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Pseud’s Corner

John​ Sutherland

17 July 1980
Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... in which, hilariously, British authors lead the world), Terry Harknett writes under the buckskin-evoking pseudonyms of George G. Gilman, Charles R. Pike, Thomas H. Stone. Like his compatriots ‘John G. MeLaglen’ and J.T. Edson, Harknett has ‘appreciation societies’ devoted to his pseudonymous personae. (‘J.T.’, incidentally, the biggest seller of them all, claims his name is genuine ...
20 November 1986
News from Nowhere 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 403 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 241 11920 0
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O-Zone 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 469 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 241 11948 0
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Ticket to Ride 
by Dennis Potter.
Faber, 202 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 9780571145232
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... novel: that is to say, fiction which will not just understand the world, but change it. (On the good Brechtian theory of erst fressen, Caute has also written money-spinning soft-porn thrillers as ‘JohnSalisbury’.) Like his previous attempt at mixing 100 per cent proof world history with the small beer of English fiction (The Decline of the West, a title to rank with Mel Brooks’s History of the ...
3 March 1988
Benjamin Disraeli: Letters 1838-1841 
edited by M.G Wiebe, J.B. Conacher, John​ Matthews and M.S. Millar.
Toronto, 458 pp., £40, March 1987, 0 8020 5736 5
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SalisburyThe Man and his Policies 
edited by Lord Blake and Hugh Cecil.
Macmillan, 298 pp., £29.50, May 1987, 0 333 36876 2
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... the Sunday Telegraph. Time to think again. Time to look at the ‘theories’ of Benjamin Disraeli, and time, especially, to discover the deeply intellectualist conservatism of the third Marquis of Salisbury, whose record as the most electorally successful Conservative prime minister seems likely to be snatched by Mrs Thatcher. The invocation, usually at Party Conferences, of something called ...

Diary

Alison Light: Wiltshire Baptists

8 April 2010
... preaching in Chitterne, the next village. His son, another Henry, my father’s grandfather, took their trade – bricklaying – and their religion south to Portsmouth. Shrewton is halfway between Salisbury and Devizes, on the old road between London and Warminster, a position that made it less dependent on the sheep and corn farming from which most local people derived a living. Tradesmen and artisans ...
3 July 1997
The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 347 pp., £20, August 1996, 9780297813484
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... up as the figurehead of a new regime with, perhaps, the Earl of Northumberland as Protector. Having settled that, they swore an oath of secrecy, and received communion at a Mass said by the Jesuit John Gerard, who was in the next room: they presumably understood this as turning their undertaking into a religious vow and conjoining them in sacred solidarity. The first part of the scheme went with ...
18 May 2000
The John​ Marsh Journals: The Life and Times of a Gentleman Composer (1752-1828) 
edited by Brian Robins.
Pendragon, 797 pp., $76, December 1998, 0 945193 94 7
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... wool in our auditory spaces, cannot experience the calm that ‘disturbs and vexes meditation with its strange and extreme silentness’. Coleridge wrote this line in 1798, a couple of years before John Marsh finished the first part of his History of My Private Life, and a reading of ‘Frost at Midnight’, along with some of the other ‘Conversation Poems’ – ‘The Aeolian Harp’, ‘This ...

At Notre Dame de Reims

John​ Burnside

4 April 2019
... the snake is a snake; but the toad has a human face, in the hidden gallery under the roof, where the masons practised their art, away from the bishops and kings. We’ve seen this much before (in Salisbury, say, or that chapel above the Esk at Rosslyn): a refuge for the pagan in the chill of Christendom, a Green Man in the fabric of the stone; a running boar; the sacred hare; or else the common wren ...

At the V&A

Rosemary Hill: Constable

22 October 2014
... flatters posterity by seeming to point to Post-Impressionism and abstraction. Kenneth Clark also thought that the sketches had a ‘force of sensation’, but found the finished oils a ‘bore’. John Berger took the opposite view, that the completed works were rich in brilliant light effects, but the sketches were weakened by vague Romanticism. More recent left-wing critiques, especially since ...

