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Athenian View

Michael Brock, 12 March 1992

Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain, 1850-1930 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 383 pp., £40, September 1991, 0 19 820173 7
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... umbrella at Matthew Arnold’s, asks his friend to ‘bring it next time you come to the club’. Leslie Stephen, elected in 1877 on the strength of his History of English Thought in the 18th Century, enjoys the irony that this defence of free thought has given him ‘admission to a respectable haunt of bishops and judges’. By 1850, the Disruption in the ...

Why anything? Why this?

Derek Parfit: The universe, part two, 5 February 1998

... they could not have failed to be true. Undeserved suffering does not merely happen to be bad.When John Leslie defends the Axiarchic View, he appeals to this kind of non-logical necessity. Not only does value rule reality, Leslie suggests, it could not have failed to rule. But this suggestion is hard to believe. While ...

Constable’s Plenty

John Barrell, 15 August 1991

Constable 
by Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams.
Tate Gallery, 544 pp., £45, June 1991, 1 85437 071 5
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Romatic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition 
by Jonathan Bate.
Routledge, 131 pp., £8.99, May 1991, 0 415 06116 4
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... ever to accompany an exhibition of the work of a British artist. It is also one of the dullest. Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams have resisted the tendency of the last fifteen years or so by which the catalogues of major exhibitions have often been presented as major interpretative studies of the artist and his times. Constable is a catalogue, nothing ...

Victorian Vocations

Frank Kermode, 6 December 1984

Frederic Harrison: The Vocations of a Positivist 
by Martha Vogeler.
Oxford, 493 pp., £27.50, September 1984, 0 19 824733 8
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Leslie Stephen: The Godless Victorian 
by Noël Annan.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 297 78369 6
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... Frederic Harrison once climbed Mont Blanc and found Leslie Stephen on the top. Not an improbable location for the encounter of two eminent Victorians: and they might equally have met in George Eliot’s drawing-room. Whereas Stephen was much the more distinguished mountaineer, Harrison probably knew George Eliot better: he helped her work out the legal plot of Felix Holt, a service for which she may have owed him more gratitude than we need to feel ...

Happy Bunnies

John Pemble: Cousin Marriage, 25 February 2010

Incest and Influence: The Private Life of Bourgeois England 
by Adam Kuper.
Harvard, 296 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 674 03589 8
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... job as vicar of Doncaster. Not until 1964, when Phyllis Grosskurth published her biography of John Addington Symonds, was it revealed that Vaughan had resigned in order to avoid prosecution for sexual offences with a pupil. As late as 1955, in his essay ‘The Intellectual Aristocracy’, Noël Annan was writing (probably with a knowing wink at fellow ...

The Real Thing

Jenni Quilter, 21 April 2016

Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter 
by Cathy Curtis.
Oxford, 432 pp., £20.99, April 2015, 978 0 19 939450 0
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... had to be taken in through a side entrance.) She was the first of her painter friends – Alfred Leslie, Mike Goldberg, Larry Rivers and Jane Freilicher – to be taken seriously by the academy. The following year, MoMA purchased River Bathers for $1000. The accolades piled up. In 1956, Hartigan was the only woman artist to be selected for MoMA’s ...

I’m not a happy poet

John Butt: Lorca, 1 April 1999

Lorca: A Dream of Life 
by Leslie Stainton.
Bloomsbury, 568 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7475 4128 0
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... In Argentina in 1933, so Leslie Stainton tells us, Lorca ‘began wearing a white linen suit, and frequently a white cotton sailor’s shirt with a V-shaped neck and a dark sash. He took childlike delight in donning the shirt and going to the beach to “awaken” the seashells by calling out to them.’ He was obviously someone to be taken only in tiny doses ...

This Trying Time

A.N. Wilson: John Sparrow, 1 October 1998

The Warden 
by John Lowe.
HarperCollins, 258 pp., £19.99, August 1998, 0 00 215392 0
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... John Hanbury Angus Sparrow (1906-92) was a devotee of the poetry of A.E. Housman. He wrote a vivid introduction to Housman’s verse, whose tight control, both of metre and of homosexual passion, found obvious echoes in his own character. Sparrow was also co-author of A.E. Housman: An Annotated Hand-List, one of the few excursions into modern bibliography made by this great collector, 17th century bibliographer and connoisseur of Renaissance Latin, who counselled aspiring bibliomaniacs: (1) never lend anyone a book; (2) never sell a book; (3) never give anyone a book; (4) never read a book ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Not by Henry James, 23 September 2004

... the case that ‘Belle Million’ has to be included because it’s one of several stories by ‘Leslie Walter’, which Horowitz is convinced is James’s favourite pseudonym? The 25 stories in The Uncollected Henry James ‘were chosen’, Horowitz says in his foreword, ‘as a sampling of James’s unacknowledged publications for their use of ...

