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The Motives of Mau Mau

Basil Davidson, 24 February 1994

Unhappy Valley 
by Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale.
James Currey, 224 pp., £45, April 1993, 0 85255 022 7
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Mau Mau and Kenya: An Analysis of a Peasant Revolt 
by Wunyabari Maloba.
Indiana, 228 pp., £32.50, January 1994, 0 253 33664 3
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... to signal the onset of a post-imperialist culture. The best example of this is Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale’s Unhappy Valley, a wide-ranging and masterly discussion of the colonial years in central Kenya. Both authors display an admirable erudition, Berman in concentrating on white-settler and colonial concerns and administration, ...

In Search of People’s History

Eric Hobsbawm, 19 March 1981

People’s History and Socialist Theory 
edited by Raphael Samuel.
Routledge, 417 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 7100 0765 5
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British Labour History 
by E.H. Hunt.
Weidenfeld, 428 pp., £18.50, January 1981, 0 297 77785 8
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... Wat Tyler (by Ros Faith), observations on George V’s Silver Jubilee as celebrated in Kenya (by John Lonsdale), a powerful dissection of the problems of writing the history of the Communist Parties (by Perry Anderson), and reference to an Italian cowherd who constructed his own version of the Odyssey because he found the original too long to ...

The Strange Case of John Bampfylde

Roger Lonsdale, 3 March 1988

... If John Bampfylde has any continuing public existence, it must be as the man on the right in this unusual double portrait by Joshua Reynolds. An interested enquirer might learn that Bampfylde was a minor poet of the later 18th century and, in the absence of much hard information, encounter what is scarcely more than a striking anecdote of frustrated love and subsequent insanity ...

Great Portland Street Blues

Karl Miller, 25 January 1990

Boswell: The Great Biographer. Journals: 1789-1795 
by James Boswell, edited by Marlies Danziger and Frank Brady.
Heinemann, 432 pp., £25, November 1989, 0 434 89729 9
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... Of those that remain, Joshua Reynolds, the Shakespearian scholar Malone and the politician John Courtenay are affectionate and supportive. These were the years, as we occasionally have to remind ourselves, when his Life of Johnson was completed, put to press, published, relished and extolled. This does less for him than might have been ...

Some More Sea

Patrick O’Brian, 10 September 1992

The Oxford Book of the Sea 
edited by Jonathan Raban.
Oxford, 524 pp., £17.95, April 1992, 9780192141972
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... Verse and 18th-Century Women Poets, both edited with great skill and erudition by Roger Lonsdale, and Travel Verse, by Kevin Crossley-Holland. When I say ‘read them’ I mean I have dipped copiously, as one usually does with anthologies, sometimes taking years to digest the whole. They all addressed a finite but considerable field (there were ...

The Cow Bells of Kitale

Patrick Collinson: The Selwyn Affair, 5 June 2003

... East Africa? It gathers up the experience of all the conflicting parties in what Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale, in their important 1992 study, called the ‘Unhappy Valley’. Was there a hidden political motive, unstated in any of the official documents? There was a widespread impression among the settlers that the prosecution of the Selwyns was ...

Against Michelangelo

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Pinecone’, 11 October 2012

The Pinecone 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 332 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 571 26950 1
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... barren field. Nevertheless, in 1873 Losh’s much younger friend, a Carlisle doctor called Henry Lonsdale, who had known her in the last years of her life, included an account of her in the fourth volume of his Worthies of Cumberland. It was discreet and tantalisingly brief, but not pious. For his researches Lonsdale made ...

Casual Offenders

J.S. Morrill, 7 May 1981

The Justice and the Mare’s Ale 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £8.50, March 1981, 0 631 12681 3
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... of a band of robbers and coin-clippers at work in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales around Kirkby Lonsdale in the early 1680s, of the response of the local communities upon whom they preyed, and of the tireless (and for a long time ineffectual) efforts of one local magistrate, Sir Daniel Fleming of Rydal Hall, to secure their conviction. It is an ...

Bumming and Booing

John Mullan: William Wordsworth, 5 April 2001

Wordsworth: A Life 
by Juliet Barker.
Viking, 971 pp., £25, October 2000, 9780670872138
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The Hidden Wordsworth 
by Kenneth Johnston.
Pimlico, 690 pp., £15, September 2000, 0 7126 6752 0
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Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s 
by David Bromwich.
Chicago, 186 pp., £9.50, April 2000, 0 226 07556 7
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... I sometimes published from that immediate motive’. When the bills run up by his spendthrift son John forced him into accepting from a perfectly respectable journal a remunerative offer for some new verse, he wrote of going against all his ‘natural feelings’. His daughter Dora, close to her father’s literary values, called the deal ‘galling’ and ...

