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Raymond Williams, 25 June 1987

Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the 19th Century 
by Marjorie Reeves and Warwick Gould.
Oxford, 365 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 19 826672 3
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Beauty and Belief: Aesthetics and Religion in Victorian Literature 
by Hilary Fraser.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £25, January 1987, 0 521 30767 8
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The Correspondence of John Ruskin and Charles Eliot Norton 
edited by John Bradley and Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 537 pp., £45, April 1987, 0 521 32091 7
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... What can we possibly say of the claim that ‘the first great revolutionary movements in Europe’ were all ‘more or less imbued with the ideas of Joachim of Fiore’? Or, if ‘more or less’ offers an escape clause, what can we say of another claim: that ‘Joachim created the aggregate of symbols which govern the self-interpretation of modern political society to this day’? Or that ‘it is hardly too much to claim that the vague and powerful assumptions we all make about historical transition have their roots in Joachism’? ‘Aggregate of symbols’, ‘vague and powerful assumptions’, ‘more or less imbued’: whatever the actual history, these phrases bear the mark of very recent times; all were written, in fact, within the last twenty years ...

Bare feet and a root of fennel

John Bayley, 11 June 1992

Strong Representations: Narrative and Circumstantial Evidence in England 
by Alexander Welsh.
Johns Hopkins, 262 pp., £21.50, April 1992, 0 8018 4271 9
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... critics, like Maurice Morgann in 1777 with his Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff. A cheerful legally-minded diplomatist and civil servant, Morgann did what I suppose no good judge or defence counsel should do: he first fell for the plaintiff – fell virtually in love with him indeed – and then undertook to defend him in court ...

What Fred Did

Owen Bennett-Jones: Go-Betweens in Northern Ireland, 22 January 2015

... sending the message stating that “our war is over” which started the correspondence with John Major, and it is pretty clear in retrospect that one of the intermediaries in the chain between the government and the IRA did in fact embellish the message.’ The peace process, Tony Blair’s former chief of staff is suggesting, began with an ...

Whipping the wicked

Peter Clarke, 17 April 1980

The Optimists: Themes and Personalities in Victorian Liberalism 
by Ian Bradley.
Faber, 301 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 571 11495 4
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... Most of the great positive evils of the world,’ John Stuart Mill asserted in 1863, ‘are in themselves removable, and will, if human affairs continue to improve, be in the end reduced to within narrow limits.’ This sort of confidence in the reality and efficacy of progress now seems to set the 19th century distinctively apart from our own ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns, 11 December 1997

Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... with ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ (Phillips Brooks) and ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’ (John Greenleaf Whittier) as runners-up. Among the works of the canonical English poets, the lines known to most people are probably those beginning Blake’s Milton, ‘And did those feet in ancient time ...’, which Parry set to music and turned into the hymn ...

After High Tea

John Bayley, 23 January 1986

Love in a Cool Climate: The Letters of Mark Pattison and Meta Bradley 1879-1884 
by Vivian Green.
Oxford, 269 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 19 820080 3
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... and it is true that the world Dr Green has made out of the relationship of Mark Pattison and Meta Bradley is not exactly a separate world. It is a familiar one, familiar from memoirs and gossip and our general contemporary interest in the Victorian age, but Green has managed – perhaps quite inadvertently – to see it all from a slightly different ...

Feeling Right

Will Woodward: The Iowa Straw Poll, 16 September 1999

... sixty of us, a handful of journalists, but mostly Sherman Hill residents, have come to see Bill Bradley, the former New Jersey senator, New York Knicks professional basketball star and Rhodes scholar who wants the Democrats’ nomination for President of the United States. Jack Hatch, once an Iowa state representative, now some kind of consultant, is ...
Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... with anxiety, but the birth was easy and infancy has been a triumph. Unfortunately, however, Mr Bradley’s instant history of the first few months of the Social Democratic Party tells us a good deal more about its gestation before the launch on 26 March than about its development since. This was inevitable, no doubt. Even instant historians have to get ...

