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A Stick on Fire

Gillian Beer, 7 February 1985

Clarkey: A Portrait in Letters of Mary Clarke Mohl 1793-1883 
by Margaret Lesser.
Oxford, 235 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 19 211787 4
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George Eliot and Community: A Study in Social Theory and Fictional Form 
by Suzanne Graver.
California, 340 pp., £22.70, August 1984, 0 520 04802 4
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... about the orthodoxies of both her societies, clarifies and liberates.Having learnt so much from Margaret Lesser’s discreet assembling of letters, journals, information and linking commentary, it may seem hard to ask for more. But the principles of selection are never made clear and almost all the letter entries include omission marks. It would have ...

Boundary Books

Margaret Meek, 21 February 1980

Kate Crackernuts 
by Katharine Briggs.
Kestrel, 224 pp., £2.95, September 1980, 0 7226 5557 6
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Socialisation through Children’s Literature: The Soviet Example 
by Felicity Ann O’Dell.
Cambridge, 278 pp., £14, January 1979, 9780521219686
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Divide and Rule 
by Jan Mark.
Kestrel, 248 pp., £3.50, October 1980, 0 7226 5620 3
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... witchcraft. The Protestants had cancelled Purgatory. Both Milton’s heathen gods and other lesser spirits became devils who, joined with old solitary women, offered an explanation for the unsocialised features of man’s wilder urgings when these passed his understanding. The Protestant minister tells of drowned witches with such gusto as to make quite ...

Charm with Menaces

Colin Burrow: ‘The Mirror and the Light’, 19 March 2020

The Mirror and the Light 
by Hilary Mantel.
Fourth Estate, 883 pp., £25, March 2020, 978 0 00 748099 9
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... A particular highlight is the treatment of the rash engagement between the king’s niece Margaret Douglas and Thomas Howard, younger half-brother of the Duke of Norfolk. The engagement was rash to the point of being suicidal because after the death of Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, in July 1536 ...

Von Hötzendorff’s Desire

Margaret MacMillan: The First World War, 2 December 2004

Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy 
by David Stevenson.
Basic Books, 564 pp., £26.50, June 2004, 0 465 08184 3
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... wanted Alsace-Lorraine back and Britain Germany’s colonies and the destruction of its navy. Lesser allies, Italy and Japan for example, chose to enter the war for territory. The United States alone among the Allies (it insisted that it was merely an ‘associate’) wanted nothing for itself. That did not, however, stop American bankers and political ...

In search of the Reformation

M.A. Screech, 9 November 1989

The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation 
by Alistair McGrath.
Blackwell, 223 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 631 15144 3
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Pastor and Laity in the Theology of Jean Gerson 
by Catherine Brown.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 521 33029 7
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Collected Works of Erasmus: Vols XXVII and XXVIII 
edited by A.H.T. Levi.
Toronto, 322 pp., £65, February 1987, 0 8020 5602 4
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... Melanchthon, Calvin, Bucer or Beza, not to mention that of their wives or mothers, nor of now lesser-known theologians such as Faber (Lefevre d’Etaples) or Girard Roussel, the favourite preacher and bishop of Margaret of Navarre, who was prepared to protect controversial religious thinkers, or a Lutheran court poet ...

At Norwich Castle Museum

Alice Spawls: ‘The Paston Treasure’, 13 September 2018

... the young man seem angled to some person we cannot see. The girl is probably Robert’s daughter Margaret. Illuminated from the right while all else is lit from the left, she is almost certainly copied from another portrait. The painter, a Dutchman in East Anglia perhaps, took from memory, and from life, as well as from other images. There were certainly ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... Margaret Thatcher is the third most written about person in the ‘LRB’ archive, after Shakespeare and Freud. Here Karl Miller’s memories of the paper in her day are accompanied by extracts from some of the pieces published at the time. On the morning Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced, the lesser lights of television who were minding the shop did her proud ...

What We Have

David Bromwich: Tarantinisation, 4 February 1999

The Origins of Postmodernity 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 143 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 222 4
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The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-98 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 206 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 182 1
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... or diverts the mind (but not into thought). Broader traits were added as opinion-makers in the lesser arts fell into step. The Post-Modern is a matter of façade, they said, without any promise of depth. It soaks up and squeezes out but does not judge the commercial culture it is compelled to treat as a second nature. This claim, too, had been made first ...

Impressions of Nietzsche

Keith Kyle, 27 July 1989

The Lives of Enoch Powell 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 518 pp., £16, April 1989, 0 370 30871 9
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... set out with bleak, relentless logic the case for monetarism and the free market decades before Margaret Thatcher presented herself as what he thought was a most unsuitable candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party. The attempt to supply a separate ‘Life’ for each chapter lands the author in the absurdity of dividing up Powell’s time in ...

Beyond Everyday Life

Julian Symons, 5 March 1981

The Blaze of Noon 
by Rayner Heppenstall.
Allison and Busby, 166 pp., £6.50, July 1980, 0 85031 288 4
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... the creation by man of this filth in his own body’, a girl is sawn in half. Alick’s wife Margaret (the name of the author’s wife) bears a child, the Germans invade Norway. The book ends with Alick, no longer dangling, marked Grade One for army service. There is nothing else like Saturnine’s mixture of philosophical ...
... that you have only yourself to blame, will ring out as they slink off to collect their dole money. Lesser cynicisms will melt into larger ones. And besides, few people will be prepared unequivocally to defend the record of the Schools Council. It was set up in 1964, a gentler time, by Sir Edward Boyle, and its brief was then, and has, in a variety of ...

A Parlour in Purley

Tessa Hadley: Life as a Wife, 17 June 2021

The True History of the First Mrs Meredith and Other Lesser Lives 
by Diane Johnson.
NYRB, 242 pp., £14.99, July 2020, 978 1 68137 445 1
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... and turns. Mary Ellen was the oldest child of the brief happiness of the marriage; another girl, Margaret, was born next, and after that a boy, and the family moved to live in a house beside the Thames in Surrey. Then Margaret died aged two. Peacock wrote an epitaph for her which begins, ‘Long night succeeds thy little ...

Omnipresent Eye

Patrick Wright: The Nixon/Mao Show, 16 August 2007

Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Murray, 384 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 7195 6522 7
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... and walks towards his welcoming host for the first of many carefully held handshakes. That, as Margaret MacMillan confirms, is more or less what took place at Beijing airport on Monday, 21 February 1972. It’s also the opening scene of John Adams’s opera Nixon in China, premiered in Houston in 1987, and staged again at the London Coliseum over a few ...

Mother One, Mother Two

Jeremy Harding: A memoir, 31 March 2005

... me with the machinery of my investigation and informed me of the name of my natural mother – Margaret Walsh – which my adoptive mother had only ever hazarded or garbled. But after a few days in the Family Records Centre in London, it was clear that there’d be work to do: the number of Margaret Walshes qualifying as ...

The First Calamity

Christopher Clark: July, 1914, 29 August 2013

The War That Ended Peace 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Profile, 656 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 1 84668 272 8
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July 1914: Countdown to War 
by Sean McMeekin.
Icon, 461 pp., £25, July 2013, 978 1 84831 593 8
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... historical ‘forces’, but of short-term realignments and shocks to the international system. Margaret MacMillan’s The War That Ended Peace and Sean McMeekin’s July 1914 both bear the imprint of these perspectival shifts. They are both attentive to the play of contingency in crises that involved multilateral interactions among numerous sovereign ...

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