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Grail Trail

C.H. Roberts, 4 March 1982

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail 
by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.
Cape, 445 pp., £8.95, January 1982, 0 224 01735 7
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The Foreigner: A Search for the First-Century Jesus 
by Desmond Stewart.
Hamish Hamilton, 181 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 241 10686 9
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Satan: The Early Christian Tradition 
by Jeffrey Burton Russell.
Cornell, 258 pp., £14, November 1981, 0 8014 1267 6
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... by one of the authors. One claim which the authors make most surely be discounted: that Pope John XXIII may have had connections with the Prieuré. While admitting that the claim is incapable of proof, they point, among other insubstantial considerations, to his lifting of the ban on Freemasonry. They assert that his Apostolic Letter of 1960 (the text of ...

Charles and Alfred

J.I.M. Stewart, 17 December 1981

Studies in Tennyson 
edited by Hallam Tennyson.
Macmillan, 229 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 333 27884 4
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... Tennyson? This distrustfulness turns up strongly again at the end of the book in a piece by John Bayley called ‘Tennyson and the Idea of Decadence’. There is a great deal to be said for Tennyson; he is quite like Gogol; there is a saving lurking humour or fun in the subtext of some dangerously Parnassian places. (This last discovery aids Professor ...

Misunderstandings

J.H. Burns, 20 March 1986

Henry Brougham 1778-1868: His Public Career 
by Robert Stewart.
Bodley Head, 406 pp., £18, January 1986, 0 370 30271 0
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Rethinking the Politics of Commercial Society: The ‘Edinburgh Review’ 1802-1832 
by Biancamaria Fontana.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £22.50, December 1985, 0 521 30335 4
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... obvious candidate. In respect of high office at least, the ‘public career’ with which Robert Stewart’s book is concerned ended in the reign of William IV: but Brougham – who, if he had indeed been decapitated, would surely have walked and above all talked for long enough after the event – lived on until Victoria had reigned for over thirty ...

Marvellous Boys

Mark Ford, 9 September 1993

The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... we are as the double almond concealed in one shell,’ he broods in ‘Colloquy with John Keats’, going on to predict his own equally untimely demise in harsh demotic terms – ‘Look! My number is up!’ After his cremation at Rookwood Cemetery Ethel opened his trunk and set about disposing of his pitiably meagre possessions; in the process ...

The Great Copyright Disaster

John Sutherland, 12 January 1995

Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright 
by Mark Rose.
Harvard, 176 pp., £21.95, October 1993, 0 674 05308 7
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Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation 
by Susan Stewart.
Duke, 353 pp., £15.95, November 1994, 0 8223 1545 9
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The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature 
edited by Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi.
Duke, 562 pp., £42.75, January 1994, 0 8223 1412 6
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... University, in April 1991. Two of the eighty speakers at the conference were Mark Rose and Susan Stewart. Out of their contributions have come two books which ponder the early evolution of literary copyright. Rose’s elegant and concise study pays close attention to landmark law cases in the 17th and 18th centuries, and aims to trace the emergence of ...

Frognal Days

Zachary Leader: Files on the Fifties, 4 June 1998

Previous Convictions: A Journey Through the Fifties 
by Nora Sayre.
Rutgers, 464 pp., £27.95, April 1997, 0 8135 2231 5
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... Walker Evans, James M. Cain, Nunnally Johnson, S.J. Perelman, Dawn Powell, Joseph Mitchell and John O’Hara. Many of these celebrated figures, artists and authors approaching fifty at the start of the decade or only lately past it, grew up in small provincial towns, emigrated to New York in the Jazz Age and worked together in the city rooms of the Herald ...

Sahib and Son

J.I.M. Stewart, 22 December 1983

‘Oh Beloved Kids’: Rudyard Kipling’s Letters to his Children 
edited by Elliot Gilbert.
Weidenfeld, 225 pp., £10.95, October 1983, 0 297 78296 7
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... O ship bound for Egypt, he writes to his daughter Elsie, who is just seventeen, and to his son John, 18 months younger: I haven’t found anybody interesting yet. There are not many young people and the small ‘Robert’ (who calls himself ‘Wob’) doesn’t mind accepting a box of bricks (bought at the barber’s) from me but he doesn’t want me to ...

