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... Henry James Sr was a redoubtable patriarch who received a large inheritance from his father – an Irish immigrant who had made a fortune in upstate New York – and spent it on a life of leisure and religiosity ...

Diary

Gerald​ Hammond: Taiwan and China

3 September 1998
... As Henry James never tired of noting, the real thing turns up rarely, in unpredictable places and unexpected guises. I have now encountered it and, marvellous to relate, stamped on it are the words most redolent of ...
11 March 1993
Memories of the Ford Administration 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £15.99, March 1993, 0 241 13386 6
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... Everyone remembers what they were doing when John Kennedy was killed, but no one even asks what you were doing when Gerald Ford was President. The wonderfully comic, deviously historical premise of John Updike’s new novel is that someone asks. The someone is the plausible-sounding Northern New England Association of ...

Has Anyone Lost Yet?

David Edgar: the US election debates

13 October 2008
... Part 1: ‘Who Will Lose?’; Part 3: ‘Who Lost?’ With three down and one to go, it’s clear that the 2008 debate season is fitting the pattern of every series since the early 1980s. No major, Gerald Ford-type gaffe, no obvious, Reagan-like knockout blow, but a careful, well-rehearsed negotiation for minute advantage, contests in which confidence, body language, expression, and even forms of ...

Here she is

Frank Kermode: Zadie Smith

6 October 2005
On Beauty 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 446 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 0 241 14293 8
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... one a job at the university where the other works. Forster is famous for his brusque manner with probability, for killing off perfectly healthy people, say, because he needs them out of the story. Gerald Dawes in The Longest Journey is an example: ‘Gerald died that afternoon. He was broken up in the football match.’ No need for more, though more could easily have been supplied. This is machinery ...

Seven Days

R.W. Johnson

4 July 1985
The Pick of Paul Johnson: An Anthology 
Harrap, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 245 54246 9Show More
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... of writing was the sole (and rather measly) contribution to English letters made by Kingsley Martin, and has been imitated by successive New Statesman columnists – Richard Crossman, Paul Johnson, Gerald Kaufman, Matthew Coady et al. (One only has to listen to the Parliamentary speeches of Gerald Kaufman to see how this sub-genre, once picked up, is hard to drop.) The origins of the style lie, only ...

Vendetta

Gerald​ Hammond: The story of David

7 September 2000
The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel 
by Robert Alter.
Norton, 410 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 0 393 04803 9
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... translation and his comment on Saul’s angry reaction is, as throughout this book, nicely revealing, leading the reader into a brief appreciation of the way Biblical poetry works, according to James Kugel’s theory about the sharpening or intensifying nature of Biblical parallelism. It shows, too, how consistently in the David story style and politics go hand in hand: It is a fixed rule in ...

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