Anglo-Saxon Aptitudes

John Gillingham, 17 November 1983

The Anglo-Saxons 
edited by James Campbell.
Phaidon, 272 pp., £16.50, July 1982, 0 7148 2149 7
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Anglo-Saxon Art: A New Perspective 
by C.R. Dodwell.
Manchester, 353 pp., £35, October 1982, 0 7190 0861 1
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Anglo-Saxon Poetry 
edited by S.A.J. Bradley.
Dent, 559 pp., £10.95, August 1982, 0 460 10794 1
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The Anglo-Saxon World 
edited by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Boydell and Brewer, 275 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85115 169 8
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles: The Authentic Voices of England, from the Times of Julius Caesar to the Coronation of Henry II 
by Anne Savage.
Heinemann, 288 pp., £14.95, March 1983, 0 434 98210 5
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... have brought together a formidable trio of scholars, Campbell himself, Patrick Wormald and Eric John, to carve up the Anglo-Saxon age between them. Campbell has tackled the period from c. 350 AD to c. 660; Wormald from c. 660 to c. 900; and John from c. 900 to 1066. Other experts, several archaeologists and a ...

Trains in Space

James Meek: The Great Train Robbery, 4 May 2016

The Railways: Nation, Network and People 
by Simon Bradley.
Profile, 645 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 1 84668 209 4
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... many times over, in the town where I grew up. Those engines were new in the 1970s. Unlike Simon Bradley I lack the trainspotter’s enthusiasm for locomotives, and I’ve had some horrible journeys on that train. But the theatrical grandeur of its arrival always alters my sense of my surroundings, as if a door had opened, offering a glimpse of an ...

Coldbath Fields

Simon Bradley: In Praise of Peabody, 21 June 2007

London in the 19th Century: ‘A Human Awful Wonder of God’ 
by Jerry White.
Cape, 624 pp., £20, January 2007, 978 0 224 06272 5
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... voices recorded from the crowds, such as the Euston Square prostitute who startled the teenage John Lane, future publisher of the Yellow Book, by asking fortuitously: ‘Johnnie darling, won’t you come home with me?’ Even when he’s not quoting directly, White’s stories and statistics are chiefly drawn from contemporary sources. Here, then, is an ...

The Fire This Time

John Sutherland, 28 May 1992

... or famous civilians. The Mayor of Los Angeles is black, and is also a former LAPD officer. Tom Bradley exudes flexibility, tolerance and a benign moral laxity. When his daughter was caught driving under the influence of PCP, she was forgiven. Bradley, who, at 74, is much older than he looks, belongs to the Martin Luther ...

Open that window, Miss Menzies

Patricia Craig, 7 August 1986

A Taste for Death 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 454 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13799 7
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A Dark-Adapted Eye 
by Barbara Vine.
Viking, 300 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 670 80976 4
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Dead Men’s Morris 
by Gladys Mitchell.
Joseph, 247 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 7181 2553 3
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Laurels are poison 
by Gladys Mitchell.
Hogarth, 237 pp., £2.95, June 1986, 0 7012 1010 9
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Dido and Pa 
by Joan Aiken.
Cape, 251 pp., £7.95, June 1986, 0 224 02364 0
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... the last three brought out posthumously – all feature the same invincible investigator, Mrs Bradley (eventually Dame Beatrice), whom nothing nonplusses for long, neither the appearance of one body in the coffin of another, nor the apparent resurrection of a long-defunct figure. Speedy Death (1929) was the opening novel of the series, and it was planned ...

i could’ve sold to russia or china

Jeremy Harding: Bradley Manning, 19 July 2012

The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in US History 
by Chase Madar.
OR, 167 pp., £10, April 2012, 978 1 935928 53 9
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... to lock him up in the US and throw away the key. That last honour has already been bestowed on Bradley Manning. In the leaker, surely, the Americans have their man: why bother with his celebrity publisher? Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in Hans Crescent, round the back of Harrods, a thin but emblematic presence is maintained by his supporters. While I was ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: The candidates for the US presidency (2000), 6 January 2000

... so passed, in this city of sinister charm (once described by Gore Vidal as ‘the Vatican of the John Birch Society’), in an agony of boredom and irrelevance. And then the ABC News Nightline team, the flagship of supposedly serious coverage, announced that it was vacating its skybox and leaving town. No story. Thus did the grand tradition of Convention ...

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