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Scribbling Rascal

Leslie Mitchell, 1 August 1996

John Wilkes 
by Peter D.G. Thomas.
Oxford, 280 pp., £25, March 1996, 0 19 820544 9
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... With a lamentable record in actually winning power, English Radicals have been content to comment on, be rude about and occasionally constrain those in office. To be tolerated by a conservative majority, a Radical should be as patriotic as any right-wing xenophobe, so disreputable in private life and judgment that the country would have no qualms about denying him office, and so good-hearted that the rumour could get about that Radicalism was really nothing more than a misplaced desire to tease ...

Among the Picts

John Sutherland, 18 August 1994

Stained Radiance: A Fictionist’s Prelude 
by J. Leslie Mitchell.
Polygon, 219 pp., £7.95, July 1993, 0 7486 6141 7
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The Speak of the Mearns 
by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
Polygon, 268 pp., £8.95, June 1994, 0 7486 6167 0
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... Lewis Grassic Gibbon (the pen-name of James Leslie Mitchell) is put forward as his country’s great 20th-century novelist: the Scottish D.H. Lawrence. Gibbon’s reputation substantially rests on A Scots Quair (‘quire’ – or ‘gathering of sheets’), also called ‘The Mearns Trilogy’, Mearns being an ancient name for Kincardineshire, now itself an ancient name after the county reorganisation of 1975 ...

Salons

William Thomas, 16 October 1980

Holland House 
by Leslie Mitchell.
Duckworth, 320 pp., £18, May 1980, 9780715611166
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Genius in the Drawing-Room 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 188 pp., £8.50, May 1980, 9780297777700
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... liberalism would have written an important book. At first sight, this seems to be what Leslie Mitchell has set out to do. His title suggests a book about the house and its role, not a mere biographical study of its two most famous occupants. He writes of the house as if it had views and opinions of its own. He prefers a thematic to a ...

Delighted to See Himself

Stefan Collini: Maurice Bowra, 12 February 2009

Maurice Bowra: A Life 
by Leslie Mitchell.
Oxford, 385 pp., £25, February 2009, 978 0 19 929584 5
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... a way of emerging as a complete monster. It was already clear while he was an undergraduate, as Leslie Mitchell acknowledges in this stylish, indulgent biography, that ‘Bowra’s company was not for the squeamish.’ He ‘aimed to be the arbiter of everything that was said and done’ in his circle. It was emphatically his circle: he recruited to ...

The Real Founder of the Liberal Party

Jonathan Parry, 2 October 1997

Lord Melbourne 1779-1848 
by L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 349 pp., £25, May 1997, 0 19 820592 9
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... with Lord Macaulay’. Melbourne might have been more scathing still about his latest biographer, Leslie Mitchell. Mitchell’s technique is to repeat – and repeat, and repeat again – his own unsympathetic spin on Melbourne’s well-charted weaknesses. His Melbourne is as monochrome as he is unlikeable, deficient ...

Real Thing

John Naughton, 24 November 1988

Live from Number 10: The Inside Story of Prime Ministers and Television 
by Michael Cockerell.
Faber, 352 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 571 14757 7
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... 1951 he made one of the first party politicals – a cod interview with the well-known broadcaster Leslie Mitchell. It opened with Mitchell saying: Good evening, I would just like to say first that, as an interviewer, and as what I hope you will believe to be an unbiased member of the electorate, I’m grateful to ...

The Real Thing

Jenni Quilter, 21 April 2016

Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter 
by Cathy Curtis.
Oxford, 432 pp., £20.99, April 2015, 978 0 19 939450 0
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... had to be taken in through a side entrance.) She was the first of her painter friends – Alfred Leslie, Mike Goldberg, Larry Rivers and Jane Freilicher – to be taken seriously by the academy. The following year, MoMA purchased River Bathers for $1000. The accolades piled up. In 1956, Hartigan was the only woman artist to be selected for MoMA’s ...

