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This Trying Time

A.N. Wilson: John​ Sparrow

1 October 1998
The Warden 
by John Lowe.
HarperCollins, 258 pp., £19.99, August 1998, 0 00 215392 0
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... John Hanbury Angus Sparrow (1906-92) was a devotee of the poetry of A.E. Housman. He wrote a vivid introduction to Housman’s verse, whose tight control, both of metre and of homosexual passion, found ...

Follies

George Melly

4 April 1991
A Surrealist Life 
by John Lowe.
Collins, 262 pp., £18, February 1991, 0 00 217941 5
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... about his friendship with the Surrealists. ‘But I shall have my revenge on Melly,’ he told everybody in that rapid Edwardian dowager’s voice. ‘I shall ruin his position in English society!’ Lowe, however, is writing with the slate slab firmly in place in the West Dean arboretum, and with full access to the Edward James archives now reassembled from all over the world. The result, while not ...
5 March 1981
The Illustrated Dictionary of British History 
edited by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 319 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 500 25072 3
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Who’s Who in Modern History, 1860-1980 
by Alan Palmer.
Weidenfeld, 332 pp., £8.50, October 1980, 0 297 77642 8
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... in Government. This may indicate the administrative path to editorial favour, for A.V. Dicey’s academic writings on the 19th century state are rewarded with an entry of nine lines, the same as Lord John Russell who was merely in office at the time. This is three lines less than Bonar Law, dubbed by Asquith as the unknown prime minister, which proportionately must make Russell practically unheard-of ...
26 November 1987
The Korean War 
by Max Hastings.
Joseph, 476 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 9780718120689
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The Origins of the Korean War 
by Peter Lowe.
Longman, 256 pp., £6.95, July 1986, 0 582 49278 5
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Korea: The War before Vietnam 
by Callum MacDonald.
Macmillan, 330 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 333 33011 0
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... connivance, really started the war. The many border infractions and provocations by South Korean troops, Synghman Rhee’s openly-proclaimed ambitions and the coincidental presence of the hawkish John Foster Dulles in Seoul have been cited in evidence, but none of the works under review provides any substantiation for this interpretation. The scale and weight of the North Korean attack speaks for ...

Dearest Papa

Richard Altick

1 September 1983
The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and John​ Ruskin 
edited by George Allan Cate.
Stanford, 251 pp., $28.50, August 1982, 0 8047 1114 3
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Ruskin Today 
by Kenneth Clark.
Penguin, 363 pp., £2.95, October 1982, 0 14 006326 9
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John​ Ruskin: Letters from the Continent 1858 
edited by John​ Hayman.
Toronto, 207 pp., £19.50, December 1982, 0 8020 5583 4
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... Toward the end of their correspondence, which spanned years 1851-79, John Ruskin, who hitherto had addressed Thomas Carlyle more or less in terms of deferential formality (‘Dear Mr Carlyle’), suddenly shifted to ‘Dearest Papa’, signing himself ‘Ever your loving ...

The Vulgarity of Success

Murray Sayle: Everest and Empire

7 May 1998
Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond 
by Peter Steele.
Constable, 290 pp., £18.99, March 1998, 0 09 478300 4
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... in fact a New Zealander, and Tenzing, who died in 1988 loaded with British honours, was a Nepalese. Most of the expedition’s other climbers were British, as was its finance, and its leader, Colonel John Hunt (now Baron Hunt of Lanfair Waterdine and a Knight of the Garter) was on secondment from the British Army. On descending, Ed Hillary, as he is universally known, shouted to his fellow New ...

Our chaps will deal with them

E.S. Turner: The Great Flap of 1940

8 August 2002
Dad’s Army: The Story of a Classic Television Show 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 304 pp., £7.99, August 2002, 1 84115 309 5
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... A total of 1206 volunteers were either killed on duty or died from wounds. Piquant items from Graham McCann’s book about Dad’s Army have been widely quoted, notably the insistence by Arthur Lowe (Mainwaring) on having a clause in his contract stipulating that in no scene would he be required to remove his trousers. Lowe, it turns out, was a sergeant-major in the war, and John Le Mesurier ...

