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Citizens

David Marquand, 20 December 1990

Citizenship and Community: Civic Republicanism and the Modern World 
by Adrian Oldfield.
Routledge, 196 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 415 04875 3
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Community and the Economy: The Theory of Public Co-operation 
by Jonathan Boswell.
Routledge, 226 pp., £30, October 1990, 0 415 05556 3
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Encouraging citizenship: Report of the Commission on Citizenship 
HMSO, 129 pp., £8, September 1990, 0 11 701464 8Show More
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... and self-deception. Adrian Oldfield’s eloquent evocation of the civic republican tradition and Jonathan Boswell’s path-breaking analysis of the links between the values of community and the imperatives of an advanced economy should be read against this background. They exemplify the same tentative but unmistakable new paradigm. Both are what ...

Brother-Making

James Davidson, 8 February 1996

The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe 
by John Boswell.
Fontana, 412 pp., £8.99, January 1996, 0 00 686326 4
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... the more militant gesture for gay men. Likewise books that glorify homosexuals as outlaws, like Jonathan Dollimore’s Sexual Dissidence, have caused scarcely a ripple outside the literary critical lagoon, but when John Boswell, a rather old-fashioned medieval historian, claimed to have discovered evidence for gay ...

Candle Moments

Andrew O’Hagan: Norman Lewis’s Inventions, 25 September 2008

Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman Lewis 
by Julian Evans.
Cape, 792 pp., £25, June 2008, 978 0 224 07275 5
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... recently, the art of modern biography was too little influenced by the man who invented it, James Boswell, and, even today, many of those who set out to write the lives of authors seem to be led by a suspicion that everything of interest about the subject might already have been said by the subject himself. The literary biographer is haunted by Nabokov’s ...

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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... who took no delight in the sea. Johnson’s views on the sailor’s life are well known, and here Boswell, describing their voyage from Skye to Coll, states that he was ‘quite in a state of annihilation’. Coleridge, going to sea for the first time (he had already written ‘The Ancient Mariner’), was exceedingly disappointed; and Lamb, in a ...
Literature and Popular Culture in 18th-Century England 
by Pat Rogers.
Harvester, 215 pp., £22.50, April 1985, 0 7108 0981 6
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Eighteenth-Century Encounters: Studies in Literature and Society in the Age of Walpole 
by Pat Rogers.
Harvester, 173 pp., £22.50, April 1985, 0 7108 0986 7
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Order from Confusion Sprung: Studies in 18th-Century Literature from Swift to Cowper 
by Claude Rawson.
Allen and Unwin, 431 pp., £30, August 1985, 0 04 800019 1
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Jonathan Swift 
edited by Angus Ross and David Woolley.
Oxford, 722 pp., £6.95, June 1984, 0 19 281337 4
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... did to pass the time, what they thought about Italian opera, why they were so fascinated with Jonathan Wild, what exactly went wrong in the South Sea Bubble, and why Swift’s Laputa has more to do with money-making gadgetry than with the Royal Society and its proceedings. Rogers’s trust in facts is such that he often appears content to be what Kenner ...

Robbing banks

George Melly, 25 June 1992

Magritte 
by David Sylvester.
Thames and Hudson, 352 pp., £45, May 1992, 0 500 09227 3
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Magritte 
by Sarah Whitfield.
South Bank Centre, 322 pp., £18.95, May 1992, 1 85332 087 0
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... the bourgeois ‘bad taste’ of Magritte’s house in the Rue des Mimosas in suburban Brussels, Jonathan Miller took off into one of his self-intoxicating fantasies. We were there together in the mid-Sixties to make a film for the BBC, and although I had forewarned him, Jonathan couldn’t believe that this overstuffed ...

Cultivating Cultivation

John Mullan: English culture, 18 June 1998

The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the 18th Century 
by John Brewer.
HarperCollins, 448 pp., £19.99, January 1997, 0 00 255537 9
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... of a fashionable metropolis. Pleasure gardens were real places, visited by Fanny Burney and James Boswell as well as by characters in novels. They were also places of the imagination, whether that imagination was appalled or enraptured. They were the inventions of a society of conspicuous consumption (‘luxury’ in the old parlance) and leisure, a society ...

