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In one era and out the other

John North, 7 April 1994

Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship. Vol II: Historical Chronology 
by Anthony Grafton.
Oxford, 766 pp., £65, December 1993, 0 19 920601 5
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... The first great Scaliger problem is that of distinguishing between father and son. When Swift, in his Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding, insisted that fiddlers, dancing-masters, heralds and masters of the ceremony were greater pedants ‘than Lipsius, or the elder Scaliger’, there must have been readers who asked themselves whether he wasn’t confusing Julius Caesar Scaliger, one of the 16th century’s most formidable literary scholars, and his son Joseph, who, as it happens, was successor to Lipsius at Leiden ...

The Skull from Outer Space

John Bossy: ‘The Ambassadors’, 20 February 2003

The Ambassadors’ Secret: Holbein and the World of the Renaissance 
by John North.
Hambledon, 346 pp., £25, January 2002, 1 85285 330 1
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... all to itself in the National Gallery; but I doubt if anyone has gone into it so pertinaciously as John North. North is an expert in the history of astronomy and mathematics, so naturally his view of the painting emerges from the jumble, which he does not regard as a jumble, of astronomical and time-telling instruments ...

Star-Gazing

Tom Shippey, 12 December 1996

Stonehenge: Neolithic Man and the Cosmas 
by John North.
HarperCollins, 609 pp., £25, July 1996, 0 00 255773 8
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... of the Environment – is not very impressive. Just old stones, in no clearly discernible order. John Fowles, in The Enigma of Stonehenge (1980), quotes a child saying worriedly: ‘Why are there so many doors?’ That is how it now seems: a lot of big doorways leading nowhere. Yet it yields some intimidating statistics. Its outer circle and its ...

John Bull s’en va t’en guerre

John Brewer, 5 May 1983

Wars and Revolutions: Britain 1760-1815 
by Ian Christie.
Arnold, 359 pp., £17.50, June 1982, 0 7131 6157 4
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Augustan England: Professions, State and Society 1680-1730 
by Geoffrey Holmes.
Allen and Unwin, 323 pp., £18.50, November 1982, 0 04 942178 6
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... in the face of a well-nigh insolvent East India Company and a singularly refractory bunch of North American colonists. His account of these events is excellent. The description of the crisis unfolds elegantly as Christie deftly weaves his way through the intricacies of imperial intrigue. The links between the East Indies and ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... the tea, put the kids to bed while he ended the day down the club ... Miners’ clubs along the north-east coast were the cathedrals of their communities, the space where men had their pleasure and their politics. Their homes, however, remained some of the worst in Britain. Mark Hudson’s Coming Back Brockens – subtitled ‘A Year in a Mining ...

At the IWM North

Jon Day: Wyndham Lewis, 5 October 2017

... one of the most comprehensive – is the exhibition Life, Art, War at Imperial War Museum North (until 1 January 2018). Its vaguely Vorticist building, which sits beside the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford, seems like an appropriate setting. Lewis is best known nowadays as the blaster and bombardier of the Vorticist years, but it is clear from this ...

At the North Gate

Patrick Cockburn: Exorcising Iraq, 11 October 2018

... Apart​ from witches, who come here to bury spells, few people visit the British North Gate cemetery in Baghdad. The witches believe that words written on paper and placed in the ground between the graves of non-Muslims, particularly old graves, have enhanced magical powers. North Gate, in the Waziriyah district, is a large quadrilateral of burned grass fringed by palm trees ...

Dr Blair, the Leavis of the North

Terence Hawkes: English in Scotland, 18 February 1999

The Scottish Invention of English Literature 
edited by Robert Crawford.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 521 59038 8
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... had originally intended to offer the job to Sir Herbert Grierson, recent editor of the poems of John Donne. However, he allowed Lloyd George to persuade him that a post of such eminence ought rather to be a party appointment. Without doubt, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863-1944) fitted that bill. He had worked long and hard for the Liberals in his native ...
... not only for them but for the whole community. Mrs Thatcher has done for Unionists what John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson did for the whites of Alabama in the Sixties. She has stripped them of ascendancy and privilege, and in so doing has done a service to us all – by placing us on a politically equal footing. What Unionists should ...

Votes v. Seats

John Lanchester, 13 May 2010

... John Lanchester's article in this issue was made up of four posts from his election blog (Smell the Glove / North Korean Flavour / How to Break the System / End of the World ...
Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... a slovenly document which does not even boast an index, starts its story in that year. Col Oliver North, the man who, according to the received version, thought up the idea of selling arms to secure the release of American hostages in Beirut, tells us: ‘My own operational involvement began ... on the afternoon of 17 November 1985.’ The BBC’s Panorama ...

Birth of a Náison

John Kerrigan, 5 June 1997

The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-41 
edited by J.F. Merritt.
Cambridge, 293 pp., £35, March 1996, 0 521 56041 1
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The British Problem, c. 1534-1707: State Formation in the Atlantic Archipelago 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill.
Macmillan, 334 pp., £13.50, June 1996, 0 333 59246 8
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The Stuart Court and Europe: Essays in Politics and Political Culture 
edited by Malcolm Smuts.
Cambridge, 289 pp., £35, September 1996, 9780521554398
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Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, its Development and Literary Expression Prior to the 19th Century 
by Joep Leerssen.
Cork, 454 pp., £17.95, November 1996, 1 85918 112 0
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... John Major’s vision of Britain is history by now: a unitary state north and south of the Tweed, secured by consent, subject to one monarch and funded by a non-tartan tax system. When Major first published his views, however, in the punningly titled Historia Maioris Britanniae (1521), his innovativeness upset fellow Scots ...

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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... of novels follows the career of a Scotswoman, Chris Guthrie, from childhood on a croft in the North-Eastern coastlands, through the disruption of the First World War and two marriages, to middle age in a soulless city, ‘Dundon’, which combines repugnant features of Aberdeen and Dundee. The first segment, Sunset Song, is regarded in Scotland as a ...

Diary

John Horgan: The Current Mood in Dublin, 19 December 1985

... Whether this realignment manifests itself in an increase in the number of deaths which litter the North’s daily calendar depends in part on the reaction of the Unionists, and in part on the degree of finesse with which the British Government approaches a task which is infinitely more difficult than the actual negotiation of the Agreement. The Irish ...

The Coup in Sudan

John Ryle, 2 May 1985

... much of which has been in revolt against the government in Khartoum for the last two years. In the north-east the famine which has decimated Eritrea and Tigre is spreading, exacerbated by refugees fleeing from their homes in Ethiopia. Sudan has a harsh climate at the best of times. Its civic life has flowered with little encouragement from nature. The charm ...

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