‘This in no wise omit’

Tom Bingham: Habeas Corpus

7 October 2010
Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire 
by Paul Halliday.
Harvard, 502 pp., £29.95, March 2010, 978 0 674 04901 7
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... the least merit of Paul Halliday’s enthralling and scholarly historical survey, focusing primarily on the years 1500-1800, is to remind us of what could be seen as the glory days of habeas corpus. John Anderson was a slave in Missouri. Separated from his wife and family, whom he wished to visit, he came into conflict with his master and owner, who decided to resolve the problem by selling Anderson ...
9 November 1989
The Blind Victorian: Henry Fawcett and British Liberalism 
edited by Lawrence Goldman.
Cambridge, 199 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 521 35032 8
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...  to show the imaginative sympathy that social harmony required. They would display the impartiality that transcends class and sectarian interest. ‘The ideal of a Liberal party,’ said Robert Lowe in 1877, ‘consists in a view of things undisturbed and undistorted by the promptings of interest or prejudice, in a complete independence of all class interests, and in relying for its success on ...

Impossible Wishes

Michael Wood: Thomas Mann

6 February 2003
The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann 
edited by Ritchie Robertson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £45.50, November 2001, 9780521653107
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Hermann Kurzke, translated by Leslie Willson.
Allen Lane, 582 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 7139 9500 9
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... and from the practically Dickensian humour governing the characterisation in the major novels.’ In the same volume there is a fierce essay by Timothy Buck on the insufficiencies of Helen Lowe-Porter’s translations of Mann’s writing, and even of the recent versions of Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain by John Woods. The failings are apparently mostly lexical and syntactical: ‘Knopf ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!

11 October 2018
This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... found a copy of the poems in Bradford public library in 1960, but it doesn’t say who the translator was. Many contenders have tried to render Cavafy, but the edition Hockney came across must be John Mavrogordato’s, published by the Hogarth Press in 1951 (Rex Warner wrote the introduction). When Hockney’s prints were published a few years later, in 1967, Stephen Spender, a friend and early ...
20 July 2000
... A Cuckoo in the Nest to 1974 and calls it a success. It was actually done in 1964 and a disaster. I know as I acted in it, lured by the distinction of a cast that included Beatrix Lehmann, Arthur Lowe, Nicol Williamson and John Osborne. Nicol Williamson, who played the lead, was no farceur and seldom wrung a laugh from the audience, whom he chose to intimidate rather than entertain. Very shaky on ...

Love that Bird

Francis Spufford: Supersonic

6 June 2002
... Texan airline Braniff? Maybe, but Braniff went bust. Even on the core route from London to New York, income from ticket sales never came close to covering operating costs. Then in February 1981 Sir John King was made chairman of BA, and suddenly – in the words of Bruce MacTavish, one of the civil servants who appeared with Lamont before the Select Committee – ‘it was “love that bird!” time ...

Sixtysomethings

Paul Addison

11 May 1995
True Blues: The Politics of Conservative Party Membership 
by Paul Whiteley, Patrick Seyd and Jeremy Richardson.
Oxford, 303 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 19 827786 5
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Frustrate Their Knavish Tricks: Writings on Biography, History and Politics 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 417 pp., £20, August 1994, 9780002554954
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... money. Time and again they have got by with appeals to patriotism and the character of the nation. Even now, when they are so far behind in the opinion polls, they propose to recover by transforming John Major into a Europhobic John Bull. The other key to Conservative success was organisation. As Parliamentary reform acts expanded the electorate, the Conservatives recruited a mass membership in the ...

I Love You Still

Russell Jacoby

9 February 1995
Intellectuals in Exile: Refugee Scholars and the New School for Social Research 
by Claus-Dieter Krohn, translated by Rita Kimber and Robert Kimber.
Massachusetts, 255 pp., $15.95, July 1994, 0 87023 864 7
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... establish a ‘new’ school that would be faculty-driven, interdisciplinary, and devoted to adult education and social reform. The New School for Social Research opened in 1919: Thorstein Veblen and John Dewey were on the staff; Harold Laski and Lewis Mumford were regular visitors. Located in Greenwich Village, the New School became a centre for music, dance and the visual arts, the place to teach or ...

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