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Dancing Senator

Pat Rogers, 7 November 1985

Memoirs of King George II: Vols I, II and III 
by Horace Walpole, edited by John Brooke.
Yale, 248 pp., £65, June 1985, 0 300 03197 1
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... with Memoirs from the Declaration of the War with Spain’, begun in 1746, now first published by John Brooke as an appendix to his edition. The title is misleading, for these are annals of the Hanoverian accession, and don’t get anywhere within hailing distance of Jenkins Ear. The date is significant: Robert Walpole had died in 1745, and a year later ...

Members Only

R.B. Dobson, 24 February 1994

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1386-1421 
edited by J.S. Roskell, Linda Clark and Carole Rawcliffe.
Alan Sutton, 3500 pp., £275, February 1993, 9780862999438
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... of the History of Parliament (devoted to the House of Commons from 1754 to 1790 and edited by John Brooke and Namier himself), admiration for the scholarship of that and subsequent volumes in this extraordinarily learned enterprise has regularly been accompanied by acute uncertainty as to what purpose it is supposed to fulfil. How far the painstaking ...

On Jonathan Miller

Neal Ascherson: Jonathan Miller, 2 January 2020

... sofas in the 1950s had broken springs. Once they had buoyed up culture heroes like Rupert Brooke, John Cornford or Guy Burgess. Now, as we trudged across the great Gromboolian plain of the 1950s, they had given up the struggle. Modish undergraduates perched on the arms. Jonathan, new to the place, tried to sit down ...

Photo-Finish

John Hedley Brooke, 23 May 1985

Just Before the Origin: Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Evolution 
by John Langdon Brooks.
Columbia, 284 pp., $39, January 1984, 0 231 05676 1
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China and Charles Darwin 
by James Reeve Pusey.
Harvard, 544 pp., £21.25, February 1984, 0 674 11735 2
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... else would. And we all know that, in a photo-finish, Wallace almost did; or, if we are to believe John Langdon Brooks, really did. If philosophers have been attracted to these historical sites, it is partly because the pattern of simultaneous discovery might seem to substantiate a relatively uncomplicated, inductivist account of scientific innovation. Once ...

A Talented Past

Linda Colley, 23 April 1987

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. I: Survey 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 400 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. II: Constituencies 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 704 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. III: Members A-F 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 852 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. IV: Members G-P 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 908 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. V: Members P-Z 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 680 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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... society’ at home. In 1932, he and a committee which included the three big N’s – Namier, Sir John Neale and Wallace Notestein – submitted to Parliament a report on the possibility of a multi-volume history of the House of Commons: ‘We were the first people to govern ourselves through responsible representatives. We may be the last. The institution is ...

Among the Sandemanians

John Hedley Brooke, 25 July 1991

Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist 
by Geoffrey Cantor.
Macmillan, 359 pp., £40, May 1991, 0 333 55077 3
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... has origins that can be traced to Scotland in the 1720s, where, from his ministry near Dundee, John Glas dissented from the practice of covenanting and insisted that a national church of Scotland under Parliamentary control was not sanctioned by the Bible. In the growth of the breakaway church Glas’s son-in-law Robert Sandeman played a seminal ...

Middle Positions

John Hedley Brooke, 21 July 1983

Archetypes and Ancestors: Palaeontology in Victorian London 1850-1875 
by Adrian Desmond.
Blond and Briggs, 287 pp., £15.95, October 1982, 0 85634 121 5
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Evolution without Evidence: Charles Darwin and ‘The Origin Species’ 
by Barry Gale.
Harvester, 238 pp., £18.95, January 1983, 0 7108 0442 3
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The Secular Ark: Studies in the History of Biogeography 
by Janet Browne.
Yale, 273 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 300 02460 6
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The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinsm 
by Brain Leith.
Collins, 174 pp., £7.95, December 1982, 0 00 219548 8
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... The Darwin scholar, John Greene, once summarised the Darwinian revolution as the triumph of a dynamic and non-teleological structuring of nature over static, teological systems: the triumph of chance and change over design and permanence, the triumph of objectivity in the life sciences, of secularism and naturalism over clericalism and the supernatural ...

Just like Rupert Brooke

Tessa Hadley: 1960s Oxford, 5 April 2012

The Horseman’s Word: A Memoir 
by Roger Garfitt.
Cape, 378 pp., £18.99, April 2011, 978 0 224 08986 9
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... Studying poetry spilled over naturally into writing it: Garfitt went to informal workshops with John Wain and Peter Levi, heard Ted Hughes read at the Poetry Society. Coghill read his poems, but wasn’t very enthusiastic; Peter Jay took a photo of him in a green silk smoking jacket looking ‘just like Rupert ...

