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What is concrete?

Michael Wood: Erich Auerbach, 5 March 2015

Time, History and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach 
by Erich Auerbach, edited by James Porter, translated by Jane Newman.
Princeton, 284 pp., £27.95, December 2013, 978 0 691 13711 7
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... whatever exists or takes place, in the world, in the mind. ‘Whatever happens, happens,’ as Jane Newman, the translator of Time, History and Literature shrewdly renders a difficult German phrase. In a second sense it is whatever piece of the actual or lived, the experienced or the deeply needed, that a writer or thinker has found words for, or a ...

Across the Tellyverse

Jenny Turner: Daleks v. Cybermen, 22 June 2006

Doctor Who 
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Doctor Who: A Critical Reading of the Series 
by Kim Newman.
BFI, 138 pp., £12, December 2005, 1 84457 090 8
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... and monsters it’s quite impossible that I ever saw. ‘All lazy writing about Doctor Who,’ Kim Newman writes in his ‘critical reading’ of what he calls ‘the franchise’, ‘trades on the stereotypes of children watching “from behind the sofa”’ – exactly what I remember doing, though in our house we called it the settee. So do I really ...

Resurrecting the Tudors

John Pemble: James Anthony Froude, 23 May 2013

James Anthony Froude: An Intellectual Biography of a Victorian Prophet 
by Ciaran Brady.
Oxford, 500 pp., £45, May 2013, 978 0 19 966803 8
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... Froude’s Carlyle blew open the citadel of privacy. It encouraged public speculation about what Jane Carlyle’s friends were saying in private, by strongly hinting that Carlyle was impotent. It was doubly shocking in being as much about her as about him: a portrait of the silently suffering and profoundly unfulfilled wife as well as the ...

Walls, Fences, Grilles and Intercoms

Andrew Saint: Security and the City, 19 November 2009

Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the 21st-Century City 
by Anna Minton.
Penguin, 240 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 0 14 103391 4
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... the American influences, no doubt because they wield so much power today. As long ago as 1961, Jane Jacobs in her Death and Life of Great American Cities presented the case for a free and open security system based on the mutual vigilance of the street. That was partly countered by Oscar Newman, whose Defensible Space of ...


Jane Holland: My Snooker Career, 6 February 1997

... and pat you on the head, which is when you move in and take them for every penny. As Paul Newman said, ‘money won is twice as sweet as money earned.’ Winning a game of snooker is not particularly straightforward, especially if you’re afraid of your opponent. A difficult draw can be costly in the opening rounds, when you’re still nervous and ...

Heaven’s Gate

Rosemary Hill, 8 September 1994

Pugin: A Gothic Passion 
edited by Paul Atterbury and Clive Wainwright.
Yale, 310 pp., £45, June 1994, 0 300 06014 9
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... in an address to the Rambler about plainsong. Such support made the fastidious John Henry Newman shudder. ‘A profound silence’, he suggested, was the only way ‘to bear such blushing honours’. Nothing in Pugin’s life was more dramatic than his own transformation from talented but undirected dilettante to Roman Catholic architect, designer and ...

My Runaway Slave, Reward Two Guineas

Fara Dabhoiwala: Tools of Enslavement, 23 June 2022

Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London 
by Simon Newman.
University of London, 260 pp., £12, February 2022, 978 1 912702 93 0
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... silk-weaver in Southwark, who worshipped at St Olave’s church, and whose children, Edmund and Jane, died in the plague epidemic of 1592. In his pioneering Black Lives in the English Archives (2008), Imtiaz Habib similarly uncovered hundreds of men and women of colour working alongside and marrying white Londoners between 1500 and 1677.Some of these people ...

Unshockable Victorians

John Bayley, 19 June 1986

The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. Vol. II: The Tender Passion 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 490 pp., £19.50, June 1986, 0 19 503741 3
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... a proper, placid and pleasant surface may seem to carry us back to ordinary life in the way that Jane Austen did. Our emphasis today on the healthiness of sex, Aids-causing tactics always excluded, and its place in society as a kind of domestic football, narrows a once spacious emotional area. Where the tender passions are concerned almost everything used to ...

