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Diary

Patrick Wright: The Deer Park or the Tank Park?

31 March 1988
... Mell Gap. The survey dates the removal of these buildings to the 1770s. A pictorial map drawn by Margaret Weld in 1731 shows village life going on within the walls of the seigneury: an ideal aristocratic prospect, to be sure, but one that also harboured a harmonious village Utopia. This vision of sublime integration would be sadly disappointed by the putting ...
10 November 1994
Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... him as the ‘first and the finest’ of all the heroes of the Golden Age of Thatcherism. Margaret Thatcher had a penchant for ‘swashbuckling’ entrepreneurs, especially ones with Northern accents. When she first met James Hanson, his gentle Yorkshire lilt fascinated her almost as much as his millions. She assumed, as Harold Wilson had several ...

Deservingness

Jeremy Waldron: Equality of Opportunity

19 September 2002
Against Equality of Opportunity 
by Matt Cavanagh.
Oxford, 223 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 19 924343 3
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... others choose for their own good reasons to give you or leave you in their wills. Years before Margaret Thatcher made it a political mantra, Nozick taught his followers to say ‘there is no such thing as society,’ and no social obligation to see that needs are taken care of or that inequality does not get out of hand. These points had been made ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: The Confidence Trick

4 July 2019
... ministerial proponents, besides Salisbury, were Stanley Baldwin (1923-24, 1924-29, 1935-37) and Margaret Thatcher (1979-90), who shared his knack for condensing a political philosophy into a simple (and simplifying) phrase, as well as his ability rhetorically to align the interests of the nation with the interests of capital. It’s still possible to detect ...

Costume Codes

David Trotter

12 January 1995
Rebel Women: Feminism, Modernism and the Edwardian Novel 
by Jane Eldridge Miller.
Virago, 241 pp., £15.99, October 1994, 1 85381 830 5
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... experiences of the First World War, was one of which writers were acutely aware. In 1926, Violet Hunt, who began to publish in the 1890s, described herself as the kind of New Woman people used to write about long ago, and her friend Rebecca West, who joined the staff of the Freewoman in 1911, as a prototype of the ‘Newest Woman’. The gap opens within The ...

In praise of manly piety

Margaret Anne Doody

9 June 1994
The 18th-Century Hymn in England 
by Donald Davie.
Cambridge, 167 pp., £27.95, October 1993, 0 521 38168 1
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... experiential and visionary religion known to both the 17th and 18th centuries in his determined hunt for the manly, the unmawkish. When he finds a poem whose tone he likes, he enjoys analysing its prosody, and to some purpose, as in his accounts of Wesley’s use of anapaests and Smart’s employment of trimeter. Certain kinds of poetic intricacy appeal to ...

On Thinning Ice

Michael Byers: When the Ice Melts

6 January 2005
Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment 
Cambridge, 139 pp., £19.99, February 2005, 0 521 61778 2Show More
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... bears stare forlornly at Hudson Bay. It’s late November and they should be out on the sea ice hunting ring seals, but the ice hasn’t formed and the bears are starving. Ursus maritimus doesn’t hunt on land and normally fasts for months each summer. Now, however, the summers are growing longer across most of the ...

Unnatural Rebellion

Malcolm Gaskill: ‘Witches’

2 November 2017
The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 360 pp., £25, August 2017, 978 0 300 22904 2
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... child on her shoulders, looking far from relieved to be safe. She probably guessed that the witch-hunters would come again. When the men burst into Mifila’s hut in May, her brother stood aside saying it was her time to die. Then she was butchered in front of her family. A few weeks after Mifila’s murder, another piece of film, this time taken on a ...

Those Brogues

Marina Warner

5 October 2016
... life to come in the English countryside, her formal enrolment in the world of the squirearchy, the hunt-to-hunt, the point-to-point, the open garden scheme, the charity fête. During the war, the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret had worn them to review the Girl Guides and launch messenger ...
30 March 1989
On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... a young man he danced four nights running at Holyrood Palace with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, something he says he had ‘entirely forgotten’ until he found in his papers a ‘Dear Ludo’ letter from Princess Elizabeth thanking him for his wedding present. (Old men forget, but this is forgetfulness indeed!) He is on amiable terms with ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland

11 July 1991
The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... Q.D. Leavis, Carolyn Heilbrun and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak have whole entries to themselves and Margaret Doody’s Aristotle Detective is singled out for honourable mention in the entry on Detective Fiction. Luce Irigaray is in, but not Cecil Woodham Smith. The biggest vacancy in the Companion is where contemporary best-selling fiction ought to be. The ...

Trouble at the Fees Office

Jonathan Raban: Alice in Expenses Land

11 June 2009
... to Members’ Allowances, it’s not surprising that most MPs seem to have followed the example of Margaret Beckett, who confessed: ‘I just grabbed together the relevant things and bunged them into the Fees Office and left it to them to sort it out.’ So Gerald Kaufman, having spent £8865 on a Bang & Olufsen 40” BeoVision LCD TV, described by its ...
20 October 1994
Major Major: Memories of an Older Brother 
by Terry Major-Ball.
Duckworth, 167 pp., £12.95, August 1994, 0 7156 2631 0
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... of unreason. Was Major perhaps similarly touched? He seemed not to be, but who could tell? The hunt was on for something non-grey in the grey man’s genealogy: a bad apple on the Major family tree, an errant gene, a skeleton in one of those long-ago suburban cupboards. And straightaway there seemed to be rich pickings. This nobody from nowhere turned out ...

Diary

Tariq Ali: The Future of Cricket

12 March 2009
... priorities on the part of public broadcasters and, according to some, strong pressure from Margaret Thatcher, who was determined to help Rupert Murdoch build up his television empire. Within a few years there was no live cricket left on terrestrial television. Numerous addicts, myself included, were forced to admit defeat, sign the document of ...

They don’t even need ideas

William Davies: Take Nigel Farage ...

20 June 2019
... is liable to be dispelled. But when the stage is set correctly, the illusion can be very powerful. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair oversaw devastating electoral machines, which delivered four huge parliamentary majorities in the space of twenty years. Both appeared to establish a new consensus as to what constituted good leadership and policy. The fact that ...

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