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Irrational Expectations

Barry Supple, 18 November 1982

The 1982 Budget 
edited by John Kay.
Blackwell, 147 pp., £10, July 1982, 0 631 13153 1
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Money and Inflation 
by Frank Hahn.
Blackwell, 116 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 631 12917 0
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Public Enterprise in Crisis: The Future of the Nationalised Industries 
by John Redwood.
Blackwell, 211 pp., £5.25, May 1982, 0 631 13053 5
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Controlling Public Industries 
by John Redwood and John Hatch.
Blackwell, 169 pp., £12, July 1982, 0 631 13078 0
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... numbers. (A sympathetic echo is struck in Controlling Public Industries, where Redwood and Hatch, while accepting that the concept of the PSBR may function as a crude check on official profligacy in an imperfect world, go so far as to admit that in an ideal world ‘the PSBR, as currently defined, is a theoretical nonsense.’) In any event, the future ...

Hot Dogs

Malcolm Bull, 14 June 1990

Mine eyes have seen the glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America 
by Randall Balmer.
Oxford, 246 pp., $19.95, September 1989, 0 19 505117 3
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In God’s Country: Travels in the Bible Belt, USA 
by Douglas Kennedy.
Unwin Hyman, 240 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 04 440423 9
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The Divine Supermarket 
by Malise Ruthven.
Chatto, 336 pp., £14.95, August 1989, 0 7011 3151 9
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The Democratisation of American Christianity 
by Nathan Hatch.
Yale, 312 pp., £22.50, November 1989, 0 300 44470 2
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Religion and 20th-Century American Intellectual Life 
edited by Michael Lacey.
Cambridge/Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars, 214 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 521 37560 6
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New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America 
by Mary Farrell Bednarowski.
Indiana, 175 pp., $25, November 1989, 0 253 31137 3
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... popular preaching in the Methodist, Christian, Baptist, Mormon and Afro-American Churches, Nathan Hatch argues that the Second Great Awakening did not effect a consolidation, but a shift from ‘classical republican values to those of vulgar democracy and entrepreneurial individualism’. Hatch’s thesis is perhaps best ...

Southern Virtues

Frank Kermode, 4 May 1989

A Turn in the South 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Viking, 307 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 670 82415 1
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Allen Tate: A Recollection 
by Walter Sullivan.
Louisiana State, 117 pp., $16.95, November 1988, 0 8071 1481 2
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Self-Consciousness 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 233 98390 2
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... studied, those beginnings, as Shakespeare suggests in the following lines, may foretell the hatch and brood of time. The book is dedicated to the memory of his father. It is Naipaul’s way to offer an objective account of what, as a traveller, he sees and hears, yet he is always, quite deliberately but with a sort of modest self-assertiveness, a ...

Diary

John Lloyd: In Moscow, 12 September 1991

... the trap. Molotov cocktails were thrown, one young hero lept on a tank and tried to get down the hatch: he was shot. The soldiers in the tanks which had tried to storm the barricades got out of the tanks, and gave themselves up (though there was no evidence that the crowd was armed). The other three vehicles rocked to and fro on the road, their crews clearly ...

Feeling Right

Will Woodward: The Iowa Straw Poll, 16 September 1999

... We’re waiting on the front porch of Jack and Sonia Hatch’s three-storey home in Sherman Hill, a desirable district of Des Moines, Iowa. Pillars, parquet flooring, leftish middle-class clutter. It’s a fantastic, warm evening. About sixty of us, a handful of journalists, but mostly Sherman Hill residents, have come to see Bill Bradley, the former New Jersey senator, New York Knicks professional basketball star and Rhodes scholar who wants the Democrats’ nomination for President of the United States ...

Short Cuts

Jon Day: The Journey of the Eel, 10 August 2016

... in a doomsday vault in Svalbard in case of ‘apocalyptic extinction events’, as he called them. John was wearing a plaid shirt and a poacher’s jacket; his moustache drooped and his teeth were furred with plaque. He said he was a hunter and forager. I asked him what this involved and he told me he collected nuts and berries on Walthamstow marshes and ate ...

Clean Poetry

John Bayley, 18 August 1983

Collected Poems 1970-1983 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 172 pp., £5.95, May 1983, 0 85635 462 7
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... shires of Hardy and Betjeman – there was also the bright American world of the New Criticism, John Crowe Ransom, I.A. Richards, Allen Tate, and young up-and-coming members like Randall Jarrell, a world in which the academic and the poet were entering together a new world of feeling and technique, joining tradition and novelty. Bliss was it in that dawn ...

