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7 February 1991
Saddam’s War: The Origins of the Kuwait Conflict and the International Response 
by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris.
Faber, 194 pp., £13.99, January 1991, 0 571 16387 4
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Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam’s War 
by Adel Darwish and Gregory Alexander.
Gollancz, 352 pp., £9.99, January 1991, 0 575 05054 3
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Cambridge International Document Series: Vol. 1 The Kuwait Crisis 
edited by E. Lauterpacht, C.J. Greenwood, Mark Weller and Daniel Bethlehem.
Grotius Publication, 330 pp., £35.17, January 1991, 0 949009 86 5
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Air Power and Colonial Control 
by David Omissi.
Manchester, 260 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 7190 2960 0
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... Of all the many guises in which Saddam Hussein has appeared before the Iraqi people and the world, the most surprising was that of the great white hope of Arab moderation. Formerly known as a rejectionist – a last-ditch opponent of a negotiated Palestine settlement – he emerged in 1987, under the strains of a war against Iran which he appeared to be losing, as a charter member of what the Jordanians ...

The Sword is Our Pope

Alexander​ Murray: Religion in Europe

15 October 1998
The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity, 371-1386 AD 
by Richard Fletcher.
HarperCollins, 562 pp., £25, September 1997, 0 00 255203 5
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... the Goths were already warlike enough without the example of the old Jewish kings. Conversion also involved economics. On a tactical level even the loftiest evangelists could use economic blackmail. Gregory the Great (Pope from 590 to 604) told a Christian landlord in Sardinia to jack up the rents of those tenants who remained pagans. A Salzburg missionary in eighth-century Carinthia converted the serfs ...

Putting things in boxes

Adam Kuper: Margaret Mead

24 May 2007
To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead 
edited by Margaret Caffrey and Patricia Francis.
Basic Books, 429 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 0 465 00815 1
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... Mead and Fortune first penetrated the Sepik region it had only recently come under effective Australian control. Their bearers, coastal men, dumped their baggage as soon as they breasted the Prince Alexander mountains, leaving them stranded among an impoverished and scattered Arapesh-speaking population. They settled down to fieldwork, but while Arapesh of both sexes were gentle and considerate, Fortune ...

Poetry to Thrill an Oyster

Gregory​ Woods: Fitz-Greene Halleck

16 November 2000
The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck 
by John W.M. Hallock.
Wisconsin, 226 pp., £14.95, April 2000, 0 299 16804 2
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... beauty, he wakes up. Although Halleck explicitly lays claim to the influence of Thomas Gray (‘I borrow music from the Muse of Gray’), his Grayness keeps veering off uneasily into the tones of Alexander Pope (‘And I – a victim to love’s cruel dart,/Went – to the Opera – with a broken heart!’) – in this case, the satirical invasion saves the poem from drowning in its own reserves of ...

Terkinesque

Sheila Fitzpatrick: A Leninist version of Soviet history

1 September 2005
The Soviet Century 
by Moshe Lewin, edited by Gregory​ Elliott.
Verso, 416 pp., £25, February 2005, 1 84467 016 3
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... his friends to climb onto their trucks in defiance of their officers’ instructions, he felt a kinship with the Russian people. As he said in a 1982 interview, Vasilii Terkin, the unheroic hero of Alexander Tvardovsky’s vastly popular wartime poem of that name, a kind of Good Soldier Schweik whose survival skills coexisted with a bedrock layer of Soviet patriotism, ‘really meant something for every ...

Making saints

Peter Burke

18 October 1984
Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom 1000-1700 
by Donald Weinstein and Rudolph Bell.
Chicago, 314 pp., £21.25, February 1983, 0 226 89055 4
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The Norman Conquest and Beyond 
by Frank Barlow.
Hambledon, 318 pp., £22, June 1983, 0 907628 19 2
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Miracles and the Medieval Mind 
by Benedicta Ward.
Scolar, 321 pp., £17.50, November 1983, 0 85967 609 9
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The Great Debate on Miracles: From Joseph Glanvill to David Hume 
by R.M. Burns.
Associated University Presses, 305 pp., £17.50, July 1983, 0 8387 2378 0
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Saints and their Cults: Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore and History 
edited by Stephen Wilson.
Cambridge, 435 pp., £35, December 1983, 0 521 24978 3
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... Peter Brown puts it in his brilliant study The Cult of the Saints, as ‘spiritual impresarios’. Then it was the turn of the Popes, such as Urban II in the 11th century, Calixtus II in the 12th and Gregory IX in the 13th. As Professor Barlow reminds us in an essay reprinted in his new collection, it was Calixtus II who canonised Hugh Abbot of Cluny in 1120. It was Gregory IX who both set up the ...