Unhoused

Terry Eagleton: Anonymity, 22 May 2008

Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature 
by John Mullan.
Faber, 374 pp., £17.99, January 2008, 978 0 571 19514 5
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... and pilloried for publishing supposedly treasonable works whose authors remained concealed. Being Jonathan Swift’s printer was not a job for the faint-hearted. John Locke fearlessly inscribed his name on the title page of his Essay concerning Human Understanding, but went to great and fearful lengths to preserve the anonymity of his more political ...

A Scene of Furniture

Rosemary Hill: Hogarth, 4 February 1999

Hogarth: A Life and a World 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 794 pp., £14.99, September 1998, 0 571 19376 5
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... men who made London culture in his lifetime in being a native – Johnson and Garrick, Smollett, Boswell and Samuel Richardson were all incomers. Uglow makes telling use of Hogarth’s progress across the capital, from Smithfield to Covent Garden, from the city to ‘the town’ and from trade to art. Not that the distance between the latter was so great. In ...

Freaks, Dwarfs and Boors

Thomas Keymer: 18th-Century Jokes, 2 August 2012

Cruelty and Laughter: Forgotten Comic Literature and the Unsentimental 18th Century 
by Simon Dickie.
Chicago, 362 pp., £29, December 2011, 978 0 226 14618 8
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... were consumed not only by dilettantes or libertines, like Horace Walpole, John Wilkes and James Boswell, but also by landowners, clerics and society hostesses – Hester Thrale, Samuel Johnson’s confidante, owned several jestbooks and comic miscellanies. In this context it becomes easier – though still not entirely easy – to understand the ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: You had better look out, 10 December 1998

... nor the talent to be a serious chronicler de nos jours. The only time in my life I tried to do a Boswell was after an evening on which Elias Canetti had unexpectedly invited himself to supper with us alone. But when, the following morning, I looked through the notes of his conversation which I’d made before going to bed, I found myself quite incapable of ...

Taking Sides

John Mullan: On the high road with Bonnie Prince Charlie, 22 January 2004

The ’45: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Untold Story of the Jacobite Rising 
by Christopher Duffy.
Cassell, 639 pp., £20, March 2003, 0 304 35525 9
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Samuel Johnson in Historical Context 
edited by J.C.D. Clark and Howard Erskine-Hill.
Palgrave, 336 pp., £55, December 2001, 0 333 80447 3
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... Jacobite sympathies of the period without much involving Johnson.) The longest piece by far is Jonathan Clark’s essay on ‘Samuel Johnson as a Nonjuror’, which pursues further some of the evidence for Johnson’s true allegiances used in his 1994 book on the Great Cham. The key claim here is that Johnson left Oxford University early not, as has ...

Enlightenment Erotica

David Nokes, 4 August 1988

Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... establishment are presented as a perfect image of American business organisation. The Yale Boswell industry, for example, is described as an editorial project ‘on the model of American corporate enterprise’ funded by the Mellon banking fortunes. The American Society for 18th-Century Studies, with its regional subsidiaries, its journal and ...

Freaks of Empire

V.G. Kiernan, 16 July 1981

Revolutionary Empire: The Rise of the English-Speaking Empires from the 15th Century to the 1780s 
by Angus Calder.
Cape, 916 pp., £16.50, April 1981, 0 224 01452 8
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... rags.’ Calder might have appended to this quotation Dr Johnson’s objection, to the admiring Boswell: ‘Nay, Sir, don’t you perceive that one link cannot clank?’ There was no ‘human reason’, Calder holds, for Ireland not taking a full part in the Industrial Revolution; and he dwells on lack of coal. An alternative view would be that the ...

1662

D.A.N. Jones, 5 April 1984

Old Catholics and Anglicans: 1931-1981 
edited by Gordon Huelin.
Oxford, 177 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 19 920129 3
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Anglican Essays 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 141 pp., £6.95, April 1983, 0 85635 456 2
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The Song of Roland 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 135 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 9780856354212
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TheRegrets 
by Joachim du Bellay, translated by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 147 pp., £4.50, January 1984, 0 85635 471 6
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... books were not ‘good writing’, but more ‘a sort of pious journalism’, and he cites Jonathan Swift as holding a similar opinion. However, Baxter’s verses, in emulation of George Herbert’s, are still anthologised, read and even more frequently sung in churches. His ‘pious journalism’ about the class structure of the parties to the English ...

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