Great Fun

John Bayley, 22 January 1987

Gossip 
by Patricia Meyer Spacks.
Chicago, 287 pp., £9.25, November 1986, 0 226 76844 9
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The Bonus of Laughter 
by Alan Pryce-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 241 11903 0
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... function of gossip about the people in books. Is Satan good or bad? Why exactly did Iago hatch his plot, or Isabel Archer decide to marry Gilbert Osmond? Such speculations need the exercise of just as much intelligence as does the higher jargon, and for most people they are more fun to make. Dr Spacks ends her preface with the comment that although ...

It’s life but not as we know it

Tim Radford, 3 July 1997

... called the Ares Vallis, chosen because it seems to be a huge wadi or dried-up watercourse. A hatch will open, and out will pop a little wheeled robot rover called Sojourner, which will beetle about the immediate terrain, examining rock chemistry and reporting back to the lander, which will relay data and pictures back to Earth.In September, Pathfinder ...

Who’s the big one?

Irina Aleksander: Gary Shteyngart, 21 May 2014

Little Failure: A Memoir 
by Gary Shteyngart.
Hamish Hamilton, 368 pp., £16.99, February 2014, 978 0 241 14665 1
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... do that in America?’ To flee the captivity of being Igor/Gary, he found the same escape hatch as he had back in Leningrad. After gorging on Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and American TV, he channelled them (along with the contempt of his family and peers) into his first English work: ‘The Chalenge’ [sic], a sci-fi tale about the ...

Can there be such a thing as music criticism?

John Deathridge, 20 February 1986

Music and Civilisation: Essays in Honour of Paul Henry Lang 
edited by Edmond Strainchamps, Maria Rika Maniates and Christopher Hatch.
Norton, 499 pp., £35, March 1985, 0 393 01677 3
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The Farthest North of Humanness: Letters of Percy Grainger 1901-1914 
edited by Kay Dreyfus.
Macmillan, 542 pp., £25, December 1985, 0 333 38085 1
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Musicology 
by Joseph Kerman.
Collins/Fontana, 255 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 0 00 197170 0
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... from other disciplines. But a dissection of The Rite of Spring adapting from linguistics, say, John Lyon’s version of the theory of semantic structure, or a semiotic analysis of Grainger’s Handel in the Strand are liable to end up, too, as involved technical explanations communicating less real critical insight than the trenchant views of Taruskin and ...

See the Sights!

Gillian Darley: Rediscovering Essex, 1 November 2007

The Buildings of England: Essex 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 939 pp., £29.95, May 2007, 978 0 300 11614 4
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... or less for City workers, not to mention Essex men and girls. After monarchs, ranging from King John, whose hunting lodge was at Writtle, to Henry VIII, who built New Hall at Boreham (still standing), came Elizabethan lord chancellors (one is buried at Saffron Walden, another at Felsted) and Georgian lord mayors and City luminaries (too many to list). Their ...

Diary

Linda Colley: Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas, 19 December 1991

... of Oklahoma, and of her adversary, Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, and of his Senate sponsor, John Danforth, and of his most effective champion on the Senate Judicial Committee, the fearsomely-named and viciously forensic Arlen Spector. On 11 October, when Professor Hill began her televised allegations, this was the only part of the campus to show any ...

A Vast Masquerade

Deborah Cohen: Dr James Barry, 2 March 2017

Dr James Barry: A Woman ahead of Her Time 
by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield.
Oneworld, 479 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 78074 831 3
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... hope for the two women, whose other male relatives had proven unreliable. Margaret’s brother, John, apprenticed to a Dublin lawyer, had already squandered the family property. Du Preez and Dronfield interpret the motivation behind Bulkley’s decision to take on the persona of James Barry much as Stoker would have. Writing of Hannah Snell and her ...

Belgravia Cockney

Christopher Tayler: On being a le Carré bore, 25 January 2007

The Mission Song 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 339 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 9780340921968
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... When John le Carré published A Perfect Spy in 1986, Philip Roth, then spending a lot of time in London, called it ‘the best English novel since the war’. Not being such a fan of A Perfect Spy, I’ve occasionally wondered what Roth’s generous blurb says about the postwar English novel. As a le Carré bore, however, I’ve also wondered how Roth managed to overlook Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974), the central novel in le Carré’s career, in which George Smiley – an outwardly diffident ex-spook with a strenuously unfaithful wife and an interest in 17th-century German literature – comes out of retirement to identify the turncoat in a secret service that’s explicitly presented as a metaphorical ‘vision of the British establishment at play ...

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