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Greens

E.S. Turner, 3 July 1980

Friends of the Earth Cookbook 
by Veronica Sekules.
Penguin, 192 pp., £1.95, April 1980, 9780140463026
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Hedgerow Cookery 
by Rosamond Richardson.
Penguin, 250 pp., £1.95, April 1980, 0 14 046358 5
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Jane Grigson’s Cookery Book 
by Jane Grigson.
Penguin, 606 pp., £2.50, April 1980, 0 14 046352 6
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Cooking with Vegetables 
by Marika Hanbury Tenison.
Cape, 284 pp., £9.50, May 1980, 0 224 01597 4
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The Home Gardener’s Cookbook 
by Clare Walker.
Penguin, 362 pp., £1.75, April 1980, 0 14 046353 4
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Natural Baby Food 
by Anna Haycraft.
Fontana, 123 pp., £1, April 1980, 9780006358565
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... us of the aphrodisiac reputation of turnips, carrots and onions: in contrast to lettuce which, as John Evelyn believed, upheld chastity, though possibly not in rabbits. The vegetable revolution was assisted by the post-war travel boom which enabled housewives to see what was cooking in the vegetable pots of Europe. But, if Mrs Grigson is right, it is the ...

Democratic Sublime

Derek Hirst: Writing the English republic, 19 August 1999

Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics 1627-60 
by David Norbrook.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £40, January 1999, 0 521 63275 7
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... in 1660 is apparent. More revealing was the seal’s association of freedom with what the royalist John Evelyn, surveying the measures of early 1649, scathingly termed ‘unkingship’. Corruption, even tyranny, are the inexorable accompaniments of monarchy because of the fawning and flattery kings always engender in others. Monarchy is dangerous since ...

Mr Toad

John Bayley, 20 October 1994

Evelyn Waugh 
by Selina Hastings.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 600 pp., £20, October 1994, 1 85619 223 7
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... to do with stage figures like Brenda and Tony Last. It is too difficult not to write to you now, Evelyn, because things have not been going well – because it’s nearly March 13th which was the day you jokingly suggested we might meet – each year till I am 70. And so I suppose that day will be for me a kind of lovely agony for ever and ever ... I think ...

John Betjeman: A Life in Pictures’

Gavin Ewart, 6 December 1984

... When I see yet another work of hagiography concerning Sir John Betjeman, it makes me want to vomit! Show me, I want to say, please, the ‘geography’ of the house!1 But Betjeman wasn’t nasty, in fact very far from it. It’s probably the Murrays who are such penny-turners (Byron’s one was a Philistine). John’s an important asset, one of the few real genuine poetic earners,2 man not mouse, in many a crowd-pulling, wide, populist facet ...

Knick-Knackatory

Simon Schaffer, 6 April 1995

Sir Hans Sloane: Collector, Scientist, Antiquary, Founding Father of the British Museum 
edited by Arthur MacGregor.
British Museum, 308 pp., £50, November 1994, 0 7141 2085 5
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... natural-history keeper staged annual cremations of Sloane’s decaying entomological specimens. John Cannon, an eminent plant taxonomist, reveals that after contemplating Sloane’s herbarium ‘one is left with a slight nagging feeling of anti-climax’ because the collector had the misfortune to live just before taxonomy became a proper science with ...

With Great Stomack

Simon Schaffer: Christopher Wren, 21 February 2002

His Invention so Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren 
by Adrian Tinniswood.
Cape, 463 pp., £25, July 2001, 9780224042987
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... detail, of diaries or intimate correspondence. There is no easy opportunity of the kind offered by John Evelyn or Samuel Pepys, his contemporaries, to explore details of Wren’s domestic affairs or private reflections. Tinniswood’s Wren is a thoroughly public figure: Tory MP, wealthy knight and brilliant don, agile at winning backing from hostile ...

When it is advisable to put on a fez

Richard Popkin: Adventures of a Messiah, 23 May 2002

The Lost Messiah: In Search of Sabbatai Sevi 
by John Freely.
Viking, 275 pp., £20, September 2001, 0 670 88675 0
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... and Portugal, and the new kabbalistic ideas coming from the school of Isaac Luria in Palestine. John Freely’s lively book is basically a retelling of Scholem’s story enriched by the author’s knowledge of the Ottoman background. His one significant addition to Scholem is his suggestion as to where Sabbatai might be buried. Freely has omitted all of ...

