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Tory History

Alan Ryan, 23 January 1986

English Society 1688-1832 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 439 pp., £30, November 1985, 0 521 30922 0
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Virtue, Commerce and History 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 521 25701 8
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... is a case in point. Herbert Butterfield slew it in 1931, and here come John Pocock and Jonathan Clark to slay it again. There is next to nothing in common between them, save their opposition to the Whig Interpretation and its offspring: but it is that opposition which provides both of them with the structure of their argument and the dramatic purpose of ...

Heavy Sledding

Chauncey Loomis, 21 December 1989

The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909 
by Pierre Berton.
Viking, 672 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 670 82491 7
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Overland to Starvation Cove: With the Inuit in Search of Franklin 1878-1880 
by Heinrich Klutschak and William Barr.
Toronto, 261 pp., £17.50, February 1988, 0 8020 5762 4
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Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition 
by Owen Beattie and John Geiger.
Bloomsbury, 180 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 7475 0101 7
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... the names of explorers, famous in their day, but now known only to Arctic buffs, such as John and James Clark Ross, Rae, Pullen, Collinson, M’Clure, Austin, Ommanney, Richardson, Penny, DeHaven, Kane, Forsyth, Bellot, Kennedy, Belcher, Inglefield, M’Clintock – and names of ships, such as ...

A Monk’s-Eye View

Diarmaid MacCulloch, 10 March 2022

The Dissolution of the Monasteries: A New History 
by James G. Clark.
Yale, 649 pp., £25, October 2021, 978 0 300 11572 7
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Going to Church in Medieval England 
by Nicholas Orme.
Yale, 483 pp., £20, July 2021, 978 0 300 25650 5
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... his collateral descendant Oliver (also no slouch at creating ruins). Amid much that is familiar, James Clark’s absorbing and formidable study presents much that is refreshingly new, as might be expected after a lifetime of scholarly work on late medieval English monastic life. Clark corrects the common impression ...

Blame it on his social life

Nicholas Penny: Kenneth Clark, 5 January 2017

Kenneth ClarkLife, Art and ‘Civilisation’ 
by James Stourton.
William Collins, 478 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 00 749341 8
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... Each and every​ place in the life of Kenneth Clark has been investigated by James Stourton, from the country house in Suffolk where, as a boy, Clark judged the dresses of female dinner guests, to the château in Normandy belonging to his second wife, Nolwen, where, in his later years, he tried to find ways to communicate with the lovers who had once hoped he would marry them ...

Lola did the driving

Inigo Thomas: Pevsner’s Suffolk, 5 May 2016

Suffolk: East, The Buildings of England 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 677 pp., £35, April 2015, 978 0 300 19654 2
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... its fee. In 1948, almost twenty years after he left Germany and arrived in Britain, he had another go and afterwards described it to his wife, Lola. ‘Tired, washed out, deflated, dizzy (only three whiskies), and not a bit happy. I made several really awful mistakes, turning in the street with brakes on … My only reaction at the moment is intense hatred ...

Australia’s Nineties

Clive James, 15 July 1982

Christopher Brennan: A Critical Biography 
by Axel Clark.
Melbourne, 358 pp., £20, May 1980, 0 522 84182 1
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... was an aberration in which personality conspired with circumstances, creating a tangle which Axel Clark, in this admirably hard-headed critical biography, does much to sort out. Brennan was a prodigy of the Australian Fin-de-Siècle who had pretty well given up writing by the beginning of the Twenties, thereby giving himself more time in the day to be drunk ...

At the V&A

T.J. Clark: ‘The Cult of Beauty’, 19 May 2011

... always an impatience, a sense of insufficiency, haunting the Aesthetic Movement from within. Henry James coming out of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877 (before Ruskin’s ‘pot of paint’ had set the lines of battle): ‘It may be a narrow point of view, but to be interesting it seems to me that a picture should have some relation to life as well as to ...

Diary

Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... had been supplanted by Tory government of determination and vibrancy. Why, they ask, can’t we go back to those happy bygone days when so much was accomplished? No junior minister more aptly represented that mood than the patrician Thatcherite Alan Clark. A big landowner, a poor QC and a minor historian, the jolly ...

The Last War of Religion

David Armitage, 9 June 1994

The Language of Liberty, 1660-1832: Political Discourse and Social Dynamics in the Anglo-American World 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 404 pp., £35, October 1993, 0 521 44510 8
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The Debate on the Constitution: Federalist and Anti-Federalist Speeches, Articles and Letters During the Struggle over Ratification. Vol. I 
edited by Bernard Bailyn.
Library of America, 1214 pp., $35, July 1993, 0 940450 42 9
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... has accordingly not bulked large in arguments over the American Revolution. Now that Jonathan Clark has discovered America, however, religion becomes the centrepiece of an interpretation which banishes all other explanations as anachronistic or incomplete. Clark is the man who put the Tory back into British history with ...