Steaming Torsos

J. Hoberman, 6 February 1997

Westerns: Making the Man in Fiction and Film 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Chicago, 352 pp., £23.95, November 1996, 0 226 53234 8
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... Robert Warshow’s much anthologised essay ‘The Westerner’ is a précis of Cold War concerns, Leslie Fiedler’s Return of the Vanishing American rescripts the West in countercultural terms and Richard Slotkin’s vast Gunfighter Nation is haunted by Vietnam. Lee Clark Mitchell’s elegantly written ...

Light Entertainment

Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture, 8 November 2012

... the compere in the variety show Rainbow Round the Corner. Along with the BBC’s senior announcer, Leslie Mitchell, he became a voice of authority, the tone of war and peace, the man whom people heard in the cinema on the newsreels produced by British Movietone. Gamlin was a star. Terence Gallacher, who worked for Movietone at the time, remembers him ...

The Leopard

James Meek: A Leopard in the Family, 19 June 2014

... Grassic Gibbon, and it didn’t seem as though they were pulling in opposite directions (as James Leslie Mitchell, his real name, Gibbon was, after all, a socialist internationalist). For the rebellious, rebellion was still an individual, not a corporate activity; not the rebel as Mel-Gibson-as-William-Wallace plus army, but the rebel as Sid Vicious or ...

Georgie came, Harry went

Frank Kermode, 25 April 1991

A Passionate Apprentice. The Early Journals of Virginia Woolf, 1897-1909 
edited by Mitchell Leaska.
Hogarth, 444 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 7012 0845 7
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A Very Close Conspiracy: Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf 
by Jane Dunn.
Cape, 338 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 224 02234 2
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... cricket matches, the Boat Race, the Diamond Jubilee. Admittedly it is mildly amazing to find Leslie Stephen playing billiards in a pub, and there are quite interesting glimpses of turn-of-the-century London, the buses, the twopenny-ticket Underground, the four-wheelers, and so on. But most of these diaries are in truth very tedious. It is a relief to ...

Drugs, anyone?

Seamus Perry: George Meredith, 18 June 2015

Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads 
by George Meredith, edited by Criscillia Benford and Rebecca Mitchell.
Yale, 390 pp., £40, April 2015, 978 0 300 17317 8
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... I found out in more than one long exhausting walk and vigorous playful tussles, was unwearying.’ Leslie Stephen, one of Meredith’s friends, eulogised the effects of an invigorating tramp in the country in the true spirit: ‘You can consume your modest sandwiches, light your pipe, and feel more virtuous, and thoroughly at peace with the universe, than it ...

Doctor Feelgood

R.W. Johnson, 3 March 1988

Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home 
by Garry Wills.
Heinemann, 488 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 434 86623 7
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... as Haig, Shultz, Weinberger and Casey, while Ed Meese and Larry Speakes gave imitations of John Mitchell and Ron Ziegler which had all but the cognoscenti fooled. This time, however, there were no residual concessions to the Eastern Establishment – no Harvard professors like Kissinger (indeed, virtually no eggheads or Jews), and this time the constraints ...

Schadenfreude with Bite

Richard Seymour: Trolling, 15 December 2016

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture 
by Whitney Phillips.
MIT, 256 pp., £10, September 2016, 978 0 262 52987 7
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Gendertrolling: How Misogyny Went Viral 
by Karla Mantilla.
Praeger, 280 pp., £32, August 2015, 978 1 4408 3317 5
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Bad Clowns 
by Benjamin Radford.
New Mexico, 188 pp., £12, February 2016, 978 0 8263 5666 6
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Trolls: An Unnatural History 
by John Lindow.
Reaktion, 60 pp., £9.99, August 2015, 978 1 78023 565 3
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... say anything they can to provoke unwary victims, then delight in the outrage that follows. When Mitchell Henderson, a 12-year-old boy from Minnesota, killed himself in 2006, trolls descended on his MySpace page, where his friends and relatives were posting tributes. The trolls were especially taken with the fact that Henderson had lost his iPod days before ...

Who was David Peterley?

Michael Holroyd, 15 November 1984

... first poet of international significance) may be checked against a long manuscript in the Mitchell Library at Sydney – by Richard Pennington. Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies did take the part of Etain in Rutland Boughton’s opera, The Immortal Hour in 1922, with Peter Shelving’s designs, and since she also acted in a play called Spring Tide which opened at ...

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