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Bedbugs and Broomsticks

Joyce Chaplin: Disease Goes Global, 6 June 2013

Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease 
by Mark Harrison.
Yale, 376 pp., £25, August 2012, 978 0 300 12357 9
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... doctors) aren’t always agents of progress. In Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease, Mark Harrison confronts two narratives of modern history: the consolidation of professionalised medicine, and the spread of Western economic ideas, including commerce in its capitalist incarnation. He shows that these developments, both moving in the ...

Harrison Rex

Carey Harrison, 7 November 1991

Conversations with Marlon Brando 
by Lawrence Grobel.
Bloomsbury, 177 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 9780747508168
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George Sanders: An Exhausted Life 
by Richard Vanderbeets.
Robson, 271 pp., £15.95, September 1991, 0 86051 749 7
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Rex HarrisonA Biography 
by Nicholas Wapshott.
Chatto, 331 pp., £16, October 1991, 0 7011 3764 9
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Me: Stories of my Life 
by Katharine Hepburn.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, September 1991, 0 670 83974 4
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... of course, but slowly and painfully, as these biographies of George Sanders and Rex Harrison confirm, amid binges of mingled self-seeking and self-obliteration. Along the way, idolatry brings out the bully in us all, and provokes rage at so much unbridled permission – which isn’t love, which isn’t the love we were after. We are more ...

Empire of the Doctors

C.A. Bayly, 8 December 1994

Colonising the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in 19th-Century India 
by David Arnold.
California, 354 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 520 08124 2
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Public Health in British India: Anglo-Indian Preventive Medicine 1815-1914 
by Mark Harrison.
Cambridge, 324 pp., £19.95, March 1994, 0 521 44127 7
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... in Foucauldian vein, a mode of controlling and ‘knowing’ the body of the Indian subject. Mark Harrison’s book concentrates on the later 19th and early 20th centuries. He carefully charts the origins and organisation of the IMS and its relationship with colonial government. Despite the achievements of Sir Ronald Ross and his team, who ...

Apocalypse Now and Then

Frank Kermode, 25 October 1979

The Second Coming: Popular Millenarianism 1780-1850 
by J.F.C. Harrison.
Routledge, 277 pp., £9.95
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... is a faith that invites more seductively than most the attention of the historian, and Professor Harrison, noting some very peculiar manifestations of it in the period of the Napoleonic wars and the succeeding years, has found himself a very good subject. He speaks of himself as writing ‘popular’ history and examining the ‘structure of popular ...

Missing the Vital Spark

Mark Ford: Tony Harrison, 13 May 1999

Prometheus 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 86 pp., £8.99, November 1998, 0 571 19753 1
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... rebellion against Zeus as the original paradigm of all acts of political resistance. Tony Harrison’s first feature film provides a variety of perspectives on this legend, and three different embodiments of the Promethean spirit. It opens in a Yorkshire mining town just as the last pit in the area is about to be closed down. The messenger of the ...

The Authentic Snarl

Blake Morrison: The Impudence of Tony Harrison, 30 November 2017

The Inky Digit of Defiance: Selected Prose 1966-2016 
by Tony Harrison, edited by Edith Hall.
Faber, 544 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 571 32503 0
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Collected Poems 
by Tony Harrison.
Penguin, 464 pp., £9.99, April 2016, 978 0 241 97435 3
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... If​ his English teacher hadn’t been so snootily discouraging, it’s unlikely that Tony Harrison would have gone on to write as much as he has: by my calculation, 13 plays, 11 films and twenty or more poetry collections and pamphlets, not to mention the essays and addresses assembled in Edith Hall’s edition of his selected prose ...

Thinking Persons

John Ellis, 14 May 1992

Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... on Othello in Addressing Frank Kermode is a particularly bad case. The books by Jackson, Harrison and Turner exemplify in various ways the kinds of problems which occur in a field where theory is so distant from practical reality. Jackson’s starting-point is his conviction that modern literary theory is founded on the work of Marx, Saussure and ...

The Mother of the Muses

Tony Harrison, 5 January 1989

... from opera and play, repainted tales that seem to bear recounting more often than the facts that mark today: the dead Cordelia in the lap of Lear, Lohengrin who pilots his white swan at cascading lustres of bright chandelier above the plush this pantheon shattered on, with Titania’s leashed pards in pastiche Titian, Faust with Mephisto, Joan, Nathan the ...

At the Atlantis Gallery

Peter Campbell: The Survey of India, 6 November 2003

... regular – of our gently decelerating planet. The masters of the heroic age of measurement, from Harrison in the second half of the 18th century, to the surveyors who completed the triangulation of India in the later part of the 19th, battled to get their digital information – the figures they used for their calculations – out of analogue ...

Rabbit Resartus

Edward Pearce, 8 November 1990

Rabbit at Rest 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 505 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 233 98622 7
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... and sells in time, tries for one girl but, in a rich man’s yachting swop, draws another, Thelma Harrison, who, unnervingly, loves him.* That brings us to the start of Rabbit at Rest and represents the barest narrative bones. Sex plus money, plus a slick of current events, plus the small-town scene: the casual impulse may be to expect the least – a ...

Powerful Moments

David Craig, 26 October 1989

Touching the void 
by Joe Simpson.
Cape, 172 pp., £10.95, July 1988, 0 224 02545 7
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Climbers 
by M. John Harrison.
Gollancz, 221 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 9780575036321
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... of Everest, Joe Simpson’s ‘voice’ that kept him right on his agonising descent). It is a mark of John Harrison’s quality in Climbers that he never milks accidents to produce climactic passages. Climaxes, sexual or other, are something he avoids. His cinematic eye and vocal mimicry are preternatural and ...

A Slight Dash of the Tiresome

Brian Harrison, 9 November 1989

The Blind Victorian: Henry Fawcett and British Liberalism 
edited by Lawrence Goldman.
Cambridge, 199 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 521 35032 8
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... 1938 if it refused to recommend Winston Churchill for election: such a decision, he said, would ‘mark the triumph of a tendency towards minute specialisation ... which I have long watched with concern, as likely to rob the Academy of its national character’. There is also a party-political reason for the intellectual’s retreat: the dispersal of the ...

On Richard Hollis

Christopher Turner: Richard Hollis, 24 May 2018

... his own description, a ‘freelance dropout’, in thrall to the new avant-garde. A decade later, Mark Glazebrook, the disorganised but incisive new director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, was wandering around the Central School of Art when he came across Hollis, then a tutor in the graphic design department. Hollis, who had learned typography from a student ...

Sex’n’Love

Blake Morrison, 21 February 1991

The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... Christopher Reid and Michael Hofmann are classified as love poets but Craig Raine and Tony Harrison as blue versifiers. Only a few poets make both, including Seamus Heaney, who has two poems unworthy of him in the Whitworth (one about unfreezing a vaginal pump, one about a bride-like, much played-on Victorian guitar), and a couple of much better ones ...

Fenmen

Ronald Hutton, 5 August 1982

Fenland Riots and the English Revolution 
by Keith Lindley.
Heinemann, 259 pp., £16.50, March 1982, 0 435 32535 3
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Commonwealth to Protectorate 
by Austin Woolrych.
Oxford, 433 pp., £22.50, March 1982, 0 19 822659 4
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... ways, the latest developments in the second tradition. Both possess other similarities, which mark them as belonging to the same stage in the life of man as historian. Both are monographs, produced by professionals with a long career of research behind them, basing their work on an analysis of all surviving sources for their ...

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