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7 February 1980
The Victorian Country House 
by Mark Girouard.
Yale, 470 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 300 02390 1
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The Artist and the Country House 
by John Harris.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, 376 pp., £37.50, November 1980, 0 85667 053 7
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National Trust Studies 1980 
edited by Gervase Jackson-Stops.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, 175 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 85667 065 0
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... for, doubtless with an eye to their principal business, Messrs Sotheby Parke Bernet have carried John Harris’s research in a heavy and lavish volume with 419 plates – some a little grey, alas, but there are 26 good ones in colour. This may not be the first book on the subject, but it is a scholarly work of great scope and interest. As Mr ...

Bourgeois Reveries

Julian Bell: Farmer Eliot

3 February 2011
Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper 
by Alexandra Harris.
Thames and Hudson, 320 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 0 500 25171 3
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... Moderns, her provocative critical survey of English cultural life between 1930 and 1945, Alexandra Harris points to Eliot’s lines in ‘East Coker’ about ‘Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth/Mirth of those long since under earth/Nourishing the corn.’ Harris argues that the poet was thinking about the dead ...

Perpetual Sunshine

David Cannadine

2 July 1981
The Gentleman’s Country House and its Plan, 1835-1914 
by Jill Franklin.
Routledge, 279 pp., £15.95, February 1981, 0 7100 0622 5
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... has withered and the sunshine faded. The death toll recorded by Roy Strong, Marcus Binney and John Harris in The Destruction of the English County House tops nine hundred, and few writers set contemporary novels in country houses as they did only a generation ago. One gratifying consequence is that it has finally become possible to view country ...

Slapping the Clammy Flab

John Lanchester: Hannibal by Thomas Harris

29 July 1999
Hannibal 
by Thomas Harris.
Heinemann, 496 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 434 00940 7
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... tiny points.’ Brrrrr. Is it chilly in here, or is it me? All this happens in Red Dragon, Thomas Harris’s second novel, his first being the, in retrospect, remarkably undistinguished all-Palestinians-are-terrorists thriller Black Sunday. Red Dragon’s back story, as these things are called in Hollywood, is that Graham is the man who caught Dr ...

What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens

10 January 1991
Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... scheme was simple (I think it had evolved from a once-famous letter to the Times defending Lyndon Johnson’s war in Vietnam and signed by all or most of those present). One had to pretend that Britain was a country where it was dangerous to hold conservative opinions. So that a sample sally might begin, ‘I know it’s unfashionable to say this’ and go on ...
24 January 1991
Animal Liberation 
by Peter Singer.
Cape, 320 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 03018 3
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... path-breaking book, Animals Men and Morals (1971), edited by Stanley and Roslind Godlovitch and John Harris. Singer acknowledges his debt to this pivotal work as well as to personal contact with some of the contributors, and his own 1975 book, of which there is now a welcome second edition, is largely a sustained working-out of the moral perspective ...
9 September 1993
The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... we are as the double almond concealed in one shell,’ he broods in ‘Colloquy with John Keats’, going on to predict his own equally untimely demise in harsh demotic terms – ‘Look! My number is up!’ After his cremation at Rookwood Cemetery Ethel opened his trunk and set about disposing of his pitiably meagre possessions; in the process ...

