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Norman Bread

Christopher Holdsworth, 16 October 1980

The Norman Conquest of the North 
by William Kapelle.
Croom Helm, 329 pp., £14.95, March 1980, 0 7099 0040 6
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Consul of God 
by Jeffrey Richards.
Routledge, 309 pp., £9.75, March 1980, 0 7100 0346 3
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Martin of Tours 
by Christopher Donaldson.
Routledge, 171 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 7100 0422 2
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by Steven Runciman.
Thames and Hudson, 160 pp., £9.50, March 1980, 0 500 25071 5
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... in middle life to become a hermit and ultimately bishop of a see in north France. Consul of God by Jeffrey Richards is built around the life of another monk bishop, this time a Roman aristocrat who became pope about two hundred years after Martin’s time and is best-known to English readers as the man who sent Augustine and some monks to convert the ...

Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver, 8 January 1987

The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... water tower overhead. It is no wonder that none of the particulars I have so far cited appear in Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie’s history, exceptionally rich though it is in station lore collected world-wide, and assiduous in its pursuit both of main-line socio-economic themes and of lightly trafficked sub-cultural branches. I claim no special ...

Kipling the Reliable

David Trotter, 6 March 1986

Early Verse by Rudyard Kipling 1879-1889 
edited by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 497 pp., £19.50, March 1986, 9780198123231
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Kipling’s India: Uncollected Sketches 1884-88 
edited by Thomas Pinney.
Macmillan, 301 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 333 38467 9
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Imperialism and Popular Culture 
edited by John MacKenzie.
Manchester, 264 pp., £25, February 1986, 9780719017704
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Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases 
edited by Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell.
Routledge, 1021 pp., £18.95, November 1985, 0 7100 2886 5
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... the way the BBC under Reith used the appeal of Empire to establish its own status and popularity. Jeffrey Richards writes about images of Empire in British and American films of the Thirties, Stephen Constantine about the Empire Marketing Board, whose activities ranged from a pamphlet on ‘The Behaviour and Diseases of the Banana in Storage and ...

A Good Reason to Murder Your Landlady

Terry Eagleton: I.A. Richards, 25 April 2002

I.A. RichardsSelected Works 1919-38 
edited by John Constable.
Routledge, 595 pp., December 2001, 0 415 21731 8
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... Of all the great 20th-century critics, I.A. Richards is perhaps the most neglected. There is a crankish, hobbyhorsical quality to his work, an air of taxonomies and technical agendas which befits the son of a chemical engineer. His transatlantic counterpart in this respect is Kenneth Burke. Some of Richards’s work smacks of the laboratory, and isn’t helped by his charmless, bloodless prose style, laced as it is with briskly self-satisfied flourishes which his opponents saw as insufferable arrogance ...

A Pride of Footnotes

Robert M. Adams, 17 November 1983

The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Vol. VII: ‘Biographia Literaria’ 
edited by James Engell and Walter Jackson Bate.
Routledge/Princeton, 306 pp., £50, May 1983, 0 691 09874 3
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... become an active component in much modern critical thinking. From George Saintsbury through I.A. Richards to Kenneth Burke, it has exercised the active stimulus, not of a privileged book, but of one which in each generation earns afresh its own authority. For all its oddities – and certainly it is the oddest volume ever dictated by the mouth of man – it ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... even harder to believe that any such crew would include both A.S. Byatt and Jilly Cooper or place Jeffrey Archer alongside Geoffrey Hill. How, if at all, are these two vignettes from the literary life of the period to be connected? Should we be wondering about the ways commercial changes in the world of publishing affected the standing of authors? Should we ...

Damnable Heresy

David Simpson: The Epic of Everest, 25 October 2012

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest 
by Wade Davis.
Vintage, 655 pp., £12.99, October 2012, 978 0 09 956383 9
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... it, about mountains? Near the end of his long life as a passionate if cautious mountaineer, I.A. Richards told an audience at the Alpine Club that only the ‘moderately sophisticated’ could see the point of what to others looked like a ‘dangerous and wasteful species of dementia’. Only a mind which was in full possession of itself could hold off the ...


Christopher Ricks, 22 November 1990

Bloomsbury Dictionary of Dedications 
edited by Adrian Room.
Bloomsbury, 354 pp., £17.99, September 1990, 0 7475 0521 7
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Unauthorised Versions: Poems and their Parodies 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 446 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 571 14122 6
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The Faber Book of Vernacular Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 407 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 571 14470 5
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... The Structure of Complex Words:                  For            I.A. RICHARDS     Who is the source of all ideas in this book, even the minor ones arrived       at by disagreeing with him And I should have wished that the amazing F.R. Leavis/Q.D. Leavis selves-congratulations, happily here, might have enjoyed the ...


Iain Sinclair, 6 June 1996

... at the Whitney. Complex negotiations are entered into with minders and middlemen. I thought of Jeffrey Smalldon’s account of running across Corso in the Kettle of Fish, how the occasion rapidly degenerated into rows over lottery tickets and a chance meeting with a ‘tall, slender’ gent in a sinister ‘European-cut suit’. ‘Mafioso, man, heavy ...

Putin in Syria

Jonathan Steele, 21 April 2016

... among them Saleh Muslim, the leader of the PYD, the YPG’s political arm. In Britain David Richards, the former chief of the defence staff, called on Cameron to accept that Assad’s army was best placed to take the fight to IS. ‘At the moment we’ve got contradictory war aims,’ he told the BBC. ‘We want to deal with Isis but we also want to get ...


Iain Sinclair: The Plutocrat Tour, 7 July 2022

... towards Dartford, where Thatcher launched her political career and where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards plotted their escape into managed subversion and serious money. As we approached the beacon at the Crossness promontory, the official Thames path was blocked by a temporary barrier guarded by a couple of bored policemen. They were ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... wind that ruffles the lavender (and makes landing for the hornets tricky). 1 August. A propos Jeffrey Archer. I am rereading the Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters and come across this remark by George Lyttelton: ‘Sprinters always try to beat the pistol, therefore are essentially unscrupulous and unreliable.’ 30 August. A commercial for Carte D’Or ice ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... Think, too, of the enormous slice of the Beatles songbook covered by other acts. How many Jagger/Richards cover versions can you call up before your forehead starts to wrinkle? The only two that came unbidden to my mind are by Devo and Cat Power, who gave us wildly different takes on ‘Satisfaction’. (For the record, my own favourite Beatles covers ...

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