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2 June 1983
Philosophical Essays on Freud 
edited by Richard Wollheim and James Hopkins.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £25, November 1982, 9780521240765
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The Legend of Freud 
by Samuel Weber.
Minnesota, 179 pp., $25, December 1982, 0 8166 1128 9
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... most fundamental and distinctive claims of psychoanalysis should still be the subject of radical scepticism. That we are entering the shabby world of psychoanalytic apologetic becomes apparent from JamesHopkins’s introduction, where the argument from resistance rears its fatuous head. Hopkins thinks we find it difficult to judge the claims of psychoanalysis on their merits because psychoanalysis ...

Feel what it’s like

James​ Davidson: Pagans, Jews and Christians

2 March 2000
A World Full of Gods: Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire 
by Keith Hopkins.
Weidenfeld, 402 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 297 81982 8
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... another, and turn the other cheek and things like that, and give to the poor, a veritable Mother Teresa. A World Full of Gods is a book full of Christians and strange mental slides. Its author, Keith Hopkins, is a professor of ancient history at Cambridge. This is his first book written for a general readership and even without its fantastic materials and important subject its authorship would be enough ...

Starting up

Peter Clarke

6 November 1986
The German Slump: Politics and Economics 1924-1936 
by Harold James.
Oxford, 469 pp., £30, March 1986, 0 19 821972 5
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The Making of Keynes’s General Theory 
by Richard Kahn.
Cambridge, 327 pp., £20, May 1984, 9780521253734
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Towards the Managed Economy: Keynes, the Treasury and the Fiscal Policy Debate of the 1930s 
by Roger Middleton.
Methuen, 244 pp., £25, September 1985, 0 416 35830 6
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Keynes and his Contemporaries 
edited by G.C. Harcourt.
Macmillan, 195 pp., £22.50, October 1985, 0 333 34687 4
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The Policy Consequences of John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Harold Wattel.
Macmillan, 157 pp., £29.50, April 1986, 0 333 41340 7
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... prepared them? And what can we make of Keynes’s confident proposal of a revolution in ‘the way the world thinks about economic problems’? The first set of issues is addressed by Harold James in his impressive study, The German Slump. In explaining an apparent economic recovery under the Nazis, following the bankruptcy of the Weimar regime, there is a plausible argument that ‘the right ...
24 January 1980
Pavlov 
by Jeffrey Gray.
Fontana, 140 pp., £1.25, September 1980, 9780006343042
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J.B. Watson: The Founder of Behaviourism 
by David Cohen.
Routledge, 297 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 7100 0054 5
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... know that there was much previous philosophical speculation on the nature of learning and thinking based on the idea of ‘associative links’. These were discussed in various forms by Hume, both James Mill and his son John Stuart Mill, Bain, and most effectively by Hartley. As Jeffrey Gray points out, a major impact of Pavlov’s work was to bring experiments to bear on philosophical notions of ...
27 June 1991
The Desire of My Eyes: A Life of John Ruskin 
by Wolfgang Kemp, translated by Jan Van Huerck.
HarperCollins, 526 pp., £20, March 1991, 0 00 215166 9
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... of religion, or mythography, or science, find him unignorable. He inevitably interests cultural theorists. And then, of course, there are the literature specialists, who know that the development of Hopkins, Pater, Proust, and many others, cannot be understood without some reference to Ruskin. These assorted academics have all come up with their own versions of what is most significant in Ruskin’s ...

Half-Resurrection Man

Keith Hopkins

19 June 1997
Paul: A Critical Life 
by Jerome Murphy O’Connor.
Oxford, 416 pp., £35, June 1996, 0 19 826749 5
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Paul: The Mind of the Apostle 
by A.N. Wilson.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 274 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 1 85619 542 2
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... of the Apostles, not a cool work of objective history, but an exemplary work of theological polemic. It aims to show that Paul was the missionary appointed by the pillars of the Jerusalem Church (James, the brother of Jesus, Peter and John) to take the Christian message from Jerusalem to Rome, with his martyrdom omitted, perhaps to avoid depicting Rome’s opposition to early Christians. And then ...

Winner’s History

Howard Erskine-Hill

20 August 1981
Some Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution 
by Christopher Hill.
Weidenfeld, 100 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 297 77780 7
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The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714 
by Christopher Hill.
Nelson, 296 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 0 17 712002 9
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... being suggested) is surprising. If Calvinism fostered spiritual autobiography and spiritual autobiography the novel, we should recall that the Anglican Church was widely Calvinist under Elizabeth and James. Cervantes’ Don Quixote, not so far as I know the consequence of a revolution, echoes on into 18th-century fiction, while the great European picaresque novel with its powerfully developed religious ...

