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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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... land of whatever saw Ellis into the world of Ibsenite radicalism that had taken hold in London: a society of secular freethinkers, followers of the New Life, of Olive Schreiner and the sexual radical JamesHinton. 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 ...
20 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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... 1940s; there are as many diaries from the later as from the earlier period. This new material has not been digitised, and has received nothing like the same amount of scrutiny as the earlier deposit. JamesHinton’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 ...

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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... of bread and oatmeal gruel, and a mandatory stint of labour (turning the crank for a miller’s 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 ...

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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... John Gull, an early 19th-century Essex wharfinger who soon succumbs to cholera. Adopted by a parson and educated as a doctor, his son William turns up at Guy’s Hospital playing hand to the mind of JamesHinton – 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 ...
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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... consciousness which could alone bring the ideological mettle for a fundamental challenge to the system itself. He argues, in line with other Marxist historians working in this field, like JamesHinton 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 ...

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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... we learn next to nothing about how the plutonium itself was refined. That may be for narrative reasons: 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 ...


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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... Observer, came right out with it: ‘by now it is hard to see any reason why an American writer or 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 ...

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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... a hard look at life’s realities, and most of all a determination to enjoy that life, certainly to value 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 ...


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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... five novels goes, Anita Brookner has one basic theme, which she varies with considerable and increasing 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 ...

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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... spot and a human skeleton was found, complete with corroded chains. The bones were given a proper burial, 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 ...
6 October 1994
Radon Daughters 
by Iain Sinclair.
Cape, 458 pp., £15.99, August 1994, 0 224 03887 7
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...  Todd Sileen and Rhab Adnam, of whom we will be hearing more, set out to walk this occult mapping 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 ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011

5 January 2012
... and whether the soldiers who sent Faversham the first three feathers knew about the fourth feather-sender, 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 ...

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