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Delay

Michael Neve

17 October 1985
Hamlet Closely Observed 
by Martin Dodsworth.
Athlone, 316 pp., £18, July 1985, 0 485 11283 3
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Hamlet 
edited by Philip Edwards.
Cambridge, 245 pp., £15, June 1985, 9780521221511
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The Renaissance Hamlet: Issues and Responses in 1600 
by Roland Mushat Frye.
Princeton, 398 pp., £23.75, December 1983, 0 691 06579 9
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... delay’. In his justly celebrated Arden Shakespeare edition of the play, published in 1982, Harold Jenkins looks at the vast literature that has already appeared on the subject of ‘delay’ in Hamlet, and reminds the reader that many critics have found it an exhausted subject that should be put aside. Ruth Nevo, for example, in 1972 dismissed the ...
20 December 1979
Final Term: The Labour Government 1974-76 
by Harold Wilson.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 322 pp., £8.95
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... I did not know Harold Wilson until he became leader of the Labour Party in early 1963. The first personal encounter I can remember was when he stopped at a party and engaged me in arcane small talk about the world price of wheat and its consequence for the price mechanism of the Common Agricultural Policy. I was blinded with science ...
2 September 1982
Hamlet 
edited by Harold Jenkins.
Methuen, 592 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 9780416179101
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The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by Brian Morris.
Methuen, 396 pp., £12.50, December 1981, 0 416 47580 9
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Richard III 
edited by Antony Hammond.
Methuen, 396 pp., £12.50, December 1981, 0 416 17970 3
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Much Ado about Nothing 
edited by A.R. Humphreys.
Methuen, 256 pp., £11.50, November 1981, 0 416 17990 8
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... impitious at 4.5.100, but this is changed to impetuous. Here there is a note, in which Professor Jenkins explains that the ‘secondary connotations’ of impitious were sacrificed in order to make clear the ‘primary meaning’ of the word which has gone. Given the context, that primary meaning could never have been unclear; moreover, the elimination of ...

Undecidability

Alastair Fowler

2 March 1989
Shakespeare’s Scepticism 
by Graham Bradshaw.
Harvester, 269 pp., £32.50, June 1987, 0 7108 0604 3
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The Elizabethan Hamlet 
by Arthur McGee.
Yale, 211 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 300 03988 3
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... answer, as Bradshaw admits, posits a content more remote from the action than that proposed by Harold Jenkins and Nigel Alexander – the ‘duality of the revenger’ theory: but he prefers it since the play their theory explains ‘seems so unlike, and so much smaller than, the play which obsessed Goethe and Schlegel, Turgenev and Pasternak’. It ...

Babylon

William Rodgers

30 March 1989
European Diary 1977-1981 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 698 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 00 217976 8
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... summoned across Whitehall from my office in the Ministry of Defence to see the Home Secretary. Roy Jenkins rose from his chair and said: ‘Well, it’s all over, Callaghan is appointing Crosland.’ He nodded to a handwritten envelope addressed to the President of the French Republic. I knew that it contained a letter declaring his willingness to become ...

Labour’s Beachmaster

Peter Clarke: Jenkins, Healey, Crosland

23 January 2003
Denis Healey: A Life in Our Times 
by Edward Pearce.
Little, Brown, 634 pp., £28, June 2002, 0 316 85894 3
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Friends and Rivals: Crosland, Jenkins and Healey 
by Giles Radice.
Little, Brown, 376 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 316 85547 2
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... The sudden death of Roy Jenkins took us all by surprise. He was over eighty, of course, and with a heart problem that had required major surgery. This latterly gave him a good excuse to sit down at receptions: all the better to conduct vigorous conversational campaigns while maintaining eye-contact, not least, at suitable intervals, with the wine waiter ...
20 November 1986
Memoirs 1916-1964: The Making of a Prime Minister 
by Harold Wilson.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 214 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2775 7
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... It was, believe it or not, a Labour Party meeting, and the main speaker was the Labour leader, Harold Wilson. The ‘warm-up’ was a brilliant speech by the MP for Stechford, Roy Jenkins, who described his leader as ‘the greatest Parliamentarian of his generation’. The acclamation for Wilson as he rose to ...

