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Sidney and Beatrice

Michael Holroyd

25 October 1979
A Victorian Courtship: The Story of Beatrice Potter and Sidney Webb 
by Jeanne Mackenzie.
Weidenfeld, 148 pp., £5.50
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... quarters. ‘She would take refuge in the laundry and curl up among the sheets and tablecloths,’ Jeanne MacKenzie writes, ‘or she would sit on the ironing-board and chat to the maids about her intention to become a nun.’ Later on, her two mentors were the ponderous and pedantic philosopher Herbert Spencer and Charles Booth the social investigator ...

Bloody

Michael Church

9 October 1986
The Children of the Souls: A Tragedy of the First World War 
by Jeanne Mackenzie.
Chatto, 276 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 9780701128470
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Voices from the Spanish Civil War: Personal Recollections of Scottish Volunteers in Republican Spain 1936-39 
edited by Ian MacDougall, by Victor Kiernan.
Polygon, 369 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 948275 19 7
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The Shallow Grave: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War 
by Walter Gregory, edited by David Morris and Anthony Peters.
Gollancz, 183 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 575 03790 3
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Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War 
edited by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 388 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 19 212258 4
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The Spanish Cockpit 
by Franz Borkenau.
Pluto, 303 pp., £4.95, July 1986, 0 7453 0188 6
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The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 
by Paul Preston.
Weidenfeld, 184 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 297 78891 4
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Images of the Spanish Civil War 
by Raymond Carr.
Allen and Unwin, 192 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 04 940089 4
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... into which her flirtation with the other young men of his coterie had frequently plunged him. Jeanne MacKenzie suggests that he and his friends – known to the press as the Corrupt Coterie – shared the romantic fatalism of their class and were half in love with death, and for once the cliché earns its keep. ‘Corrupt’ in the modern sense they ...

Bright Old Thing

D.A.N. Jones

23 July 1987
Letters of Conrad Russell: 1897-1947 
edited by Georgiana Blakiston.
Murray, 278 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 7195 4382 7
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... Russell never married. He was of that company called ‘the lost generation’, as described by Jeanne Mackenzie in Children of the Souls: she concentrated on Raymond Asquith, Edward Horner and six other subalterns killed in World War One. They seemed, in Diana Cooper’s view, to have no appetite for life: ‘they had grown up,’ said ...
6 December 1984
TheDiary of Beatrice Webb. Vol. III: ‘The Power to Alter Things’ 
edited by Norman Mackenzie and Jeanne Mackenzie.
Virago, 445 pp., £20, October 1984, 0 86068 211 0
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Beatrice and Sidney Webb: Fabian Socialists 
by Lisanne Radice.
Macmillan, 350 pp., £20, June 1984, 0 333 36183 0
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... The third and final volume of the Webb diaries, which covers the period 1905 to 1924, is appropriately subtitled ‘The Power to Alter Things’. Hitherto Beatrice had been mainly the stay-at-home book-writer and social entertainer, while Sidney pursued his activities in the London County Council as well as in the London School of Economics which the Webbs had themselves founded ...

Honeymoon

Barbara Wootton

1 December 1983
TheDiary of Beatrice Webb. Vol. II: All the Good Things in Life 
edited by Norman Mackenzie and Jeanne Mackenzie.
Virago, 376 pp., £18, October 1983, 0 86068 210 2
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... The final entry in Volume One of this diary, dated 23 July 1892, left Beatrice safely married to her Sidney, but lamenting that, according to current convention, as ‘Mrs Sidney Webb’ she would lose both her names. The next entry is dated 16 August and is divided between a brief reference to two delightful days of ‘real honeymoon in the Wicklow Hills’ and interviews with trade-unionists in Glasgow and elsewhere relevant to the History of Trade Unionism, which was to be their first joint book ...

I do and I don’t

Barbara Wootton

21 October 1982
TheDiary of Beatrice Webb. Vol. I 1873-1892: Glitter Around and Darkness Within 
edited by Norman Mackenzie and Jeanne Mackenzie.
Virago, 386 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 86068 209 9
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... Beatrice Potter was born in 1858 at Standish on the edge of the Cotswolds. Her father, Richard Potter, was a well-to-do (mainly self-made) businessman to whom she was devoted. Relations with her mother seem, however, to have been uneasy: the diary mentions ‘a kind of feeling of dislike and distrust which I believe is mutual’. For this she suffered a strong sense of guilt, as she earnestly believed that ‘whatever my mother might be, it ought not to make the slightest difference to my feelings and behaviour towards her ...

Picshuas

P.N. Furbank

18 October 1984
Experiment in Autobiography: Discoveries and Conclusion of a Very Ordinary Brain (since 1866) 
by H.G. Wells.
Faber, 838 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 571 13330 4
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H.G. Wells in Love: Postscript to an Experiment in Autobiography 
edited by G.P. Wells.
Faber, 253 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 571 13329 0
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The Man with a Nose, and the Other Uncollected Short Stories of H.G. Wells 
edited by J.R. Hammond.
Athlone, 212 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 485 11247 7
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... Wells: Aspects of a Life, is ironical about Wells’s edifying account (followed by Norman and Jeanne MacKenzie) of his ‘hard decision’ to leave the house he had built for himself in France. The truth, says West, is that Odette Keun had chucked him out. (Keun, it does strike one, was a real hell-raiser: Anthony West, however, though as an ...
18 December 1986
Bernard Shaw: The Diaries 1885-1897 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 1241 pp., £65, September 1986, 0 571 13901 9
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... life in 1956. Other scholars have browsed them for background material, notably Norman and Jeanne MacKenzie in their book The Fabians. But it has taken until now for any publisher to be persuaded that a public wider than that of economic historians has been waiting to learn what Shaw paid for boot dubbing (threepence) and boots ...

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