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Half-Resurrection Man

Keith Hopkins, 19 June 1997

Paul: A Critical Life 
by Jerome Murphy O’Connor.
Oxford, 416 pp., £35, June 1996, 0 19 826749 5
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Paul: The Mind of the Apostle 
by A.N. Wilson.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 274 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 1 85619 542 2
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... There were many St Pauls in Antiquity. Even more are still being invented. About each, there are stories, doubts, ambiguities. One problem is that Paul is an icon of early Christianity, and of Western culture. His central significance for later Christian theology means that any interpretation of his thought is necessarily grounded in personal belief, or prejudice ...

Fire Down Below

Keith Hopkins, 10 November 1994

The Formation of Hell 
by Alan Bernstein.
UCL, 392 pp., £25, December 1993, 1 85728 225 6
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... Hell is not just God’s vengeance on humanity, nor is it only, in Sartre’s sardonic phrase, other people. To be sure, it can be the tortured, persecutory visions of a few psychotic madmen. But the most troublesome, pervasive hell is the nightmarish world which each of us constructs, unconsciously, in the sweat of unconfessed, unconfessable fantasies ...


M.I. Finley, 22 December 1983

Death and Renewal. Sociological Studies in Roman History: Vol. II 
by Keith Hopkins.
Cambridge, 276 pp., £19.50, May 1983, 0 521 24991 0
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... lends some credence to the view that the system produced a meritocracy. But that view is mistaken. Keith Hopkins speaks more than once of the ‘considerable ability’ needed for the ‘top jobs’, but there is a fair amount of evidence that many incompetents or mediocrities held top jobs throughout the Republic. As we can see all around us today, if a ...

Feel what it’s like

James Davidson: Pagans, Jews and Christians, 2 March 2000

A World Full of Gods: Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire 
by Keith Hopkins.
Weidenfeld, 402 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 297 81982 8
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... Teresa. A World Full of Gods is a book full of Christians and strange mental slides. Its author, Keith Hopkins, is a professor of ancient history at Cambridge. This is his first book written for a general readership and even without its fantastic materials and important subject its authorship would be enough to recommend it; the general readership will ...


Peter Laslett, 6 August 1981

L’Amour en plus 
by Elisabeth Badinter.
Flammarion (Paris), 372 pp., £6.80, May 1980, 2 08 064279 0
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Mari et Femme dans la Société Paysanne 
by Martine Segalen.
Flammarion, 211 pp., £6.30, May 1980, 2 08 210957 7
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... to contradict what has always been regarded as an established negative principle of ethnography. Keith Hopkins, in his astonishing study of brother-sister marriage in Roman Egypt, has now effectively laid to rest the dogma about a universal taboo against incest of this kind.† When this onrush of new social knowledge from the past is set alongside the ...

In their fathers’ power

Jasper Griffin, 15 October 1987

A History of Private Life. Vol. I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium 
edited by Paul Veyne.
Harvard, 670 pp., £24.95, May 1987, 0 674 39975 7
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The Roman World 
edited by John Wacher.
Routledge, 2 pp., £100, March 1987, 0 7100 9975 4
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The Roman Empire: Economy, Society and Culture 
edited by Peter Garnsey and Richard Saller.
Duckworth, 231 pp., £24, March 1987, 0 7156 2145 9
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Sexual Life in Ancient Egypt 
by Lisa Manniche.
KPI, 127 pp., £15, June 1987, 0 7103 0202 9
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... with the number of administrators in 12th-century China duly reappears (it was introduced by Keith Hopkins, himself a great one for calling other historians ‘conventional’). Veyne, for his part, has much to say about the ‘thousands of autonomous cities that formed the fabric of the Empire and were controlled by local notables, the governing ...
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... American astronauts danced on the Moon, the BBC played ‘Ground control to Major Tom ...’ Jerry Hopkins, an American rock critic, thinks this was an odd song to choose for the occasion. ‘In a way, it didn’t make any sense. “Space Oddity” was about a loser, who drifted off into space, rather than complete his mission. It was as if the BBC hadn’t ...

