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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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... style dome and campanile, and painted a cheerful lemon, this church would not look out of place in 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 ...
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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... and the political governance best suited to each, that are never far from the surface in the books chronicling Xerxes’ invasion and its eventual defeat? Here probably the greatest aid to clarity is JosephSkinner’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 ...

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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... of Robert Filmer’s patriarchalist theory of government. Since then, authorial intent and context 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 ...

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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... groups. In some cases resistance units formed around the discovery of a pigeon and Corera follows one 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 ...
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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... it is: in the last year or so two of the most learned and argumentative historians of British art 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 ...

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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... categorised as a ‘true middle-class social and economic group’ – but it in no sense follows that 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 ...

Where will we live?

James Meek: The Housing Disaster

9 January 2014
... thyroid) and since then has had her rent and council tax, currently £120.39 a week, covered by 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 ...
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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... radicals, and to discuss the interaction between radicals of different kinds: secular and Nonconformist, 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 ...

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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... were assembled at the end of the Seventies, and their topics for the most part retrace familiar ground – 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 ...

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