Textual Harassment

Nicolas Tredell, 7 November 1991

Textermination 
by Christine Brooke-Rose.
Carcanet, 182 pp., £12.95, October 1991, 0 85635 952 1
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The Women’s Hour 
by David Caute.
Paladin, 272 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 586 09142 4
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Look twice 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 255 pp., £13.99, October 1991, 0 7011 3761 4
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... Nervousness and nostalgia mark these three novels. The nostalgia of Christine Brooke-Rose is, surprisingly, for a golden age of character in fiction; David Caute harks back to the Sixties and the heyday of radical hopes; John Fuller conjures a world in which stories can still enchant ...

Really fantastic

A.D. Nuttall, 18 November 1982

A Rhetoric of the Unreal: Studies in Narrative and Structure, especially of the Fantastic 
by Christine Brooke-Rose.
Cambridge, 380 pp., £25, October 1981, 0 521 22561 2
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... If Christine Brooke-Rose had stayed in Oxford, instead of migrating to France, she might have been rather like Helen Gardner. Her new book is written with a crispness and a briskness which at once evokes a certain atmosphere: a highly intelligent unresponsiveness to theory, a fear of subjectivity (she even recalls, with obvious relish, her Oxford tutor’s phrase for mere criticism, ‘personal effusions ...

Flinch Wince Jerk Shirk

Frank Kermode: Christine Brooke-Rose, 6 April 2006

Life, End of 
by Christine Brooke-Rose.
Carcanet, 119 pp., £12.95, February 2006, 1 85754 846 9
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... Christine Brooke-Rose, being in her eighties and suffering many intractable illnesses and disabilities, recognises that her life must be near its end. Since her retirement from the University of Paris (Vincennes) she has lived alone in a village near Avignon. Being well acquainted with illness, she has offered as her main reason for choosing to spend her old age in France the conviction that the French health services are far superior to the British, an opinion she has not had occasion to revise ...

Stuffing

Gabriele Annan, 3 September 1987

The Neo-Pagans: Friendship and Love in the Rupert Brooke Circle 
by Paul Delany.
Macmillan, 270 pp., £14.95, August 1987, 0 333 44572 4
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... of the women; at Cambridge, the Bloomsbury men mostly belonged to the Apostles, and so did Rupert Brooke and Ferenc Bekassy, a fringe Neo-Pagan; nervous breakdowns were common in both groups and treated by the same doctors with the same regime – called ‘stuffing’ – in the sense of fattening up; members of both sets recognised one another in the ...

Small Items with Big Implications

John Hedley Brooke, 1 December 1983

Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History 
by Stephen Jay Gould.
Norton, 413 pp., £11.95, September 1983, 0 393 01716 8
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The Great Chain of History: William Buckland and the English School of Geology, 1814-1849 
by Nicolaas Rupke.
Oxford, 322 pp., £22.50, September 1983, 0 19 822907 0
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... In the concluding essay of an adventurous collection, Stephen Jay Gould observes that most ‘classic stories’ in science are wrong. There are good reasons why he is right. In their reconstruction of the past, practising scientists have been apt to celebrate the insight of those who anticipated their own ideas, tacitly dismissing those who were blind to where the future would lie ...

Flower Power

P.N. Furbank: Jocelyn Brooke, 8 May 2003

'The Military Orchid’ and Other Novels 
by Jocelyn Brooke.
Penguin, 437 pp., £10.99, August 2002, 0 14 118713 1
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... An unjustly neglected author’? This was at least how Anthony Powell wrote of Jocelyn Brooke, none of whose books remained in print at the time of his death in 1966. But the neglect was to some degree remedied when, in 1981, Secker and Warburg reissued his Orchid Trilogy as a single volume, with an introduction by Powell, and it is nice to see this trilogy now reprinted as a Penguin Classic ...

Something Rather Scandalous

Jean McNicol: The Loves of Rupert Brooke, 20 October 2016

Rupert BrookeLife, Death and Myth 
by Nigel Jones.
Head of Zeus, 588 pp., £12, April 2015, 978 1 78185 703 8
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Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke 
by Paul Delany.
McGill-Queen’s, 380 pp., £28.99, March 2015, 978 0 7735 4557 1
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The Second I Saw You: The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner 
by Lorna C. Beckett.
British Library, 216 pp., £16.99, April 2015, 978 0 7123 5792 0
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... Rupert Brooke​ died of septicaemia caused by an infected mosquito bite, on his way to fight in Gallipoli in April 1915. It wasn’t a romantic or heroic death, but it proved easy enough to turn into legend: that he died in the Aegean and not a ditch in Northern France helped; so did his burial on the island of Skyros, where Achilles lived and Theseus was killed; so did the speed with which his death followed on the publication of his five war sonnets, his most famous and least typical poems, which had just been praised by the dean of St Paul’s for their ‘pure and elevated patriotism ...

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