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John Sutherland, 4 June 1981

Tit for Tat 
by Verity Bargate.
Cape, 167 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 0 224 01908 2
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Watching Me, Watching You 
by Fay Weldon.
Hodder, 208 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 340 25600 1
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Maggie Muggins 
by Keith Waterhouse.
Joseph, 220 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 7181 2014 0
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Mr Lonely 
by Eric Morecambe.
Eyre Methuen, 189 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 413 48170 0
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... Slave Towers. As it happens, Maggie Muggins is also a private name: Social Security know her as Margaret Moon. There are two main events to Maggie’s day. She discovers that her queer playmate, Sean, has thrown himself under a train. He is, in the odd terminology of the LT billboard, ‘a body on the line’. And her father comes down from the North to ...

The Ramsey Effect

Kieran Setiya, 18 February 2021

Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers 
by Cheryl Misak.
Oxford, 500 pp., £25, February 2020, 978 0 19 875535 7
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... Ramsey’s, one shared with Keynes. In philosophy: Ramsey sentences, the Ramsey test, the Ramsey-Lewis theory of reference, and the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis account of natural laws. Many of his ideas were so groundbreaking that they were taken up in earnest only decades later. This phenomenon has also been named after him: the ...

The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties, 3 December 2009

Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... Ever since the rise of Margaret Thatcher, personal responsibility has been the irresistible itch that the Conservative Party dare not scratch – at least not in public. Notwithstanding the party’s boosterish slogans of enterprise, freedom and low taxation, many of its elderly members – and some of its politicians – have long held to a more cautious ethos of middle-class respectability, restraint and downright frugality ...

At Victoria Miro

Brian Dillon: Francesca Woodman, 20 January 2011

... and furtive, of her own body. The atmosphere in her photographs is literary – tricked up out of Lewis Carroll, Poe and Surrealism – as well as knowingly indebted to photographers from Julia Margaret Cameron to Duane Michals. One of the effects of the current survey of her work at Victoria Miro (until 22 January) is that ...

US/USSR

Anatol Lieven: Remembering the Cold War, 16 November 2006

The Cold War 
by John Lewis Gaddis.
Allen Lane, 333 pp., £20, January 2006, 0 7139 9912 8
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The Global Cold War 
by Odd Arne Westad.
Cambridge, 484 pp., £25, January 2006, 0 521 85364 8
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... effects have survived the deepening disillusionment with the Iraqi and Afghan interventions. John Lewis Gaddis is a true product of this nationalist ideology and the imperial establishment it supports. Take this statement, from his short history of the Cold War: Americans, he writes, are ‘impatient with hierarchy, at ease with flexibility, and profoundly ...

‘I can’t go on like this’

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 19 January 1989

The Letters of Edith Wharton 
edited by R.W.B. Lewis and Nancy Lewis.
Simon and Schuster, 654 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 671 69965 2
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Women Artists, Women Exiles: ‘Miss Grief’ and Other Stories 
by Constance Fenimore Woolson, edited by Joan Myers Weimer.
Rutgers, 341 pp., $42, December 1988, 0 8135 1347 2
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... affair in middle age finally alters the impression of her essential solitude. When R.W.B. Lewis published his biography of the novelist in 1975, its revelations about her adulterous affair with the American journalist, Morton Fullerton, inevitably attracted much attention: especially when combined with the printing of ‘Beatrice Palmato’, a ...

Between centuries

Frank Kermode, 11 January 1990

In the Nineties 
by John Stokes.
Harvester, 199 pp., £17.50, September 1989, 0 7450 0604 3
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Olivia Shakespear and W.B. Yeats 
by John Harwood.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 333 42518 9
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Letters to the New Island 
by W.B. Yeats, edited by George Bornstein and Hugh Witemeyer.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £45, November 1989, 0 333 43878 7
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The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The ‘Little Review’ Correspondence 
edited by Thomas Scott, Melvin Friedman and Jackson Bryer.
Faber, 368 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 571 14099 8
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Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 
edited by Omar Pound and Robert Spoo.
Duke, 181 pp., £20.75, January 1989, 0 8223 0862 2
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Postcards from the End of the World: An Investigation into the Mind of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 
by Larry Wolff.
Collins, 275 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 215171 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Bantam, 396 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 593 01862 1
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Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1916-1925 
by Kenneth Silver.
Thames and Hudson, 506 pp., £32, October 1989, 0 500 23567 8
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... and generosity (he wanted to make a magazine where he himself, Eliot, Joyce and Wyndham Lewis could appear regularly – an annexe to the Vortex – but was determined to accept anything that had quality). Much of the detail lacks interest, however, and it is hard to avoid the ungrateful reflection that, since the fine detail is largely of concern ...

