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25 June 1992
Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet 
by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 350 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 241 12650 9
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Algernon Sidney and the Restoration Crisis 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 406 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 521 35291 6
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Algernon Sidney and the Republican Heritage 
by Alan Craig Houston.
Princeton, 335 pp., £22.50, November 1991, 0 691 07860 2
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Milton’s ‘History of Britain’: Republican Historiography in the English Revolution 
by Nicholas von Maltzahn.
Oxford, 244 pp., £32.50, November 1991, 0 19 812897 5
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... by mythology. Legends have spread luxuriantly around the family’s history, and particularly around those failed politicians, Philip and Algernon. The biographies by Katherine Duncan-Jones and JonathanScott are explicitly concerned to get behind the legends. Philip has been mythologised as the model Renaissance and Protestant courtier, whose courage and heroism led to a tragic early death at the ...
24 November 1988
Algernon Sidney and the English Republic 1623-1677 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £27.50, August 1988, 0 521 35290 8
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Seeds of Liberty: 1688 and the Shaping of Modern Britain 
by John Miller.
Souvenir, 128 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 285 62839 9
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Reluctant Revolutionaries: Englishmen and the Revolution of 1688 
by W.A. Speck.
Oxford, 267 pp., £17.50, July 1988, 9780198227687
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War and Economy in the Age of William III and Marlborough 
by D.W. Jones.
Blackwell, 351 pp., £35, September 1988, 0 631 16069 8
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Robert Harley: Speaker, Secretary of State and Premier Minister 
by Brian Hill.
Yale, 259 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 300 04284 1
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A Kingdom without a King: The Journal of the Provisional Government in the Revolution of 1688 
by Robert Beddard.
Phaidon, 192 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780714825007
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... character of 1688 had become an embarrassment to the Whigs. Earlier it had seemed to them one of its chief glories. When Algernon Sidney, the 17th-century republican who is the subject of JonathanScott’s biographical study, sought to incite insurrection against Charles II, and invoked the rights of ‘the nobility and people’, he made plain his assumption that the people would naturally do what ...
5 June 1997
The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-41 
edited by J.F. Merritt.
Cambridge, 293 pp., £35, March 1996, 0 521 56041 1
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The British Problem, c. 1534-1707: State Formation in the Atlantic Archipelago 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill.
Macmillan, 334 pp., £13.50, June 1996, 0 333 59246 8
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The Stuart Court and Europe: Essays in Politics and Political Culture 
edited by Malcolm Smuts.
Cambridge, 289 pp., £35, September 1996, 9780521554398
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Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, its Development and Literary Expression Prior to the 19th Century 
by Joep Leerssen.
Cork, 454 pp., £17.95, November 1996, 1 85918 112 0
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... and France but because those states interacted by means of culture and conflict. Though his attempt to reinstate the English Revolution as a branch of the Thirty Years War is sometimes extravagant, JonathanScott has a point when he argues that the true context of the Stuart crisis was not British but European, in the sense that Continental interference, climaxing in the Dutch invasion in 1688-9 ...

Reduced to Ashes and Rubbage

Jessie Childs: Civil War Traumas

3 January 2019
Battle-Scarred: Mortality, Medical Care and Military Welfare in the British Civil Wars 
edited by David Appleby and Andrew Hopper.
Manchester, 247 pp., £80, July 2018, 978 1 5261 2480 7
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... English Civil War or the Puritan Revolution or the British Civil Wars or the Wars of the Three Kingdoms? Historians have fought so savagely over its causes and consequences that in 2000 the academic JonathanScott observed that ‘the battlefields of the 17th century … are becoming increasingly hard to see under the great piles of bleached bones left by historians murdered by their colleagues.’ It ...
7 July 1983
William Wordsworth: The Borders of Vision 
by Jonathan​ Wordsworth.
Oxford, 496 pp., £25, February 1983, 0 19 812097 4
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William Wordsworth: The Poetry of Grandeur and of Tenderness 
by David Pirie.
Methuen, 301 pp., £14.95, March 1982, 0 416 31300 0
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Benjamin the Waggoner 
by William Wordsworth, edited by Paul Betz.
Cornell/Harvester, 356 pp., £40, September 1981, 0 85527 513 8
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... One evening, declares Jonathan Wordsworth as he begins his new critical book, a poet happened to be walking along a road, when the peasant who was with him pointed out a striking sight:         ’Twas a horse, that stood ...

Alien Heat

Jonathan​ Gil Harris: ‘The Island Princess’

17 March 2016
The Island Princess 
by John Fletcher, edited by Clare McManus.
Arden, 338 pp., £16.99, December 2012, 978 1 904271 53 6
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... had fallen sick through the combination of ‘hot air’ and ‘hot food’. One of the abiding fears of travelling to India was that one’s body would be transformed by these hot elements. Edmund Scott’s An Exact Discourse of the … East Indians (1606) is an early exercise in ethnography written for the then fledgling East India Company. But as well as describing ‘Java Major, with the manners ...

