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Gainsborough’s Woodmen

John Barrell, 18 December 1980

Thomas Gainsborough 
by John Hayes.
Tate Gallery, 160 pp., £4.75, October 1980, 0 905005 72 4
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... visible elsewhere in London or in the Tate itself, or (as I suspect is often the case) because Hayes has deliberately chosen to exclude a good number of them in favour of works largely or entirely unfamiliar. As a result, there are fewer opportunities than we might have expected for us to transfer our thoughts about pictures we think we know onto those we ...

Frets and Knots

Anthony Grafton, 4 November 1993

A History of Cambridge University Press. Vol. I: Printing and the Book Trade in Cambridge, 1534-1698 
by David McKitterick.
Cambridge, 500 pp., £65, October 1992, 0 521 30801 1
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... reposed in Jesus-Colledge’ – but left the publishers alone. In the mid and late 17th century, John Hayes and the entrepreneur John Field, whose Bibles were so inaccurate that he was later suspected of taking bribes to alter the text in Acts, worked in relative harmony with the Stationers, collaborating with London ...

Yodelling in Heaven

Glen Baxter, 21 March 1991

... It seems that the likes of Edward Larocque Tinker, Robert P. Swierenga and Colonel John S. ‘Rip’ Ford have all made valuable contributions to our knowledge of the cowboy world, and Richard Slatta’s Cowboys of the Americas* sets out to illuminate the structures and processes behind the historical underpinning behind those who wear spurs ...

In theory

Christopher Ricks, 16 April 1981

... than to elaborate principle into theory. His comprehension of Areo-pagitica, ‘a speech of Mr John Milton, for the liberty of unlicensed printing’, is profound in the immediacy with which it arrives at the principles at issue: The danger of such unbounded liberty, and the danger of bounding it, have produced a problem in the science of ...

Carry on writing

Stephen Bann, 15 March 1984

The Two of Us 
by John Braine.
Methuen, 183 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 413 51280 0
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An Open Prison 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 192 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 575 03380 0
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Havannah 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £9.95, February 1984, 0 241 11175 7
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Sunrising 
by David Cook.
Secker, 248 pp., £8.50, February 1984, 0 436 10674 4
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Memoirs of an Anti-Semite 
by Gregor von Rezzori, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Picador, 282 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 0 330 28325 1
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It’s me, Eddie 
by Edward Limonov, translated by S.L. Campbell.
Picador, 264 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 330 28329 4
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The Anatomy Lesson 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 291 pp., £8.95, February 1984, 0 224 02960 6
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... he crosses out the word ‘harness’. Over on this side of the Channel, the native-born author John Braine chooses for his epigraph a snatch of neo-Romantic whimsy from the lyrics of the group Supertramp: Just as long as there’s two of us, just as long as there’s two of us I’ll carry on. Mutatis mutandis, here is the same, rather deprecatory ...

Inside the Barrel

Brent Hayes Edwards: The French Slave Trade, 10 September 2009

Memoires des esclavages: la fondation d’un centre national pour la memoire des esclavages et de leurs abolitions 
by Edouard Glissant.
Gallimard, 192 pp., €14.90, May 2007, 978 2 07 078554 4
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The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade 
by Christopher Miller.
Duke, 571 pp., £20.99, March 2008, 978 0 8223 4151 2
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... description of former slaves ‘unexpectedly standing’ at the helm of a ship after an uprising; John Berry’s strange and lurid film Tamango, starring Dorothy Dandridge; and the Senegalese novelist Boris Boubacar Diop’s playful metafiction Le Temps de Tamango. Mérimée ‘does not simply ignore abolitionism; he actively negates it’, Miller ...

When the going gets weird

A. Craig Copetas, 19 December 1991

Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream 
by Hunter S. Thompson.
Picador, 316 pp., £15.95, October 1991, 0 330 31994 9
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... As Songs of the Doomed so spectacularly illustrates, Doc’s the first American writer since John Dos Passos to tap the eroding and elemental fury within the American Dream and make the compost picture of American society in the last quarter of the 20th century work so elegantly on paper. I discovered two curious things about Doc’s writing when I was ...