Success

Benjamin Markovits: What It Takes to Win at Sport, 7 November 2013

... line supposed to demonstrate two of the received national characteristics, class and modesty. Then Margaret Thatcher died (her funeral was another good show) and there was a lot of talk about the way the country had changed since she became prime minister, a year before I joined Mrs Hazel’s class. Arguments ran along predictable lines: the privatisation of ...

Help Yourself

R.W. Johnson: The other crooked Reggie, 21 April 2005

Reggie: The Life of Reginald Maudling 
by Lewis Baston.
Sutton, 604 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7509 2924 3
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... he could not afford and which drove him into dependence on Poulson and others. The fascination of Lewis Baston’s excellent study lies largely in the unfolding inevitability of this morality tale. The movement from the young Maudling, working genially alongside Iain Macleod and Enoch Powell in the late 1940s – Rab Butler’s three brilliant young men, all ...

Fear among the Teacups

Dinah Birch: Ellen Wood, 8 February 2001

East Lynne 
by Ellen Wood, edited by Andrew Maunder.
Broadview, 779 pp., £7.95, October 2000, 1 55111 234 5
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... He did not live long. Like many of the most vigorous and productive women novelists of the period (Margaret Oliphant, Frances Trollope, Mary Ward, Julia Kavanagh), Ellen Wood wrote to support her family. The preoccupation with the precariousness of health and fortune that haunts her fiction was the product of experience. Unexplained decline and death is a ...

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 ...

Main Man

Michael Hofmann, 7 July 1994

Walking Possession: Essays and Reviews 1968-1993 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 302 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 7475 1712 6
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Gazza Italia 
by Ian Hamilton.
Granta, 188 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 14 014073 5
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... imports. The poetry section is still weirder: Larkin one can understand, from Hamilton; also Alun Lewis, Roy Fuller, Frost and Graves. But Wilbur and Merrill, Heaney and Motion? I’m not surprised there’s little evidence of attachment to their work, just oblique dismay. For any sort of poetic credo, you have to go back to the poems, or the essays in A ...

Heliotrope

John Sutherland, 3 December 1992

Robert Louis Stevenson: Dreams of Exile 
by Ian Bell.
Mainstream, 295 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 1 85158 457 9
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... during his childhood her ill-health took precedence over his. While she was cossetted, the sickly Lewis (as he was then called) was left to the charge of ‘Cummy’, the nurse who slept in his room until he was ten and who drove him into night terrors that only she could calm. Her entertainments amounted to a non-stop Hammer movie – ‘blood-curdling tales ...

Heat-Seeking

Susan Pedersen: A.J.P. Taylor, 10 May 2007

A.J.P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe 
by Chris Wrigley.
Tauris, 439 pp., £25, August 2006, 1 86064 286 1
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... the site of his first (and only) spate of serious archival research and of his meeting with Margaret Adams, the well-to-do music student who would become his first wife. Ambition and strong recommendations won Taylor a teaching post at Manchester in 1930, where he wrote his first books on Continental diplomacy, began reviewing for the Guardian, played a ...

Poetry and Soda

Barbara Everett, 5 February 1981

The Penguin Book of Unrespectable Verse 
edited by Geoffrey Grigson.
Penguin, 335 pp., £1.75, November 1980, 0 14 042142 4
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The Penguin Book of Light Verse 
edited by Gavin Ewart.
Penguin, 639 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 0 14 042270 6
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... monks. Similarly, to call medieval poems like ‘Adam lay y-bounden’ and Skelton’s ‘Merry Margaret’ light is to seem to suggest that this all-too-sophisticated, even decadent culture must be, because distant, something like quaint – that Merry Margaret lived in Merrie England. And if this is true of Skelton, how ...

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