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Godly Mafia

Blair Worden: Aristocrats v. the King, 24 May 2007

The Noble Revolt: The Overthrow of Charles I 
by John Adamson.
Weidenfeld, 742 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 0 297 84262 0
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... Fifty years, almost to the month, before the publication of John Adamson’s book, Hugh Trevor-Roper stated his intention to write what he knew would be ‘a very long book’, the most ambitious of his career, on the Puritan revolution of 17th-century England. The project went through many mutations over the next four years, but by 1961 it was virtually complete ...

Someone Else, Somewhere Else

Peter Clarke, 13 November 1997

Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals 
edited by Niall Ferguson.
Picador, 548 pp., £20, April 1997, 9780330351324
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... differently, and that different contingencies would not have made any essential difference. John Adamson asks: what if Charles I had avoided the Civil War? In line with revisionist readings of 17th-century history, he uses this question to make a case for the non-inevitability of a clash between the King and his English Parliaments, had he not ...

When will he suspect?

John Barrell, 19 November 1992

Angels and Insects 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 290 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 7011 3717 7
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... of the realist novel only to shut them down with the ruthless logic of allegory and fable. William Adamson, the son of a Yorkshire Methodist butcher, is an entomologist who has spent ten years in the Amazon rainforest, studying butterflies, moths, ants and termites. On his return to England, he had expected to be able to finance his future research from the ...

Out of the East

Blair Worden, 11 October 1990

The King’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey 
by Peter Gwyn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 666 pp., £20, May 1990, 0 7126 2190 3
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Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 300 pp., £17.95, May 1990, 0 582 06064 8
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The Writings of William Walwyn 
edited by Jack McMichael and Barbara Taft.
Georgia, 584 pp., $45, July 1989, 0 8203 1017 4
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... without him. And surely, this is something; surely this is enough.’ The statement is quoted by John Morrill in his introduction to the volume of essays he has edited, Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution, a book, as he says, about ‘another man who rose from humble East Anglian roots to dominate his world’. Whether a substantial professional ...

Life Pushed Aside

Clair Wills: The Last Asylums, 18 November 2021

... drawings were presented to me by a very ill man,’ the catalogue entry read, quoting Edward Adamson, the art therapist who first encountered J.J. Beegan in 1946. By the time they met, Adamson explained, Beegan ‘had been in a locked ward in the hospital for many years. He was incontinent and unable to speak ...


Anne Barton, 2 July 1981

Othello as Tragedy 
by Jane Adamson.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £15, October 1980, 0 521 22368 7
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Shakespeare and Tragedy 
by John Bayley.
Routledge, 228 pp., £9.75, April 1981, 0 7100 0632 2
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... Twenty-one years ago, in The Characters of Love, John Bayley suggested that ‘there is a sense in which the highest compliment we can pay to Shakespeare is to discuss his great plays as if they were also great novels.’ At that time, Othello seemed to him particularly (indeed uniquely) responsive to such treatment ...


John Burnside, 16 April 1998

... I turn                  to sleep II Fisherfolk at Newhaven After Hill and Adamson Mending their nets                            or standing in their dim smoke-houses                      hearing the water slap against the wood-face of the dock and thinking of nights at sea ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... Reagan’s speech-writer, a rant on modern television from Frederic Raphael, and views on editing (John Gross), Post-Structuralism (Alison Lurie) and computers. ‘Art’ in particular contains some notable essays, among them Walter Ong on subway graffiti, and the section opens with a splendidly passionate and ambitious piece by Margaret Doody on the revision ...

Marvellous Boys

Mark Ford, 9 September 1993

The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... we are as the double almond concealed in one shell,’ he broods in ‘Colloquy with John Keats’, going on to predict his own equally untimely demise in harsh demotic terms – ‘Look! My number is up!’ After his cremation at Rookwood Cemetery Ethel opened his trunk and set about disposing of his pitiably meagre possessions; in the process ...

Leading the Labour Party

Arthur Marwick, 5 November 1981

Michael Foot: A Portrait 
by Simon Hoggart and David Leigh.
Hodder, 216 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 340 27600 2
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... national politics, but the first post-war election deprived it of its best-known figures. Willie Adamson, a former Fifeshire miner, happened to be around and so became Chairman of the Parliamentary Party. In 1922 MacDonald, Philip Snowden, his great rival in the Parliamentary opposition to the war effort, and the Clydeside contingent were returned to a ...

Lord Eskgrove’s Indecent Nose

Rosalind Mitchison, 24 January 1980

Lord Cockburn: A Bicentenary Commemoration 
edited by Alan Bell.
Scottish Academic Press, 204 pp., £6, December 1980, 0 7073 0245 5
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... Iain MacIver shows his complicated personal involvement in the great storm in the Scottish Church, John Pinkerton discusses his place as a lawyer, and Karl Miller the evidence his preferences give for the changing literary taste of the day. Before the proliferation of central government departments and local administrative bureaucracies the judges in Scotland ...

Only the Camels

Robert Irwin: Wilfred Thesiger, 6 April 2006

Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer 
by Alexander Maitland.
HarperCollins, 528 pp., £25, February 2006, 0 00 255608 1
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... On the whole the young Thesiger belonged to the second category. He read the novels of John Buchan and Rider Haggard, Jim Corbett’s tales of tiger hunting, Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game, Blackwood’s Tales from the Outposts, Jock of the Bushveld, Henri de Monfreid’s account of smuggling across the Red Sea, Churchill’s The River War ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: ‘Salt and Silver’, 21 May 2015

... and both echo principles shared with them by a third experimenter, the chemist and astronomer Sir John Herschel. It was Herschel who first used ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ to name the two distinct stages of photographic depiction, and Herschel whose investigations ultimately made it possible to capture the vagaries of light. In brief, what Herschel ...


John Upton: George Carman, 9 May 2002

No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman 
by Dominic Carman.
Hodder, 331 pp., £18.99, January 2002, 0 340 82098 5
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... charged with murder when he deliberately left a Down’s syndrome child to starve to death; Peter Adamson (Len Fairclough of Coronation Street), on trial for indecently assaulting children; and, most famously, the comedian Ken Dodd, who was accused of defrauding the Inland Revenue. (Carman’s famous line on this occasion: ‘Some accountants are ...

Animal Experiences

Colin Tudge: At the zoo, 21 June 2001

A Different Nature: The Paradoxical World of Zoos and Their Uncertain Future 
by David Hancocks.
California, 280 pp., £19.95, May 2001, 0 520 21879 5
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... hostile. ‘Good riddance’ was the general response. In the wake of her role as Joy Adamson in Born Free, Virginia McKenna and her husband, Bill Travers, founded Zoo Check, in essence anti-zoo. As London Zoo languished, Zoo Check flourished. In 1990, the post-Zuckerman Council declared that London Zoo must close. It was saved by the ‘Reform ...

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