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Scoring the language game

Roy Harris, 15 October 1981

Language and Linguistics: An Introduction 
by John Lyons.
Cambridge, 356 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 521 23034 9
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... worth saying which is not highly controversial. That is why it takes a brave man like Professor Lyons to attempt a book which, in less than four hundred pages, aims to provide a ‘general introduction to linguistics and the study of language, intended particularly for beginning students and readers with no previous knowledge of or training in the ...

Labour and the Bouncers

Paul Foot, 4 June 1987

Prime Minister: The Conduct of Policy under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan 
by Bernard Donoughue.
Cape, 198 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 224 02450 7
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Time and Chance 
by James Callaghan.
Collins, 584 pp., £15.95, April 1987, 0 00 216515 5
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... able’ Principal Private Secretary, Elizabeth Arnot a ‘bright young education specialist’, John Lyons a ‘very able’ general secretary, and Tom McNally an ‘excellent political secretary’. They were all quite wonderful, brilliant and magnificent, but unfortunately they could not tackle the main issue: ‘There was part of the unemployment ...

The Englishness of English

Roy Harris, 6 November 1980

Studies in English Linguistics for Randolph Quirk 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 304 pp., £18, September 1980, 0 582 55079 3
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... M.A.K. Halliday, Rodney Huddleston, Geoffrey Leech, Jennifer Coates, F.R. Palmer, R.A. Close, John Sinclair, Jan Firbas, Nils Enkvist, David Crystal, Jan Svartvik, Wolf-Dietrich Bald, Nelson Francis, Morton Bloomfield, E.L. Epstein, John Lyons, Archibald Hill, James Sledd, R.I. McDavid Jr, R.K. O’Cain, Linda ...

Fudging the news

J. Arch Getty, 9 May 1991

Stalin’s Apologist. Walter Duranty: The ‘New York Times’ Man in Moscow 
by S.J. Taylor.
Oxford, 404 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 505700 7
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... to capital sniffing out the news. Writers like H. R. Knickerbocker, Malcolm Muggeridge, Eugene Lyons, John Gunther and Walter Duranty were our eyes and cars in the world. The milieux in which these men functioned in the Twenties and Thirties were turbulent and romantic. Moving constantly between Paris, Berlin and ...

Travelling Text

Marina Warner: ‘The Arabian Nights’, 18 December 2008

The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights 
translated by Malcolm Lyons, with Ursula Lyons.
Penguin, 2715 pp., £125, November 2008, 978 0 14 091166 4
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‘The Arabian Nights’ in Historical Context: Between East and West 
edited by Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum.
Oxford, 337 pp., £55, November 2008, 978 0 19 955415 7
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... a handful of stories. The ambitious new Penguin edition, translated by the veteran Arabist Malcolm Lyons, can claim to be the first ‘complete’ English version rendered from the original without recourse to Galland. But the inverted commas are needed, because there can never really be a definitive edition of this book. Nor, in some sense, can it even be ...

Nationalities

John Sutherland, 6 May 1982

Headbirths, or The Germans are dying out 
by Günter Grass, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Secker, 136 pp., £6.95, March 1982, 0 436 18777 9
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The Skating Party 
by Marina Warner.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £6.95, April 1982, 0 297 78113 8
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Sour Sweet 
by Timothy Mo.
Deutsch, 252 pp., £7.95, April 1982, 0 233 97365 6
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At Freddie’s 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Collins, 182 pp., £6.50, March 1982, 0 00 222064 4
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... level, there is rivalry among two of Freddie’s pupils to fill the part of Prince Arthur in King John. One boy is crude but magnetic and destined for stardom; the other is finer-grained, a true Thespian. Their opposition is less interesting than Fitzgerald’s sharply accurate evocation of an old-style West End production of Shakespeare, footlights and ...

Moral Lepers

John Banville: Easter 1916, 15 July 2015

Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 433 pp., £10.99, May 2015, 978 0 241 95424 9
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... The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) leader, John O’Leary who, in Yeats’s poem, shared his grave with the corpse of ‘romantic Ireland’, observing that the Brotherhood’s ‘propagandist work was … entirely separatist with practically no reference to Republicanism’. Similarly, and just as ...

Mmmm, chicken nuggets

Bee Wilson: The Victorian Restaurant Scene, 15 August 2019

The London Restaurant: 1840-1914 
by Brenda Assael.
Oxford, 239 pp., £60, July 2018, 978 0 19 881760 4
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... West End alone. By the 1880s, 1700 coffee houses offered food at modest prices across the city. J. Lyons and Co. had 37 refreshment rooms by the end of the century (they became known as Lyons Corner Houses in 1909). It was said that Lyons – with its charming waitresses, sumptuous cakes ...

