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Carrying on with a foreign woman

John Sutherland, 7 November 1985

Galapagos 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 269 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 224 02847 2
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A Family Madness 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 315 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 340 38449 2
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A Storm from Paradise 
by Stuart Hood.
Carcanet, 188 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 85635 582 8
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Samarkand 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 255 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 85628 151 4
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The Sicilian 
by Mario Puzo.
Bantam, 410 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 593 01001 9
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Putting the boot in 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 192 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 224 02332 2
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... is what we call progress.’ Social and personal progress, the novel implies, is a hard-won thing. John Scott comes as new headmaster to Slateford, a village in Kincardineshire. There he is involved with two women. One is a local girl, May, the mill-owner’s daughter. She is trained in the domestic virtues and will, as she promises, make ...

Operation Backfire

Francis Spufford: Britain’s space programme, 28 October 1999

... ends. All the British rocketmen talk of the pleasure of working with very high levels of energy. John Scott-Scott was a hydrodynamicist at Armstrong Siddeley Rocket Motors at Ansty near Rugby, who worked on conventional turbine engines before switching to rockets. He invented a turbo-pump incorporating a floating ...

Burying Scott

Marilyn Butler, 7 September 1995

The Life of Walter ScottA Critical Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Blackwell, 386 pp., £19.99, January 1995, 1 55786 231 1
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... John Sutherland’s pithy, cynical Life of Scott is very much a biography of our time: irreverent, streetwise, set foursquare in a ‘real world’ in which careers achieve money and power and character is at least 51 per cent image. In its worldly wisdom it resembles the first of its kind, John Gibson Lockhart’s pioneering five-volume Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott (1837-8), though the drift of the two Lives is in opposite directions ...

Out of Bounds

Ian Gilmour: Why Wordsworth sold a lot less than Byron, 20 January 2005

The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period 
by William St Clair.
Cambridge, 765 pp., £90, July 2004, 9780521810067
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... and Censor’. St Clair quotes Eldon in 1793, when he was only attorney general and called Sir John Scott, telling an author that he could continue to publish his reply to Burke in ‘an octavo form so as to confine it probably to that class of readers who may consider it coolly’ (that is, people who would be unlikely to approve of it), but that as ...

The Danger of Giving In

Andrew Saint: George Gilbert Scott Jr, 17 October 2002

An Architect of Promise: George Gilbert Scott Jr (1839-97) and the Late Gothic Revival 
by Gavin Stamp.
Shaun Tyas, 427 pp., £49.50, July 2002, 1 900289 51 2
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... First, sort out your Scotts. George Gilbert Scott (1811-78), hereafter Sir Gilbert, designed the Albert Memorial, the Foreign Office and the tumultuous cliff of a hotel that shields St Pancras Station. A spiteful ditty, summing up the Victorian business of church restoration, also accounted him first among ‘the earnest band that spoiled half the churches in the land ...

Great Palladium

James Epstein: Treason, 7 September 2000

Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793-96 
by John Barrell.
Oxford, 7377 pp., £70, March 2000, 0 19 811292 0
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... an elaborate theatrical spectacle, appealing to the emotions instead of reason. At the centre of John Barrell’s exhaustive study of treason in the mid-1790s is a brilliantly sustained argument about the struggle to fix the character of the word ‘imagination’. Unlike the battle then being fought over such important political terms as ...

Looking big

Asa Briggs, 12 March 1992

Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Engineering Knight-Errant 
by Adrian Vaughan.
Murray, 285 pp., £19.95, October 1991, 0 7195 4636 2
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... of Vaughan comes at the end in the description and evaluation of the role of Brunel’s colleague John Scott Russell in the story of the Great Eastern. Vaughan draws substantially on the important book The SS ‘Great Eastern’ by Russell’s biographer John Emmerson, marine engineer and Professor of Engineering ...

A Talented Past

Linda Colley, 23 April 1987

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. I: Survey 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 400 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. II: Constituencies 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 704 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. III: Members A-F 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 852 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. IV: Members G-P 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 908 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. V: Members P-Z 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 680 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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... society’ at home. In 1932, he and a committee which included the three big N’s – Namier, Sir John Neale and Wallace Notestein – submitted to Parliament a report on the possibility of a multi-volume history of the House of Commons: ‘We were the first people to govern ourselves through responsible representatives. We may be the last. The institution is ...

