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The Sun-Bather

Michael Neve, 3 July 1980

Havelock Ellis 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Allen Lane, 492 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 7139 1071 2
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... of secular freethinkers, followers of the New Life, of Olive Schreiner and the sexual radical James Hinton. While involved in this doll’s house in reverse, Ellis attended St Thomas’s Hospital to complete a medical training. He had an unsatisfactory, rather destructive, semi-relationship with Olive Schreiner, with both parties withdrawing as ...

Sam, Caroline, Janet, Stella, Len, Helen and Bob

Susan Pedersen: Mass Observation, 21 September 2017

Seven Lives from Mass Observation: Britain in the Late 20th Century 
by James Hinton.
Oxford, 207 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 19 878713 6
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... been digitised, and has received nothing like the same amount of scrutiny as the earlier deposit. James Hinton’s Seven Lives from Mass Observation, a book of short narrative biographies put together from recent diaries, offers some remedy. This is the third work based on the MO archives that Hinton has published ...

Brotherly Love

Susan Pedersen: Down and Out in Victorian London, 31 March 2005

Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London 
by Seth Koven.
Princeton, 399 pp., £19.95, September 2004, 0 691 11592 3
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... wheel), he was allowed on his way. This ‘Amateur Casual’, who was in reality the journalist James Greenwood, then went home for a second, more restorative, hot bath. On 12 January, the first of three articles detailing his experience appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette under the title ‘A Night in a Workhouse’. Seth Koven opens his rich and absorbing ...

Human Origami

Adam Mars-Jones: Four-Dimensional Hinton, 4 March 2021

by Mark Blacklock.
Granta, 290 pp., £8.99, April, 978 1 78378 521 6
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... Charles Howard Hinton​ was a Victorian mathematician and theorist of the fourth dimension, the scandal of whose conviction for bigamy led him to lose his job as a schoolmaster and to exile himself with his family, travelling first to Japan and then to America. Mark Blacklock’s novel shrewdly and even slyly manages to reflect Hinton’s theories without staking the success of the book on them ...

The light that failed

Peter Clarke, 18 September 1980

The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815-1848 
by Maxine Berg.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £16, April 1980, 0 521 22782 8
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Masters, Unions and Men 
by Richard Price.
Cambridge, 355 pp., £18.50, June 1980, 0 521 22882 4
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Work, Society and Politics 
by Patrick Joyce.
Harvester, 356 pp., £24, July 1980, 0 85527 680 0
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... to the system itself. He argues, in line with other Marxist historians working in this field, like James Hinton and Gareth Stedman Jones, that revolutionary class-consciousness can grow out of a struggle for control of production itself. The Leninist model is thus discarded as a schematic imposition of ahistorical categories upon diverse and dynamic ...

Rodinsky’s Place

Patrick Wright, 29 October 1987

White Chappell: Scarlet Tracings 
by Iain Sinclair.
Goldmark, 210 pp., £12.50, October 1987, 1 870507 00 2
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... and educated as a doctor, his son William turns up at Guy’s Hospital playing hand to the mind of James Hinton – a surgeon in whose philosophy the Ripper’s role as ‘time’s abortionist’ is first outlined. White Chappell is preoccupied by the Ripper murders, but Sinclair is not seeking to trace out the true identity of the Ripper: a question ...

Bangs and Stinks

James Buchan, 22 December 1994

Test of Greatness: Britain’s Struggle for the Atom Bomb 
by Brian Cathcart.
Murray, 301 pp., £19.99, September 1994, 0 7195 5225 7
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... while Penney bestrides the story like a colossus from Woolwich and Aldermaston, Christopher Hinton at Windscale must needs be a pygmy. But the decisions about the Windscale plant committed Britain to a nuclear technology which, though excellent for making Plutonium, was not so good at generating power; to the reprocessing of spent reactor fuel; and to ...


Stephen Fender, 3 April 1980

The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in England, 1894-1914 
by Stanley Weintraub.
W.H. Allen, 408 pp., £7.95, November 1979, 0 491 02209 3
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The Americans: Fifty Letters from America on our Life and Times 
by Alistair Cooke.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £5.95, October 1979, 0 370 30163 3
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... artist should wish to settle either in Paris or London.’ Then, of course, it was another matter. James, Whistler, Sargent, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Stephen Crane, Harold Frederick, Henry Harland of the Yellow Book, Pound, Eliot, Frost; from 1894 to 1914 it seems that all the crème, not to mention the avant garde, of American talent was centred on ...

Wintry Lessons

Dinah Birch: Anita Brookner, 27 June 2002

The Next Big Thing 
by Anita Brookner.
Viking, 247 pp., £16.99, June 2002, 0 670 91302 2
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... it’. Sturdy and admirable sentiments; but even this fortitude (closer here to Hardy than to James) cannot wholly account for the impulse to write. Brookner has occasionally permitted glimpses of something closer to the sources of her perseverance. One of her strongest books, Look at Me (1983), is narrated by a novelist. Frances ...


Frank Kermode, 5 September 1985

Family and Friends 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 187 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 224 02337 3
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... technical resource. All five books are quite short, and all have some of the qualities of what James called the beautiful and blest nouvelle, since they are intensive in plot and on the whole refuse the temptation to broaden into novels. This limitation, if that is the right word, is not at all the consequence of any diffidence or lack of skill in the ...

A Dreadful Drumming

Theo Tait: Ghosts, 6 June 2013

The Undiscovered Country: Journeys among the Dead 
by Carl Watkins.
Bodley Head, 318 pp., £20, January 2012, 978 1 84792 140 6
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A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof 
by Roger Clarke.
Particular, 360 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84614 333 5
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... and the house was no longer troubled by spirits. As Clarke points out, this could be an M.R. James or Sheridan le Fanu story. One detail – the house was suspiciously cheap for its size – features in countless modern ghost stories of the Amityville type. There are, according to Clarke, eight main categories of ghostly phenomenon: traditional ghosts ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... his erstwhile fiancée, Ethne. All this gets pretty tedious and repetitive and rather Henry James-like in its moral ramifications. It’s gone through so often that one wonders whether the repetition is because the book came out originally in serial form. Each chapter certainly has a subheading: ‘Durrance hears news of Faversham’; ‘The House of ...

The Opposite of a Dog

Jenny Turner, 6 October 1994

Radon Daughters 
by Iain Sinclair.
Cape, 458 pp., £15.99, August 1994, 0 224 03887 7
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... from London, picking up a third, a poet, don and Star Trek enthusiast called TCP ‘Germy’ Hinton on the Oxford leg, passing by the grave of John Dee, Elizabeth I’s court wizard, an allegorical theme-park called Milton Keynes and other centres of deep and magical significance, as they go. Why are they doing this? Because they have been sent on a ...

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