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Fish out of water

Robert Dawidoff, 4 February 1988

The Works of George Santayana. Vol. I: Persons and Places 
edited by William Holzberger and Herman Saatkamp.
MIT, 761 pp., £24.95, March 1987, 0 262 19238 1
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George Santayana: A Biography 
by John McCormick.
Knopf, 612 pp., $30, August 1988, 0 394 51037 2
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... his homosexuality. His autobiography is not coy about his attraction to men. His biographer, John McCormick, concludes that he was homosexual, but for sound social and personal reasons unwilling to risk what was in his day at best a precarious preference. To that repression, McCormick attributes the distant tone ...

The Getaway Car

Glen Newey: Machiavelli, 21 January 2016

Machiavellian Democracy 
by John McCormick.
Cambridge, 252 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 0 521 53090 3
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Machiavelli in the Making 
by Claude Lefort, translated by Michael Smith.
Northwestern, 512 pp., £32.50, January 2012, 978 0 8101 2438 7
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Redeeming ‘The Prince’: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece 
by Maurizio Viroli.
Princeton, 189 pp., £18.95, October 2013, 978 0 691 16001 6
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... boasts of being ‘admired of those that hate [him] most’. ‘A sicke Machiavell Pollititian,’ John Stephens wrote in his Essays of 1615, ‘is a baked meate for the devill.’ No other political theorist has received remotely similar treatment. Hobbes, who came in for a handsome share of vilification from the 1650s, was namechecked as an early exponent of ...


John Bayley, 9 September 1993

The Life of Ian Fleming 
by Donald McCormick.
Peter Owen, 231 pp., £18.50, July 1993, 0 7206 0888 0
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... espionage worlds, and subsequently in business journalism. Unlike Fleming’s previous biographer John Pearson, Donald McCormick makes no attempt to psychologise his subject – or to reproduce the fluency which made Pearson’s book read as easily as a James Bond thriller. His justification is to produce, among much that ...

Good Housekeeping

Steven Shapin: William Petty, 20 January 2011

William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic 
by Ted McCormick.
Oxford, 347 pp., £63, September 2010, 978 0 19 954789 0
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... own money and £3500 of his friends’, and three years later he was dead. The project failed, Ted McCormick writes, ‘not because it was bad science or bad policy but because it fused science and policy in a way neither political nor scientific institutions were prepared to accommodate’. The Experiment was a failure, but some of Petty’s other experiments ...

Plugs of Muscle

Joanna Kavenna, 5 July 2001

A Friend of the Earth 
by T.C. Boyle.
Bloomsbury, 275 pp., £15.99, October 2000, 9780747547532
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... he produced a wilfully indecisive portrait of 19th-century sexology; his warped hero Stanley McCormick is a millionaire whose Ivy League manners are overcome by rampaging lust at the sight of a woman. McCormick’s doctors base their diagnoses on the work of various 19th-century sexologists, including Karl Heinrich ...

Darwin among the Gentry

Adrian Desmond, 23 May 1985

The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. Vol. I: 1821-1836 
edited by Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith.
Cambridge, 702 pp., £30, March 1985, 0 521 25587 2
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The Survival of Charles Darwin: A Biography of a Man and an Idea 
by Ronald Clark.
Weidenfeld, 449 pp., £14.95, April 1985, 0 297 78377 7
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... We get a glimpse of Cambridge high life: the gluttony and gambling – swans for the eating, Van John all night, with ‘the Dr’ picking up the tabs. Darwin laughed modestly at the paralysis of his faculties through inertia, but the image of enforced idleness at Christ’s is misleading. There was riding (his horse came up too), but more important he was ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett, 5 April 2007

... studied theatre in Paris for a short time, and then returned to Ireland, playing a small part in John Ford’s film The Quiet Man and working for a time at the Gate Theatre with Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir. In the summer of 1953 he directed Siobhán McKenna and Cyril Cusack in The Playboy of the Western World, playing the part of Shawn Keogh ...

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