Misrepresentations

Dmitri Levitin: The Islamic Enlightenment

22 November 2018
The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment 
by Alexander​ Bevilacqua.
Harvard, 340 pp., £25.95, February 2018, 978 0 674 97592 7
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The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason 
by Christopher de Bellaigue.
Vintage, 404 pp., £10.99, February 2018, 978 0 09 957870 3
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... on Islamic princes who shone for their erudition or for their love of letters and lettered men’) – was short, widely available and accessible to any European man or woman who could read Latin. As Alexander Bevilacqua shows in his erudite and eloquent book The Republic of Arabic Letters, Reiske was just one of a number of European scholars in the hundred years or so after 1650 who devoted a good deal of ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation

7 September 2016
... William S. Burroughs, Untitled (Primrose Path, the Third Mind, p.12, 1965) Ettore Sottsass, ‘Neal Cassady, Los Gatos, California’ (1962) Bernard Plossu, ‘Mexico [Mexican Journey]’ (1966) Gregory Corso, ‘There is No More Street Corner ...’, unpublished manuscript (1960) Jack Kerouac, ‘On the Road’ (original typescript, 1951) Jack Kerouac, ‘The Slouch Hat’ (c.1960) John Cohen ...
6 June 2019
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee 
by Casey Cep.
Heinemann, 314 pp., £20, May 2019, 978 1 78515 073 9
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... In August 1970​ Mary Lou Maxwell, a seamstress married to a Reverend Willie Maxwell, was found beaten and strangled to death in her Ford Fairlane on a quiet road near her home outside Alexander City, Alabama. The reverend, who had purchased several life insurance policies on his wife, was tried for her murder but acquitted after their neighbour, Dorcas Anderson, recanted some earlier ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory​ Woods

21 January 1999
A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory​ Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... niggerdom among men, their lives, whatever adjustments they might make to their condition, to be lived out as part of the pain of the earth’. In a chapter entitled ‘The Pink Triangle’, Gregory Woods writes: After the ‘liberation’ of the camps by the Allies, those survivors who wore the pink triangle – denoting that they had been imprisoned as homosexuals – were treated as common ...
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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... Thus the characters in the poem behave like 15th-century knights and often the background is more Edinburgh and the grey North Sea than the colourful panoply of the Mediterranean ... ’ Saint Gregory ‘forbiddis ws to translate word efter word,’ said Douglas. Who were these ‘many other translators of his day’? Douglas’s vernacular translation was pioneering, his language courtly and ...

Trevelogue

E.S. Turner

25 June 1987
The Golden Oriole: Childhood, Family and Friends in India 
by Raleigh Trevelyan.
Secker, 536 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 436 53403 7
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... stones with a madman. In these high places were evocative place-names: Swat, home of the mysterious Akond invoked in Lear’s poem; Malakand, where Churchill was a war correspondent; the pass where Alexander the Great met the naked Gymnosophists. The other journeys took in Kashmir, Srinagar, the Khyber, Agra, Calcutta, Lucknow, Madras. Among the grimmest visions were those called up at Cawnpore/Kanpur ...
20 April 1995
Shelf Life: Essays, Memoirs and an Interview 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, July 1994, 0 571 17196 6
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... also been laden down with paradox and wit; it is deeply conscious of several great traditions. ‘The care and the cunning of the style’, as he has written of Yeats’s ‘In Memory of Major Robert Gregory’, ‘its very finish’, serves ‘to place all impulsive decisions many drafts anterior to the version we read’. There is a beautiful neutrality, most of the time, in his tone. He gives nothing ...

Over-Achievers

C.H. Roberts

5 February 1987
Pagans and Christians 
by Robin Lane Fox.
Viking, 799 pp., £17.95, October 1986, 0 670 80848 2
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... and duly recorded on stone. In the second century, we hear of a new cult being successfully inaugurated, our source being the satirist Lucian. At Abonouteichos in Paphlagonia on the Black Sea, one Alexander claimed that the god Asclepius had manifested himself in the shape of a huge serpent with whose help oracles were given and mysteries enacted, unbelievers such as Lucian and Christians being excluded ...

Canterbury Tale

Charles Nicholl

8 December 1988
Christopher Marlowe and Canterbury 
by William Urry, edited by Andrew Butcher.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 571 14566 3
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John Weever 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 134 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 7190 2217 7
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Rare Sir William Davenant 
by Mary Edmond.
Manchester, 264 pp., £27.50, July 1987, 9780719022869
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... about Mistress Hurt; Goodman Shaw the basketmaker, into whose house John Marlowe stormed one evening in 1579 and said, ‘Michael Shaw thou art a thief, and so I will prove thee to be’; and Gregory Roose the capper, husband to the local midwife Goodwife Roose, who probably brought Christopher Marlowe into the world. Though compact – population about 3500 – Elizabethan Canterbury was a ...

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