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The Future of the Labour Party

Barbara Wootton, 18 December 1980

Healey’s Eye 
by Denis Healey.
Cape, 191 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 0 224 01793 4
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The Role of the Trade Unions: The Granada Guildhall Lectures 
by James Prior, Tony Benn and Lionel Murray.
Granada, 96 pp., £1, August 1980, 0 586 05386 7
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Rank and File 
by Hugh Jenkins.
Croom Helm, 179 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0331 6
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The Tragedy of Labour 
by Stephen Haseler.
Blackwell, 249 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780631113416
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Labour into the Eighties 
edited by David Bell.
Croom Helm, 168 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0443 6
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... In the Granada Lectures each contributor says just what one would expect him to say. Len Murray reviews the relations between the unions and governments (of either colour) and offers moderate but constructive proposals for the future, while James Prior, also in moderate terms, outlines his view of the role of the unions and describes those changes in ...

Enisled

John Sutherland: Matthew Arnold, 19 March 1998

A Gift Imprisoned: The Poetic Life of Matthew Arnold 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £17.99, March 1998, 0 7475 3671 6
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... crossfire from rival scholars in the letters pages of the TLS). Following the line opened by Lionel Trilling’s ‘biography of a mind’ in America and by Raymond Williams’s Arnoldian meditations in Culture and Society in Britain, Stefan Collini produced his impressive Matthew Arnold: A Critical Portrait in 1994. And there have been two cap-à-pie ...

On the Make

Thomas Jones: Jonathan Lethem, 6 September 2001

Gun, with Occasional Music 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Faber, 262 pp., £5.99, August 2001, 0 571 20959 9
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... kangaroos and babyheads. He tells his story from the point of view of a Tourettic orphan called Lionel Essrog, ‘the human freakshow’, who works for a fourth-rate detective agency disguised as a taxi firm. His boss, Frank Minna, then a small-time fence, recruited Lionel and three others from the St Vincent’s Home for ...

A Poetry of Opposites

C.H. Sisson, 9 July 1992

Housman’s Poems 
by John Bayley.
Oxford, 202 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 19 811763 9
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... the thing for the Yellow Book. Housman was six years older than Yeats and eight years older than Lionel Johnson, but they were much more dependent than he was on the work of the Victorian era, and it was the novelty of his tone which set him apart. The moment of the break-up of existing verse-forms, with Pound and his associates, still lay ahead. Housman was ...

What Is Great about Ourselves

Pankaj Mishra: Closing Time, 20 September 2017

The Retreat of Western Liberalism 
by Edward Luce.
Little, Brown, 240 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 4087 1041 8
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The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea 
by Bill Emmott.
Economist, 257 pp., £22, May 2017, 978 1 61039 780 3
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The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics 
by David Goodhart.
Hurst, 256 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 799 9
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The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 143 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam 
by Douglas Murray.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 4729 4224 1
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... and help liberalism become once more a ‘unifying force’ for the ‘common good’. Douglas Murray, associate editor of the Spectator, thinks that Trump might just save Western civilisation. The ideas and commitments of the new prophets of decline do not emerge from any personal experience of it, let alone adversity of the kind suffered by many voters ...

On the Secret Joke at the Centre of American Identity

Michael Rogin: Ralph Ellison, 2 March 2000

Juneteenth 
by Ralph Ellison, edited by John Callaghan.
Hamish Hamilton, 368 pp., £16.99, December 1999, 0 241 14084 6
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... an unfavourable reading of portions of the novel which he had shown to two of his friends, Albert Murray and the critic Anatole Broyard. Ellison had good reason to feel troubled. Juneteenth is a set of fragments masquerading as a whole – a Frankenstein’s monster, Louis Menand called it in the New York Times – and the simple plot line that Callahan ...

How far shall I take this character?

Richard Poirier: The Corruption of Literary Biography, 2 November 2000

Bellow: A Biography 
by James Atlas.
Faber, 686 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 14356 3
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... buoyancy’, it was extravagantly praised by more senior and noteworthy critics, including Lionel Trilling, Irving Howe and Leslie Fiedler. In the novel’s memorable first sentence, it is possible to hear an exhilaration and release missing from his two earlier books. This is Augie’s Whitmanesque introduction of himself, an introduction, too, of a ...

A Regular Bull

Christopher Hitchens, 31 July 1997

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography 
by Sam Tanenhaus.
Random House, 640 pp., $35, February 1997, 0 394 58559 3
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... dedicated and principled character – a penitent ex-Soviet agent named Gifford Maxim – in Lionel Trilling’s novel, The Middle of the Journey (also published in 1947). He is the precipitating agent, in another sense of that term, in Alistair Cooke’s great account of the time, Generation on Trial. He was the man who made Richard Nixon’s ...

Sunshine

David Goldie: Morecambe and Wise, 15 April 1999

Morecambe and Wise 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 416 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 1 85702 735 3
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... provincial inanity. Rudolf Nureyev was told that he was getting his big chance on the show because Lionel Blair was indisposed; Yehudi Menuhin was told to turn up with his banjo; Alec Guinness was mistaken for ‘Mr Wise’s’ taxi-driver; the exotic and much fêted André Previn was plain ‘Mr Preview’ – the name by which, he told McCann, he is still ...

Education and Exclusion

Sheldon Rothblatt, 13 February 1992

Hutchins’ University: A Memoir of the University of Chicago 1929-1950 
by William McNeill.
Chicago, 194 pp., $24.95, October 1991, 0 226 56170 4
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Robert M. Hutchins: Portrait of an Educator 
by Mary Ann Dzuback.
Chicago, 387 pp., $24.95, November 1991, 0 226 17710 6
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Jews in the American Academy 1900-1940: The Dynamics of Intellectual Assimilation 
by Susanne Klingenstein.
Yale, 248 pp., £22.50, November 1991, 0 300 04941 2
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... is hardly the first study of the social psychology of Jewish emancipation. In the Seventies John Murray Cuddihy wrote on the burdens of ‘civility’ and the ordeal of becoming a gentleman. Numerous biographies of German or English Jews have examined the identity problems arising from first-generation assimilation of minority into majority cultures. It is ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... newspapers. If I were a voter in the Blackburn constituency my vote would go to Craig Murray, the ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan, who resigned from the diplomatic service over the foreign secretary’s refusal to discount information obtained by torture in the prisons of Uzbekistan, a decision that means torture is likely to continue. If there is a ...

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