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The Cult of Celebrity

Jacqueline Rose, 20 August 1998

... believe and – to deform the famous formula – suspend our belief?Consider the celebrity of Mary Bell. How many times did outraged journalists cut straight from their disapproval of the money she was paid (making profit out of the most hideous of crimes) to the pleasure she was said to have taken in murdering Martin Brown and Brian Howe? Again: how could ...

A Calamitous Man

Patrick Collinson: Incombustible Luther, 29 July 1999

Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death 
by Richard Marius.
Harvard, 542 pp., £19.95, March 1999, 0 674 55090 0
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... the dark. Stumbling, you reach out for something to hang on to and find that you are pulling at a bell rope, that the bell is waking up the entire town, and soon other towns far beyond. Within weeks you, the inadvertent bell-ringer, are both famous and infamous, and famous not for a few ...

Monetarism and History

Ian Gilmour, 21 January 1982

... some political and historical masonry. Ideally, perhaps, this could best have been achieved by a bell, book and candle condemnation of the Heath Government alone. The snag was that some of the leading monetarists had served without demur in that government. The trail of heresy had, therefore, to be extended back to the 13 Conservative years of 1951 to ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Francis Hope, and Tom and Vic, 15 March 1984

... Anti-Death League more or less has to be preferred to Take a girl like you, Iris Murdoch’s The Bell to her The Sea, the Sea, Humboldt’s Gift to Herzog, Pale Fire to Lolita, and so on. With J. D. Salinger, he capitulates and picks The Catcher in the Rye, but then to have swerved here might have meant acknowledging the Glass tales as ‘true ...

Just what are those teeth for?

Ian Hamilton, 24 April 1997

... progress. What, for instance, would Gore make of Christine Hamilton? What would he make of Martin Bell? Too British to be true, the pair of them, in very different ways. It was a relief to learn that several of Vidal’s hours here have been spent discussing Montaigne (so he said) with Michael Foot. Sadly, when Vidal showed up on one of Newsnight’s election ...

Knights of the King and Keys

Ian Aitken, 7 March 1991

A Dubious Codicil: An Autobiography by 
by Michael Wharton.
Chatto, 261 pp., £15.99, December 1990, 0 7011 3064 4
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The House the Berrys built 
by Duff Hart-Davis.
Hodder, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 3 405 92526 6
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Lords of Fleet Street: The Harmsworth Dynasty 
by Richard Bourne.
Unwin Hyman, 258 pp., £16.95, October 1990, 0 04 440450 6
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... of the Isle of Dogs. Leaving the King and Keys, El Vino’s, the Falstaff, the Punch, the Old Bell, Poppin’s, the Codgers’, the Albion, Auntie’s, the Dog and Duck and the King Lud to find some other serious drinkers to pay the rent. All we have left now is St Bride’s Church, where we attend each other’s memorial ...

What’s wrong with Desmond?

Ian Hamilton, 30 August 1990

Clever Hearts: Desmond and Molly MacCarthy 
by Hugh Cecil and Mirabel Cecil.
Gollancz, 320 pp., £18.95, July 1990, 0 575 03622 2
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... that she, quite early on, had allowed herself to be talked into a ‘trivial’ affair with Clive Bell. Desmond, whose own early dalliances were theoretically intense but not physically consummated (all the girls liked him far too much for that to be allowed to spoil it), was probably far more upset by this than he admitted. The outcome, at any rate, was that ...

Faith, Hope and Probability

Mary Douglas, 23 May 1991

The Taming of Chance 
by Ian Hacking.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £27.50, November 1990, 0 521 38014 6
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... it had seeped from games and mathematics to marine insurance, and thence moved on to produce what Ian Hacking calls an avalanche of numbers in every kind of public concern, established theories of causality were ready to be toppled. As he said in the earlier book, the world was about to become safe for future Galileos. But the change was slow, and not in time ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: E.O. Wilson’s ‘novel’, 8 July 2010

... following, it is difficult to find. Finally you walk up to the huge oak door … A large brass bell and gong hang from the stone archway. One of these passages is from Anthill; the other is from Ian Livingstone’s ‘fighting fantasy’ classic Forest of Doom. There’s an explanation of sorts for the thudding ...

