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Beware Bad Smells

Hugh Pennington: Florence Nightingale, 4 December 2008

Florence Nightingale: The Woman and Her Legend 
by Mark Bostridge.
Viking, 646 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 670 87411 8
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... by only a small margin, but their location on the Embankment was a defeat. She believed that its urban setting, and effluvia and dampness from the Thames, would breed disease. Far better would have been the leafy suburbs of Camberwell, Norwood or Lewisham. Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not remains the most important book on the ...

Kind Words for Strathpeffer

Rosalind Mitchison, 24 May 1990

The British Isles: A History of Four Nations 
by Hugh Kearney.
Cambridge, 236 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 521 33420 9
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Cromartie: Highland Life 1650-1914 
by Eric Richards and Monica Clough.
518 pp., £29.50, August 1989, 0 08 037732 7
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Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788 
by Paul Kléber Monod.
Cambridge, 408 pp., £30, November 1989, 0 521 33534 5
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... Hugh Kearney has written a book to assert the reality of the British Isles as an intercommunicating group of cultures with many features in common but also with strong regional or national differences. It is a timely reminder that the political dominance of these islands by England from the 17th century covers only a small part of their various histories ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... enough to make the end of Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ appear like a moment’s inclemency. The poet Hugh MacDiarmid had a feeling for the freezing lives of sheep, and he resurrected, or to some extent invented, the words that would capture the rude nature of the Scottish snowstorm, calling it the ‘yowdendrift’, when snow is blown across the fields at ...

The Loneliness Thing

Peter Campbell, 5 February 1981

Nature and Culture 
by Barbara Novak.
Thames and Hudson, 323 pp., £16, August 1980, 0 500 01245 8
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Edward Hopper: The Complete Prints 
by Gail Levin.
Norton, 128 pp., £9.95, April 1980, 0 393 01275 1
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Edward Hopper as illustrator 
by Gail Levin.
Norton, 288 pp., £15.95, April 1980, 0 393 01243 3
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... of Empire’, for instance) please her less than the ‘luminist’ paintings of Heade and Fitz Hugh Lane – those of ‘the still small voice’. She writes of the latter (they resemble the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich) that they ‘brought the 19th century as close as it could come to silence and the void.’ Hopper, whose paintings are ...

Imbalance

Michael Hofmann: The Charm of Hugo Williams, 22 May 2003

Collected Poems 
by Hugo Williams.
Faber, 288 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 571 21233 6
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... is English. And yet Williams, born in Windsor during World War Two, the son of the English actor Hugh Williams, schooled by Life and Eton, a youthful toiler for Alan Ross’s London Magazine, an erstwhile globetrotter and a lifelong London resident, seems as English as they come. (So English, in fact, that he will object that his mother is Australian.) He ...

Freebooter

Maurice Keen: The diabolical Sir John Hawkwood, 5 May 2005

Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Faber, 366 pp., £17.99, November 2004, 9780571219087
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... under Edward III and the Black Prince, and independently on their own account: Robert Knowles and Hugh Calverley for instance. But none achieved quite such fame or rose quite so high as Sir John Hawkwood, the ‘diabolical Englishman’ of Stonor Saunders’s book, did in Italy. His military achievement and reputation carried him steadily forward to the edge ...

Eric Hobsbawm

Karl Miller, 25 October 2012

... my efforts proved to know certain bounds, in which an aspect of his nature was disclosed, and an urban Englishman, a very Francis Newton, emerged, an English gentleman who liked to end his sentences with an interrogative ‘what’. The letter admits: A priori I’m not the ideal reader of your book. I am a megalopolitan who has never lived in a city of ...

Wicked Converse

Keith Thomas: Bewitched by the Brickmaker, 12 May 2022

The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World 
by Malcolm Gaskill.
Allen Lane, 308 pp., £20, November 2021, 978 0 241 41338 8
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... cow produced multicoloured milk, she and her husband were convinced that it had been bewitched by Hugh Parsons, the brickmaker whose wife, Mary, had been fined for accusing Marshfield. In February 1651 George Langton, a carpenter, declined to sell hay to Parsons because he had none to spare. Parsons took this badly and occult revenge was suspected when, some ...

Sheep into Goats

Gabriele Annan, 24 January 1980

The British Aristocracy 
by Mark Bence-Jones and Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd.
Constable, 259 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 461780 5
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The Astors 
by Virginia Cowles.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £8.50, November 1980, 9780297776246
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Barclay Fox’s Journal 
edited by R.L. Brett.
Bell and Hyman, 426 pp., £8.95, July 1980, 0 7135 1865 0
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... real estate. The farms he bought outside the city at the start of this new career were central urban property by the time he died, so quickly was the city expanding as the immigrants piled in from Europe. He and his son soon owned ‘the largest real-estate operation in the New World’. From the middle to the end of the 19th century the Astors were the ...