Introversion Has Its Limits

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Essayism’, 8 March 2018

Essayism 
by Brian Dillon.
Fitzcarraldo, 138 pp., £10.99, June 2017, 978 1 910695 41 8
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Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found 
by Bella Bathurst.
Wellcome, 224 pp., £8.99, February 2018, 978 1 78125 776 0
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Proxies: A Memoir in Twenty-Four Attempts 
by Brian Blanchfield.
Picador, 181 pp., £9.99, August 2017, 978 1 5098 4785 3
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... morning. His horse stumbled. He was killed. She knew it before they told her, and never could Sir John Leslie forget, when he ran downstairs the day they buried him, the beauty of the great lady standing by the window to see the hearse depart, nor, when he came back again, how the curtain, heavy, mid-Victorian, plush perhaps, was all crushed together ...

Star Warrior

John Sutherland, 6 October 1983

Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas 
by Dale Pollock.
Elm Tree, 304 pp., £9.95, July 1983, 0 241 11034 3
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Olaf Stapledon: A Man Divided 
by Leslie Fiedler.
Oxford, 236 pp., £17.50, June 1983, 0 19 503086 9
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... back have sold getting on for $900m worth of tickets. C-3PO and R2-D2 are as well known as Pope John Paul or Mickey Mouse. Lucas’s second movie and first hit, American Graffiti (produced by Francis Coppola, conceived and directed by Lucas), was the most profitable investment in Hollywood history: it brought in $117m against a production cost of ...

So Much Smoke

Tom Shippey: King Arthur, 20 December 2018

King Arthur: the Making of the Legend 
by Nicholas Higham.
Yale, 380 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 21092 7
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... but the most interestingly historical of them, Y Gododdín, does so only tangentially. Whatever John Morris and Leslie Alcock may have written in the 1970s and 1980s, the evidence provides ‘no space … for an “Age of Arthur” during which a victorious British emperor-like figure held back the barbarian ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... family, after the takeover of the firm by Smith, Elder & Co (itself soon to be taken over by John Murray). A descendant – loyally named Richard Bentley – had lovingly conserved and catalogued them for posterity. In 1967, the BL acquired a tranche of early Macmillan papers: Harold Macmillan, it seems, was keen that the family firm’s archive should ...

Idiot Mambo

Robert Taubman, 16 April 1981

Cities of the Red Night 
by William Burroughs.
Calder, 332 pp., £9.95, March 1981, 0 7145 3784 5
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The Tokyo-Montana Express 
by Richard Brautigan.
Cape, 258 pp., £6.50, April 1981, 0 224 01907 4
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... about The Naked Lunch, a famous cult novel of the Beat generation. A not unsympathetic critic, Leslie Fiedler, found much of it ‘dull protest literature, manifestoes against cops and in favour of junkies and homosexuals’ – which is not sympathetic, but not right either. I can’t call to mind anything less ‘in favour of’ drugs or ...

Basismo

Anthony Pagden, 13 June 1991

The Cambridge History of Latin America. Vol. VII: 1930 to the Present 
edited by Leslie Bethell.
Cambridge, 775 pp., £70, October 1990, 0 521 24518 4
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Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America 
by John King.
Verso, 266 pp., £29.95, November 1990, 0 86091 295 7
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Democracy and Development in Latin America: Economics, Politics and Religion in the Post-war Period 
by David Lehmann.
Polity, 235 pp., £29.50, April 1990, 0 7456 0776 4
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... for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, the areas discussed in this, the latest stage in Leslie Bethell’s collective attempt to capture ‘Latin America’s unique historical experience’. God has not been kind to Latin America. Unlike their Northern neighbour, none of the Southern republics has ever enjoyed prolonged periods of peace, prosperity ...

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