Embarrassed

Graham Hough

7 October 1982
Thomas Hardy: A Biography 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 637 pp., £15, June 1982, 0 19 211725 4
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. III: 1902-1908 
edited by Richard Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 367 pp., £19.50, July 1982, 0 19 812620 4
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The Neglected Hardy: Thomas Hardy’s Lesser Novels 
by Richard Taylor.
Macmillan, 202 pp., £17.50, May 1982, 0 333 31051 9
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Good Little Thomas Hardy 
by C.H. Salter.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £15, August 1982, 0 333 29387 8
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Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form 
by Penny Boumelha.
Harvester, 178 pp., £18.95, April 1982, 0 7108 0018 5
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Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy 
by Arlene Jackson.
Macmillan, 151 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 333 32303 3
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... in better perspective. This is also the aim of C.H. Salter’s Good Little Thomas Hardy – but fulfilled in a very different spirit. The offensive title of this book is taken from a letter of Henry James. What right had James to patronise Hardy, and why should Salter think it worth repeating? Salter’s aim is admittedly to cut Hardy down to size – he thinks the reputation exaggerated, particularly ...

English Butter

David Trotter

9 October 1986
Englishness: Politics and Culture 1880-1920 
edited by Robert Colls and Philip Dodd.
Croom Helm, 378 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 7099 0849 0
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The Character Factory: Baden-Powell and the Origins of the Boy Scout Movement 
by Michael Rosenthal.
Collins, 335 pp., £15, August 1986, 0 00 217604 1
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Oxford and Empire: The Last Lost Cause? 
by Richard Symonds.
Macmillan, 366 pp., £29.50, July 1986, 0 333 40206 5
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... Irish Catholic majority or with the British Parliament, they fell back on an identity beyond politics: the spirit of the Protestant apprentice boys who had shut the gates of Derry in the face of King James. This retrenchment had the effect of removing from Protestant identity the level of political allegiance and negotiation. Any reform was, and still is, construed as an immediate threat to fundamental ...
22 May 1980
Trying to Explain 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 213 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 85635 343 4
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... himself to be profiting from living abroad, T.S. Eliot in England in 1918, honouring the American who had likewise profited and who had then become – as Eliot would – an Englishman: Henry James. ‘The fact of being everywhere a foreigner was probably an assistance to his native wit.’ And Donald Davie, who everywhere has his native wits about him, has he profited much from living abroad ...

Chances are

Michael Wood

7 July 1983
O, How the wheel becomes it! 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 143 pp., £6.95, June 1983, 0 434 59925 5
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Brilliant Creatures 
by Clive James.
Cape, 303 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 224 02122 2
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Pomeroy 
by Gordon Williams.
Joseph, 233 pp., £7.95, June 1983, 0 7181 2259 3
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... What a chapter of chances,’ Tristram Shandy’s father says, ‘what a long chapter of chances do the events of this world lay open to us!’ The thought is echoed in the closing pages of Clive James’s Brilliant Creatures, whose author-hero is said to be a ‘chapter of accidents’, and in the title and precarious plot of Anthony Powell’s O, How the wheel becomes it! The wheel is Ophelia’s ...
7 June 2001
... of ‘turns’ really, one of which, though, Treacher is pleased to note, is from St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, the passage about love, with Father Jolliffe opting for the King James version using charity. He took time at the start of the reading to explain to the congregation that charity was love and not anything to do with flag days or people in doorways. Or if it was to do ...

Under the Sphinx

Alasdair Gray

11 March 1993
Places of the Mind: The Life and Work of James​ Thomson (‘B.V.’) 
by Tom Leonard.
Cape, 407 pp., £25, February 1993, 9780224031189
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... This is the first full-length study of James Thomson’s life and work since Henry Salt’s in 1889. Thomson’s poem The City of Dreadful Night is known by name to many but has seldom been reprinted or discussed. Histories of literature say ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods

21 January 1999
A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... a conservative man, and a cautious critic. He would have been interested in the notion that many or most of the figures who recreated modern writing were gay, or Irish, or Jewish: Melville, Whitman, Hopkins, James, Yeats, Kafka, Woolf, Joyce, Stein, Beckett, Mann, Proust, Gide, Firbank, Lorca, Cocteau, Auden, Forster, Cavafy. But he would have been slightly unsettled, I think, by the thought of the gay ...

Praise Yah

Eliot Weinberger: The Psalms

24 January 2008
The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary 
by Robert Alter.
Norton, 518 pp., £22, October 2007, 978 0 393 06226 7
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... the heavens declare the glory of god; go down to the sea in ships; at their wits’ end; the valley of the shadow of death; make a joyful noise; go from strength to strength . . . The 1611 King James Authorised Version of the Book of Psalms – and of course of the entire Bible – is so deep in the English language that we no longer know when we are repeating its phrases. Inextricable from the ...

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