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Did more mean worse?

Michael Brock, 23 October 1986

Government and the Universities in Britain: Programme and Performance 1960-1980 
by John Carswell.
Cambridge, 181 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 9780521258265
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... John Carswell is uniquely qualified to provide an official’s chronicle of British higher education in the Robbins and post-Robbins phases. He was assigned to the universities desk in the Treasury in 1960 when the Robbins Committee was being appointed. He left the secretaryship of the University Grants Committee for that of the British Academy in 1977 ...

Ivy’s Feelings

Gabriele Annan, 1 March 1984

The Exile: A Life of Ivy Litvinov 
by John Carswell.
Faber, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1983, 0 571 13135 2
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... for Foreign Affairs in the Thirties and Stalin’s Ambassador to Washington after the war. John Carswell is the son of Catherine Carswell, who was Ivy’s best friend until she followed her husband to Russia in 1920. In 1959, after Catherine and Litvinov were dead, Ivy got permission to visit her native land and ...

A Poke of Sweeties

Andrew O’Hagan: Neal Ascherson’s Magnificent Novel, 30 November 2017

The Death of the ‘Fronsac’ 
by Neal Ascherson.
Apollo, 393 pp., £18.99, August 2017, 978 1 78669 437 9
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... Coleridge’s​ favourite novelist, John Galt, had a gift for encapsulating disgrace under pressure, and his novels of small-town Scottish life are among the early masterpieces of British political fiction. After a life of robust colonial effort, during which he founded the Canadian city of Guelph, Galt – exhausted and impoverished – came back to Greenock and died there in 1839 ...

The Great US Election Disaster

Hal Foster, 30 November 2000

... about ‘integrity in the White House’ that does the trick. Maybe also at work is the ‘Harold Carswell factor’, which I name in honour of a mediocre Southern judge nominated by Nixon for the Supreme Court, a nomination defended on the grounds that he would provide a much-needed voice for lots of other mediocre people too. These kinds of identification ...

Bert’s Needs

Patricia Beer, 25 March 1993

Lawrence’s Women: The Intimate Life of D.H. Lawrence 
by Elaine Feinstein.
HarperCollins, 275 pp., £18, January 1993, 0 00 215364 5
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... benefactors: Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lady Cynthia Asquith, the Honourable Dorothy Brett, Catherine Carswell, Mary Cannan, Amy Lowell and, later, Mabel (Dodge Sterne) Luhan. He accepted their money (Frieda was not above writing begging letters), their offers of houses and their hospitality, which to a couple on as low an income as theirs was a godsend. In ...


Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... was ‘profoundly sorry’ for the mess we are in and acknowledging his part in it. Then Douglas Carswell, the Tory backwoodsman who has tabled a motion of no confidence, rose and demanded that time be made available for a debate. ‘It’s not a substantive motion,’ the Speaker replied. ‘Oh yes it is,’ came voices from all sides. Extraordinary. I’ve ...

Seeing in the Darkness

James Wood, 6 March 1997

D.H. Lawrence: Triumph To Exile 1912-22 
by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 943 pp., £25, August 1996, 0 521 25420 5
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... overdue attention. Lawrence’s enemies still deny his comedy, which was often self-deprecating. John Carey, who wants all writers to be nice (ideally, as decent as Arnold Bennett), wrote a book about the nastiness of various modern writers called The Intellectuals and the Masses. In it Lawrence is scolded for his ‘fascism’, his ecstasies of ...

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