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18 December 1980
Puritanism and Theatre 
by Margot Heinemann.
Cambridge, 300 pp., £12.50, March 1980, 0 521 22602 3
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John Webster: Citizen and Dramatist 
by M.C. Bradbrook.
Weidenfeld, 205 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 297 77813 7
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... discovered ‘fast by the teeth i’ the cold turkey pie’), seems typical of his reluctance to affix labels to people or take political sides. But, in the light of the general argument advanced by MargotHeinemann in Puritanism and Theatre, it may be that we should also regard it as the quite natural response of a man less committed than Jonson to the royalist or ‘court’ party. Shakespeare had at ...

Brecht’s New Age

Margot Heinemann

1 March 1984
Brecht in Context: Comparative Approaches 
by John Willett.
Methuen, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1984, 0 413 50410 7
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Brecht: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 423 pp., £18.50, September 1983, 0 297 78198 7
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... It’s probably a good thing that we know so little about Shakespeare’s personal life. What biographical information we have concerns leases, wills, marriage lines, property. His pillow-talk with Anne Hathaway, Emilia Lanier or Mr W. H., interesting as it may have been, was not recorded. If you want to discuss Shakespeare, you have to depend on reading and seeing his work. Not so with Brecht. Not ...

Modern Brecht

Margot Heinemann

5 August 1982
Bertolt Brecht in America 
by James Lyon.
Princeton, 408 pp., £11, January 1981, 0 691 06443 1
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Bertolt Brecht: Political Theory and Literary Practice 
edited by Betty Webber and Hubert Heinen.
Manchester, 208 pp., £15, February 1981, 0 7190 0806 9
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by Jan Needle and Peter Thomson.
Blackwell, 235 pp., £9, February 1981, 0 631 19610 2
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... Sacrilege sanctifies.’ Under this heading Brecht cheerfully sums up what happens to plays, like Shakespeare’s, that outlast their own time – and what may now be happening to his own: What keeps the classical plays alive is the use made of them, even if it’s misuse. In the schoolroom morals are squeezed out of them: in the theatre they provide the vehicles for self-seeking actors, ambitious ...
22 January 1981
George Orwell: A Life 
by Bernard Crick.
Secker, 473 pp., £10, November 1980, 9780436114502
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Class, Culture and Social Change: A New View of the 1930s 
edited by Frank Gloversmith.
Harvester, 285 pp., £20, July 1980, 0 85527 938 9
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Culture and Crisis in Britain in the Thirties 
edited by Jon Clark, Margot Heinemann, David Margolies and Carole Snee.
Lawrence and Wishart, 279 pp., £3.50, March 1980, 0 85315 419 8
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... the Marxist analysis’. The late James Klugmann, in an introductory essay, proclaims the achievements of the period: ‘it is a great compliment that people who are reactionary fear it so much.’ MargotHeinemann writes with exceptional authority on MacNeice, John Cornford and Clive Branson; there are studies of left-wing theatre, and of the Left Review and the Left Book Club; and, only a little to ...


Michael Church

9 October 1986
The Children of the Souls: A Tragedy of the First World War 
by Jeanne Mackenzie.
Chatto, 276 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 9780701128470
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Voices from the Spanish Civil War: Personal Recollections of Scottish Volunteers in Republican Spain 1936-39 
edited by Ian MacDougall, by Victor Kiernan.
Polygon, 369 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 948275 19 7
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The Shallow Grave: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War 
by Walter Gregory, edited by David Morris and Anthony Peters.
Gollancz, 183 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 575 03790 3
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Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War 
edited by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 388 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 19 212258 4
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The Spanish Cockpit 
by Franz Borkenau.
Pluto, 303 pp., £4.95, July 1986, 0 7453 0188 6
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The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 
by Paul Preston.
Weidenfeld, 184 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 297 78891 4
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Images of the Spanish Civil War 
by Raymond Carr.
Allen and Unwin, 192 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 04 940089 4
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... entertaining and very satisfactory’, one of the chief pleasures being ‘getting back into male society’. John Cornford fought in Spain as a zealous young Communist, but his letters to MargotHeinemann reflect the same first-term-in-a-new-school excitement, the same all-male exhilaration. ‘I did quite well that day,’ he said of his success in rescuing a gun from the enemy. ‘He did well here ...