He-Said, They-Said

John Lanchester: Crypto Corruption, 2 November 2023

Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon 
by Michael Lewis.
Penguin, 255 pp., £35, October, 978 0 241 65111 7
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Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall 
by Zeke Faux.
Weidenfeld, 267 pp., £25, September, 978 1 3996 1134 3
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... of Tracts for the Times in 1833, grew in fame along with its great polemicist John Henry Newman, was denounced for being a semi-covert form of Roman Catholicism, and then suffered a colossal scandal in 1845 when Newman became the highest profile convert to Catholicism in the history of England, thus confirming what ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers, 10 November 1988

The Faber Book of Seductions 
edited by Jenny Newman.
Faber, 366 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 571 15110 8
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Journeys to the Underworld 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 226 pp., £10, October 1988, 9780701132231
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... all there was between them then was rain. Brian Patten’s perfunctory verse is included in Jenny Newman’s anthology in order to make the same sort of point: seductions, which begin with fine words and end with desperate recriminations, are a thing of the past. ‘You cannot seduce anyone when innocence is not a value,’ Elizabeth Hardwick said in ...
... in her belief, long in preparation, was sudden and complete. At the moment when John Henry Newman was being received into the Roman Catholic Church Marian was own pitting her translation of Strauss’s Life of Jesus, applying to the New Testament the Higher Criticism, which had made literal interpretation of Genesis untenable. A rebellious period ...

The Monster Plot

Thomas Powers: James Angleton, Spymaster, 10 May 2018

The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton 
by Jefferson Morley.
Scribe, 336 pp., £20, December 2017, 978 1 911344 73 5
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... several orders of magnitude. Poring through these files in 1994 was a friend of Morley’s, John Newman, who was completing a book called Oswald and the CIA, published in 1995. Among the new files Newman spotted some routing slips from the CI Staff which recorded the arrival of documents circulated by the FBI, the National ...


P.N. Furbank, 18 November 1982

The English World: History, Character and People 
edited by Robert Blake.
Thames and Hudson, 268 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 500 25083 9
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The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal 
by Philip Mason.
Deutsch, 240 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780233974897
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... patriotism of Shelley and Byron, the inability to think logically of John Stuart Mill and Cardinal Newman and Lewis Carroll? No, it won’t do, and Orwell, for once, was talking through his hat – perhaps relaxing in what he considered an ‘English’ manner. It really seems, then, not quite proper that distinguished experts should have contributed to a ...


Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater, 6 February 2020

The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. III: Imaginary Portraits 
edited by Lene Østermark-Johansen.
Oxford, 359 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 882343 8
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The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. IV: Gaston de Latour 
edited by Gerald Monsman.
Oxford, 399 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 881616 4
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Walter Pater: Selected Essays 
edited by Alex Wong.
Carcanet, 445 pp., £18.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 626 3
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... and Apuleius is unlikely to spot the references, often disguised, to Baudelaire, Schiller and Newman – or vice versa. Who is to say which range of reference is the more important, in any particular case?Take, for example, this sentence from ‘The Genius of Plato’, included in Wong’s collection: ‘Now Plato is one for whom the visible world thus ...


C.K. Stead, 22 February 1996

Letters of Claire Clairmont, Charles Clairmont and Fanny Imlay Godwin 
edited by Marion Kingston Stocking.
Johns Hopkins, 704 pp., £45, May 1995, 0 8018 4633 1
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... persisted. Flexibility about names suggests concealment of origins and uncertainty of identity. Jane Clairmont became Clare, then Claire, sometimes Clara, and added Constantia. Her mother married William Godwin twice in an afternoon, once as ‘Jane Clairmont, widow’, a second time as ‘Mary Vial, spinster’. She ...

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