Unwarranted

John Barrell: John Wilkes Betrayed, 6 July 2006

John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty 
by Arthur Cash.
Yale, 482 pp., £19.95, February 2006, 0 300 10871 0
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... was obviously too much (or so I choose to believe) for the electors of Westmorland and Lonsdale, who responded at the last election by making Collins one of the very few Tory MPs to lose his seat. Now, Bill Rammell, the intrepid minister for higher education, has picked up the black spot that fell from Collins’s hand. He has set up a review which ...

Fighting Men

D.A.N. Jones, 2 February 1984

Ring of Truth 
by Vernon Scannell.
Robson, 342 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 86051 244 4
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The Tiger and the Rose: An Autobiography 
by Vernon Scannell.
Robson, 197 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 86051 221 5
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Man of War 
by John Masters.
Joseph, 314 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 7181 2360 3
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The Notebook of Gismondo Cavalletti 
by R.M. Lamming.
Cape, 248 pp., £7.95, November 1983, 0 224 02141 9
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The Rape of Shavi 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Ogwugwu Afor, 178 pp., £7.95, November 1983, 0 9508177 1 6
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Thomas Lyster: A Cambridge Novel 
by David Wurtzel.
Brilliance, 215 pp., £7.95, November 1983, 0 946189 30 7
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Don’t Swing a Cat 
by Eva Bolgar.
Bachman and Turner, 143 pp., £7.50, November 1983, 0 85974 098 6
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... since he was 13 ... Schoolboy Champion of Great Britain, Junior ABA and Senior ABA Champion, a Lonsdale Belt, the European title and then the pot of gold, the Championship of the World – 11 years without dropping a decision.’ Dave Ruddock is feeling pretty good. We read on the dust-cover that Scannell himself has been a National Schoolboy and Senior ...

Heroes

Pat Rogers, 6 November 1986

Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in 18th-Century Imagery 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 139 pp., £29.50, May 1986, 0 19 817371 7
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Augustan Studies: Essays in honour of Irvin Ehrenpreis 
edited by Douglas Lane Patey and Timothy Keegan.
University of Delaware Press, 270 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 9780874132724
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The 18th Century: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1700-1789 
by James Sambrook.
Longman, 290 pp., £15.95, April 1986, 0 582 49306 4
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... of sense and sensibility the commemoratee would have relished. There is, for instance, Roger Lonsdale, presenting with due flourish a work by the painter and art theorist Jonathan Richardson the elder, and illuminating Richardson’s own little-known life (down to a new birth-year) as well as the career of his young friend Pope. ...

I ham sorry

Norma Clarke: Poor Lore, 1 August 2019

Writing the Lives of the English Poor, 1750s-1830s 
by Steven King.
McGill, 480 pp., £27.99, February 2019, 978 0 7735 5649 2
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... any thing before nor would not now.Thomas Lomax felt his misfortune ‘a daily source of grief’; John Stafford’s family were shoeless, workless, creditless and hopeless, ‘reduced to the lowest extremity’, by the time he put pen to paper in ‘painful anxiety’. Men resolved that if helped they would find work, women assured ‘the gentlemen’ they ...

Disinformation

Phillip Knightley, 8 July 1993

Deadly Illusions: The First Book from the KGB Archives 
by John Costello and Oleg Tsarev.
Century, 538 pp., £18.99, June 1993, 9780712655002
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... Peter and Helen Kroger, who acted as a communications link between London and Moscow for Gordon Lonsdale and the Portland spy-ring, went out in November 1991. Both were co-productions, in the sense that the Russians provided their end of the material – they did the interview with the Krogers in their Moscow retirement home, for example – and Walberry ...

After-Meditation

Thomas Keymer: The Girondin Wordsworth, 18 June 2020

Radical Wordsworth: The Poet who Changed the World 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 608 pp., £25, April, 978 0 00 816742 4
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William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, new edition, 688 pp., £25, April, 978 0 19 881711 6
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... John Keats​ went walking in the Lake District in June 1818. It was the first decent summer since the eruption of an Indonesian volcano three years before had tipped postwar Europe into a crisis of failed harvests, mass hunger and widespread social unrest. In Britain, Lord Liverpool’s government had suspended Habeas Corpus; Luddite organisers, revolutionary Spenceans and radical journalists had been arrested and tried (with mixed results); the Peterloo Massacre and the repressive ‘Six Acts’ lay just ahead ...

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