Walsingham’s Plumber

Patrick Collinson: John​ Bossy

5 July 2001
Under the Molehill: An Elizabethan Spy Story 
by John​ Bossy.
Yale, 189 pp., £18.95, May 2001, 0 300 08400 5
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... Incidentally, they know you know they know you know the code.’ Peter Ustinov’s Cold War satire Romanoff and Juliet (1956) could have been about Salisbury Court, the London home in the early 1580s of the French Ambassador to the Court of Elizabeth I, Michel de Castelnau, seigneur de Mauvissière, an establishment described by John Bossy as ‘zany ...
13 July 2016
An Encyclopedia of Myself 
by Jonathan Meades.
Fourth Estate, 341 pp., £9.99, February 2015, 978 1 85702 905 5
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... world of sadistic army majors and ‘disgusting pork sausages’, anxious politeness and Tudorbethan houses, the Cold War and cathedral spires. Meades lists the chemist’s shops and dowdy hotels of Salisbury, where he grew up: the Old George Inn (‘delightful’), The Crown (with ‘a swirly carpet’, owned by a fraudster called Cyril), The White Hart, The King’s Arms (‘lobster thermidor’). He ...

Jingo Joe

Paul Addison

2 July 1981
Joseph Chamberlain: A Political Study 
by Richard Jay.
Oxford, 383 pp., £16.95, March 1981, 0 19 822623 3
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... on the Parliamentary Party. Chamberlain’s doctrine was the Victorian version of the class war: not labour versus capital, but the productive classes against a parasitical aristocracy. Lord Salisbury, the Conservative leader, he attacked as the chief representative of a class ‘who toil not, neither do they spin’. ‘What ransom,’ he asked, ‘will property pay for the security it enjoys ...

Prince Arthur

Paul Addison

21 August 1980
Balfour 
by Max Egremont.
Collins, 391 pp., £12.95, June 1980, 0 00 216043 9
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... it crashed. In the late 19th century a flourishing grapevine of wealthy and leisured families still clambered in profusion around the House of Commons and the Cabinet. At 10 Downing Street Lord Salisbury promoted his relations so vigorously that his administration became known as the ‘Hotel Cecil’, and the apple of his eye was undoubtedly his nephew, Arthur Balfour. A delicate and bookish young ...

Soldier, Saint

Stuart Airlie

19 February 1987
William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry 
by Georges Duby, translated by Richard Howard.
Faber, 156 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 571 13745 8
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Thomas Becket 
by Frank Barlow.
Weidenfeld, 334 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 297 78908 2
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... imperatives involved. His sympathy and scepticism, his willingness to accept that not all historical events yield up their secrets easily, reproduces the attitude of one of his principal witnesses, John of Salisbury. John knew Thomas, was exiled with him and was in Canterbury when the Archbishop was struck down. Thomas’s posthumous miracles took John by surprise: but he accepted them as undeniable ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Stonehenge for the solstice

6 July 2006
... razor wire, searchlights and a four-mile exclusion zone. All that has changed now. These days, ‘managed open access’ is the watchword. Special buses meet the London and Bristol trains at Salisbury and drop their passengers on the A303 into a sea of orange cones and traffic police. From there it is a half-mile walk across the fields to the stones, where for one night only there is no fence and ...

Turning Turk

Robert Blake

20 August 1981
The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain. Vol. 1: The 19th Century 
by Stephen Koss.
Hamish Hamilton, 455 pp., £20, May 1981, 0 241 10561 7
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... upon political patronage or populist prejudice. The Times itself, greatest and most successful of the press organs in that difficult period, was supported from time to time by the Government. John Walter II, no longer having that support, switched into opposition in 1820 and supported Queen Caroline against George IV. Whether or not his motives were disinterested, his sales more than doubled ...

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