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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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... This sort of confidence in the reality and efficacy of progress now seems to set the 19th century distinctively apart from our own. In calling his study of Victorian Liberalism The Optimists IanBradley 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 politicians, publicists and men of ideas ...

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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... religious language and ideas for the greater part of an unchurched nation. Their words and music do abide with us, above all the hymns of the Victorian and what one might call the long Edwardian age. IanBradley’s study is fascinating, once past a misguided Introduction, which develops a long comparison between Victorian hymns and modern soap-operas that seems to embarrass Bradley himself halfway ...
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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... salariat’ was well in evidence, there was a lot of talk about ‘talking the language of the new politics’, and I think I heard Shirley Williams refer to the ‘nodes of the new society’. IanBradley sees this new society as a post-social democratic society. For him, liberalism is a mystical cult of the individual. Everything that suits his argument, or rather quasi-religious faith, is ...
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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... The pregnancy was long, difficult and ridden 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 ...
1 October 1981
... of the old parties, but as yet another group of inadequate and power-hungry politicians. The birth pangs of the SDP have been extensively reported in the press. Yet the full story is worth retelling. IanBradley has produced an admirable piece of instant history: a journalist’s account of the SDP’s inception that is well-rooted in a historian’s grasp of long-term antecedents and immediate ...

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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... These guidebooks,’ he somewhat grudgingly concluded, ‘indeed are something more than an old kind of thing better done than it has been done before.’ A Celebration includes an extract from Ian Buruma’s study of anglophilia, Voltaire’s Coconuts (1999), which discusses Pevsner in terms of the clash between ‘nativism and internationalism’ – a conflict which, Buruma suggests, he ...


Susan McKay: Breakdown in Power-Sharing

8 March 2018
... Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and first minister of Northern Ireland when the 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 ...

My Books

Ian​ Patterson

4 July 2019
... A whole swathe of 20th-century thought went with it, Lukács, Kristeva, Barthes, Sollers, Pleynet, Lyotard, Sartre, Fanon, Beauvoir, and the complete works of Georges Bataille. Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Bradley, Collingwood, Scheler, Merleau-Ponty … all gone. No more literary criticism, or literary history, or history, or linguistics. And then there were the sets: Hazlitt’s Works, De Quincey’s (the 14 ...

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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... What can we possibly say of the claim that ‘the first great revolutionary movements in Europe’ were all ‘more or less imbued with the ideas of Joachim of Fiore’? Or, if ‘more or less’ offers an escape clause, what can we say of another claim: that ‘Joachim created the aggregate of symbols which govern the self-interpretation of modern political society to this day’? Or that ‘it is ...


Iain Sinclair: Swimming on the 52nd Floor

23 September 2015
... of specialist architects rather than borough engineers, had earlier won the commission for Haggerston Baths. The foundation stone was laid on 18 March 1903. The official opening was on 25 June 1904. Ian Gordon and Simon Inglis’s book Great Lengths: The Historic Indoor Swimming Pools of Britain tells us that E.J. Wakeling, vice chairman of the Shoreditch Baths and Washhouses Committee, animated the ...


Benjamin Markovits: What It Takes to Win at Sport

7 November 2013
... the England cricket team ‘took back’ the Ashes after eight straight defeats to Australia. The Northern 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 ...

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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... treat in a book about Mod, but there are notably few images of real Mods among the cross-section of rock groups, fashion shoots, book covers, a snap of Bowie from his least Mod phase and a recent Bradley Wiggins mag cover. Actual Mods in the wild? Nothing. A tabloid snap of Mods scattering Rockers on Margate beach is a distant seagull’s eye view of blurry matchstick men. An after-hours photo that ...

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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... even he was made to feel uncomfortable after calling someone ‘a pansy with a stammer’ in Maugham’s presence. On another occasion, Maugham ‘gave him an icy stare’ as Ann Fleming – wife of Ian – chastised him ‘by banging a serving spoon on his offensively prominent ear trumpet’. Christopher Isherwood, on the other hand, found that Maugham’s stammer ‘somehow made you feel that you ...
3 January 2019
... pure millennium bug stuff’. In August, Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested that, post-Brexit, people could be ‘inspected’ at the border as they had been ‘during the Troubles’. In September, Karen Bradley admitted that she hadn’t known the people of Ulster tended to vote along sectarian lines when she became secretary of state for Northern Ireland. In December, Priti Patel said that the threat of ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Julian​ Assange

6 March 2014
... the Daily Mail was almost respected for finding him entirely abominable. The Guardian tried to soothe him – its editor, Alan Rusbridger, showed concern for his position, as did the then deputy, Ian Katz, and others – but he talked about its journalists in savage terms. The Guardian felt strongly that the secret material ought to be redacted to protect informants or bystanders named in it, and ...

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