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In Your Face

Evgeny Morozov: Surveillance Technology, 5 April 2012

Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance 
by Kelly Gates.
NYU Press, 261 pp., £15.99, March 2011, 978 0 8147 3210 6
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... so quickly become one of the most widely used forms of biometrics (second only to fingerprints). Kelly Gates’s Our Biometric Future, a thorough exploration of FRT’s relatively short history, provides some clues. Compared to other biometric technologies, FRT has one enormous advantage – it doesn’t require consent, co-operation or even the ...

Old Stragers

Pat Rogers, 7 May 1981

The Garrick Stage: Theatres and Audience in the 18th Century 
by Allardyce Nicoll.
Manchester, 192 pp., £14.50, April 1980, 0 7190 0768 2
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The Kemble Era: John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons and the London Stage 
by Linda Kelly.
Bodley Head, 221 pp., £8.50, April 1980, 0 370 10466 8
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Early English Stages 1300 to 1660: Vol. 3: Plays and their Makers to 1576 
by Glynne Wickham.
Routledge, 357 pp., £14.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0218 1
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... is to chronicle the career of the Kembles, brother and sister (the later dynasty is outside Linda Kelly’s scope). However, as the subtitle hints, it is also, in some indeterminate degree, a study of theatrical life in the period. It could also be described as group biography, since the principals have to share top billing with Mrs Inchbald, Sheridan, Thomas ...

Taken with Daisy

Peter Campbell, 13 September 1990

The Gate of Angels 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Collins, 168 pp., £12.95, August 1990, 0 00 223527 7
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... that on the day he and Daisy bumped into each other she was expecting to spend the night with Kelly, a seedy journalist. But Fred is also assistant to Professor Flowerdew, who is worried about a science based on unobservables, and thus removed from ordinary thought. Flowerdew observes, presciently, that physicists will end up finding ‘that since they ...

A Little Swine

Sheila Fitzpatrick: On Snitching, 3 November 2005

Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero 
by Catriona Kelly.
Granta, 352 pp., £17.99, May 2005, 1 86207 747 9
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... the heroic young Soviet denouncer of the early 1930s whose legend is the subject of Catriona Kelly’s new book. Unfortunately in Pavlik’s case the suspicious person he dobbed in was his own father, and angry relatives took revenge by murdering him. Pavlik won a lasting place in Soviet martyrology as the boy who was brave enough to put loyalty to the ...

Sinking by Inches

Anne Enright: Ireland’s Recession, 7 January 2010

... per cent of callers are new clients, many of whom were contributors to the charity at the church gates last year. These new clients are people who, ‘like the rest of us’, as one of their volunteers, John Monaghan, says, ‘were living on 110 per cent of their salaries’; this year, something in the working situation has changed, and they cannot manage ...

The Word on the Street

Elaine Showalter, 7 March 1996

Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics 
by Anonymous.
Chatto, 366 pp., £15.99, February 1996, 0 7011 6584 7
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... have included George Stephanopolous, James Carville, Paul Begala, the New Yorker’s Michael Kelly and Sidney Blumenthal, the screen-writer Erik Tarloff and New York political consultant Bob Shrum. New York magazine hired the Shakespeare scholar Donald Foster to run a computerised check of the text of the novel against several possible suspects, and ...

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Andrew O’Hagan: If something happens to me…, 5 May 2005

... Mary the Blessed Mother for the safe delivery to him of a good and beautiful Catholic bride. Grace Kelly was the answer to his prayers: ‘I want to thank you for showing the prince what an American Catholic girl can be,’ Father Tucker wrote to the Hollywood star, ‘and for the very deep impression this has left on him.’ When ...


Christian Lorentzen: At the Conventions, 27 September 2012

... saw a woman swoon as she said the words ‘tax cut’. I tried to buy the Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly a drink, but she was drinking on Murdoch’s tab. She told me that she was enjoying the convention, her second, it was good to get out of the studio and out among ‘real people’, there was ‘a lot of energy in the room’ when Paul Ryan spoke, but ...

Anti-Party Party

Ben Jackson: The Greens, 7 May 2015

Honourable Friends? Parliament and the Fight for Change 
by Caroline Lucas.
Portobello, 281 pp., £14.99, March 2015, 978 1 84627 593 7
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... political spectrum that the party can comfortably occupy. Lucas begins her book by quoting Petra Kelly, one of the founders of the German Greens: ‘We can no longer rely on the established parties, nor can we go on working solely through extra-parliamentary channels. There is a need for a new force, both in Parliament and outside it.’ This new force would ...

Victory by Simile

Andrea Brady: Phillis Wheatley’s Evolution, 4 January 2024

The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet’s Journeys through American Slavery and Independence 
by David Waldstreicher.
Farrar, Straus, 480 pp., £24, March 2023, 978 0 8090 9824 8
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... Being Brought from Africa to America’, in Walker’s terms, ‘sickly’. Henry Louis Gates Jr called it ‘the most reviled poem in African American literature’. It contributed to the view of readers in the 1960s and 1970s who, informed by Black nationalism and the Black Arts Movement, found nothing in Wheatley’s poetry but ...

Leave them weeping

Colin Grant: Frederick Douglass, 1 August 2019

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom 
by David Blight.
Simon and Schuster, 892 pp., £30, November 2018, 978 1 4165 9031 6
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... Ten years later he said his father might have been a mulatto. In other words, as Henry Louis Gates put it, Douglass ‘completely diminished the whiteness and the masterness of his father over ten years’. In his 1854 essay ‘The Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered’, Douglass stated baldly that ‘intellect is uniformly derived from the ...

Marvellous Boys

Mark Ford, 9 September 1993

The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... at night in the last two stanzas of ‘Night Piece’: The symbols were evident, Though on park-gates The iron birds looked disapproval With rusty invidious beaks Among the water-lillies A splash – white foam in the dark! And you lay sobbing then Upon my trembling intuitive arm. He felt the disapproval of the iron birds to be an important clue to the ...

The Last Years of Edward Kelley, Alchemist to the Emperor

Charles Nicholl: Edward Kelly, 19 April 2001

... that the earth may know herself. E.K.: Now I see beyond like a furnace-mouth, as big as 4 or 5 gates of a city. It seemeth to be a quarter of a mile off. Out of the furnace-mouth seemeth a marvellous smoke or smother to come. Bye it seemeth to be a great lake of pitch, and it playeth or simpereth as water doth when it beginneth to seethe. Often the visions ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1996, 2 January 1997

... da Vinci. There is a sticker inside saying ‘Used by permission of Corbis Corporation and Bill Gates’, to whom I suppose Leonardo, or his signature at least, now belongs. Note the number of retired couples among the visitors, retirement more obvious in the British and the Americans than with the French, say (and where the Italians are concerned, utterly ...

Cocoa, sir?

Ian Jack: The Royal Navy, 2 January 2003

Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-45 
by Christopher McKee.
Harvard, 285 pp., £19.95, May 2002, 0 674 00736 0
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Rule Britannia: The Victorian and Edwardian Navy 
by Peter Padfield.
Pimlico, 246 pp., £12.50, August 2002, 0 7126 6834 9
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... the sailors of the Royal Navy were very plentiful in this part of Scotland. They poured from the gates of Rosyth’s Naval base whenever a cruiser or an aircraft-carrier came in, to supplement the sailors who were more or less permanently there on frigates, destroyers, tugs, boom defence boats, and on a whole flotilla of minesweepers (though they were kept ...

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