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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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... of second-generation Mafia mufti. The business for the aspiring businessman, the boxer in the boardroom. (A high-profile exemplar of this style was the magnate, George Walker; once, according to JamesMorton, 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 ...

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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... at once. Her most famous turn was the ‘spider dance’, a tarantella-like affair which varied depending on ‘both the quality or otherwise of the audience and Lola’s mood each night’, as JamesMorton 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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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... a magazine of his own, the rather more intemperate Blast. Gripping Ford by the elbow, Lewis, who was 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 ...

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 ...

On the Rant

E.P. Thompson

9 July 1987
Fear, Myth and History: The Ranters and the Historians 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £22.50, September 1986, 0 521 26243 7
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... the revival of interest in the Ranters since 1970 is explained in terms of the supposed ‘goals’ of the Communist Party Historians Group in 1946-56, the realisation of which may be seen in A.L. Morton’s The World of the Ranters and Christopher Hill’s The World Turned Upside Down. At the same time, these and other historians wished to find precursors for the anti-hegemonic ‘hippy’ culture ...

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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... Edith Wharton is 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 ...

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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... the victim of a conspiracy that would stop at little to destroy her. The possible conspirators included 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 ...

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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... the career of a teacher, chiefly in France at the college of Sainte-Barbe in Paris and as professor 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 ...

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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... the ‘source’, not any one of them in particular. This issue gave pause even to Victorian 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 ...
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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... he would describe it as ‘an unusually gruesome ghost story, where the ghost who finally devours all 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 ...
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 ...

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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... very’. A poet called Lord Alfred Tennyson, not to be confused with Alfred Lord Douglas, briefly surfaces 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 ...
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 ...

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