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It took a Scot

Colin Kidd: English Nationalism, 29 July 2015

The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century 
by George Molyneaux.
Oxford, 302 pp., £65, May 2015, 978 0 19 871791 1
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The English and Their History 
by Robert Tombs.
Allen Lane, 1012 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 103165 1
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Conquests, Catastrophe and Recovery: Britain and Ireland 1066-1485 
by John Gillingham.
Vintage, 345 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 956324 2
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From Restoration to Reform: The British Isles 1660-1832 
by Jonathan Clark.
Vintage, 364 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 956323 5
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Britain since 1900: A Success Story? 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Vintage, 472 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 957239 8
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... of England’ frames the admirably quizzical histories of the British world since 1660 by Jonathan Clark and Robert Skidelsky. Clark is terrier-like, an anti-Whig revisionist who worries at every unexamined assumption he encounters. (While he distances himself from Whig mythologies, his preface was written from ...

Tory History

Alan Ryan, 23 January 1986

English Society 1688-1832 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 439 pp., £30, November 1985, 0 521 30922 0
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Virtue, Commerce and History 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 521 25701 8
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... History’ is a case in point. Herbert Butterfield slew it in 1931, and here come John Pocock and Jonathan Clark to slay it again. There is next to nothing in common between them, save their opposition to the Whig Interpretation and its offspring: but it is that opposition which provides both of them with the structure of their argument and the dramatic ...

The Last War of Religion

David Armitage, 9 June 1994

The Language of Liberty, 1660-1832: Political Discourse and Social Dynamics in the Anglo-American World 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 404 pp., £35, October 1993, 0 521 44510 8
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The Debate on the Constitution: Federalist and Anti-Federalist Speeches, Articles and Letters During the Struggle over Ratification. Vol. I 
edited by Bernard Bailyn.
Library of America, 1214 pp., $35, July 1993, 0 940450 42 9
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... roots has accordingly not bulked large in arguments over the American Revolution. Now that Jonathan Clark has discovered America, however, religion becomes the centrepiece of an interpretation which banishes all other explanations as anachronistic or incomplete. Clark is the man who put the Tory back into ...

Into the sunset

Peter Clarke, 30 August 1990

Ideas and Politics in Modern Britain 
edited by J.C.D. Clark.
Macmillan, 271 pp., £40, July 1990, 0 333 51550 1
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The Philosopher on Dover Beach 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 344 pp., £18.95, June 1990, 0 85635 857 6
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... own domain, are turning into another sunset home. In this spirit one can commiserate with J.C.D. Clark, as editor of the volume of essays, Ideas and Politics in Modern Britain, which was clearly intended as a tract for the times and has ended up as a period piece. In the nature of things, the essays had to be written some time back – that by John Redwood ...

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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... is to be the watchword, then surely we must take account of the latest revisionist theories of Jonathan Clark and others, which repudiate Thompson’s radicalism and re-assert the hegemony of the ruling class Laura Brown’s essay on Oroonoko, ‘The Romance of Empire’, is a splendid example of the kind of study which this volume is designed to ...

Diary

Patrick Wright: The Cult of Tyneham, 24 November 1988

... attempt to establish a single English tradition as the work of a ‘blood and soil’ nationalist. Jonathan Clark has likened his anthology to the ‘emotional core’ of the core curriculum. But in that overgrown rectory garden the book seemed elegiac and, despite Mr Baker’s recent use of it in a Moscow school, most unlike a modern ...

At Tate Britain (2)

Rosemary Hill: Kenneth Clark, 2 July 2014

... In part ten​ of Civilisation, Kenneth Clark turned his attention to the Enlightenment, the age of the great amateurs. These were men ‘rich and independent enough to do what they liked’, who nevertheless did things which required considerable ability, men like Lord Burlington, the architect earl. A connoisseur, an ‘arbiter of taste’, Clark explained, ‘the sort of character who these days is much despised ...

Diary

Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... No junior minister more aptly represented that mood than the patrician Thatcherite Alan Clark. A big landowner, a poor QC and a minor historian, the jolly Clark decided to write a diary while in office. From 1983 to 1991, during which time he occupied three offices – Under Secretary at the Department of ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!, 14 December 2000

Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... and with more pleasure to her then I think in all the time of our marriage before’.) Alan Clark’s Diaries 1983-91, published a few years ago, were applauded for their beastly candour but Clark was nowhere near as winningly ingenuous as Pepys. Mrs Clark was generally pitied at ...

Affronts he never forgave

Christina Riggs: ‘Mr Five Per Cent’, 18 April 2019

Mr Five Per Cent: The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, the World’s Richest Man 
by Jonathan Conlin.
Profile, 402 pp., £25, January 2019, 978 1 78816 042 1
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... ever’ to make an offer. Carnarvon also had a rather nice Gainsborough. This anecdote isn’t in Jonathan Conlin’s new biography of Gulbenkian, but it captures the single-minded focus and financial shrewdness that he brought to both his collecting and his career as the chief architect of the oil industry, which took shape – and took off – in the first ...

Churchill’s Faces

Rosemary Hill, 29 March 2017

... that the sculptor Eric Kennington believed it could literally be a weapon. He suggested to Kenneth Clark, who chaired the War Artists Advisory Committee, that polished brass models of Churchill, filled either with propaganda leaflets or delayed-action explosives, might be dropped over Germany. Clark pointed out that this ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2019, 2 January 2020

... detail plain.4 March. I am rereading (or reading properly) James Stourton’s book on Kenneth Clark. I hadn’t realised how apposite for these days is Yeats’s quite hackneyed ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world/ … The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate ...

Vases, Tea Sets, Cigars, His Own Watercolours

Christopher Clark: Nazi Toffs, 9 April 2009

High Society in the Third Reich 
by Fabrice d’Almeida.
Polity, 294 pp., £17.99, November 2008, 978 0 7456 4312 0
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... half of the eligible members of German princely families joined the party. As the American scholar Jonathan Petropoulos observed in his study of the princes of Hessen, if princes had constituted a profession, ‘they would have rivalled physicians as the most Nazified in the Third Reich (doctors’ membership peaked in 1937 at 43 per ...

Sinking Giggling into the Sea

Jonathan Coe: Giggling along with Boris, 18 July 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson 
edited by Harry Mount.
Bloomsbury, 149 pp., £9.99, June 2013, 978 1 4081 8352 6
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... In 1956,​ James Sutherland, a professor of 18th-century literature, delivered the Clark Lectures at Trinity College, Cambridge on the subject of ‘English satire’. ‘In recent years,’ he announced, ‘there have been signs of an increased interest in satirical writing,’ but even he couldn’t have seen what was about to start unfolding in a year or two, on his very doorstep ...

The Return of History

Raphael Samuel, 14 June 1990

... of higher research, and is indeed hardly less apparent in the work of the supposedly High Tory Jonathan Clark or the proto-Thatcherite Alan Macfarlane as in the Marxist historians whom they attack. There are now a dozen or more learned journals devoted to it – Past and Present, Social History, History Workshop Journal, Llafur, Gender and History to ...

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