Mere Party

Robert Stewart, 22 January 1987

Pillars of Government, and Other Essays on State and Society c.1770-c.1880 
by Norman Gash.
Arnold, 202 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 7131 6463 8
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Sir Robert Peel: The Life of Sir Robert Peel after 1830 
by Norman Gash.
Longman, 745 pp., £12.50, July 1986, 0 582 49722 1
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... historian. His notions of history-writing may not accommodate the wilder ambitions of Whigs like John Morley, who said that ‘the history of England ought to end with something that might be called a moral,’ or Professor Seeley, whose Expansion of England, invigorating though it is, gave ample proof that he really believed that ‘history fades into mere ...

Gosserie

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 April 1984

Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape 1849-1928 
by Ann Thwaite.
Secker, 567 pp., £15, April 1984, 0 436 52146 6
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... mean something like ‘went boldly on public record’. To his intimates he was candid enough. To John Blaikie, one of his earliest friends, he recounted in 1874 how, on the occasion of an accident that had put him in fear of death, ‘the Christian revealed religion had never seemed so little worthy of belief.’ When A.C. Benson asked him what he believed ...

Forget the Klingons

James Hamilton-Paterson: Is there anybody out there?, 6 March 2003

Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life 
by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart.
Ebury, 369 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 187927 2
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XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It 
by Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin.
Weidenfeld, 191 pp., £12.99, August 2002, 1 84188 193 7
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... thinking about the genuinely alien has been done by science fiction writers, and Cohen and Stewart provide their own short SF story about how an unknown creature might perceive a Nasa probe sent in the near future to Europa, a satellite of Jupiter. (There are great hopes that life might be found in the ocean that is believed to lie beneath its frozen ...

Old Western Man

J.I.M. Stewart, 18 September 1980

C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences 
edited by James Como.
Collins, 299 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 9780002162753
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... above everything else occasions giving scope to the rapid cut and thrust of spoken controversy. John Lawlor, another pupil, has recorded that argument was the only form of conversation ever employed by Lewis in his presence. It must be a question whether such an eristic temperament made Lewis an ideal tutor, although he was assuredly an outstanding one. He ...

Ballooning

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 June 1986

The Unknown Conan Doyle: Letters to the Press 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 377 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 436 13303 2
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... they deal with public affairs, there must be much in them which is no longer readily understood. John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green have prudently decided against annotation, preferring to provide 13 notes on selected topics. They provide, also, a ‘Categorical Index’, excellent alike in conception and ...

Literary Man

J.I.M. Stewart, 7 June 1984

Hilaire Belloc 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 398 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 0 241 11176 5
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... though some very old person today were to remember having met in childhood a person who had seen John Milton’. But we need not suppose that Lyttelton misunderstood what he was being told. Belloc, he recalls, was busy being ‘great fun’. And mere truth came a poor second to immediate effect with Belloc, whether he was setting out to entertain in company ...

Barriers of Silliness

J.I.M. Stewart, 1 July 1982

The Great Detectives: Seven Original Investigations 
by Julian Symons.
Orbis, 143 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 85613 362 0
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Critical Observations 
by Julian Symons.
Faber, 213 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 571 11688 4
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As I walked down New Grub Street: Memories of a Writing Life 
by Walter Allen.
Heinemann, 276 pp., £8.95, November 1981, 0 434 01829 5
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... came the Second World War and a sudden upsurge in reputation, with Maurice Bowra, Stephen Spender, John Piper, Kenneth Clark, John Lehmann and others going hysterical about her: a kind of trendy Stringalong situation, we are invited to judge. Then by 1954 it is all over and the balloon deflated for good. Can my dislike of ...

Sterling and Strings

Peter Davies: Harold Wilson and Vietnam, 20 November 2008

... European allies. He also defended it in the House of Commons, and the foreign secretary, Michael Stewart, even appeared on television to defend American actions. At a televised ‘teach in’ in Oxford in June 1965, Stewart argued that ‘the future relationship between North and South could, in time, be a matter for the ...

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