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Thomas​ Jones: How to Type like a Man

10 May 2007
... I first got my hands on a typewriter at the age of nine. It was my father’s, a 1967 Olivetti in grey bakelite. He clearly had no use for it: why would a dentist need a typewriter? Whereas I needed it to write a novel, a fast-paced, gut-wrenching, hard-boiled murder mystery set in a primary school. It revolved around a production of Macbeth, in which the hero, the ...

Ideal​ Speech

Geoffrey Hawthorn

19 November 1981
Hegel contra Sociology 
by Gillian​ Rose.
Athlone, 261 pp., £18, May​ 1981, 0 485 11214 0
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The Political​ Philosophy of the Frankfurt School 
by George Friedman.
Cornell, 312 pp., £9.50, February 1981, 9780801412790
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Metacritique 
by Garbis Kortian, translated by John​ Raffan.
Cambridge, 134 pp., £12.50, August 1980, 0 631 12779 8
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The Idea of a Critical​ Theory 
by Raymond Geuss.
Cambridge, 99 pp., £10, December 1981, 0 521 24072 7
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The Politics of Social​ Theory 
by Russell Keat.
Blackwell, 245 pp., £12.50, August 1981, 0 631 12779 8
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Critical​ Hermeneutics 
by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £17.50, September 1981, 9780521239325
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Hermeneutics and the Human​ Sciences 
by Paul Ricoeur, translated by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £20, September 1981, 0 521 23497 2
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... Natural man is born free but is everywhere in chains. ‘Civilised man’, unfortunately, ‘is born and dies a slave. The infant is bound up in swaddling clothes, the corpse is nailed down in his coffin. All his life man is imprisoned by institutions.’ Optimists will insist, as Helvétius did to Rousseau ...

But she read​ Freud

Alice Spawls: Flora Thompson

19 February 2015
Dreams of the Good Life: The Life of Flora Thompson​ and the Creation of ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ 
by Richard Mabey.
Allen Lane, 208 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 14 104481 1
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... An outsider​ by birth as well as by disposition, Flora Thompson took solitary pleasure in observing her fellow villagers. She stored away characters and scenes from an early age – the naughty children who pulled her hair, Queenie who spoke to bees, the annual pig killing, May Day, the harvest – but published nothing until she was in her thirties, and nothing on ...
9 January 1992
Customs in Common 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 547 pp., £25, October 1991, 0 85036 411 6
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... Edward Thompson’s Customs in Common is described asa ‘companion volume’ to his The Making of the English Working Class, and rises to the occasion. It has the wide range of reference, the densely-textured documentation, a special quality of ...

Memories of Tagore

E.P. Thompson

22 May 1986
... Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the 125th anniversary of whose birth is being celebrated by a series of festival events in London this month, returned to Bengal in September 1913 after a triumphant spell in England. Sir William Rothenstein had introduced him to English literary and artistic circles in the course of the previous year. His own prose versions of some of his poems ...

Too Proud to Fight

David Reynolds: The ‘Lusitania’ Effect

28 November 2002
Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ 
by Diana Preston.
Doubleday, 543 pp., £18.99, May​ 2002, 0 385 60173 5
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Lusitania: Saga and Myth 
by David Ramsay.
Chatham, 319 pp., £20, September 2001, 1 86176 170 8
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Woodrow Wilson 
by John Thompson.
Longman, 288 pp., £15.99, August 2002, 0 582 24737 3
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... The Old Head of Kinsale juts out into the Atlantic from the southern coast of Ireland. For centuries sea captains have used it asa landmark. On 7 May 1915 a local family named Henderson, picnicking on the promontory in bright sunshine, were admiring a huge passenger liner with four raked-back funnels steaming eastward close to shore. Suddenly a vast plume ...

Absent Framers

Andreas​ Teuber

31 March 1988
... Friend: ‘You have given us a good Constitution.’ Gouverneur Morris: ‘That depends on how it is construed.’ Last year was the year of the bicentennial of the US Constitution. Many celebrations were planned and held, not ...

