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JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 April 1981

Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... died at the age of 67 on 3 August 1924, the day following the 18th birthday of his younger son, John Conrad, the author of the present book. John’s memories, which reach astonishingly far back into his earliest childhood, begin with his family living in poverty in a tiny cottage, ‘a dark and gloomy place’, at ...

Philip’s People

Anna Della Subin, 8 May 2014

... of white explorers said to have been hailed as gods – Francis Drake, Hernán Cortés, Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus, to name a few – acquired a new star in the mid-1970s, when Prince Philip vacationed off the coast of Tanna, in what was then the New Hebrides, aboard HMY Britannia. Ever since, a string of Englishmen have made the pilgrimage to the ...

Haleking

John Bossy: Simon Forman, 22 February 2001

The Notorious Astrological Physician of London: Works and Days of Simon Forman 
by Barbara Howard Traister.
Chicago, 260 pp., £19, February 2001, 0 226 81140 9
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Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician 
by Judith Cook.
Chatto, 228 pp., £18.99, January 2001, 0 7011 6899 4
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... society’, like ‘institutional racism’, is an idea too metaphysical by half. Judith Cook’s Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician has a similar title to Barbara Traister’s, reports much the same events, and comes to much the same conclusions if we leave out patriarchal society, but it does so in a narrative framework, beginning at the ...

Aloha, aloha

Ian Hacking, 7 September 1995

What ‘Natives’ Think: About Captain Cook, For Example 
by Marshall Sahlins.
Chicago, 316 pp., £19.95, July 1995, 0 226 73368 8
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... with Europeans, not only regarded the white men as superior beings, but also took Captain Cook to be their god Lono, a very important one in their world, which was tilled with gods. Or, is that story a European myth in itself, subsequently foisted on Hawaiian self-memory by British and other foreign chroniclers? The latter is the thesis of Gananath ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery, 3 November 2016

... Marxists have discovered, is pride in knowing your place and respecting your superiors. John Osborne’s autobiography A Better Class of Person (1981) is a sustained assault on that attitude in general and his mother in particular. It is no accident that, as Taylor quotes John Vincent saying, Margaret Thatcher was ...

Swaying at the Stove

Rosemary Hill: The Cult of Elizabeth David, 9 December 1999

Elizabeth David: A Biography 
by Lisa Chaney.
Pan, 482 pp., £10, September 1999, 0 330 36762 5
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Waiting at the Kitchen Table. Elizabeth David: The Authorised Biography 
by Artemis Cooper.
Viking, 364 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7181 4224 1
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... postwar England. The manuscript had been rejected by several more literal-minded publishers before John Lehmann, the editor of New Writing, took it on at the recommendation of his assistant, Julia Strachey, Lytton Strachey’s niece. So it was as a literary work, with a lingering glow of Bloomsbury behind it, that David’s first book made its appearance. To ...

Our Trusty Friend the Watch

Simon Schaffer, 31 October 1996

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time 
by Dava Sobel.
Fourth Estate, 184 pp., £12.99, August 1996, 1 85702 502 4
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... Adventure arrived on the north coast of Tahiti. For some on board, including their captain, James Cook, this was a return visit to the Pacific haven they called ‘King George’s Island’. The British were there, among other reasons, to check the performance of a small jewelled watch, barely more than five inches in diameter, carried with them all the way ...

Mr Straight and Mr Good

Paul Foot: Gordon Brown, 19 February 1998

Gordon Brown: The Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 358 pp., £17.99, February 1998, 0 684 81954 6
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... candidate for the safe seat of desperately impoverished Dunfermline East, he co-edited with Robin Cook another series of socialist essays, The Great Divide. In his Introduction, he grappled with the familiar argument that the shocking conditions of the poor could only be improved in times of economic growth. ‘The era of economic growth,’ he ...

Foodists

John Bayley, 25 February 1993

A History of Food 
by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, translated by Anthea Bell.
Blackwell, 801 pp., £25, December 1992, 0 631 17741 8
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... Ramsay’s martyrdom on the family altar, but also of her detachment, for it is not she but the cook who has taken two days to prepare it in the kitchen. Hazlitt remarks in an essay that he associates books with what he was eating when he read them: La Nouvelle Héloise with pain au beurre and a pot of coffee, Tom Jones with a roasted partridge. The ...

Sightbites

Jonathan Meades: Archigram’s Ghost, 21 May 2020

Archigram: The Book 
edited by Dennis Crompton.
Circa, 300 pp., £95, November 2018, 978 1 911422 04 4
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... Archigram was an out-of-hours architectural band of six men – Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene – whose day jobs were with big commercial practices and local authorities. They formed in the early 1960s and over the next decade or so produced thousands of designs for ‘cities of the future’ that were highly original, sometimes on the money, sometimes woeful, often funny, reliably coarse ...

Sailing Scientist

Steven Shapin: Edmund Halley, 2 July 1998

Edmond Halley: Charting the Heavens and the Seas 
by Alan Cook.
Oxford, 540 pp., £29.50, December 1997, 0 19 850031 9
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... scarcely a word of it; the wholly other and the all-too-human; the virgin ascetic who accused John Locke of trying to ‘embroil’ him with women, and the supreme London boulevardier whose consuming passions included Château Haut-Brion, the theatre and serial embroilments with women. Turn the page and the odd couple is joined by a third, for here ...

Fine Women

Neil Rennie, 6 July 1989

The Pacific since Magellan. Vol. III: Paradise Found and Lost 
by O.H.K. Spate.
Routledge, 410 pp., £40, January 1989, 0 415 02565 6
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Captain Bligh: The Man and his Mutinies 
by Gavin Kennedy.
Duckworth, 321 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 7156 2231 5
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The Sublime Savage: James Macpherson and the Poems of Ossian 
by Fiona Stafford.
Edinburgh, 208 pp., £22.50, November 1988, 0 85224 569 6
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... Within a few decades this continent had been exploded, mostly by its anti-Columbus, James Cook, and crumbled into a multitude of islands in a vast ocean, mapped, measured and ready for invasion by beachcombers, traders, whalers, missionaries, colonial administrators and, in their wake, historians. The voyagers, equipped with scientists and ...

Nothing in a Really Big Way

James Wood: Adam Mars-Jones, 24 April 2008

Pilcrow 
by Adam Mars-Jones.
Faber, 525 pp., £18.99, April 2008, 978 0 571 21703 8
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... Mars-Jones slips in a quick reference to ‘One Arm’, when the narrator, a disabled boy called John Cromer, tells us that he and a schoolfriend ‘wept together over “One Arm” – Jimmy’s tears the more surprising since he knew the story so well’. Craftily, Mars-Jones doesn’t stop to reprise the tale, and the reference is so fleeting that one ...

Just what are those teeth for?

Ian Hamilton, 24 April 1997

... are also more than usually absurd. Look at those silly clips of Paddy Ashdown playing hopscotch or John Major on his knees in a day-nursery or Tony Blair in his Newcastle soccer-strip. Who do these people think they’re fooling? Why don’t they treat us as grown-ups? What’s happened to the issues? To this, the politicians might retort: where did those ...

A horn-player greets his fate

John Kerrigan, 1 September 1983

Horn 
by Barry Tuckwell.
Macdonald, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1983, 0 356 09096 5
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... late as 1772, the distinguished naturalist Sir Joseph Banks fell out, preposterously, with Captain Cook because Cook would not let him take an entourage which included two french-horn players to the South Seas on board the good ship Resoultion. (Banks and his musicians went to Iceland instead.) Exotic and a little ...

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