Bloody

Michael Church, 9 October 1986

The Children of the Souls: A Tragedy of the First World War 
by Jeanne Mackenzie.
Chatto, 276 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 9780701128470
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Voices from the Spanish Civil War: Personal Recollections of Scottish Volunteers in Republican Spain 1936-39 
edited by Ian MacDougall, by Victor Kiernan.
Polygon, 369 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 948275 19 7
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The Shallow Grave: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War 
by Walter Gregory, edited by David Morris and Anthony Peters.
Gollancz, 183 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 575 03790 3
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Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War 
edited by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 388 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 19 212258 4
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The Spanish Cockpit 
by Franz Borkenau.
Pluto, 303 pp., £4.95, July 1986, 0 7453 0188 6
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The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 
by Paul Preston.
Weidenfeld, 184 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 297 78891 4
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Images of the Spanish Civil War 
by Raymond Carr.
Allen and Unwin, 192 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 04 940089 4
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... 16th; 1 Pomeranian. November 17th; 2 Pomeranians.’ Two decades later in Spain, Julian Bell informed his mother Vanessa that the war in which he was serving as an ambulance man was ‘perpetually entertaining and very satisfactory’, one of the chief pleasures being ‘getting back into male society’. John Cornford fought in Spain as a zealous ...

Wild Hearts

Peter Wollen, 6 April 1995

Virginia Woolf 
by James King.
Hamish Hamilton, 699 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 241 13063 8
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... commissioned by Kenneth and Jane Clark was a grand Wedgwood dinner service created by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant in 1935. The two artists chose to paint the 48 plates (out of 140 pieces) with a series of portraits of great women, including Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf themselves. ‘It ought to please the ...

Allegedly

Michael Davie, 1 November 1984

Public Scandal, Odium and Contempt: An Investigation of Recent Libel Cases 
by David Hooper.
Secker, 230 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 436 20093 7
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... and show it to him, to ensure that it was factually correct. Clutching the galleys, I rang the bell at his house in St John’s Wood. Sir Thomas himself opened the door. He did not seem friendly. However, he allowed me into his drawing-room, though without offering me a chair, and himself sat down and began to read. Never before or since have I seen anyone ...

Hugging the cats

John Bayley, 14 June 1990

Poems 
by Gay Clifford.
188 pp., £14.99, May 1990, 0 241 12976 1
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Selected Poems 1940 – 1989 
by Allen Curnow.
Viking, 209 pp., £15.99, May 1990, 0 670 83007 0
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Collected Poems and Selected Translations 
by Norman Cameron, edited by Warren Hope and Jonathan Barker.
Anvil, 160 pp., £14.95, May 1990, 0 85646 202 0
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Collected Poems 
by Enoch Powell.
Bellew, 198 pp., £9.95, April 1990, 0 947792 36 8
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... a fashion. I suspect that a lot of people spellbound today in the intergalactic gameyness of an Ian McEwan novel feel that, yes, this is the thing – I could do this if I had the idea or the time, or, well, the talent. Good writing in this academic sense is, or seems to be, held in common. ‘Academic’ is a harsh word, implying as it does ...

Bosh

E.S. Turner: Kiss me, Eric, 17 April 2003

Dean Farrar and ‘Eric’: A Study of ‘Eric, or Little by Little’, together with the Complete Text of the Book 
by Ian Anstruther.
Haggerston, 237 pp., £19.95, January 2003, 1 869812 19 0
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... to Kibroth-Hattaavah. Dr Rowlands did not explain exactly what Kibroth-Hattaavah was, nor does Ian Anstruther in his well-judged introduction to this reissue of Eric; he assumes that we all know our Fourth Book of Moses, which reveals it to be some sort of discreditable landfill for ‘the people that lusted’ (in fact, the Israelites who ended up in it ...

Seven Miles per Hour

Robert Macfarlane: The men who invented flight, 5 February 2004

First to Fly: The Unlikely Triumph of Wilbur and Orville Wright 
by James Tobin.
Murray, 431 pp., £9.99, November 2003, 0 7195 5738 0
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The Wright Brothers: The Aviation Pioneers who Changed the World 
by Ian Mackersey.
Little, Brown, 554 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 316 86144 8
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Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight 
by Paul Hoffman.
Fourth Estate, 369 pp., £18.99, June 2003, 1 84115 368 0
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Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity to the First World War 
by Richard Hallion.
Oxford, 531 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 19 516035 5
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... Wright Brothers were heavily researched even before the recent centenary. In his preface, Ian Mackersey mentions that there are more than a hundred other books on them, and a host of ancillary volumes ‘affectionately devoted to such specifics as their bicycle business, the life of their mechanic . . . and the recipes of the meals they ...

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