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8 July 1993
Harold Laski: A Political Biography 
by Michael Newman.
Macmillan, 438 pp., £45, March 1993, 0 333 43716 0
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Harold Laski: A Life on the Left 
by Isaac Kramnick and Barry Sheerman.
Hamish Hamilton, 669 pp., £25, June 1993, 0 241 12942 7
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... emerges, almost simultaneously, in two new biographies totalling eleven hundred pages, a fact which would have undoubtedly pleased their subject. Both Michael Newman’s ‘Political Biography’ and IsaacKramnick and Barry Sheerman’s ‘A Life on the Left’ rightly insist on their man’s public face. But even his political life was peculiar, if only because this profoundly political man never ...
20 February 1997
Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution 
by Jack Rakove.
Knopf, 439 pp., $35, April 1996, 0 394 57858 9
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... on behalf of religion, such as laws punishing Sabbath-breaking, but insisted the state must not sponsor or encourage any particular form of worship or religious expression. He helped to write what IsaacKramnick and Laurence Moore have recently called a ‘godless Constitution’, which specifically prohibited religious tests for public office: quite an innovation for the 18th century. Moreover ...
4 August 1988
Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... time with a more damning tone. ‘When Frank Manuel suggested that Newton may not have been primarily heterosexual, the Newtonian establishment attacked him as if he had uttered the unthinkable.’ IsaacKramnick was ‘savaged’ for broaching the subject of Burke’s homosexuality. Wilmarth Lewis was cowardly ‘to pretend that [Horace] Walpole was heterosexual.’ As Rousseau warms to his theme ...
24 February 1994
The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography and Commented Anthology of Edmund Burke 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Minerva, 692 pp., £8.99, September 1993, 0 7493 9721 7
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... towards the English Protestant and Whig culture which Burke served all his life in England, while continuing to denounce it as oppressive in Ireland. The same ambivalence was detected and explored by IsaacKramnick in a book called The Rage of Edmund Burke (1977), and both historians are right in seeing it as the key to much in Burke. O’Brien’s explanation employs historical concepts more real and ...

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