Back to Byzantium

John Thompson

22 January 1981
Destinations 
by Jan​ Morris.
Oxford, 242 pp., £7.95, July 1980, 0 19 502708 6
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The Venetian​ Empire 
by Jan​ Morris.
Faber, 192 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780571099368
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... There’s a jet on the cover of Destinations, soaring silently above New York, bathed in the rosy, gauzy haze of a dawn sun. The serenity of it all is deceptive, because Jan Morris is screaming in on a specialassignment from Rolling Stone. Her collection of essays touches down in a quick succession of trouble-torn areas – India in the Emergency, post-Watergate Washington, Southern Africa, Panam...

Pulp

Scott Bradfield

14 December 1995
Jim Thompson​ Omnibus: The Getaway, The Killer inside Me, The Grifters, Pop. 1280 
Picador, 570 pp., £7.99, November 1995, 3 303 34288 1Show More
Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson 
by Robert Polito.
Knopf, 543 pp., $30, October 1995, 0 394 58407 4
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... Jim Thompson never actually claimed to write capital-L Literature, but today, nearly twenty years after his death, many of his admirers are making the claim for him. Born in a sheriff’s apartment over the Caddo County Jail in Oklahoma in 1906, Thompson, like many good American boys, grew up to be a lot like his father. ‘Big Jim’ Thompson Sr was the popular multi-term ...

The Ruling Exception

David Cannadine

16 August 1990
Queen Victoria: Gender and Power 
by Dorothy Thompson.
Virago, 167 pp., £6.99, May​ 1990, 0 86068 773 2
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... of Tory women, and the blimpish cohorts of retired colonels, are among the most loyaland devoted of Her Majesty’s subjects. But for all that, the true-blue-rinse Thatcher years have not been a happy or an easy time for the House of Windsor. In public, the Prime Minister professes respect and admiration for her sovereign lady and the whole royal family. But it is difficult to believe that in ...

Examples

Denis Donoghue

2 February 1984
Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical​ Earnestness: English Social​ Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... I’ll talk mostly about Towards 2000, so I should give a brief account of Writing in Society and Radical Earnestness to begin with. Radical Earnestness is a brisk survey of a ‘tradition of thought’, a ‘mode of feeling’, which Fred Inglis identifies as English and, in a vague sense, socialist. The tradition is characterised by ‘a habit of ...
19 February 1987
The Aristocracy in England, 1660-1914 
by J.V. Beckett.
Blackwell, 512 pp., £22.50, September 1986, 0 631 13391 7
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... As Britain chips awayat her manufacturing base and slides towards becoming one vast open-air museum and tourist attraction, her aristocracy has emerged as the most dignified and venerable of museum pieces. Country houses are prized and revered asarchitectural gems, asart galleries and as period museums, and the frequently bizarre mixture of the ...

So it must be for ever

Thomas​ Meaney: American Foreign Policy

13 July 2016
American​ Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 244 pp., £14.99, March 2014, 978 1 78168 667 6
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A Sense of Power: The Roots of America’s Global​ Role 
by John A. Thompson.
Cornell, 343 pp., £19.95, October 2015, 978 0 8014 4789 1
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A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American​ Foreign Relations in the 1970s 
by Daniel J. Sargent.
Oxford, 369 pp., £23.49, January 2015, 978 0 19 539547 1
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... It is a sign​ of true political power when a great people can determine, of its own will, the vocabulary, the terminology and the words, the very way of speaking, even the way of thinking, of other peoples,’ Carl Schmitt wrote in 1932, at the ...
2 December 1993
John​ Strachey: An​ Intellectual Biography 
by Noel Thompson.
Macmillan, 288 pp., £27.50, May​ 1993, 0 333 51154 9
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John​ Strachey 
by Michael Newman.
Manchester, 208 pp., £12.99, September 1989, 9780719021749
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... In the 1929 General Election campaign, the Labour candidate for Aston, Birmingham issued the following leaflet: £5 Reward! DESPERATE TORIES WILD LIE. Mr John Strachey writes: ‘It has come to my notice that Tory canvassers are making the outrageous statement that I ama foreigner. This is a most serious allegation which the Aston Tory Party, utterly ...
4 September 1980
Studies in the Reformation: Luther to Hooker 
by W.D.J. Cargill Thompson.
Athlone, 259 pp., £18, July 1980, 9780485111873
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... Towards the end of 1533, Sir Thomas More turned to write the last of his harsh rejoinders to a pamphlet attack, printed abroad, on the Catholic doctrine of the eucharist. He did not know who the author was, though he guessed it to be his fierce old adversary William Tyndale, or perhaps George ...

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