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Fiery Particle

Lawrence Goldman: Red Ellen Wilkinson, 13 July 2017

Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist 
by Laura Beers.
Harvard, 568 pp., £23.95, October 2016, 978 0 674 97152 3
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... Ellen Wilkinson, Wilkinson the minister. She began as parliamentary private secretary to Susan Lawrence, the minister of health in the second minority Labour administration of 1929-31. In May 1940 she entered the Churchill coalition as parliamentary secretary at the Ministry of Pensions. Her patriotism was never in doubt and once in government she was ...

Only Men in Mind

Susan Pedersen: R.H. Tawney, 21 August 2014

The Life of R.H. Tawney 
by Lawrence Goldman.
Bloomsbury, 411 pp., £65, September 2013, 978 1 78093 704 5
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... the autumn of 1914 and were not much affected by his horrifying experience that day. According to Lawrence Goldman, a rather different setback shattered Tawney’s expectations, recast his future and, in a word, ‘was the making of him’. This was getting a second-class degree at Oxford in the summer of 1903 rather than the first he and others had ...

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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... great Devil’s law of Theft by the Rich from the Poor’, and his view has moulded the outlook of Lawrence Goldman and all but one of his seven contributors to this book. Ruskin’s outlook helps to explain why there have been only two biographies of Fawcett, the second published in 1915. The decline in Fawcett’s reputation after his death in 1884 was ...

What’s Missing

Katrina Navickas: Tawney, Polanyi, Thompson, 11 October 2018

The Moral Economists: R.H. Tawney, Karl Polanyi, E.P. Thompson and the Critique of Capitalism 
by Tim Rogan.
Princeton, 263 pp., £30, December 2017, 978 0 691 17300 9
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... he defended the rights of miners at the Royal Commission on the Coal Industry. His biographer, Lawrence Goldman, saw this speech as the first evidence of Tawney’s pivot towards a more state-centred approach.* Rogan argues instead that Tawney’s line didn’t change much. He was never tempted by syndicalism, and saw the state as ‘only part of a ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... handed the oversight of the continuing life of the dictionary to a third Oxford-based historian, Lawrence Goldman. An incidental but peculiarly fitting consequence of Matthew’s early death was that he qualified for inclusion himself, an entry done quite beautifully by his friend and colleague, Ross McKibbin. So what are the criteria for ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Stirrers Up of Strife, 17 March 2016

... decisions made inside the White House by officials whose provenance or destination was the firm of Goldman Sachs. This pattern has held true from the Bill Clinton to the George W. Bush to the Obama presidency, and it explains why radical critics like Cornel West have resorted to the old word ‘plutocracy’, from the era of Progressive ...

The Taste of Peapods

Matthew Reynolds: E.L. Doctorow, 11 February 2010

Homer and Langley 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Little, Brown, 224 pp., £11.99, January 2010, 978 1 4087 0215 4
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... invited Henry Ford to lunch to talk about reincarnation; and why wouldn’t the anarchist Emma Goldman have given a full-body massage to the society divorcée Evelyn Nesbit (accompanied by a lecture on sexual politics)? These lines of life have a strange affinity with the routes taken by means of mechanised transport. In Loon Lake, a runaway is woken by a ...

The Fastidious President

David Bromwich: The Matter with Obama, 18 November 2010

... Of all Obama’s appointments, the most damaging to his credibility with liberal supporters were Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, the chief economic adviser and the secretary of the treasury. Geithner has the air of a perpetual young man looking out for the interests of older men: an errand boy. The older men in question are the CEOs of ...


Elizabeth Young, 25 February 1993

The Case of Anna Kavan 
by David Callard.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, January 1993, 0 7206 0867 8
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... of Evelyn Scott, charted the life of a little-known American writer and radical, friend to Emma Goldman and Jean Rhys. Scott is less well-known than Kavan but Callard managed to produce a much longer and less sketchy account of her life. Helen Woods/Anna Kavan was born in Cannes in 1901 to a wealthy father and a frivolous mother whose domination she was ...

Unhappy Families

Angela Carter, 16 September 1982

The Beauties and Furies 
by Christina Stead.
Virago, 329 pp., £3.95, July 1982, 0 86068 175 0
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... by none until her return to her native country after almost a half-century of absence. Lawrence, in exile, remained British to the core; Joyce took Dublin in his back pocket wherever he went. Stead becomes absorbed into the rhythms of life wherever she finds herself. Furthermore, although she has always written from a profound consciousness of what ...


Evan Kindley: Modernist Magazines, 23 January 2014

The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume I: Britain and Ireland 1880-1955 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 976 pp., £35, May 2013, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume II: North America 1894-1960 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 1088 pp., £140, July 2012, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume III: Europe 1880-1940 
edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker and Christian Weikop.
Oxford, 1471690 pp., £145, March 2013, 978 0 19 965958 6
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... like Vanity Fair and Esquire regularly published modernist writers like Cocteau, Hemingway, Lawrence, Dos Passos and Djuna Barnes. (The New Yorker, founded in 1925, was considerably less daring: the fiction editor, Katharine White, rejected work by Gertrude Stein because ‘she was not allowed to buy anything her boss didn’t ...

Act One, Scene One

David Bromwich: Don’t Resist, Oppose, 16 February 2017

... The voters have come to understand that the big banks, along with investment companies like Goldman Sachs and transnational corporations, are sovereignties as powerful as states and in some cases more powerful. By vesting a billionaire with extraordinary power, therefore, the voters are going straight to the relevant authority and cutting out the middle ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... the first thing was just to read, non-stop, books that were never available in Pakistan: D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Isaac Deutscher’s Trotsky trilogy, Trotsky himself, other Bolshevik leaders, many others. So for me Oxford was very liberating and on many fronts. When I came to Britain, it was obvious that the United States had taken over the function ...

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