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In Cardiff

John Barrell: Richard Wilson

24 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 ...


Robert Irwin: The Best Thing since Sex

2 December 1993
... should resist this kind of creeping socialisation. A Belgian musician and designer of automata, John Joseph Merlin, first skated on an early version of roller blades while playing the violin in 1760. But if roller-skating has a long history, it has only a short literature. Unlike cricket, it does not command literary partisans of the calibre of Harold ...
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 ...

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 of Halleck in the so-called ...

Who was he?

Charles Nicholl: Joe the Ripper

7 February 2008
The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath 
by Charles van Onselen.
Cape, 672 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 224 07929 7
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... but was sufficiently intrigued to jot down the name of this racketeer-cum-detective: Joseph Silver. A few weeks later – the serendipity of the archives – the name jumped out at him again. In 1903, Silver was in a court in Bloemfontein giving evidence about a break-in at a jewellery store. Certain details of the story suggested once more his ...

Joseph Jobson

Patrick Wormald

18 April 1985
Saladin in his Time 
by P.H. Newby.
Faber, 210 pp., £10.95, November 1983, 0 571 13044 5
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Soldiers of the Faith: Crusaders and Moslems at War 
by Ronald Finucane.
Dent, 247 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 460 12040 9
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... First Crusade was that the various Islamic powers never realised what was actually happening; and John Gillingham, the Lion-Heart’s biographer, could scarcely complain of his discussion of the Acre massacre (on which Mr Finucane is more lurid). If Newby’s Saladin somehow fails to inspire, this is partly because of his low-key, if agreeable style, but ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Football and Currie

17 October 2002
...  ...

How good was he?

Iain Fenlon: Antonio Salieri

6 July 2000
Antonio Salieri and Viennese Opera 
by John Rice.
Chicago, 648 pp., £66.50, April 1999, 0 226 71125 0
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... and musical justification. Salieri’s apotheosis, conducted under the benevolent gaze of Emperor Joseph II, began in earnest with the curious history of Les Danaïdes, an opera to an Italian libretto which Gluck commissioned from Calzabigi and then had translated into French by François Du Roullet and Theodor Tschudi. Gluck did not set Les Danaïdes ...
5 March 1987
Hotel Savoy 
by Joseph Roth, translated by John Hoare.
Chatto, 183 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 7011 2879 8
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... When Joseph Roth was asked once to write about his earliest memory, he described how as a baby he had seen his mother strip his cradle and hand it over to a strange woman, who ‘holds it to her chest, as though it were some trifling object of negligible dimensions, speaks for a long time, smiles, showing her long yellow teeth, goes to the door and leaves the house ...

Closed Windows

T.H. Barrett

11 January 1990
The Question of Hu 
by Jonathan Spence.
Faber, 187 pp., £12.99, September 1989, 0 571 14118 8
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... who, by luck or guile, triumph even though uprooted from their own societies: men such as Joseph or Odysseus. The fascination of this theme seems as strong as ever, perhaps affecting our curiosity about Robert Maxwell, as well as our taste for the works of Thubron or Theroux. But today, when jumbo jets deposit increasing numbers of ordinary people in ...


Michael Wood

23 March 1995
The Stone Raft 
by José Saramago, translated by Giovanni Pontiero.
Harvill, 263 pp., £15.99, November 1994, 0 00 271321 7
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... been enacted, could fail to recognise that this anguished woman is the widow of a carpenter called Joseph.’ This is not a simulation of Christ’s life, but a recreation of it, and when the writer repeatedly, ironically speaks of ‘this gospel’, he means not the real and only one, some sort of competitor for Matthew, Mark, Luke and ...

Something Unsafe about Books

Seth Colter Walls: William Gass

9 May 2013
Middle C 
by William Gass.
Knopf, 416 pp., £19, March 2013, 978 0 307 70163 3
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... what he’s set in motion. ‘As a fiction writer,’ he said in a 1978 debate with the novelist John Gardner, ‘you hope that the amount of meaning that you can pack into the book will always be more than you are capable of consciously understanding. Otherwise, the book is likely to be as thin as you are. You have to trick your medium into doing far better ...


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 ...
2 April 1981
The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century 
by Joseph Rykwert.
M.I.T., 585 pp., £27.50, September 1980, 0 262 18090 1
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... by both reason (mathematics) and revelation. Another of Wittkower’s students was Professor Joseph Rykwert. In a sense, his exciting new book, The First Moderns, does for the architecture of the 18th century what Wittkower did for the Renaissance. It starts where Wittkower left off, in the late 17th century. Architectural Principles in the Age of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dream On

27 June 2002
... an assistant rhinoceros trader in ancient Athens called Ali Shah. How this might be connected to John Updike’s ‘Rabbit Remembered’, the last bit of fiction I’d read, I don’t know. Waking up, I thought the dream might be useful for Short Cuts and, taking the notebook and pencil I keep handy next to the bed, scribbled down the name ‘Ali ...

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