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25 February 1993
Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... high-profile exemplar of this style was the magnate, George Walker; once, according to James Morton, an ‘ally’ of Billy Hill and Eddie Chapman, later a frequently puffed adornment of the Thatcherite open market culture.) There is nothing new in the concept, quality tailoring bonded over primal naughtiness. It has been spelled out ...

Boudoir Politics

Bee Wilson: Lola Montez

7 June 2007
Lola Montez: Her Life and Conquests 
by James Morton.
Portrait, 390 pp., £20, January 2007, 978 0 7499 5115 3
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... depending on ‘both the quality or otherwise of the audience and Lola’s mood each night’, as James Morton writes in his entertaining biography. And sometimes ‘it depended on what money was thrown on stage.’ More or fewer parts of Lola’s body might be exposed during the dance, which was in two parts. In the first, she played the ...

Gatsby of the Boulevards

Hermione Lee: Morton Fullerton

8 March 2001
Mysteries of Paris: The Quest for Morton Fullerton 
by Marion Mainwaring.
New England, 327 pp., £23, March 2001, 1 58465 008 7
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... In the spring of 1907, a few weeks after Edith Wharton had met Morton Fullerton in Paris, she described him to a mutual friend as ‘very intelligent, but slightly mysterious, I think’. Eight years later, by which time her passionate affair with Fullerton was long over, Henry James, in one of his last letters to her, confirmed her first thoughts about the man who had fascinated them both ...

Bowling along

Kitty Hauser: The motorist who first saw England

17 March 2005
In Search of H.V. Morton 
by Michael Bartholomew.
Methuen, 248 pp., £18.99, April 2004, 0 413 77138 5
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... Between 1925 and the mid-1960s, H.V. Morton sold nearly three million copies of his travel books, from The Heart of London (1925) to A Traveller in Italy (1964). Most popular of all were his volumes on England, especially In Search of England, first published in 1927 and already in its 29th edition by 1943. If his books now end up in charity shops alongside discarded copies of the F-Plan Diet or John Seymour’s Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency, it’s because the shimmering and peaceable ‘England’ he promised is not, after all, to be found waiting at the end of a deserted lane, or, if it were, we’d never know, because we’d be stuck in a traffic jam on the M5 ...

Lemon and Pink

David Trotter: The Sorrows of Young Ford

1 June 2000
Return to Yesterday 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Bill Hutchings.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 397 1
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War Prose 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Max Saunders.
Carcanet, 276 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 396 3
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... as usual in incendiary mood, poured scorn on him and his associates. ‘You and Mr Conrad and Mr James and all those old fellows are done,’ he was to be heard insisting. ‘Exploded! ... Fichus! ... No good! ... Finished!’ Lewis’s beef was with literary ‘impressionism’: with novels which sought intricately to render the movements, at once furtive ...

With Only Passing Reference to the Earth

James Hamilton-Paterson: The Martian Enterprise

22 August 2002
Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World 
by Oliver Morton.
Fourth Estate, 351 pp., £18.99, June 2002, 9781841156682
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... In his introduction to this remarkable book, Oliver Morton writes that it is ‘about how ideas from our full and complex planet are projected onto the rocks of that simpler, empty one’. Projection, Morton believes, has determined our thinking about Mars from the outset. The planet had attracted its complement of myth well before the Milanese astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli made his new map of Mars in 1877, and its features, dimly discernible through inadequate telescopes and often obscured by dust storms, had already acquired fanciful names ...

Ranklings

Philip Horne

30 August 1990
Henry James and Edith Wharton: Letters 1900-1915 
edited by Lyall Powers.
Weidenfeld, 412 pp., £25, May 1990, 9780297810605
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... known, among other things, as the teller of the most devastating of the anecdotes displaying Henry James’s incapacity to communicate efficiently. The story told in her 1933 autobiography, A Backward Glance, has James, late one evening, attempt to ask a doddering Windsor pedestrian how their car can find its way to the ...

Crypto-Republican

Simon Adams: Was Mary Queen of Scots a Murderer?

11 June 2009
Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by Stephen Alford.
Yale, 412 pp., £25, May 2008, 978 0 300 11896 4
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... her half-brother, the Earl of Moray, regent of Scotland following her abdication; the Earl of Morton, who supplied the account of the way the letters were found; and the Scottish academic, George Buchanan, who wrote an account of Mary’s role in the murder based on them. Was Cecil another? He undoubtedly played what was in retrospect a crucial role. In ...

Tyrannicide

James McConica

21 January 1982
Buchanan 
by I.D. McFarlane.
Duckworth, 575 pp., £45, June 1981, 0 7156 0971 8
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... of Latin at Bordeaux, and in Portugal at Coimbra. He was tutor to Montaigne and, most famously, to James VI and I, whose political views he can have engendered only by opposition. He was a friend to Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay and many of the Pléiade company; to Nicholas de Grouchy, the editor of Aristotle, Elie Vinet the mathematician and ...

Stardom

Megan Vaughan: Explorers of the Nile

8 March 2012
Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure 
by Tim Jeal.
Faber, 510 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 571 24975 6
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... explorers, not usually prone to doubts. ‘What should be called the source of a river?’ Henry Morton Stanley asked. ‘A lake which receives the insignificant rivers flowing into it and discharges all by one great outlet, or the tributaries which the lake collects?’ Stanley favoured the former theory, pointing out that otherwise it would be difficult to ...
7 April 1994
A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein 
by John Kerr.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 608 pp., £25, February 1994, 1 85619 249 0
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... the people in the end is not a being but a theory’. The book has a cast of thousands: William James, Théodore Flournoy, Morton Prince (who failed to detect sexual wishes in his patients’ dreams and was given his marching orders), Eugen Bleuler, (Miss) Frank Miller (altruistically given to analysing her own ...
19 July 1984
Henry James Letters. Vol. IV: 1895-1915 
edited by Leon Edel.
Harvard, 835 pp., £24, April 1984, 9780674387836
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... What strikes one about the garden at Lamb House, as redesigned by Henry James, is that it possesses all the ingredients of an old-English garden, yet the impression it makes is American. It seems on principle to want to do without mystery, even the mild mysteries beloved of English gardening-folk. In some indefinable way it is a public garden ...

Amigos

Christopher Ricks

2 August 1984
The Faber Book of Parodies 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 383 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 571 13125 5
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Lilibet: An Account in Verse of the Early Years of the Queen until the Time of her Accession 
by Her Majesty.
Blond and Briggs, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1984, 0 85634 157 6
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... like the Kraken; the poem is here a Mort and there a Morte. Max Beerbohm’s parody of Henry James is readily and roughly transcribed: for ‘caught in her tone’, read ‘caught her tone’; for ‘feverish’, read ‘feverishly’; for ‘physically’, read ‘psychically’ ... Mis-spelling, mis-punctuation and misquoting are much in evidence. In ...
25 July 1991
Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 411 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 09 462420 8
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Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 499 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 09 470220 9
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Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley 
by John Bierman.
Hodder, 401 pp., £17.95, January 1991, 0 340 50977 5
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... One can see the attraction of Henry Morton Stanley for the modern biographer. There is the intriguing rags-to-riches story of a Welsh bastard and orphan, whose childhood in the workhouse seemed to mark him out for a life of crime, and whose shifty adventures in early manhood gave little indication of the great explorer to come ...

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