David Norbrook

18 July 1985
Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... truths about illusion and reality, but the ideological strains of legitimising overseas conquest. Political Shakespeare ends with a series of essays by Alan Sinfield, Graham Holderness and MargotHeinemann which analyse the propagation of the Shakespeare myth in modern Britain in the theatre, the cinema, television and the schools. The gradual replacement in all these areas of the old stiffly patriotic ...


George Steiner

5 May 1988
Visions and Blueprints: Avant-Garde Culture and Radical Politics in Early 20th-century Europe 
edited by Edward Timms and Peter Collier.
Manchester, 328 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 7190 2260 6
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... which omits the whole topic, in which the name of Karl Kraus (among others) goes unmentioned, is difficult to take altogether seriously. This sense of unreality deepens somewhat in the chapter by MargotHeinemann on the literary ‘broad alliance against Fascism’, particularly in reference to the Spanish Civil War. How poignant are the remnants of party discipline which enable this testimony to ...

Red Science

Eric Hobsbawm: J.D. Bernal

9 March 2006
J.D. Bernal: The Sage of Science 
by Andrew Brown.
Oxford, 562 pp., £25, November 2005, 0 19 851544 8
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... who stubbornly maintained her status as his only legal wife for the remainder of his life. He was to establish a second household with children in the 1930s with Margaret Gardiner and a third with MargotHeinemann in the 1950s, both of whom also survived him. Though the originality of his mind was astonishing, his progress as a scientist was curiously uneven. Forced to shift from mathematics to ...

Saving the World

Barbara Wootton

19 June 1980
Sage: A Life of J.D. Bernal 
by Maurice Goldsmith.
Hutchinson, 255 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 9780091395506
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... and certainly heir to his father’s intellectual gifts. Bernal’s marriage to Eileen (which had produced a son and a daughter) was never dissolved, even after Margaret Gardiner was supplanted by MargotHeinemann as his domestic companion. In addition to these relatively durable relationships, Goldsmith says that Bernal was a ‘great lover’ and had ‘given pleasure to many women’, and that ...


Gary Taylor

9 January 1992
... models were the foundation of what has been called a ‘Protestant poetics’, which shaped English poetry from Sidney and Spenser to Herbert and Milton. Middleton belongs to the same tradition. MargotHeinemann, in her influential account of Puritanism and Theatre (1980), established Middleton’s links with the oppositional politics of 17th-century Puritanism; now, John Strachniewski – in one ...

The Age of EJH

Perry Anderson: Eric Hobsbawm’s Memoirs

3 October 2002
Interesting Times: A 20th-Century Life 
by Eric Hobsbawm.
Allen Lane, 448 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 7139 9581 5
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... of these student years. Towards the end of his chapter on Cambridge, summer vacations spent in Paris, working with James Klugmann for a front organisation of the Comintern, and the future historian MargotHeinemann are casually mentioned. Of the former, Hobsbawm delphically remarks, ‘What did one know about him? He gave nothing away’; of the latter, he says simply, ‘she probably had more ...

Stuck on the Flypaper

Frances Stonor Saunders: The Hobsbawm File

8 April 2015
... and that nobody would let me near any job, however modest, where my qualifications … might have been of some use for this purpose.’ On 7 July, he expressed his frustration in a call to his friend MargotHeinemann, a senior party member whose phone, Holborn 4071, was tapped by MI5: M: You are still doing the same job, are you? E: Yes, with knobs on, well anyway with knobs off! M: Off! E: Well ...

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