Among the Picts

John Sutherland, 18 August 1994

Stained Radiance: A Fictionist’s Prelude 
by J. Leslie Mitchell.
Polygon, 219 pp., £7.95, July 1993, 0 7486 6141 7
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The Speak of the Mearns 
by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
Polygon, 268 pp., £8.95, June 1994, 0 7486 6167 0
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... sexual intercourse, Stopesian contraceptive devices, cheap silken undergarments, pick-ups in Lyons Corner Houses. There is much worldly wisdom along the lines of: ‘All attractive girls should be seduced and married. They trouble a man less and listen to his conversation.’ Stained Radiance features three flatmate heroines and four heroes all linked by ...

Angry White Men

R.W. Johnson: Obama’s Electoral Arithmetic, 20 October 2011

... faced a tough challenge from the Republican candidate, a wealthy oilman called Charlton Lyons. Waggonner came up with a novel – and winning – argument: he warned that electing Lyons would help bring about a competitive two-party system in which a contest could easily be tipped one way or the other by the black ...

Doomed to Sincerity

Germaine Greer: Rochester as New Man, 16 September 1999

The Works of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 
edited by Harold Love.
Oxford, 712 pp., £95, April 1999, 0 19 818367 4
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... poem associated with Rochester, ‘Upon Nothing’. One is written in the hand of his steward, John Cary, the other in a scribal hand. The second has been meticulously corrected from the first by Lady Rochester, who does not however correct the ascription of three stanzas of the poem to ‘Dux Bucks’ and three more to ‘Fleetwood Shepherd’. Harold ...

Homely Virtues

David Cannadine, 4 August 1983

London: The Unique City 
by Steen Eiler Rasmussen.
MIT, 468 pp., £7.30, May 1982, 0 262 68027 0
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Town Planning in London: The 18th and 19th Centuries 
by Donald Olsen.
Yale, 245 pp., £25, October 1982, 0 300 02914 4
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The English Terraced House 
by Stefan Muthesius.
Yale, 278 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 300 02871 7
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London as it might have been 
by Felix Barker and Ralph Hyde.
Murray, 223 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 7195 3857 2
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... Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, and in France were shared by Paris, Versailles, Lyons, Marseilles and Bordeaux. So, as Henry James explained, ‘one has not the alternative of speaking of London as a whole, for the simple reason that there is no whole of it ... Rather, it is a collection of many wholes, and of which of them is one to ...

Soft Touches

Mary Goldring, 1 September 1983

DeLorean: The Rise and Fall of a Dream-Maker 
by Ivan Fallon and James Srodes.
Hamish Hamilton, 418 pp., £8.95, July 1983, 0 241 11087 4
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... we’re not part of the motor industry. We’re in the toy business, making toys for big boys.’ John DeLorean intended to do the same: to build a sports car of polished steel for, as he put it, ‘the horny bachelor who’s made it’. But the toy market is demanding and capricious and the car failed to please. The Belfast factory making it had no sooner ...

Gold-Digger

Colin Burrow: Walter Ralegh, 8 March 2012

Sir Walter Ralegh in Life and Legend 
by Mark Nicholls and Penry Williams.
Continuum, 378 pp., £25, February 2012, 978 1 4411 1209 5
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The Favourite: Sir Walter Ralegh in Elizabeth I’s Court 
by Mathew Lyons.
Constable, 354 pp., £14.99, March 2011, 978 1 84529 679 7
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... fabulous wealth and bad behaviour that persisted well after his death. In the late 17th century, John Aubrey (who was good on anecdotes though not quite so strong on truth) recorded that he once got one of Elizabeth’s maids of honour up against a tree. She protested with ‘Will you undoe me? Nay, sweet Sir Walter! Sweet Sir Walter! Sir Walter! At last as ...

Partnership of Loss

Roy Foster: Ireland since 1789, 13 December 2007

Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006 
by Paul Bew.
Oxford, 613 pp., £35, August 2007, 978 0 19 820555 5
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... is without interest.’ The wearily Olympian judgment was delivered by a distinctly peeved F.S.L. Lyons, doyen of historians of modern Ireland, when faced 27 years ago with a short life of Charles Stewart Parnell which took implicit but cheeky issue with his own magnum opus on the Chief. The young Bew – Belfast-born and a graduate of People’s Democracy ...

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