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17 April 1980
The Optimists: Themes and Personalities in Victorian Liberalism 
by Ian Bradley.
Faber, 301 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 571 11495 4
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... now seems to set the 19th century distinctively apart from our own. In calling his study of Victorian Liberalism The Optimists Ian Bradley seeks to make good a more specific claim. He is writing about Liberalism with a big L – the creed of the British Liberal party as expressed by its leading politic...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns

11 December 1997
Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... What is the best known Victorian poem? Which American poems of the same period are best known in this country? Which verses by a canonical English poet do the largest number of people today know by heart? The best known Victorian poem is probably ‘Good King Wenceslas’ (by J ...
21 November 1985
How Britain votes 
by Anthony Heath, Roger Jowell and John Curtice.
Pergamon, 251 pp., £15.50, September 1985, 0 08 031859 2
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Partnership of Principle 
by Roy Jenkins.
Secker in association with the Radical Centre, 169 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 436 22100 4
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The Strange Rebirth of Liberal Britain 
by Ian Bradley.
Chatto, 259 pp., £11.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2670 1
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Report from the Select Committee on Overseas Trade, House of Lords 
HMSO, 96 pp., £6.30, October 1985, 0 10 496285 2Show More
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... the Congress put itself on a collision course with the engineers (AUEW) and the electricians (EEPTU), who are determined to take the money. If this leads to their expulsion from the Congress, a rival trade-union centre could form around these unions and around the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers which, a few weeks later, was heavily ...
1 October 1981
Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... with anxiety, but the birth was easy and infancy has been a triumph. Unfortunately, however, Mr Bradley’s instant history of the first few months of the Social Democratic Party tells us a good deal more about its gestation before the launch on 26 March than about its development since. This was inevitable, no doubt. Even instant histor...
1 October 1981
... an astonishing force in British politics. The opinion polls continue to put an SDP/Liberal alliance ahead of Conservative or Labour – and the SDP ahead of the Liberals. Voting habits have remarkable persistence but the prophecies of last spring that the SDP would soon go the way of all breakaway parties are becoming less confident. It begins to be ...

Positively Spaced Out

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Building of England’

6 September 2001
The Buildings of England: A Celebration Compiled to Mark 50 Years of the Pevsner Architectural Guides 
edited by Simon Bradley and Bridget Cherry.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 9527401 3 3
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... and disillusionment. The other is a chapter of Pevsner’s own intellectual biography as historian, critic and, as he is less often considered, writer. He was born in Leipzig in 1902 into a non-religious Jewish family and came to England first in 1930, while he was working at Göttingen University, and again three years later to lecture at the ...


Susan McKay: Breakdown in Power-Sharing

8 March 2018
... Stormont Assembly collapsed early last year, has urged the Conservative secretary of state, Karen Bradley, who has been in office for a matter of weeks, not only to ‘set a budget but also to take key decisions impacting on our schools, infrastructure and hospitals’. She wants, in other words, that Northern Ireland be returned to direct rule from ...

My Books

Ian Patterson

4 July 2019
... way to escape from it. It functioned as a sort of carapace, almost as character-armour in the Reichian sense. The sight of the books, the feel of them, their colour and their smell were a reliable source of pleasure and comfort separate from but always associated with the narratives and locations to which they provided access.I was about 13 when by chance I ...

Past Masters

Raymond Williams

25 June 1987
Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the 19th Century 
by Marjorie Reeves and Warwick Gould.
Oxford, 365 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 19 826672 3
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Beauty and Belief: Aesthetics and Religion in Victorian Literature 
by Hilary Fraser.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £25, January 1987, 0 521 30767 8
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The Correspondence of John Ruskin and Charles Eliot Norton 
edited by John Bradley and Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 537 pp., £45, April 1987, 0 521 32091 7
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... analytic example. The claims for Joachim (c. 1135-1202) are based on his application of the Christian Trinity to history. Full divine revelation in the world has three stages, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the ‘Third Age’ of the Holy Spirit, in concordance with the two previous ages, will come, or is about to come. A development of this scheme by one of ...


Iain Sinclair: Swimming on the 52nd Floor

23 September 2015
... is a tolerated veteran tasked with living up to the occult geometry of this brash invader: Renzo Piano’s spectacular glass sail, the Qatar-funded investment silo of the Shard. To the paying metronauts (£25.95 per ascent) in the public viewing gallery (levels 68-72) the humans below, seething in a convulsive mob while they wait to be processed on inadequate ...


Benjamin Markovits: What It Takes to Win at Sport

7 November 2013
... Irishman Rory McIlroy won a couple of majors and became the number one golfer in the world. Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France. Then came the London Olympics, about which there was a lot of national grumbling, until they started. Britain ended up third in the medals table, behind China and the US. Andy Murray won the US Open in tennis. Justin Rose ...

Even If You Have to Starve

Ian Penman: Mod v. Trad

29 August 2013
Mod: A Very British Style 
by Richard Weight.
Bodley Head, 478 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 0 224 07391 2
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... people wrongly perceived as frivolous. The Mod obsession with Blue Note album sleeves and Italian fashion had the quality of fetish, in both the Marxist and ritual senses. It required near-fanatical commitment to ‘source’ the materials required for a makeover. (In the early 1970s when I was a teenager, the high street was still hopeless, a fashion ...

I only want the OM

Christopher Tayler: Somerset Maugham

1 September 2005
Somerset Maugham: A Life 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Vintage, 411 pp., £12, April 2005, 1 4000 3052 8
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... a Hardy-like figure who becomes the Grand Old Man of English Letters after seeing off late Victorian accusations of impropriety. Ashenden, who finds most of Driffield’s novels rather boring and melodramatic, has decided that elderly authors who have ‘ceased for twenty years to write anything of interest’ are respected in part because younger writers ...
3 January 2019
... BelgiumSome years ago, a UK tabloid ran a contemptuous article claiming that the majority of Belgians weren’t proud to be Belgian, and that surveys revealed Belgians to be the world’s least patriotic people. Statistics like these make me proud to be Belgian, but they also miss the point, because Belgium is something of an abstraction even to Belgians, whose sense of cultural and linguistic belonging starts at the regional level rather than the national, and where political power lies not with the nation-state but with the regions and provinces ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange

6 March 2014
... to discuss urgently.’ Canongate had bought, for £600,000, a memoir by the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. The book had also been bought for a high sum by Sonny Mehta at Knopf in New York and Jamie had sold foreign rights to a slew of big houses. He said he expected it to be published in forty languages. Assange didn’t want to write the book himself but ...

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