Space Wars

Fredric Jameson, 4 April 1996

The Invisible in Architecture 
edited by Ole Bouman and Roemer van Toorn.
Academy, 516 pp., $115, February 1994, 1 85490 285 7
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The Classical Vernacular: Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 158 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 1 85754 054 9
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... that way, by the stimulation and vigorous reactivation of its own internal relations and circuits. Hugh Kenner once observed the not-so-subterranean formal influence on books like Ulysses of the existence of dictionaries and encyclopedias as proudly linear modes of organisation. Mallarmé imagined in vain a book that would remodel itself perpetually, like a ...

Northern Lights

Chauncey Loomis, 2 June 1988

Living Arctic: Hunters of the Canadian North 
by Hugh Brody.
Faber, 254 pp., £4.95, November 1987, 0 571 15096 9
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... were dispossessed of their lands, and all had their cultures radically subverted. In Living Arctic Hugh Brody concentrates his attention on the subversion of northern native cultures. His book is a corrective primer on contemporary native ways of life in the Arctic, written in the light of the new anthropology with the clear purpose of reforming our attitudes ...

Great Tradition

D.G. Wright, 20 October 1983

Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears 
by Geoffrey Pearson.
Macmillan, 243 pp., £15, July 1983, 0 333 23399 9
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... victory and fully aware of the potency of the Falklands factor, Tory politicians like Lord Hugh Thomas, the distinguished historian of Spain and Cuba, see the task of historians as the creation of a usable past which will confirm the version of history peddled in the popular press, furnish yet another justification of their claim to authority and boost ...

Protestant Country

George Bernard, 14 June 1990

Humanism, Reform and the Reformation: The Career of Bishop John Fisher 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and Eamon Duffy.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £27.50, January 1989, 0 521 34034 9
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The Blind Devotion of the People: Popular Religion and the English Reformation 
by Robert Whiting.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 521 35606 7
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The Reformation of Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society, 1485-1603 
by Stanford Lehmberg.
Princeton, 319 pp., £37.30, March 1989, 0 691 05539 4
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Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Weidenfeld, 271 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 297 79343 8
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The Birthpangs of Protestant England: Religious and Cultural Change in the 16th and 17th Centuries 
by Patrick Collinson.
Macmillan, 188 pp., £29.50, February 1989, 0 333 43971 6
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Life’s Preservative against Self-Killing 
by John Sym, edited by Michael MacDonald.
Routledge, 342 pp., £29.95, February 1989, 0 415 00639 2
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Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 
by Nigel Smith.
Oxford, 396 pp., £40, February 1989, 0 19 812879 7
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... royal supremacy preached up and down the land. And who better to preach it than Thomas Cranmer or Hugh Latimer, full of Continental learning, opposed to Papal pretensions, and keen to see Henry as a godly prince who would destroy idolatry and embrace true religion. Henry had not intended to go so far along that road of reformation, but he had unleashed a ...

Parodies

Barbara Everett, 7 May 1981

A Night in the Gazebo 
by Alan Brownjohn.
Secker, 64 pp., £3, November 1980, 0 436 07114 2
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Victorian Voices 
by Anthony Thwaite.
Oxford, 42 pp., £3.95, October 1980, 0 19 211937 0
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The Illusionists 
by John Fuller.
Secker, 138 pp., £3.95, November 1980, 0 436 16810 3
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... and style parodistic of the quartets that preceded it. This proposal took off from an idea of Hugh Kenner’s, and any theory with two such exceptionally able sponsors needs treating with respect. The element of likelihood in this one derives from the way it locates Eliot’s work within that ‘Age of Criticism’ which Modernism helped to inaugurate. A ...

Street Wise

Pat Rogers, 3 October 1985

Hawksmoor 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 218 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 241 11664 3
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Paradise Postponed 
by John Mortimer.
Viking, 374 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 670 80094 5
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High Ground 
by John McGahern.
Faber, 156 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13681 8
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... the mystic heptagon upon the map. This is a church dedicated to the classic small-boy victim, Hugh of Lincoln, to be built among the alleys and foul closes of Moorfields. Here the detective comes at the climax of the story, as victim or as murderer. The older world is rendered with total conviction and an unflagging sense of period. Ackroyd is able to do ...

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