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Virginia Weepers

Judith Shklar, 17 May 1984

The Pursuit of Happiness 
by Jan Lewis.
Cambridge, 290 pp., £20, November 1983, 0 521 25306 3
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Jefferson’s Extracts from the Gospels: ‘The Philosophy of Jesus’ and ‘The Life and Morals of Jesus’ 
edited by Dickinson Adams.
Princeton, 438 pp., £28.50, September 1983, 0 691 04699 9
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... they enjoyed contemplating their suffering. At any rate, the stay-at-homes whose domestic life Jan Lewis describes in The Pursuit of Happiness were ‘awash with self-pity’. There were, of course, other gentry Virginians who pursued active and successful political careers in Washington. Virginians had supplied most of the Presidents and many ...


Raymond Williams, 24 January 1985

The Taliesin Tradition: A Quest for the Welsh Identity 
by Emyr Humphreys.
Black Raven, 245 pp., £10.95, April 1984, 0 85159 002 0
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Jones: A Novel 
by Emyr Humphreys.
Dent, 144 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 460 04660 8
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Wales! Wales? 
by Dai Smith.
Allen and Unwin, 173 pp., £9.95, March 1984, 0 04 942185 9
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The Matter of Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country 
by Jan Morris.
Oxford, 442 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 19 215846 5
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... Its most memorable expression was a poem ‘The Deluge’, by the nationalist leader Saunders Lewis, which began: The tramway climbs from Merthyr to Dowlais, Slime of a snail on a heap of slag. That industrial landscape or wasteland was accurately observed, but the sting was the judgment: ‘here once was Wales.’ It is then unsurprising that the ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Underground Bunkers, 6 November 2008

... facility newly photographed in large-format full colour by David Moore. The Last Things (Dewi Lewis, £25) opens with an anonymous quote – ‘Ministry of Defence official, London 2007’ – that reads: ‘I don’t understand how you’ve got this far.’ What follows is a series of shots of unpeopled hallways and decontamination chambers, a pot-plant ...


D.A.N. Jones, 21 November 1985

The Prague Orgy 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 89 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 224 02815 4
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by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 378 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2843 7
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Cousin Rosamund 
by Rebecca West.
Macmillan, 295 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 333 39797 5
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The Battle of Pollocks Crossing 
by J.L. Carr.
Viking, 176 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 670 80559 9
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The Bone People 
by Keri Hulme.
Hodder, 450 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 37024 6
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... sketch of a new sort of British security officer in 1984. (His story begins in 1936.) Gwyn Lewis, under security scrutiny, is surprised by the appearance of his interrogator: ‘the very expensive City suit, the healthy confidence of skin and voice, the profound self assurance of manner and gesture, seemed to belong in a different, moneyed or ...

Who’s in, who’s out?

Campbell Craig and Jan Ruzicka: The Nonproliferation Complex, 23 February 2012

... states: hyper-defensive nuclear states that all reason suggests are better left alone. As Lewis Dunn puts it in Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century, in the world imagined by Waltz, nuclear weapons would become ‘the equivalent of possession of a national airline, conventional military forces, or any of the other indicators of state ...

You know who

Jasper Rees, 4 August 1994

Jim Henson – The Works: The Art, the Magic, the Imagination 
by Christopher Finch.
Aurum, 251 pp., £20, April 1994, 1 85410 296 6
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... Muppets fed on fantastical, picaresque literary sources: The Dark Crystal on Tolkien, Labyrinth on Lewis Carroll. (The fact that the latter also represented the indisputable nadir in the career of David Bowie is, for the purposes of this review, neither here nor there.) In the film Dreamchild, the cinematic meditation on the life of the real Alice directed by ...

Elizabethan Spirits

William Empson, 17 April 1980

The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age 
by Frances Yates.
Routledge, 224 pp., £7.75, November 1979, 9780710003201
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... of her own range of knowledge, and she seems to ignore his views, so I may speak up. C.S. Lewis, in the first chapter of his survey of English 16th-century literature (1954), said that earlier writers had treated magic as fanciful and remote, but in this period they felt it might be going on in the next street; and one reason was a thing they ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... method picks up ‘patterns’ across the different lives, as the sociologist Gail Lewis, another of the interviewees, puts it, showing ‘what was possible in terms of subjectivity’ for women in the UK from the 1940s on. And, in doing so, it also shows something of how digitisation changes those possibilities, and has changed the ...

Life with Ms Cayenne Pepper

Jenny Turner: The Chthulucene, 1 June 2017

Manifestly Haraway: ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’, ‘The Companion Species Manifesto’, Companions in Conversation (with Cary Wolfe) 
by Donna Haraway.
Minnesota, 300 pp., £15.95, April 2016, 978 0 8166 5048 4
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Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene 
by Donna Haraway.
Duke, 312 pp., £22.99, August 2016, 978 0 8223 6224 1
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... the fossil evidence pro and contra, most of it compellingly pro. An article from December 2015 by Jan Zalasewicz, its chairman, and Colin Waters of the British Geological Survey found plastics, smelted metals, novel radionuclides and raised carbon levels in every cranny of the earth’s crust, as well as new rock forms made of squashed-up toys and nappies and ...

Disorderly Cities

Richard J. Evans: WW2 Town Planning, 5 December 2013

A Blessing in Disguise: War and Town Planning in Europe, 1940-45 
edited by Jörn Düwel and Niels Gutschow.
DOM, 415 pp., €98, August 2013, 978 3 86922 295 0
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... of our impotent rage as urban planners, has now been overtaken by its dreadful fate.’ The Pole Jan Chmielewski, looking at the ruins of Warsaw after his escape from the Majdanek concentration camp, expressed his ‘relief’, having been compelled over the previous decades to witness the city’s ‘chaotic growth … devoid of any planning’. The city ...


R.W. Johnson: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War, 6 May 2004

The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War 
by Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £45, May 2003, 0 521 82453 2
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... of South Africa’s black majority. White South Africa had a remarkable territorial appetite. Jan Smuts, who, well before becoming a Boer general, let alone the great statesman of Anglo-Boer reconciliation, was making it plain that the conquest of the interior by Boer trekkers should be seen as merely a beginning. Ahead lay a greater South ...
... was the only person outside the medical profession who had written about her this century. Now Jan Bondeson, whose paper on her appeared in the American Journal of Medical Genetics in 1992, has published a book aimed at a wider audience, called A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities, which includes, among chapters on spontaneous human combustion and maternal ...

Peace without Empire

Perry Anderson, 2 December 2021

Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union 
by Stella Ghervas.
Harvard, 528 pp., £31.95, March, 978 0 674 97526 2
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... Furman of Russia, Gáspár Tamás of Hungary and Slavoj Žižek of Yugoslavia, born in the 1940s; Jan Zielonka of Poland, born in the 1950s; and Ivan Krastev of Bulgaria in the 1960s.1 All save Zielonka were originally trained in philosophy, which – this being Eastern Europe – was no impediment to wider interests: Furman started his career as a historian ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... is so cheeky. Now we’ve read Dylan Thomas, haven’t we, and some John Cowper Powys. And Jan Morris we’ve read. But who else is there?’ ‘You could try Kilvert, maam,’ said Norman. ‘Who’s he?’ ‘A vicar, maam. Nineteenth century. Lived on the Welsh borders and wrote a diary. Fond of little girls.’ ‘Oh,’ said the Queen, ‘like ...

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