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Necessary Bishop

John​ Robinson

3 July 1980
Ahead of his Age: Bishop Barnes​ of Birmingham 
by John Barnes.
Collins, 487 pp., £12.95, November 1979, 0 00 216087 0
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... lack either the freedom to attain, or the security to retain, the positions from which they can rub up the Establishment. One such who was to rise higher and stay longer than most was Ernest William Barnes (1874-1953), for nearly thirty years Bishop of Birmingham, an office to which he was nominated by Ramsay MacDonald, who also appointed Hewlett Johnson as ‘red’ Dean of Canterbury. Barnes’s ...
23 February 1995
Conservative Century: The Conservative Party since 1900 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball.
Oxford, 842 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 19 820238 5
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... better. In particular, the Conservatives learnt from their entanglement with Tariff Reform that a party riven with ideological dispute and internecine factionalism faces electoral disadvantages. As JohnBarnes brings out in his urbane essay on ideology and factions, Conservative ideology has rested in part on a scepticism about the adequacy of ideology itself. In this sense, neither the fervent ...
26 November 1987
Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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Judges 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... on post-war British governments, starting with Paul Addison on the wartime background to Attlee’s success, and ending with some surprisingly detached reflections on Mrs Thatcher from the pen of John Vincent. As a final savoury, Tony Benn, Michael Fraser, David Marquand and David Butler sum up the entire era. The argument starts with the first and by some way the best piece in the collection ...

Mount Amery

Paul Addison

20 November 1980
The Leo Amery Diaries 
edited by John Barnes and David Nicholson, introduced by Julian Amery.
Hutchinson, 653 pp., £27.50, October 1980, 0 09 131910 2
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... Politics are three-quarters drudgery, so it takes a special ingredient to enliven the diary of a politician. Harold Nicolson and Chips Channon wrote splendid diaries because they were not so much politicians as sublime social columnists who happened to sit in the House of Commons. Richard Crossman and Barbara Castle were heavyweights and professionals, and the eternal grind of committee life is reflected ...

Twinkly

Theo Tait: Beyond the Barnes​ persona

1 September 2005
Arthur & George 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 360 pp., £17.99, July 2005, 0 224 07703 1
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... According to Flaubert’s famous rule, ‘an author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.’ For most of his career, the celebrated Flaubertian Julian Barnes has occupied the opposite end of the spectrum: less a transcendent creator than a garrulous master of ceremonies, unwilling or unable to prevent himself interrupting the proceedings. As John Bayley ...

Walking backward

Robert Taubman

21 August 1980
Selected Works of Djuna Barnes 
Faber, 366 pp., £5.50, July 1980, 0 571 11579 9Show More
Black Venus’s Tale 
by Angela Carter.
Next Editions/Faber, 35 pp., £1.95, June 1980, 9780907147022
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The Last Peacock 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 370 30261 3
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The Birds of the Air 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 7156 1491 6
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... Not long after Ezra Pound, the precocious Djuna Barnes arrived in Paris already equipped with a style derived from the Jacobean dramatists and French post-symbolist poets, and so with as good a claim as any to be counted among the founders of Modernism ...

Like choosing between bacon and egg and bacon and tomato

Christopher Tayler: The Wryness of Julian Barnes

15 April 2004
The Lemon Table 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 213 pp., £16.99, March 2004, 9780224071987
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... Julian Barnes’s new book of short stories is concerned with old age and death. Barnes – who was born in 1946 – should have a few years to go before he experiences either condition, but his fiction has always been precociously interested in both. He visited the afterlife, in the ...
6 December 1990
Stick it up your punter! The Rise and Fall of the ‘Sun’ 
by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 434 12624 1
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All played out: The True Story of Italia ’90 
by Pete Davies.
Heinemann, 471 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 434 17908 6
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Gazza! A Biography 
by Robin McGibbon.
Penguin, 204 pp., £3.99, October 1990, 9780140148688
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... music, rebel music.’ Chris Waddle comes across as a very likeable and thoughtful player, sceptical of his ability ever completely to conquer the French language (‘I’ll never speak perfect’); JohnBarnes is also co-operative; Gary Lineker is the nicest person in the world. But you already knew that. There are one or two moments in All played out when Davies’s blokily street-wise rhetoric ...
1 October 1998
England, England 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 272 pp., £15.99, September 1998, 0 224 05275 6
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... England, England, in other words, is a book which not only poses questions about integrity and authenticity, but is itself something of a poser. This is, I’m sure, entirely by design: Julian Barnes is a writer who knows how to spot a fake. Last year, on 15 September, for example, in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana, the New Yorker ran a series of articles in praise of the Princess ...

The Browse Function

John​ Sutherland

27 November 1997
Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web 
by Evan Schwartz.
Penguin, 244 pp., £11.99, October 1997, 9780140264067
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... American like every other biggest thing. But, nonsensically, a court case, settled on 21 October concluded that two book-retailers can legally trademark the ‘earth’s biggest’ claim. One is the Barnes and Noble octopus, with 25,000 employees, franchised outlets in every mall in North America and a $3 billion annual turnover. The other, Amazon.com (‘Amazon-dot-com’), is a bookless high-tech ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: On the Booker

12 November 1987
... a generous smile, a quietly amused eyebrow or a scornful nostril. How should novelists get the whole event in some sane perspective? They cannot retreat into a grand carelessness until they are John le Carré or John Fowles. They might begin, however, by running through the list of previous winners and working out how many of the last 19 would feature in any ‘true’ list of Top 19 Novels 1969 ...

The Great NBA Disaster

John​ Sutherland

19 October 1995
... exemptions (‘free enterprise is a good thing for every line of business except the British book trade’). In 1851 the trade referred its dispute to a tribunal headed by the author and judge Lord John Campbell. His decision was delivered on 19 May 1852 and published in its entirety by the triumphant Times. Campbell came down uncompromisingly for free trade. The Regulations, they said, were ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1984

20 December 1984
... there would be many directors just as happy conducting a small war. 11 January, London: ‘The Old Crowd’. Lindsay Anderson lives in a flat in one of the redbrick turn-of-the-century blocks behind JohnBarnes in Swiss Cottage. With its solid turreted houses, backing on gardens, Can-field, Compayne, Aberdare, Broadhurst, it’s the haunt of refugees, and Jewish old ladies, and perhaps (Lindsay would ...

Zanchevsky, Zakrevsky or Zakovsky?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Julian Barnes

18 February 2016
The Noise of Time 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 184 pp., £14.99, January 2016, 978 1 910702 60 4
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... Shostakovich. Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich is also the name of the protagonist, a famous and famously persecuted Soviet composer, whose interior monologue is presented in this new novel by Julian Barnes. So there’s no mistaking the real-life basis of the book, even if you don’t read the acknowledgments, where Elizabeth Wilson’s Shostakovich: A Life Remembered and Solomon Volkov’s Testimony ...

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