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The [ ] walked down the street

Michael Silverstein: Saussure

8 November 2012
Saussure 
by John Joseph.
Oxford, 780 pp., £30, March 2012, 978 0 19 969565 2
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... distinct as literary criticism, architecture, social anthropology and psychoanalysis. Yet, as John Joseph’s biography shows, Saussure struggled for his entire career to systematise as general theory what he had implicitly understood and put to stunningly successful use at the age of 19: that human language is the prime abstract ...

Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre

20 December 2018
Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... without representation’ became a political demand for liberty, changed everything. Major John Cartwright (who was later to advise the Manchester radicals) and Thomas Paine were influenced by the American programme in their arguments for domestic reform, Take Your Choice! and Common Sense. Yet it was the French Revolution that made the working classes ...

Under-Labourer

John Mullan

19 September 1996
The Correspondence of Thomas Warton 
edited by David Fairer.
Georgia, 775 pp., $85, September 1995, 9780820315010
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... assistant. A typical letter from Malone asks where he might find a particular prologue by Sir John Denham, wonders whether Warton has come across any mention of ‘Marocco’ (a famous acrobatic horse exhibited around Europe in the 1590s), enquires about any use of ‘the pun on Ajax and A-jakes previous to Sir ...

Doughy

John Sutherland: Conrad’s letters

4 December 2003
The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. VI: 1917-19 
edited by Laurence Davies, Frederick R. Karl and Owen Knowles.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £80, December 2002, 0 521 56195 7
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... remains. The problem is compounded in the case of a correspondent as habitually costive as Joseph Conrad. Not that the slice of life covered by this volume is lacking in biographical juice. The novelist is at the threshold of sixty, living his last years as he ruefully says ‘en vieux garçon’. He has only seven years to live. His health is ...

Was it a supernova?

Frank Kermode: The Nativity

4 January 2007
The Nativity: History and Legend 
by Geza Vermes.
Penguin, 177 pp., £7.99, November 2006, 0 14 102446 1
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... Matthew and Luke, says nothing at all about the Nativity. He begins with the baptism of Jesus by John. The evangelist John, the latest of the four, ignores the Nativity, beginning his book with an extraordinary poetico-theological prologue and getting straight into the ministry. There are extra-canonical gospels that ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Gospel According to Saint Matthew’

21 March 2013
The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 
directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
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... how the screenwriter describes the whole occasion: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he ...

JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart

2 April 1981
Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... Joseph Conrad died at the age of 67 on 3 August 1924, the day following the 18th birthday of his younger son, John Conrad, the author of the present book. John’s memories, which reach astonishingly far back into his earliest childhood, begin with his family living in poverty in a tiny cottage, ‘a dark and gloomy place’, at Aldington in Kent ...

The Week’s Events

John Hollander

13 September 1990
... Which, on ultimate reflection, appeared to be a sort Of centennial celebration for the author of Joseph and His Brothers And other works, even as it eventually turned out not to be. ‘Let’s have lunch on Tuesday,’ suggested Dubble-Barrell (he Pronounced it ‘Jewsday’, as if there had been inserted into the medieval calendar Another liturgical ...

Imperial Project

Richard Drayton

19 September 1996
Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens 
by Ray Desmond.
Harvill/Royal Botanical Gardens, 466 pp., £25, November 1995, 1 86046 076 3
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... every Corner of the Habitable world.’ George III fostered this programme and in 1773 turned to Joseph Banks for assistance. In the half-century between the end of the Seven Years’ War and Waterloo, the East India Company took control of Moghul India, the Royal Navy began its hydrological survey of the world’s oceans, and Britain seized a string of new ...
7 April 1994
Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship. Vol II: Historical Chronology 
by Anthony Grafton.
Oxford, 766 pp., £65, December 1993, 0 19 920601 5
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... Julius Caesar Scaliger, one of the 16th century’s most formidable literary scholars, and his son Joseph, who, as it happens, was successor to Lipsius at Leiden. And if their distinctive styles of pedantry make the two of them discernible to connoisseurs of these things, there remains the fact that they are closely linked in many people’s minds by a ...

At the Soane Museum

Peter Campbell: Joseph Gandy

11 May 2006
... Joseph Gandy (1771-1843) was an architect. More important, he was also a painter of architectural fantasies and reconstructions of historical architecture. These are precisely drawn, dramatically lit, strange, scholarly and elaborate. He wrote many, mainly unpublished and unpublishable pages of speculation about the origin of architectural styles and their relation to man, nature and the gods ...

Us and Them

Robert Taubman

4 September 1980
The Secret Servant 
by Gavin Lyall.
Hodder, 224 pp., £5.50, June 1980, 0 340 25385 1
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The Flowers of the Forest 
by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 365 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 0 436 20087 2
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A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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Enter the Lion: A Posthumus Memoir of Mycroft Holmes 
by Michael Hodel and Sean Wright.
Dent, 237 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 460 04483 4
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Dorothy I. Sayers: Nine Literary Studies 
by Trevor Hall.
Duckworth, 132 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 9780715614556
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Milk Dime 
by Barry Fantoni.
Hodder, 192 pp., £5.50, May 1980, 0 340 25350 9
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... though he brings these two things together. It’s not only that a packet of biscuits suggests John Buchan’s Hannay. The older tradition is acknowledged to the point of parody when the Prime Minister’s private secretary is given a family set of rooms in Albany where, ‘coming in off the chilly stone staircase, Maxim and Agnes had walked through a time ...

The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties

3 December 2009
Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... to broach too obviously the ethics of personal responsibility. Had not her ally and mentor Keith Joseph seen his own leadership aspirations shrivel in the aftermath of his notorious Edgbaston speech? When Joseph addressed the Edgbaston Conservative Association at Birmingham’s Grand Hotel on 19 October 1974, the ...

At the Ashmolean

John-Paul Stonard: Joseph Beuys and Jörg Immendorff

21 May 2014
... series made around the turn of the 1980s, or the intense political works made after studying with Joseph Beuys at the Academy in Düsseldorf in the 1960s. ‘Zwei wird zu einem’ by Jörg Immendorff (1979). ‘Felt Suit’ by Joseph Beuys (1970) ‘Untitled’ by Jörg Immendorff (1974) ‘Die Geschichte der ...

The Positions He Takes

John Barrell: Hitchens on Paine

30 November 2006
Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’: A Biography 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2006, 1 84354 513 6
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... in France, and Hitchens tells us that among others who wrote replies to Burke, along with Joseph Priestley and Mary Wollstonecraft, was William Godwin, which he wasn’t. He says that, unlike Paine, Wollstonecraft advocated votes for women, which she didn’t. Paine himself, Hitchens says, was not discouraged from writing Part One of Rights of Man by ...

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