Brutish Babies

David Wootton: Witchcraft, 11 November 1999

Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night 
by Wolfgang Behringer, translated by H.C.Erik Midelfort.
Virginia, 203 pp., £14.50, September 1998, 0 8139 1853 7
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Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe 
by Stuart Clark.
Oxford, 845 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 820001 3
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Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Routledge, 368 pp., £55, April 1999, 0 415 19611 6
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The Bewitching of Anne Gunter: A Horrible and True Story of Football, Witchcraft, Murder and the King of England 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 256 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 9781861970480
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... But it seems that this self-denying ordinance is becoming increasingly hard to sustain: James Sharpe’s Bewitching of Anne Gunter includes the story of Elizabeth Stile, executed in 1579, told, for what is I think the first time in modern scholarly literature, as if she believed herself to be a witch. The modern history of the witch-hunt begins with ...

The Thing

Michael Wood: Versions of Proust, 6 January 2005

In Search of Lost Time: Vol. I: The Way by Swann’s 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 496 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118031 5
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol.II: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by James Grieve.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118032 3
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. III: The Guermantes Way 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Mark Treharne.
Penguin, 640 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118033 1
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. IV: Sodom and Gomorrah 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by John Sturrock.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 9780141180342
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. V: ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Fugitive’ 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Carol Clark and Peter Collier.
Penguin, 720 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118035 8
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. VI: Finding Time Again 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Ian Patterson.
Penguin, 400 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118036 6
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The Proust Project 
edited by André Aciman.
Farrar, Straus, 224 pp., $25, November 2004, 0 374 23832 4
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... cadence were now and again interrupted by very broad errors. One at least still lingered for Carol Clark to correct in her version of The Prisoner. When sleeping, Albertine is said to shed ‘the various marks of humanity which had so disappointed me’, ‘ses différents caractères d’humanité qui m’avaient déçu’. Even in the most recent revision of ...

Joining up

Angus Calder, 3 April 1986

Soldier, Soldier 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 244 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 434 57770 7
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Echoes of the Great War: The Diary of the Reverend Andrew Clark 1914-1919 
edited by James Munson.
Oxford, 304 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 19 212984 8
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The Unknown Army: Mutinies in the British Army in World War One 
by Gloden Dallas and Douglas Gill.
Verso, 178 pp., £18.50, July 1985, 0 86091 106 3
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Soldiers: A History of Men in Battle 
by John Keegan and Richard Holmes.
Hamish Hamilton, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1985, 0 241 11583 3
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... are you going to get them or are you going to do something damn stupid and let them get you? You go cool and thoughtful, like you’re trained to. But you’re disciplined and your men are disciplined: it’s no good you all rushing round like a bunch of trigger-happy hooligans. You know you’re in danger and that you’re going to have to fight your way ...

Darwin among the Gentry

Adrian Desmond, 23 May 1985

The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. Vol. I: 1821-1836 
edited by Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith.
Cambridge, 702 pp., £30, March 1985, 0 521 25587 2
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The Survival of Charles Darwin: A Biography of a Man and an Idea 
by Ronald Clark.
Weidenfeld, 449 pp., £14.95, April 1985, 0 297 78377 7
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... and Beagle voyage. It was a world of abundance; only the wealthy, with the workhouses about to go up, could write (as his sweetheart Fanny Owen did): ‘what a horrid disgusting thing money is – I hate the name of it – dont you – it is for vulgar souls – not Beetle Hunters.’ We get a glimpse of Cambridge high life: the gluttony and gambling ...

Concierge

John Lanchester, 16 November 1995

Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... for a year or two; Borgeses (d. 1986) will surge once the editing and republishing are sorted out; James Merrills (d. 1995) should be sold now and rebought later; Becketts (d. 1989) look a little iffy (though would-be insider-dealers should keep an eye on that biographer chap in Reading). The only reliable way for a writer to avoid this post-mortem critical ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Arkansas’, 4 June 2020

... It’s also true that the olden days had long been invaded by other habits. We did still go to a crowded cinema to see a film we’d been waiting for. But the crowd wasn’t guaranteed: we could also – as I often did – see films in cinemas entirely empty of other humans. The size of the screen, and the sound that you couldn’t moderate, made a ...

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