Questionably Virtuous

Stuart Middleton: Harold Wilson

7 September 2016
Harold Wilson: The Unprincipled Prime Minister? Reappraising Harold Wilson 
edited by Andrew Crines and Kevin Hickson.
Biteback, 319 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78590 031 0
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... There has​ never been a bad time to reappraise Harold Wilson. He was a politician so enigmatic, so elusive even to his own associates, that he seemed to demand near continuous reappraisal throughout his career. On the verge of office in 1964, he appeared to more than one observer as a latter-day Lloyd George, a radical tribune sprung from provincial nonconformity to drive the nation before him with wit and moral exhortation ...
30 November 1995
Gladstone 
by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 698 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 333 60216 1
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... its assumptions were from those of the 20th century. But there is no snide debunking in Roy Jenkins’s biography. The Gladstone who emerges – temperamentally commanding, conversationally charming, intellectually erudite, theologically obsessed, morally priggish, sexually tormented, socially hierarchical, politically populist, administratively ...
23 April 1987
Baldwin 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 204 pp., £12.95, March 1987, 9780002175869
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Rab: The Life of R.A. Butler 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 422 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 224 01862 0
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The Political Culture of Modern Britain: Studies in Memory of Stephen Koss 
edited by J.M.W. Bean.
Hamish Hamilton, 306 pp., £15, January 1987, 0 241 12026 8
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... that was largely incomprehensible to the world of geopolitics and the welfare state. Roy Jenkins himself belongs pre-eminently to the school of state intervention, but it is one of the virtues of his new study of Baldwin that he manages to recapture and make sense of some if not all of that now-vanished past. He portrays Baldwin as an intensely ...

Over Several Tops

Bernard Porter: Winston Churchill

14 January 2002
Churchill: A Study in Greatness 
by Geoffrey Best.
Hambledon, 370 pp., £19.95, May 2001, 1 85285 253 4
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Churchill 
by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 1002 pp., £30, October 2001, 0 333 78290 9
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... add to them would be the unearthing of new evidence or a radically different interpretation. Roy Jenkins says he is not ‘a great partisan of the “revelatory” biography’, and claims that for Churchill nearly all the ‘facts’ are known in any case. One of Best’s motives for writing his book is to scotch some of the wilder recent interpretations he ...

1966 and all that

Michael Stewart

20 December 1984
The Castle Diaries. Vol. II: 1964-70 
by Barbara Castle.
Weidenfeld, 848 pp., £20, October 1984, 0 297 78374 2
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... involved. There is George Brown, ‘bellowing on the telephone to No 10, insisting that Harold came over at once and pouring out insults to him on the phone’. There are occasional lunches and dinners à deux with Roy Jenkins, sometimes at the Connaught (‘another demonstration of what he calls, with a ...
2 December 1993
Wilson: The Authorised Life 
by Philip Ziegler.
Weidenfeld, 593 pp., £20, September 1993, 0 297 81276 9
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... Since it can be properly said that nothing in Harold Wilson’s political career became him like the leaving of it, there is some justice in the fact that he is now best-remembered for one photograph and for one action. The photograph shows him next to the Duke of Grafton while assuming his stall at Windsor as a Knight of the Garter, and the action was the compiling (would that be the word?) of a resignation honours list that rewarded those who – oh, dash it, I don’t know – shall we say made money rather than earned it? Anyway, in the photograph Wilson looks like nothing so much as a grinning monkey on a stick, and in the matter of the honours list he achieved the near-impossible feat of discrediting the discredited and making a laughing-stock out of something already rather disagreeably risible ...
24 November 1988
Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... part in a radio discussion on the working of Parliament, together with John Biffen and Roy (Lord) Jenkins. Asked by the chairman, Peter Hennessy, if he did not think that the Lords now functioned as a ‘focus of opposition’, Benn responded that it was, instead, ‘part of an attack on democracy. After all, why bother to vote in the next election if ...

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