Do Not Scribble

Amanda Vickery: Letter-Writing, 4 November 2010

The Pen and the People: English Letter-Writers 1660-1800 
by Susan Whyman.
Oxford, 400 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 19 953244 5
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Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters 
by Dena Goodman.
Cornell, 408 pp., £24.50, June 2009, 978 0 8014 7545 0
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... of any literary stature were only too aware of the tradition of publishing correspondence. John Evelyn, for example, arranged his manuscript letter books to resemble a collection on the classical model. The privacy of the letter was a vexed issue. Once cast into the mailbag it was lost to the sender but might never arrive: ‘I am very uneasy ...

No looking at my elephant

Mary Wellesley: Menageries, 15 December 2016

Menagerie: The History of Exotic Animals in England 1100-1837 
by Caroline Grigson.
Oxford, 349 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 19 871470 5
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... Lisle gave Anne Boleyn a monkey in 1534, she wasn’t pleased. ‘As to touching your monkey,’ John Hussee wrote to Lisle the following year, ‘of a truth, madam, the queen loveth no such beasts nor can scarce abide the sight of them.’ What happened to the monkey isn’t clear. One hopes Anne didn’t do to it what Samuel Pepys did to his pet monkey in ...

Johnson’s Business

Keith Walker, 7 August 1980

A Dictionary of the English Language 
by Samuel Johnson.
Times, 2558 pp., £45, June 1980, 0 7230 0228 2
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Dictionary Johnson: Samuel Johnson’s Middle Years 
by James Clifford.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £10, February 1980, 0 434 13805 3
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... professional. In the mid-17th century, the Royal Society established a committee including Dryden, John Evelyn and Edmund Waller, ‘to improve the English tongue’. Nothing much came of this. In 1658, Milton’s nephew Edward Philips had published a New World of English Words which reached its seventh edition by 1720. Swift busied himself with the state ...

Common Thoughts

Eamon Duffy: Early Modern Ambition, 23 July 2009

The Ends of Life: Roads to Fulfilment in Early Modern England 
by Keith Thomas.
Oxford, 393 pp., £20, February 2009, 978 0 19 924723 3
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... and Christian orthodoxies informed early modern attitudes, so that the devoutly Protestant John Locke could assert on both counts that ‘labour for labour’s sake is against nature.’ There would be no work in heaven. But then in the second half of his chapter, on ‘the rewards of labour’, Thomas inverts this picture, tracing ‘the rudiments of ...

You are a milksop

Ferdinand Mount, 7 May 2020

Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate 
by Paul Lay.
Head of Zeus, 352 pp., £30, January, 978 1 78185 256 9
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... later, Cromwell became Lord Protector. Under the Instrument of Government, devised mostly by John Lambert, his mercurial but talented associate, he ruled until his death in September 1658, assisted by a Council of State, in theory chosen by Parliament but in practice chosen by Cromwell himself from among his friends and relations and army comrades. This ...

Never the twain

Mark Amory, 4 March 1982

Evelyn Waugh, Writer 
by Robert Murray Davis.
Pilgrim Books, 342 pp., $20.95, May 1981, 0 937664 00 6
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... In a letter to Cyril Connolly in 1948 Evelyn Waugh listed the ideas that had been in his mind when he was at work on The Loved One: immediately after ‘over-excitement with the scene at Forest Lawn’ came ‘The Anglo-American impasse. Never the twain shall meet.’ Not a new thought even thirty years ago, but, though we may run into one another occasionally in the corridors of the Humanity Research Center of the University of Texas (their territory), or share a train compartment on the way to Combe Florey (ours), it still holds good for those in the Waugh industry ...

Grit in the Oyster-Shell

Colin Burrow: Pepys, 14 November 2002

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 499 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 670 88568 1
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... in some of these views (and certainly the more formal diary of Pepys’s friend and contemporary John Evelyn is consciously scientific in its interests), but it is painfully reductive to see Pepys’s diary as a piece of double-entry book-keeping of the soul, or as a spiritual equivalent to the microscope Robert Hooke was using in the 1660s to count the ...

Gesture as Language

David Trotter, 30 January 1992

A Cultural History of Gestures: From Antiquity to the Present 
edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg.
Polity, 220 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 7456 0786 1
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The New Oxford Book of 17th-Century Verse 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 830 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 19 214164 3
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... La mimica degli antichi (1832)... to the more casual observations of foreign travellers like John Evelyn, who recorded at least one insulting gesture (biting the finger) which the two lexicographers missed. In the second place, Italian judicial archives often note the gestures of insult leading to cases of assault and battery, and (among other ...

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