Iwo Jima v. Abu Ghraib

David Simpson: The iconic image, 29 November 2007

No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture and Liberal Democracy 
by Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites.
Chicago, 419 pp., £19, June 2007, 978 0 226 31606 2
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... been commonplace since at least the American Civil War. In No Caption Needed, Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites are less concerned with these debates than with the ways in which iconic images have been used to propose and renegotiate various kinds of ‘democratic citizenship’ and ‘civic identity’. Here original truths matter less than accumulated ...

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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... attack’, and by preferring, of the various accounts of Christian given by the survivor John Adams on Pitcairn, the one which is unfavourable. Christian’s Pitcairn was, of course, no more a paradise than Bligh’s Bounty. There were Tahitian women on Pitcairn, but not enough of them, and the results were another, bloodier mutiny and Christian’s ...

The Great US Election Disaster

Hal Foster, 30 November 2000

... on election night. But at least when Chicago Mayor Richard Daley helped to deliver Illinois to John Kennedy in the narrow contest of 1960, it was not televised. (For those keeping track of our dynastic democracy, Richard was father to William, the Gore campaign head, and to Richard II, the current Chicago Mayor.) One pants-down scene was captured live on ...

Total Knowledge

Peter Campbell, 10 September 1992

Hypertext 
by George Landow.
Johns Hopkins, 242 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 8018 4281 6
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... shelves of the geologists and philosophers. A little while ago an article in Nature, by Donald Hayes, set out to show that science journals are harder to read than they used to be. The test Hayes uses gives a numerical measure of ‘lexical difficulty’. It is crude, but probably pretty accurate. An analysis of the ...

War within wars

Paul Addison, 5 November 1992

War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... King’s College, London. His first book, a history of the Coldstream Guards written jointly with John Sparrow, was published in 1951. And there you have Michael Howard. Though he has grown in fame and distinction, and moved in governing circles on both sides of the Atlantic, and held four chairs including the Regius Professorship of Modern History at Oxford ...

Poetry to Thrill an Oyster

Gregory Woods: Fitz-Greene Halleck, 16 November 2000

The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck 
by John W.M. Hallock.
Wisconsin, 226 pp., £14.95, April 2000, 0 299 16804 2
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... as a mere imitator. Richard Dana thought his ‘Marco Bozzaris’ was America’s best lyric poem. John Quincy Adams referred to one of his poems in a speech to the House of Representatives in 1836. Most inexplicable of all, on 15 May 1877, fifty thousand people gathered in Central Park to see President Hayes unveil a statue ...

Heavy Sledding

Chauncey Loomis, 21 December 1989

The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909 
by Pierre Berton.
Viking, 672 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 670 82491 7
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Overland to Starvation Cove: With the Inuit in Search of Franklin 1878-1880 
by Heinrich Klutschak and William Barr.
Toronto, 261 pp., £17.50, February 1988, 0 8020 5762 4
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Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition 
by Owen Beattie and John Geiger.
Bloomsbury, 180 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 7475 0101 7
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... to juggle the names of explorers, famous in their day, but now known only to Arctic buffs, such as John and James Clark Ross, Rae, Pullen, Collinson, M’Clure, Austin, Ommanney, Richardson, Penny, DeHaven, Kane, Forsyth, Bellot, Kennedy, Belcher, Inglefield, M’Clintock – and names of ships, such as ...

No Accident

Zachary Leader: Gore Vidal’s Golden Age, 21 June 2001

The Golden Age: A Novel 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 467 pp., £17.99, October 2000, 0 316 85409 3
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... as heroic, but it is also questioned. ‘Curiously enough,’ Schuyler tells Lincoln’s secretary John Hay on the novel’s last page, Bismarck ‘has now done the same thing to Germany that you tell us Mr Lincoln did to our country’. Of all the novels in the sequence, Lincoln pays most attention, though not very elaborate attention, to characters from the ...

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