Tuesday Girl

Colin Burrow: Seraphick Love

6 March 2003
Transformations of Love: The Friendship of John Evelyn and Margaret Godolphin 
by Frances Harris.
Oxford, 330 pp., £25, January 2003, 0 19 925257 2
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... John Evelyn was a dry old stick – and here that metaphor has an almost literal force, since his first and greatest love was for trees. In Fumifugium (1661) he argued that smoky workshops should be banished from London, and that the environs of the city should be planted with ‘such Shrubs, as yield the most fragrant and odoriferous Flowers’ to sweeten its stench ...
21 November 1991
A Passion for Government: The Life of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough 
by Frances Harris.
Oxford, 421 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 19 820224 5
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... Among the illustrations in this book is a painting by John Closterman of the Marlborough family which hangs today in Blenheim Palace. On its right-hand side, as convention dictates, sits the head of the family, John Churchill, at the time of the painting, first Earl of Marlborough ...
30 August 1990
People of the Black Mountains. Vol. II: The Eggs of the Eagle 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 330 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3564 6
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In the Blue Light of African Dreams 
by Paul Watkins.
Heinemann, 282 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 09 174307 9
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Friedrich HarrisShooting the hero 
by Philip Purser.
Quartet, 250 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 7043 2759 7
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The Journey Home 
by Dermot Bolger.
Viking, 294 pp., £13.99, June 1990, 0 670 83215 4
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Evenings at Mongini’s 
by Russell Lucas.
Heinemann, 262 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 434 43646 1
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... War. There were Kipling’s vivid stories of Sussex life through the ages, and then there was John Buchan’s The Path of the King, tracing ancestral virtues and vices from a Viking prince to Abraham Lincoln, taking in the depravities of Titus Oates. Even before reading these quite gripping books, we were vaguely acquainted, through schools, comics and ...
6 August 1992
Fatherland 
by Robert Harris.
Hutchinson, 372 pp., £14.99, May 1992, 0 09 174827 5
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... than art to art, or fiction to fiction. In two respects, unfortunately, Fatherland by Robert Harris makes artistic comparisons inescapable. It belongs, first, to that select genre of fiction which deals in the Alternative Present, or in this case an alternative recent past. It is set in 1964 in the vast, imperial, intimidating Berlin of an undefeated ...

Strangers

John Lanchester

11 July 1991
Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon 
edited by Stephen Egger.
Praeger, 250 pp., £33.50, October 1990, 0 275 92986 8
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Serial Killers 
by Joel Norris.
Arrow, 333 pp., £4.99, July 1990, 0 09 971750 6
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Life after Life 
by Tony Parker.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.50, May 1991, 0 330 31528 5
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American Psycho 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 399 pp., £6.99, April 1991, 0 330 31992 2
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Dirty Weekend 
by Helen Zahavi.
Macmillan, 185 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 333 54723 3
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Silence of the Lambs 
by Thomas Harris.
Mandarin, 366 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 7493 0942 3
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... the sexes and alert one to the way violence against women is routinely used in fiction. Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs is a thriller which achieves similar effects of defamiliarisation by avoiding some of the stock themes of the genre, and by embracing others with a convert’s enthusiasm. For instance, the woman-in-peril motif, which has been ...

Immoralist

José Harris

1 December 1983
John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed 1883-1920 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 447 pp., £14.95, November 1983, 0 333 11599 6
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... John Maynard Keynes, grandson of the minister of the Bunyan chapel at Bedford, was born into a religious tradition that for two hundred years had stopped its ears against the blandishments of Mr Worldly Wiseman and sought only the Celestial City of Eternal Life. The City was to be found, as all readers of Pilgrim’s Progress knew, not by piety or public-spiritedness or good works or moral behaviour, but by that indefinable state of inner consciousness known as Salvation by Faith ...

Babylon

William Rodgers

30 March 1989
European Diary 1977-1981 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 698 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 00 217976 8
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... his Presidential years. ‘To lunch at the Wyatts at Connock. Clarissa Eden, the Weinstocks and John Harris ... the Weinstocks and Clarissa all being surprisingly agreeable.’ ‘Drive to Isleworth and dinner with the Gilmours ... an enjoyable and interesting dinner.’ But if these were sometimes occasions for tittle-tattle and of no great interest ...

New Man from Nowhere

James Davidson: Cicero

4 February 2016
Dictator 
by Robert Harris.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 0 09 175210 1
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... phylactery shouted out by Verres’ victims pleading for a stay of crucifixion), recycled by John F. Kennedy with unavoidable bathos as ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’ This great and by no means guaranteed victory against the establishment, as well as the addition of an entire province to his list of clients, helped ease Cicero’s way. But as consul he was ...

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