Writer’s Writer and Writer’s Writer’s Writer

Julian Barnes: ‘Madame Bovary’, 18 November 2010

Madame Bovary: Provincial Ways 
by Gustave Flaubert and Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 342 pp., £20, November 2010, 978 1 84614 104 1
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... or more versions have been made by men. The best-known of them are Francis Steegmuller and Gerard Hopkins; and though Steegmuller did write some fiction – including mysteries under the name of David Keith – it’s a fair bet that Davis is the best fiction writer ever to translate the novel. Which suggests a further ...

Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... his only serious rival. The picture that emerges – and has emerged at every turn since Jerry Hopkins published the first, fawning biography – is of an awkward man lacking in direction. Elvis has suffered remorseless gossip, and triumphed over it to such an extent that he now seems more remote than ever. His ex-wife, whose timing is impeccable, has ...


Seamus Perry: Ted Hughes, 29 August 2013

Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar 
edited by Keith Sagar.
British Library, 340 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 0 7123 5862 0
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Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir 
by Gerald Hughes.
Robson, 240 pp., £16.99, October 2012, 978 1 84954 389 7
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... with a vulpine head. In Poet and Critic, an interesting edition of Hughes’s correspondence with Keith Sagar, we have yet another version, from a letter of 1979, which is quite close to the published text but adds an inconsequential dream about a leopard on the following night. Hughes dutifully offers Sagar the probably unnecessary gloss: ‘I connected the ...

Untouched by Eliot

Denis Donoghue: Jon Stallworthy, 4 March 1999

Rounding the Horn: Collected Poems 
by Jon Stallworthy.
Carcanet, 247 pp., £14.95, September 1998, 1 85754 163 4
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... Stallworthy from submitting himself further to Kipling, Housman, Dylan Thomas, Sidney Keyes and Keith Douglas. I find it strange that Tosswill sent him to Yeats and, in another letter, to Hopkins and Melville, writers to whom he was likely in any event to become addicted. No talk of much Eliot, much Empson, or much ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London, 19 June 2008

... park, road closed here from monday 2 july, footpath closed, keep clear – I met a man called Keith Foster, one of those centaurs of the marshes: camera-head perched on bicycle. Foster, who described himself as a ‘fieldwork photographer’ for Waltham Forest, had been keeping a meticulous record of the Lower Lea Valley, the shifts in land ...

Not You

Mary Beard, 23 January 1997

Compromising Traditions: The Personal Voice in Classical Scholarship 
edited by J.P. Hallett and T. van Nortwick.
Routledge, 196 pp., £42.50, November 1996, 0 415 14284 9
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... Struggle in the Ancient Greek World or even of the triumphant, subversive and witty index (sic) of Keith Hopkins’s Death and Renewal. The simple fact that none of these (not even Hopkins) passes the clitoris test does not deny them a recognisably ‘personal voice’. ‘Part of the trouble,’ concludes Martindale ...

Cute, My Arse

Seamus Perry: Geoffrey Hill, 12 September 2019

The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 148 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 19 882952 2
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... thoroughly sardonic about it at the same time (‘a poetic gift,’ he once said in an essay about Hopkins, ‘is always inordinate in its demands’). His ‘quasi-telegraphese’ style leaves out words which grammar normally requires, such as pronouns and articles, and omits too the fuller information or explanation that you might expect in a more ...


Ian Penman: Elvis looks for meaning, 25 September 2014

Elvis Has Left the Building: The Day the King Died 
by Dylan Jones.
Duckworth, 307 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 7156 4856 8
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Elvis Presley: A Southern Life 
by Joel Williamson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, November 2014, 978 0 19 986317 4
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... he got a sound it would take the Rolling Stones until 1972’s Exile on Main Street to secure. And Keith Richards says he still can’t work out some of Moore’s blistering riffs and runs.) Listening to these itchy little songs in your front room, sixty years on, you miss the most vital spark in the detonation: Elvis’s own vivid, mercurial presence. His ...

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