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What’s in the bottle?

Donald MacKenzie: The Science Wars Revisited

9 May 2002
The One Culture? A Conversation about Science 
edited by Jay Labinger and Harry Collins.
Chicago, 329 pp., £41, August 2001, 0 226 46722 8
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... do. Against this background, The One Culture? is a brave initiative. Its editors are a leading chemist and science administrator (Labinger), and a well-known, controversial sociologist of science (Collins). The volume brings together the science warriors – Sokal, the Nobel laureates Steven Weinberg and Kenneth Wilson, and their fellow physicists Jean Bricmont and David Mermin – with a selective ...


Randolph Quirk

25 October 1979
Collins​ Dictionary of the English Language 
by P. Hanks, T.H. Long and L. Urdang.
Collins, 1690 pp., £7.95
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... and unbroken: in Thomas Elyot’s Latin dictionary of 1538 we find aedificium ‘building’, in Bullokar’s English dictionary of 1616 the minimally anglicised edifice ‘a building’, in the 1979 Collins edifice ‘a building’. For all their bright newness, dictionaries of the 1970s (such as the Webster 8th Collegiate, the Longman Modern English Dictionary, the revised Chambers, the 6th Concise ...
2 October 1997
This is Biology 
by Ernst Mayr.
Harvard, 340 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 9780674884687
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... and rocentric and bourgeois, that Newton’s Principia should be understood as a rape manual, and so forth. The principal villains seen as promulgating these doctrines are scholars like HarryCollins, Sandra Harding, Bruno Latour, Simon Schaffer and Steven Shapin. Now whether these alleged enemies have anything in common, and whether there is a genuine package of claims about science that count ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Hunger Games’

17 December 2015
... called North America’, now called Panem. The allusion is to Juvenal’s ‘bread and circuses’, but as pronounced in the movies it sounds like the name of a defunct airline. The novels by Suzanne Collins, who also had a hand in writing the movies, were published in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and by 2012 their sales had broken the record set by the Harry Potter books. The four movies – strange how three ...
7 January 1993
The Two Forgers: A Biography of Harry​ Buxton Forman and Thomas James Wise 
by John Collins.
Scolar, 317 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 85967 754 0
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Forgers and Critics: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship 
by Anthony Grafton.
Princeton, 157 pp., £10.75, May 1990, 0 691 05544 0
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... deathbed, in 1937, the old rogue was asked to confess and allegedly replied: ‘It’s all too complicated to go into now.’ Recent sleuthing has filled in some of the gaps. Nicholas Barker and John Collins’s A Sequel to ‘An Enquiry’ (1983) clarifies the role of Wise’s reluctant partner, Harry Buxton Forman. The forgers’ liaison is fleshed out further in the biographical The Two Forgers, which ...

Martin Chuzzlewig

John Sutherland

15 October 1987
Dickens’s Working Notes for his Novels 
edited by Harry​ Stone.
Chicago, 393 pp., £47.95, July 1987, 0 226 14590 5
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... and to the biographical privacies kept from his own age. Dickens’s so-called working notes have become the fetish of modern Dickensian veneration and are reproduced with extraordinary redundancy. Harry Stone’s makes the fifth set of the working notes for Edwin Drood. His is the most attractive set by far, but not even the most finicky Dickensian could claim that on the face of it there is a ...

Hoist that dollymop’s sail

John Sutherland: New Victorian Novels

31 October 2002
by Sarah Waters.
Virago, 549 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 1 86049 882 5
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The Crimson Petal and the White 
by Michel Faber.
Canongate, 838 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 1 84195 323 7
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... Ministry of Supply paper restrictions) and was filmed as a lush Gainsborough melodrama in 1944, launching the careers of James Mason (the villainous Lord Manderstoke) and Stewart Granger (heroic Harry). The Balliol-educated son of an Oxford don, Sadleir was a publisher with Constable and eventually ran the firm. He was also the greatest Victorian bibliophile of his generation and his collection is ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Fastsellers

22 March 2001
... isn’t sufficiently cheering for struggling novelists-in-waiting, then help is at hand in the form of the Times Writer’s Guide (HarperCollins posing as Times Books, £19.99), a compendium of the Collins Wordpower series, written by the late Graham King, who will be remembered, according to Philip Howard’s Foreword and fortunately for King, as ‘more than the marketing man who transformed the Sun ...

