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His Father’s Children

Sissela Bok, 5 April 1984

Collected Works of John StuartMill. Vol. I: Autobiography and Literary Essays 
edited by John Robson and Jack Stillinger.
Toronto, 766 pp., £35, March 1982, 0 7100 0718 3
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... I was born in London on the 20th of May, 1806, and was the eldest son of James Mill, the author of The History of British India.’ The father-author thus announced at the beginning of John StuartMill’s Autobiography dominated his life from early childhood on ...

John StuartMill’s Forgotten Victory

Alasdair MacIntyre, 16 October 1980

An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy 
by John StuartMill, edited by J.M. Robson.
Routledge, 625 pp., £15.95, February 1980, 0 7100 0178 9
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... It is a long time​ now since any undergraduate class used Mill’s An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, first published in 1865, as a set text. But it has happened. George Santayana, who graduated from Harvard College in 1886, has described in Persons and Places the teaching of Francis Bowen: But Harvard possessed safe, sober old professors also and oldest of all, ‘Fanny’ Bowen ...

Whiggeries

J.H. Burns, 2 March 1989

Whigs and Liberals: Continuity and Change in English Political Thought 
by J.W. Burrow.
Oxford, 159 pp., £17.50, March 1988, 0 19 820139 7
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... than the Whigs from the intolerable rectitude of the bien pensant. The austere righteousness of a John StuartMill, for example – the governess-figure of ‘Miss Mill’ in Judy’s Mid-Victorian caricatures – must have alienated many who clung to the belief that virtue need not ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: ‘Parallel Lives’, 2 April 2020

... the low end of the Platonic ladder that leads to self-understanding … If marriage is, as Mill suggested, a political experience, then discussion of it ought to be taken as seriously as talk about national elections.Marriages set two imaginations to work constructing narratives about experience presumed to be the same for both … Happy marriages ...

Whipping the wicked

Peter Clarke, 17 April 1980

The Optimists: Themes and Personalities in Victorian Liberalism 
by Ian Bradley.
Faber, 301 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 571 11495 4
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... Most of the great positive evils of the world,’ John StuartMill asserted in 1863, ‘are in themselves removable, and will, if human affairs continue to improve, be in the end reduced to within narrow limits.’ This sort of confidence in the reality and efficacy of progress now seems to set the 19th century distinctively apart from our own ...

Diary

Richard Wollheim: On A.J. Ayer, 27 July 1989

... who craved philosophy. Furthermore the media were willing to recognise their existence. In 1951 Stuart Hampshire produced a small book on Spinoza. Spinoza was, through his associations with 19th-century dissent, the philosopher designed to appeal to this audience, but it is still remarkable that (as I recall things) 40,000 copies of the paperback should ...
Western Political Thought in the Face of the Future 
by John Dunn.
Cambridge, 120 pp., £8.50
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... only because an even more plausible explanation has recently been provided. One source for it is John Dunn’s new book. Let me hasten to say that the explanation of contemporary political behaviour is not the primary task that he sets himself. What he is explicitly concerned with is the exhaustion of the resources provided by traditional Western political ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... John StuartMill labelled the Conservatives ‘the stupid party’. They have certainly been stupid since 1997, and one wonders if their stupidity will persist. But a related and more interesting question is: ‘Are the Conservatives any longer a serious party?’ A serious party can be one of two things ...

A Year upon the Sofa

Dinah Birch, 8 May 1997

Eve’s Renegades: Victorian Anti-Feminist Women Novelists 
by Valerie Sanders.
Macmillan, 249 pp., £42.50, September 1996, 0 333 59563 7
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... Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell united in their distaste for the robust feminist arguments of John StuartMill. ‘In short, J.S. Mill’s head is, I dare say, very good, but I feel disposed to scorn his heart,’ sniffed Charlotte in a letter to Elizabeth Gaskell. ‘Woman must ...

Gnawed by rats, burnt at Oxford

Claire Tomalin, 10 October 1991

G.H. Lewes: A Life 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Oxford, 369 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 19 812827 4
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... sent to Lewes by his literary friends on receiving copies of his clearly lamentable novels. John StuartMill wrote explaining that he needed to read the book through a second time before making his comments, though meanwhile he liked it ‘on the whole decidedly better than I expected from your own account of ...

Swearing by Phrenology

John Vincent, 3 February 2000

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism 
by Conrad Russell.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £12.95, September 1999, 0 7156 2947 6
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... As such, it may disappoint those who know the author through his brilliant contributions to early Stuart history, or his recent principled interventions in debate in the House of Lords. Its aim, a truly ambitious one, is to trace the continuities between the liberalism of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and that of Liberal Democratic politics ...

Athenian View

Michael Brock, 12 March 1992

Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain, 1850-1930 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 383 pp., £40, September 1991, 0 19 820173 7
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... such authority on the moral ambitions it represented. This branch-to-branch search is centred on John StuartMill, Henry Fawcett and Leslie Stephen. He then traces the change in style and tone which came as the academic profession and the public service spread their tentacles. He discusses three legal theorists who ...

Wild Words

Stuart Hampshire, 18 August 1983

A History of the Modern World: From 1917 to the 1980s 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 832 pp., £16.50, April 1983, 0 297 78226 6
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... Maynard Keynes was probably the most influential thinker that Britain has produced, at least since John StuartMill, and in addition he exhibited a variety of talents and achievements which together amounted to genius. Wherever 20th-century English literature is discussed, whether in America or elsewhere, Virginia ...

Bring some Madeira

Thomas Keymer: Thomas Love Peacock, 8 February 2018

Nightmare Abbey 
by Thomas Love Peacock, edited by Nicholas A. Joukovsky.
Cambridge, 297 pp., £84.99, December 2016, 978 1 107 03186 9
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Crotchet Castle 
by Thomas Love Peacock, edited by Freya Johnston and Matthew Bevis.
Cambridge, 328 pp., £79.99, December 2016, 978 1 107 03072 5
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... Peacock began in the examiner’s office in 1819, working under the Scots economist James Mill and alongside John StuartMill (who had been brought into the company by his father in 1823) on a starting salary of £600, which rose with various promotions. It reached £2000 ...

Who should own what?

John Dunn, 18 October 1984

Property and Political Theory 
by Alan Ryan.
Blackwell, 198 pp., £15, August 1984, 0 631 13691 6
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... circumstances even impressive, the mere desire to have seems to many today – just as it did to John Locke – a furtive, even incipiently criminal form of lust. Disputes over property, and over the power which flows from it and flows back into it, are far from being the only major theme (let alone the motor) of human history. But for a number of millennia ...

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