Per Ardua

Paul Foot

8 February 1996
In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... of Defence Sales until he left to join the Board of Plessey. Lt Gen Donald Isles had been director of weapons in the Ministry of Defence and was now a director of James’s own company, BMARC, as was Jonathan Aitken who had close links to the Saudi Royal Family, and Stefanus Adolphus Kock, a leading British intelligence agent and Midland Bank consultant whose business was arms sales. At the time none of ...


Charles Rzepka

21 March 1991
The Puritan-Provincial Vision: Scottish and American Literature in the 19th Century 
by Susan Manning.
Cambridge, 270 pp., £32.50, May 1990, 0 521 37237 2
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... for absolute truth. To each of these themes the author devotes a chapter. Before turning to literary examples, Manning traces the provincialising of Calvinist attitudes in the writings of David Hume, Jonathan Edwards, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, among others. Far from a mechanical application of rigid doctrinal categories, Manning’s thoughtful critique shows how contradictory ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors

15 August 2019
... Neal Ascherson, Mary Beard, Jonathan Coe, Tom Crewe, William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Parry, David RuncimanNeal Ascherson‘On​ 17 ...

Carry up your Coffee boldly

Thomas Keymer: Jonathan​ Swift

16 April 2014
Jonathan​ Swift: His Life and His World 
by Leo Damrosch.
Yale, 573 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 16499 2
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Parodies, Hoaxes, Mock Treatises: ‘Polite Conversation’, ‘Directions to Servants’ and Other Works 
by Jonathan​ Swift, edited by Valerie Rumbold.
Cambridge, 821 pp., £85, July 2013, 978 0 521 84326 3
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Journal to Stella: Letters to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, 1710-13 
by Jonathan​ Swift, edited by Abigail Williams.
Cambridge, 800 pp., £85, December 2013, 978 0 521 84166 5
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... of his Parodies, Hoaxes, Mock Treatises: spoof prophecies and bogus gallows broadsides; fabricated pamphlet wars on pointless subjects; straight-faced manuals of advice on behaving badly. For Walter Scott, his shrewdest 19th-century reader, Swift ‘possessed the faculty of transfusing his own soul into the body of anyone whom he selected’. His lifelong preference was to write under assumed ...

Ink-Dot Eyes

Wyatt Mason: Jonathan​ Franzen

2 August 2007
The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History 
by Jonathan​ Franzen.
Harper Perennial, 195 pp., £8.99, July 2007, 978 0 00 723425 7
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... service during the Vietnam War, In Pharaoh’s Army: ‘Isn’t there, in the very act of confession, an obscene self-congratulation for the virtue required to see your mistake and own up to it?’ Jonathan Franzen’s memoir, The Discomfort Zone, is an object lesson in the management of such obscenity. The book begins with a loss. After lengthy treatment for colon cancer, his widowed mother, Irene, has ...

Jade Goody Goes to Heaven

Laurence Scott: OK! and the uncanny

28 March 2009
... the dates of her life. Jade’s life felt complete before it was biologically over – a story with a beginning, middle and end – and as such it could be judged in advance as an aesthetic totality. Jonathan Strauss, in Subjects of Terror, argues that during the French Revolution, the guillotine was always late for a death that had already happened; the period between condemnation and the fall of the ...

My Wife

Jonathan​ Coe

21 December 1989
Soho Square II 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 287 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 7475 0506 3
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... for a satirical attack on Thatcherism which knows how to channel its anger into humour. Williams’s couplets evoke Ogden Nash rather than Pope, and he could learn a thing or two about humour from Scott Bradfield, who at any rate (on the basis of his story ‘Sweet ladies, good night, good night’) knows how to manufacture a few Woody Allenish wisecracks. ‘I was audited by scientologists and ...

Destroy the Miracle!

Lorna Scott​ Fox: Manuel Rivas

19 May 2011
Books Burn Badly 
by Manuel Rivas, translated by Jonathan​ Dunne.
Vintage, 592 pp., £8.99, February 2011, 978 0 09 952033 7
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... Manuel Rivas writes in Galician, the least known of Spain’s official languages. Franco’s repression of the four regional languages ended up doing a great deal to stimulate their revival, and Rivas chooses to write in Galician even if not all his characters would have spoken it, even if it means his work’s literary life will be led mostly in translation. Jutting out over Portugal, whose language ...


Michael Neve

18 November 1982
Edie: An American Biography 
by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
Cape, 455 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 224 02068 4
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself 
by Jan Kerouac.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 233 97487 3
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... in his poem ‘The Princess’. The visitor to Stockbridge is liable to feel certain ghostlinesses in the town: a gloomy Puritan history lingers, a trace, perhaps, of the ferocious Calvinist divine Jonathan Edwards. There is also the eerie emptiness of nature in New England, the dark, wooded landscape that seems hollow, and menacing, without a history. Even the streets of Stockbridge seem empty. No one ...

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