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In Cardiff

John Barrell: Richard Wilson, 25 September 2014

... painters of the generation after his were trained in his London studio, including William Marlow, Joseph Farington and, best of all, Thomas Jones and William Hodges. Unlike Gainsborough, who took off from the tradition of Dutch landscape painting, in Rome Wilson became a follower of the school of Claude Lorrain, more classically Arcadian in its subjects and ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Gospel According to Saint Matthew’, 21 March 2013

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 
directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
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... how the screenwriter describes the whole occasion: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he ...

JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 April 1981

Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... Joseph Conrad died at the age of 67 on 3 August 1924, the day following the 18th birthday of his younger son, John Conrad, the author of the present book. John’s memories, which reach astonishingly far back into his earliest childhood, begin with his family living in poverty in a tiny cottage, ‘a dark and gloomy place’, at Aldington in Kent ...

Us and Them

Robert Taubman, 4 September 1980

The Secret Servant 
by Gavin Lyall.
Hodder, 224 pp., £5.50, June 1980, 0 340 25385 1
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The Flowers of the Forest 
by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 365 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 0 436 20087 2
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A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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Enter the Lion: A Posthumus Memoir of Mycroft Holmes 
by Michael Hodel and Sean Wright.
Dent, 237 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 460 04483 4
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Dorothy I. Sayers: Nine Literary Studies 
by Trevor Hall.
Duckworth, 132 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 9780715614556
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Milk Dime 
by Barry Fantoni.
Hodder, 192 pp., £5.50, May 1980, 0 340 25350 9
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... though he brings these two things together. It’s not only that a packet of biscuits suggests John Buchan’s Hannay. The older tradition is acknowledged to the point of parody when the Prime Minister’s private secretary is given a family set of rooms in Albany where, ‘coming in off the chilly stone staircase, Maxim and Agnes had walked through a time ...


Joseph Epstein: A Thinker Thinks, 20 September 1984

... Is ours a bad age for thinking? To take up the last question first, it is worth noting that John Stuart Mill thought of his own age, which we now view with reverence, as not a strong age for thought. He blamed this largely on the educational methods of his day, which featured cramming and rote learning, and produced what Mill called ‘mere knowledge ...

The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties, 3 December 2009

Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... to broach too obviously the ethics of personal responsibility. Had not her ally and mentor Keith Joseph seen his own leadership aspirations shrivel in the aftermath of his notorious Edgbaston speech? When Joseph addressed the Edgbaston Conservative Association at Birmingham’s Grand Hotel on 19 October 1974, the ...

Was it a supernova?

Frank Kermode: The Nativity, 4 January 2007

The Nativity: History and Legend 
by Geza Vermes.
Penguin, 177 pp., £7.99, November 2006, 0 14 102446 1
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... Matthew and Luke, says nothing at all about the Nativity. He begins with the baptism of Jesus by John. The evangelist John, the latest of the four, ignores the Nativity, beginning his book with an extraordinary poetico-theological prologue and getting straight into the ministry. There are extra-canonical gospels that ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Football and Currie, 17 October 2002

... and responsibilities. If there were any doubt about that, the publication of Keane (Michael Joseph, £17.99), the autobiography of the Manchester United player, ghost-written by the footballer-turned-journalist Eamon Dunphy, would clear it up. The book has already been all over the newspapers, for a passage concerning Keane’s feud with Manchester ...

At the Soane Museum

Peter Campbell: Joseph Gandy, 11 May 2006

... Joseph Gandy (1771-1843) was an architect. More important, he was also a painter of architectural fantasies and reconstructions of historical architecture. These are precisely drawn, dramatically lit, strange, scholarly and elaborate. He wrote many, mainly unpublished and unpublishable pages of speculation about the origin of architectural styles and their relation to man, nature and the gods ...


John Dunn, 2 October 1980

Natural Rights Theories 
by Richard Tuck.
Cambridge, 192 pp., £10.50, December 1979, 0 521 22512 4
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Natural Law and Natural Rights 
by John Finnis.
Oxford, 425 pp., £15, February 1980, 0 19 876110 4
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A Discourse on Property 
by James Tully.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £10.50, July 1980, 0 521 22830 1
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... seem more than slim. In British society at least, even ideologues of the right like Sir Keith Joseph, who argue vehemently for unfettered capitalist enterprise, give predominantly utilitarian (and almost wholly consequentialist) grounds for doing so. It takes an American today to think of unlimited appropriation as a human right. The works considered here ...

Bible Stories

John Barton, 16 February 1989

The Book of God: A Response to the Bible 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Yale, 350 pp., £18.95, November 1988, 0 300 04320 1
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Who wrote the Bible? 
by Richard Elliott Friedman.
Cape, 299 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 224 02573 2
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... 14:51-2), discussed at length by Frank Kermode in The Genesis of Secrecy, and the man Joseph meets in a field at Shechem while he is searching for his brothers (Genesis 37:12-18). These characters should not be seen as interpolations, or as survivals of some earlier and more coherent tale, as is commonly supposed by historical critics. Nor should ...

Imperial Project

Richard Drayton, 19 September 1996

Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens 
by Ray Desmond.
Harvill/Royal Botanical Gardens, 466 pp., £25, November 1995, 1 86046 076 3
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... every Corner of the Habitable world.’ George III fostered this programme and in 1773 turned to Joseph Banks for assistance. In the half-century between the end of the Seven Years’ War and Waterloo, the East India Company took control of Moghul India, the Royal Navy began its hydrological survey of the world’s oceans, and Britain seized a string of new ...

Rubbishing the revolution

Hugo Young, 5 December 1991

Thatcher’s People 
by John Ranelagh.
HarperCollins, 324 pp., £15.99, September 1991, 0 00 215410 2
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Staying Power 
by Peter Walker.
Bloomsbury, 248 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 7475 1034 2
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... falling away. The Sunday Telegraph has ceased its passionate flirtations with nostalgia. Besides, John Major is either dismantling some of what she did or failing to conceal his embarrassment at the consequences of what he cannot undo. In the balance between exalting the Thatcher years and distancing itself from them, the Major Government has slowly but ...


John Barrell: Dr Beddoes, 19 November 2009

The Atmosphere of Heaven: The Unnatural Experiments of Dr Beddoes and His Sons of Genius 
by Mike Jay.
Yale, 294 pp., £20, April 2009, 978 0 300 12439 2
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... the French Republic. Just before the arrests, an English medical student studying in Edinburgh, John Edmonds Stock, had been sent down to London by Watt with a letter to the London Corresponding Society inviting them to mount a similar insurrection. Hearing just in time that he was a wanted man, he disappeared, to resurface later in Philadelphia, where he ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: A Bath in the Dock, 18 December 2003

... forensic breakthrough, the mind went back – as how could it not? – to the case of George Joseph Smith, a triple murderer of ninety years ago, all three of whose women victims were drowned in the bath but in three widely dispersed bathrooms, so that if they had been given in evidence in the ‘brides in the bath’ case of legend, the tubs would have ...

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