Some people never expect to be expected

Penelope Fitzgerald: Omitted from ‘Innocence’

9 December 2019
... see. ‘Is this frustrating?’ Julian Barnes asked in his introduction to the 2013 edition. ‘Yes. Is it unfair? A little. Is it calculated? Exactly so.’Fitzgerald’s working papers, held at the Harry Ransom Center in Texas, reveal hints of the future she imagined for Chiara and Salvatore. Fitzgerald originally envisaged the novel in two parts: Part 1 would cover the events leading up to Chiara ...
8 December 1994
The Poems of Anna Letitia Barbauld 
edited by William McCarthy and Elizabeth Kraft.
Georgia, 399 pp., £58.50, June 1994, 0 8203 1528 1
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... riddles of one another, never quite getting around to the rhyming contest for which they have staked a toy ship and half a cake not yet received from home:                   Harry Well does the gift thy liquorish palate suit, I know who robb’d the orchard of its fruit ... And, where the hoard you kept, I know full well; The mellow gooseberries did themselves produce, For ...

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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... bushes in London parks. It was not the most lucrative way of earning a living. Von Joel was no match for Little Tich, who at his peak was pulling in £400 a night. The celebrated Scottish comedian Harry Lauder, who began his career in a rope factory, was at one point the highest-paid performer in the world, commanding $5000 a week on one tour of the United States. Some of his wealth stemmed from his ...

Francis and Vanessa

Peter Campbell

15 March 1984
Francis Bacon 
by Michel Leiris, translated by John Weightman.
Phaidon, 271 pp., £50, September 1983, 0 7148 2218 3
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Vanessa Bell 
by Frances Spalding.
Weidenfeld, 399 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 297 78162 6
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The Omega Workshops 
by Judith Collins.
Secker, 310 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 436 10562 4
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The Omega Workshops 1913-1919: Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury 
Crafts Council, 96 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 903798 72 7Show More
The Omega Workshops: Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920 
Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 80 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 947564 00 4Show More
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... In Elizabeth Taylor’s novel The Wedding Group, published in 1968, there is a grand old painter called Harry Bretton. He is modelled, I would guess, on Eric Gill, for the Life, and Stanley Spencer, for the Work. Musing by the studio window, he considers his place in history: Turner was the greatest English ...


Robert Crawford

20 April 1989
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... The cadence and wit of those last two lines convince me and make me smile. Yet at the back of my mind I start to think of stage Scotsmen, impersonating themselves, and about why MacDiarmid hated Harry Lauder. Maybe Merle Collins’s poem about a popular soup, ‘Callaloo’, avoids such worries better, coming with balletic line-breaks out of an oral tradition, a home that nurtures but does not ...


John Sutherland

8 November 1979
The Devil’s Alternative 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 479 pp., £5.95
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The Four Hundred 
by Stephen Sheppard.
Secker, 374 pp., £5.25
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... the British blockbusters are Forsyth’s The Devil’s Alternative (its distinctive symbol is a neon-red star), Stephen Sheppard’s The Four Hundred (its distinctive symbol is a gold sovereign) and Harry Patterson’s To Catch a King (this title and its distinctive symbol are still to burst upon us from, once again, Hutchinson). The authors of these commercially outstanding novels have much in common ...


Anne Enright: Mrs Robinson Repents

28 January 2010
... her current psychiatrist can tell the difference between a state of mental health and a state of grace. Let us also hope that he does not vote for the Democratic Unionist Party. She was born Iris Collins in 1949. Her mother was called Mary and her father was called Joseph. He was a demobbed soldier who died, just before her sixth birthday, of a chronic illness contracted on active service in the Far ...

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