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Peter Lamarque, 15 September 1983

The Critical Historians of Art 
by Michael Podro.
Yale, 257 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 300 02862 8
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A World History of Art 
by Hugh Honour and John Fleming.
Macmillan, 639 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 333 23583 5
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The Test of Time: An Essay in Philosophical Aesthetics 
by Anthony Savile.
Oxford, 319 pp., £20, July 1982, 0 19 824590 4
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... of this writer’s considerable output. Two contemporary English art historians, Hugh Honour and John Fleming, have produced a monumental work of retrieval, systematic certainly, but without the ambition for philosophical synthesis of their German predecessors. They bring to A World History of Art a depth of knowledge and erudition that affords ...

Snug

John Bayley, 9 September 1993

The Life of Ian Fleming 
by Donald McCormick.
Peter Owen, 231 pp., £18.50, July 1993, 0 7206 0888 0
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... just like sitting down to tea in the nursery. Something like that seems to have gone on with Ian Fleming. One could hardly say that his fantasy life with James Bond was a case of straightforward compensation. Employers courted him; he charmed the bosses; girls fell over each other to get to bed with him. Or so it seemed, and still seems to his latest ...

Bond in Torment

John Lanchester: James Bond, 5 September 2002

From Russia with Love, Dr No and Goldfinger 
by Ian Fleming.
Penguin, 640 pp., £10.99, April 2002, 0 14 118680 1
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... tells himself about halfway through From Russia with Love, the fifth and perhaps the best of Ian Fleming’s thrillers. This sounds like good advice, but it does raise one large issue: what exactly counts as being ‘pickled’? Flying from London to Istanbul – the journey in the course of which Bond indulges in these reflections – Bond drinks ‘two ...

The Benefactor

Nicholas Wade, 19 April 1984

Alexander FlemingThe Man and the Myth 
by Gwyn Macfarlane.
Chatto, 304 pp., £12.50, February 1984, 0 7011 2683 3
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... Scientific discovery is evidently a dimly understood process. The new biography of Alexander Fleming by Gwyn Macfarlane sheds some unusual light on the fog. One reason for the prevailing lack of understanding is that the canons of writing in professional scientific journals – the ‘scientific literature’ – enforce a style of reporting that is ...

Bang-Bang, Kiss-Kiss

Christian Lorentzen: Bond, 3 December 2015

Spectre 
directed by Sam Mendes.
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The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters 
edited by Fergus Fleming.
Bloomsbury, 391 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6547 7
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Ian FlemingA Personal Memoir 
by Robert Harling.
Robson, 372 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 84 95493 65 1
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... reveal himself to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the sinister mastermind familiar from three of Ian Fleming’s later novels and from his showdowns with the Bonds played by Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. (Copyright issues prevented any showdowns with Bond as played by Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.) Craig’s Bond is tougher than any of ...

Widowers on the Prowl

Tom Shippey: Britain after Rome, 17 March 2011

Britain after Rome: The Fall and Rise, 400-1070 
by Robin Fleming.
Allen Lane, 458 pp., £25, August 2010, 978 0 7139 9064 5
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... Robin Fleming’s history is Volume II in the Penguin History of Britain, for which the general editor, David Cannadine, ‘laid down three inviolable rules’: no footnotes, no historiography (that is, no discussion of the ebb and flow of historical opinion), and make it accessible to everyone, general readers, students and professional historians alike (in other words, don’t just write for the trade ...

Constable’s Plenty

John Barrell, 15 August 1991

Constable 
by Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams.
Tate Gallery, 544 pp., £45, June 1991, 1 85437 071 5
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Romatic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition 
by Jonathan Bate.
Routledge, 131 pp., £8.99, May 1991, 0 415 06116 4
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... exhibition of the work of a British artist. It is also one of the dullest. Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams have resisted the tendency of the last fifteen years or so by which the catalogues of major exhibitions have often been presented as major interpretative studies of the artist and his times. Constable is a catalogue, nothing more. It ...