The Purchas’d Wave

Bernard Rudden: The history of London’s water supply, 22 July 2004

London's New River 
by Robert Ward.
Historical Publications, 248 pp., £17.95, October 2003, 0 948667 84 2
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... a horse-driven pump, a windmill or a waterwheel. All were tried, but problems persisted until John Smeaton and then Boulton and Watt came up with their steam engines. The company was well served by engineers, who made use of Grinling Gibbons’s Oak Room at the New River Head, and seem to have combined efficiency with longevity: Henry Mill (inventor of a ...

Ambitions

Robert Blake, 18 December 1980

Harold Nicolson: A Biography: Vol. 1, 1886-1929 
by James Lees-Milne.
Chatto, 429 pp., £15, November 1980, 0 7011 2520 9
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Harold Nicolson Diaries 1930-1964 
by Stanley Olson.
Collins, 436 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 0 00 216304 7
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... had just inherited in shady circumstances, after furious litigation, a fortune from her friend Sir John Scott: but there was perpetual bickering and backbiting about the allowance. One of Harold’s reasons for seeking in 1929 the more lucrative path of journalism was to escape dependence upon his half-mad mother-in-law. Harold Nicolson was born in 1886 ...

Bigger Peaches

Rosemary Hill: Haydon, 22 February 2001

The Immortal Dinner: A Famous Evening of Genius and Laughter in Literary London, 1817 
by Penelope Hughes-Hallett.
Viking, 336 pp., £15.99, September 2000, 0 670 87999 1
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... friend of Lamb, Hazlitt and, until they quarrelled, Haydon, was the editor of the London Magazine, John Scott. Scott was challenged to a duel after publishing an attack on his Tory rival Blackwood’s and killed in the resulting shoot-out at Chalk Farm. Leigh Hunt went to prison for libel. Everybody knew someone in ...

Northern Laughter

Karl Miller: Macrone on Scott, 9 October 2013

The Life of Sir Walter Scott 
by John Macrone, edited by Daniel Grader.
Edinburgh, 156 pp., £65, February 2013, 978 0 7486 6991 2
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... Students of the life and works of Walter Scott and James Hogg may have glimpsed the shadowy, not to say meteoric, not to say dubious presence of the publisher John Macrone, and learned of his prompt desire, after Scott’s death in September 1832, to write his Life, basing it to a large extent on rural informants ...

Proust Regained

John Sturrock, 19 March 1981

Remembrance of Things Past 
by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.
Chatto, 1040 pp., £17.50, March 1981, 0 7011 2477 6
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... unfortunate enough to have been appointed private secretary to the bizarre Lord Northcliffe. C.K. Scott-Moncrieff had been keeping up with the books that were being read in Paris, and had been led by the Goncourt prize to Marcel Proust. Indeed, he had already written to J.C. Squire, that hub of the literary journalistic world, to see if he couldn’t now make ...

Shopping for Soap, Fudge and Biscuit Tins

John Pemble: Literary Tourists, 7 June 2007

The Literary Tourist 
by Nicola J. Watson.
Palgrave, 244 pp., £45, October 2006, 1 4039 9992 9
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... Country, Dickens’s London, With Hardy in Dorset, Literary Bypaths of Old England, The Land of Scott. Academic libraries don’t cater for it, and academic critics have about as much regard for it as they have for Disney World or back numbers of Reader’s Digest. It’s been out of favour since at least the 1750s. The Reverend Francis Gastrell, who owned ...
Jeremy Thorpe: A Secret Life 
by Lewis Chester, Magnus Linklater and David May.
Fontana, 371 pp., £1.50
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... an account of a trial and its background. If it is a biography of anyone, it is of Bessell and of Scott, who come alive on the page in a way that Mr Thorpe does not. If Mr Thorpe has had a secret life, it was presumably a social and political one, and it is not to be found here. His dazzling success in Society, and the difficulties he met in leading the ...

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