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On Liking Herodotus

Peter Green, 2 April 2014

The Histories 
by Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland.
Penguin, 834 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7139 9977 8
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Herodotus: Vol. I, Herodotus and the Narrative of the Past 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 495 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958757 5
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Herodotus: Vol. II, Herodotus and the World 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 473 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958759 9
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Textual Rivals: Self-Presentation in Herodotus’ ‘Histories’ 
by David Branscome.
Michigan, 272 pp., £60.50, November 2013, 978 0 472 11894 6
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The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus 
by Joseph Skinner.
Oxford, 343 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 979360 0
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... Xerxes’ invasion and its eventual defeat? Here probably the greatest aid to clarity is Joseph Skinner’s exhaustive monograph The Invention of Greek Ethnography. Skinner’s subtitle, ‘From Homer to Herodotus’, is significant. The fact that ethnographic prose is a fifth-century phenomenon, he ...

Secret Signals in Lotus Flowers

Maya Jasanoff: Myths of the Mutiny, 21 July 2005

The Indian Mutiny and the British Imagination 
by Gautam Chakravarty.
Cambridge, 242 pp., £45, January 2005, 0 521 83274 8
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... Italy. In Delhi it is an oddity, as was its founder, the swashbuckling military adventurer James Skinner, who built it ‘in fulfilment of a vow made while lying wounded on the field of battle’. (Skinner’s equally remarkable contemporary Begum Samru – a Kashmiri dancing-girl turned army commander – built a Catholic ...

Europe, what Europe?

Colin Kidd: J.G.A. Pocock, 6 November 2008

The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £18.99, September 2005, 9780521616454
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Barbarism and Religion. Vol. III: The First Decline and Fall 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 527 pp., £19.99, October 2005, 0 521 67233 3
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Barbarism and Religion. Vol. IV: Barbarians, Savages and Empires 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £17.99, February 2008, 978 0 521 72101 1
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... have been the central preoccupations of the Cambridge School and its leading proponent, Quentin Skinner, whose recent retirement from the Regius chair at Cambridge signals just how far from the margins of history the history of political thought has travelled since the middle of the 20th century. John Pocock is often associated with the Cambridge ...

Operation Columba

Jon Day: Pigeon Intelligence, 4 April 2019

Secret Pigeon Service 
by Gordon Corera.
William Collins, 326 pp., £20, February 2018, 978 0 00 822030 3
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... such group in particular, Leopold Vindictive, a Belgian cell led by a charismatic priest called Joseph Raskin. During the First World War Raskin had been an ambulance driver, stretcher-bearer and war artist, painting watercolours of German positions at the front. He had spent time in China as a young man, where he developed calligraphic skills that would ...

The view from the street

John Barrell, 7 April 1994

Hogarth. Vol. I: The ‘Modern Moral Subject’, 1697-1732 
by Ronald Paulson.
Lutterworth, 411 pp., £35, May 1992, 0 7188 2854 2
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... have offered us two different Hogarths, with about as much in common as Michael Howard and Dennis Skinner. One of them is described by David Solkin in his Painting for Money, reviewed in these pages last year by Ronald Paulson. Solkin’s Hogarth is an ambitious social climber, determined to efface the memory of his beginnings as an apprentice in the trade of ...

Where will we live?

James Meek: The Housing Disaster, 9 January 2014

... housing benefit. For living expenses, she received £112 pounds a week in incapacity benefit. (The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reckons £200 a week, excluding rent, is needed to maintain a decent life.) But last spring, everything changed. The bedroom tax – which effectively fines Quinn for losing her husband – slashes her housing benefit to £97.15 a ...

Politics First

José Harris, 19 April 1984

The Chartists 
by Dorothy Thompson.
Temple Smith, 399 pp., £19.50, February 1984, 0 85117 229 6
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Languages of Class: Studies in English Working-Class History 1832-1982 
by Gareth Stedman Jones.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £22.50, January 1984, 0 521 25648 8
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Class Power and State Power 
by Ralph Miliband.
Verso, 310 pp., £18.50, March 1984, 0 86091 073 3
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... they were therefore proletarian. Her unsung heroes of militant Chartism include the blacksmith, Joseph Capper, landlord of five houses; shoemaker, publisher and bookseller Joseph Lingard, ‘who wore a frock coat and had a genteel carriage’; and Lawrence Heyworth, later a successful railway promoter and the founder of a ...

A Slight Dash of the Tiresome

Brian Harrison, 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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... individualist and constructive. ‘How these Radicals hate one another!’ Harcourt exclaimed. Joseph Chamberlain appears only three times in Goldman’s index and John Bright only twice. There is no doubt that Fawcett was a bit of a gossip, and insufficiently discreet about it. ‘It is unfortunate that he has got such a very coarse ...

England’s Isaiah

Perry Anderson, 20 December 1990

The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas 
by Isaiah Berlin, edited by Henry Hardy.
Murray, 276 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 9780719547898
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... Machiavelli, Vico, Herder, Pluralism, Romanticism, Utopianism. Even the longest piece, on Joseph de Maistre, is the enlargement of a portrait already sketched in an earlier comparison with Tolstoy. In a sense, however, this is the interest of the collection: it serves to bring the unity of Berlin’s thought sharply into focus. A philosopher by ...

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