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Frank Kermode: Britten

28 January 2010
Journeying Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten 
edited by John Evans.
Faber, 576 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 571 23883 5
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... from a Life and edited by Donald Mitchell and Philip Reed, appeared in 1991, and its first volume covers the same period as this new collection; but there was plenty of work for the new editor, JohnEvans. The diaries were begun when Britten was 15 and ended, rather abruptly, when he was 25. They were written in pocket diaries, the earlier entries mostly fitting into the space allowed by the format ...

Mad John

Gabriele Annan

28 June 1990
McEnroe: Taming the Talent 
by Richard Evans.
Bloomsbury, 216 pp., £14.99, June 1990, 0 7475 0618 3
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... This is Richard Evans’s second book on McEnroe. The Struwwelpeter of tennis is now 31 and No 4 in the international ratings. The first book, McEnroe: A Rage for Perfection, came out eight years ago when McEnroe was 23 ...

Happy Valleys

Dan Jacobson

18 November 1982
White Mischief 
by James Fox.
Cape, 293 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 224 01731 4
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Earth to Earth 
by John​ Cornwell.
Allen Lane, 174 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 7139 1045 3
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... names, and let the reader judge for himself whether he feels a prickling of interest in the case which it might not otherwise have roused. Josslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll (the murdered man). Sir John Henry (‘Jock’) Delves Broughton (the presumed murderer). Diana, Broughton’s second wife, who was later to become successively the wife of Gilbert de Préville Colvile and of Tom, the fourth ...

Cross Words

Neal Ascherson

17 November 1983
The Story of the ‘Times’ 
by Oliver Woods and James Bishop.
Joseph, 392 pp., £14.95, October 1983, 0 7181 1462 0
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Good Times, Bad Times 
by Harold Evans.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £11.95, October 1983, 0 297 78295 9
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... the act of a determined man who, as a shrewd entrepreneur and a newspaperman of great experience, had every reason to know what he was doing ... The costly changes introduced by the Editor [Harold Evans] had been accompanied by a substantial number of new senior editorial appointments. Not all of these were welcomed by the existing editorial staff, whose responsibilities sometimes seemed to be in ...
19 May 1983
The Varieties of Reference 
by Gareth Evans, edited by John​ McDowell.
Oxford, 418 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 19 824685 4
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... Gareth Evans died of cancer when he was barely 34 years of age. He had been working on this book for several years; the task of completing it from his notes was carried out by John McDowell. (The first two chapters and the introduction were rewritten by Evans himself in the last months of his life.) Evans’s death at such an early age is a tragedy. We can have no real idea ...

Grisly Creed

Patrick Collinson: John​ Wyclif

22 February 2007
John​ Wyclif: Myth and Reality 
by G.R. Evans.
Lion, 320 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7459 5154 6
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... In about 1950, A.L. Rowse persuaded K.B. McFarlane to contribute to his biographical series ‘Teach Yourself History’ a short book on John Wyclif, an Oxford intellectual dead for six hundred years and the only arch-heretic bred in Catholic England before the Tudors and the Reformation. In one way this wasn’t surprising, since Rowse ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history

1 April 1999
The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... did the American people ‘grow rich and expand their domestic freedoms. They sustained Western civilisation by acts of courage, generosity and vision unparalleled in the history of man.’ So Harold Evans introduces his lavishly illustrated ‘popular political history’ of ‘the American century’, written to educate American immigrants like himself about the ‘nature of their heritage ...

Lucky Lad

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Harold Evans

17 December 2009
My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times – An Autobiography 
by Harold Evans.
Little, Brown, 515 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 1 4087 0203 1
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... ostentatiously wear his convict’s uniform once a year. In 1961, 90 years after Stead, a young man who took him as his hero was appointed editor of his old paper, the Northern Echo. At 33, Harold Evans wasn’t quite as precocious as his predecessor, but he came from a world in some ways closer to Stead’s than to England today. In the engaging early pages of My Paper Chase, Evans describes his ...

Baudelairean

Mary Hawthorne: The Luck of Walker Evans

5 February 2004
Walker Evans 
by James Mellow.
Perseus, 654 pp., £15.99, February 2002, 1 903985 13 7
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... The early photographs of Walker Evans are now so familiar that it is easy to forget how radically different they seemed at the time, and to take their subtle influence for granted, or, now that the collective longing appears to be for ...
15 October 1981
Philosophical Subjects: Essays Presented to P.F. Strawson 
edited by Zak van Straaten.
Oxford, 302 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 9780198246039
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... it is like to do philosophy (which is how those in the trade typically put it) by reading Philosophical Subjects. A number of philosophers think that the most interesting essay in the book is Gareth Evans’s ‘Things Without The Mind – A Commentary upon Chapter Two of Strawson’s Individuals’: Evans, who died last year at the age of 34, was a former pupil of Strawson’s. (It is, incidentally ...
26 November 1987
Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years 1830-1910 
by Richard Evans.
Oxford, 676 pp., £55, October 1987, 0 19 822864 3
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... was in the ascendancy. But Pettenkoferian miasmatism still had its strongholds, and one of them was Hamburg. For – and this is one of the powerful interpretative strategies deployed in Richard Evans’s penetrating study – the entrenched laissez-faire liberalism of Germany’s foremost international trade centre was of a piece with the theory of disease aetiology which held sway in the city ...

No wonder it ached

Dinah Birch: George Eliot

13 May 1999
The Journals of George Eliot 
edited by Margaret Harris and Judith Johnston.
Cambridge, 447 pp., £55, February 1999, 0 521 57412 9
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George Eliot: The Last Victorian 
by Kathryn Hughes.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 85702 420 6
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... has been no serious attempt to dislodge it since. Why has George Eliot never been known by her own name? One reason is that it has never been quite clear what it was. She began life as Mary Anne Evans, daughter of Robert Evans, a sturdy and prosperous land agent in Warwickshire. But Mary Anne sounds rather like a servant’s name (the White Rabbit’s housemaid is called Mary Ann). As the rising ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Telly

9 August 2001
... Bloomsbury have sent out the first publicity pack for Kenneth Tynan’s diaries, edited by John Lahr, which are to be published in October. Among the slogans (‘Think Alan Clark meets Alan Bennett’ – no, don’t) and the paraphernalia (a padlock and key) is a pamphlet of highlights. A good ...

Diary

Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty

11 December 1997
... the pulverising she’d got from the prosecution at the trial. She was more sure than ever that Hanratty had stayed in her house on the night of the murder, 22 August 1961. She was backed up by Terry Evans, whom Hanratty had met in Rhyl some months before the murder. Evans had not been in Rhyl on 22 August but he had heard later from several people that a young Londoner had been looking for him that ...

Brutish Babies

David Wootton: Witchcraft

11 November 1999
Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night 
by Wolfgang Behringer, translated by H.C.Erik Midelfort.
Virginia, 203 pp., £14.50, September 1998, 0 8139 1853 7
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Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe 
by Stuart Clark.
Oxford, 845 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 820001 3
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Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Routledge, 368 pp., £55, April 1999, 0 415 19611 6
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The Bewitching of Anne Gunter: A Horrible and True Story of Football, Witchcraft, Murder and the King of England 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 256 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 9781861970480
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... surprising if no one had thought witchcraft worth practising. However, modern studies of Renaissance witchcraft were written in opposition not only to Margaret Murray, but also under the influence of Evans-Pritchard’s Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande (1937). The Azande of the Sudan believed witchcraft to be pervasive, indeed held it to be the prime cause of death, yet Evans-Pritchard ...

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