Morality in the Oxygen

E.S. Turner: Tobogganing, 14 December 2000

How the English Made the Alps 
by Jim Ring.
Murray, 287 pp., £19.99, September 2000, 0 7195 5689 9
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Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps 
by Fergus Fleming.
Granta, 398 pp., £20, November 2000, 1 86207 379 1
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... never drove men to explore the haunted roof of the world. In his Killing Dragons, Fergus Fleming mentions several 16th-century ascents of Pilatus, notoriously wrapped in superstitious legend. In modern times, Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, was ‘first’ climbed in 1786 by Paccard and Balmat to win a prize offered by the scientist Horace ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Spies Wanted, 17 July 2008

... as a bit too cuddly and open, and makes you long for the days of secrecy and high adventure before John Major passed the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, which not only publicly acknowledged the existence of SIS for the first time, to absolutely no one’s surprise, but also made it subject to Parliamentary oversight. Or it may be that it strikes you as a load ...

Make mine a Worcester Sauce

John Bayley, 23 June 1994

Richard Hughes 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Deutsch, 491 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 233 98843 2
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... Four possible candidates, varying in attainments, would be T.E. Lawrence, Robert Graves, Peter Fleming (perhaps both Flemings) and Richard Hughes. It makes no difference that Lawrence was half-Irish, the Flemings mostly Scottish, and Hughes partly Welsh. The presidential or father figure of the group would be ...

Whose Body?

Charles Glass: ‘Operation Mincemeat’, 22 July 2010

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War Two 
by Ben Macintyre.
Bloomsbury, 400 pp., £16.99, January 2010, 978 0 7475 9868 8
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... a stormy night with the discovery of a dead man in a barn, carrying papers that identify him as “John Whitaker”,’ Macintyre writes. ‘By dint of some distinctly plodding detective work, Inspector Richardson discovers that every document in the pockets of the dead man has been ingeniously forged: his visiting cards, his bills, and even his passport, on ...

Pickering called

Rivka Galchen: ‘The Glass Universe’, 5 October 2017

The Glass Universe: The Hidden History of the Women Who Took the Measure of the Stars 
by Dava Sobel.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £16.99, January 2017, 978 0 00 754818 7
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... determinant. One observatory employee whom Sobel writes about extensively is a certain Mrs Fleming: a Scot who comes over to America pregnant in 1878. Abandoned by her husband, she finds work at the observatory as the director’s maid, and then, when it is discovered that she has a natural mathematical facility, she is hired for astronomical ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... schoolboy could be the next prime minister doesn’t cross either of our minds. On the other hand, John Birt is suitably impressed when I tell him that I actually met the great Lord Reith on the day of his extraordinary speech in the House of Lords likening commercial broadcasting to the Black Death. It was as if I’d said to the present Chief of me Defence ...

Digging up the Ancestors

R.W. Johnson, 14 November 1996

Hugh Gaitskell 
by Brian Brivati.
Cohen, 492 pp., £25, September 1996, 1 86066 073 8
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... Michael Foot or Neil Kinnock as candidates for the pantheon and some of the devotion to the late John Smith derives, no doubt, from a desperate endeavour to find a leader of note somewhere. Hence this book. ‘Hugh Gaitskell was the grandfather of Tony Blair’s revolution, the original Labour moderniser,’ the blurb begins. With Labour under Blair ...

In the Hands of Any Fool

Walter Gratzer, 3 July 1997

A Short History of Cardiology 
by Peter Fleming.
Rodopi, 234 pp., £53.50, April 1997, 90 420 0048 1
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... incorrectly diagnosed and of the wrong answers half had come from specialists in cardiology. Peter Fleming’s absorbing history does not contain this sobering information, but then it stops at 1970 – and on an upbeat note, with the introduction of cyclosporin, the immunosuppressant drug, and an improved outlook for heart transplant patients. What ...

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