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Rome’s New Mission

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Early Christianity

2 June 2011
Christians and Pagans: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede 
by Malcolm Lambert.
Yale, 329 pp., £30, September 2010, 978 0 300 11908 4
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... alliance of Anglo-Saxon and Norman Johnny-come-latelies, consolidated their prestige and estates against the interlopers by inventing evangelistic exploits for ancient saints like Dyfrig or David. MalcolmLambert is a judicious guide to the shifting opinions of scholars amid these quicksands, casting a sceptical eye even on Bede’s motives for glorifying and sanitising the Roman mission to the Anglo ...

Mockney Rebels

Thomas Jones: Lindsay Anderson

20 July 2000
Mainly about Linsay Anderson 
by Gavin Lambert.
Faber, 302 pp., £18.99, May 2000, 0 571 17775 1
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... his family was wealthy, his mother a South African scion of wool and whisky. But then there was the undertow: his resistance to authority, his sense of not belonging, his homosexuality. Gavin Lambert, a longstanding friend of Anderson’s – they were at Cheltenham together – tells the story of Anderson at his preparatory school writing on a classroom noticeboard ‘I REBEL’. Lambert quotes ...
20 July 2000
... a blocked sink) thoughts occur like ‘I bet Tom Stoppard doesn’t have to do this’ or ‘There is no doubt David Hare would have deputed this to an underling.’ So I was happy to read in Gavin Lambert’s Mainly about Lindsay Anderson* that Lindsay harboured similar thoughts about such self-imposed menialities. On the eve of filming O Lucky Man Lindsay has his ailing mother to stay in his flat in ...

Every Rusty Hint

Ian Sansom: Anthony Powell

21 October 2004
Anthony Powell: A Life 
by Michael Barber.
Duckworth, 338 pp., £20, July 2004, 0 7156 3049 0
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... Oscar Wilde’, the model for the flamboyant Mr Deacon? Probably. Is there a touch of Peter Quennell in the floppy-haired Mark Members? Is J.G. Quiggin really Cyril Connolly? And is Moreland Constant Lambert? Is Dr Trelawney ‘a projection’ of Aleister Crowley? Was Adrian Daintrey Zouch? Is Bagshaw Malcolm Muggeridge? Was Julian Maclaren-Ross the model for Trapnel? Was Widmerpool based on Denis Capel ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms

6 September 2007
... known as ‘Land of Hope and Glory’; Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs, including ‘The Sailor’s Hornpipe’; ‘Rule, Britannia!’ composed by Thomas Arne, with orchestration by Malcolm Sargent; and finally ‘Jerusalem’, set to music by Parry, and later reorchestrated by Elgar. All of these involve active participation by the audience which, as the second half advances, becomes ...

Hero as Hero

Tobias Gregory: Milton’s Terrorist

6 March 2008
Why Milton Matters: A New Preface to His Writings 
by Joseph Wittreich.
Palgrave, 253 pp., £37.99, March 2008, 978 1 4039 7229 3
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... of modern references conveys a rich sense of Milton’s continuing presence in the English-speaking world, and shows that not everybody meets Milton on a reading list. It’s good to be reminded that Malcolm X read Paradise Lost in prison, whatever one might think of his take on the poem: ‘The devil, kicked out of paradise, was trying to regain possession. He was using the forces of Europe . . . I ...

The Vulgarity of Success

Murray Sayle: Everest and Empire

7 May 1998
Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond 
by Peter Steele.
Constable, 290 pp., £18.99, March 1998, 0 09 478300 4
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... manoeuvre known as “The Great Game” ’. All these years later, Steele has still failed to winkle any more details out of the Foreign Office – but then again, those other celebrity spies, Malcolm Muggeridge and Graham Greene, were equally close-lipped about what they actually did in the war. Shipton’s job, whatever it was, ended in October 1942. He walked out again, and in December 1942 ...

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