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How did the slime mould cross the maze?

Adrian Woolfson: The Future of Emergence, 21 March 2002

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software 
by Steven Johnson.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 0 7139 9400 2
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The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture 
by Mark Taylor.
Chicago, 340 pp., £20.50, January 2002, 0 226 79117 3
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... in that they apply the mathematical logic of complex systems to cultural – and, in the case of Taylor, cognitive – phenomena. They do so in a metaphorical rather than explicitly mathematical manner, and focus on the transformative and generative power of self-organising principles in contexts as diverse as the World Wide Web, global ...

Wizard of Ox

Paul Addison, 8 November 1990

... Many tributes have been paid to Alan Taylor, including some by old and close friends who knew him very much better than I did. My excuse for adding one more piece is that I would like to explain something of what he meant to younger historians who came within his orbit. Perhaps I shall end up speaking only for myself, but at any rate I can speak from experience as one of his pupils ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Shakespeare’s Faces, 7 January 2016

... has supported. Only the question of its authorship was troublesome. The identity of ‘Jo: Taylor’ has been subjected to a needle-in-haystack search for a painter called John Taylor. Duncan-Jones, threading her way carefully back through the marginalia of the historian George Vertue into the theatrical networks of ...

Strange Little Woman

Ferdinand Mount: First and Only Empress, 22 November 2018

Empress: Queen Victoria and India 
by Miles Taylor.
Yale, 388 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 0 300 11809 4
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Eastern Encounters: Four Centuries of Paintings and Manuscripts from the Indian Subcontinent 
by Emily Hannam.
Royal Collections Trust, 256 pp., £45, June 2018, 978 1 909741 45 4
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Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince’s Tour of India 1875-76 
by Kajal Meghani.
Royal Collections Trust, 216 pp., £29.95, March 2017, 978 1 909741 42 3
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... one, not least for the unexpected light it shines on India’s emergence as a nation state. Miles Taylor is better known as a historian of Chartism and Victorian radical politics generally, but this background comes in handy here, as he takes the queen out of court politics and into the popular arena, where she proves surprisingly at home. Throughout his ...

Getting it right

Tam Dalyell, 18 July 1985

The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... Without Richard Norton-Taylor of the Guardian, there would be no Belgrano affair, and doubtless Mr Clive Ponting OBE would be plying his way, ever upwards, in the Ministry of Defence. This is no exaggeration. Simply a statement of fact. I am in a position to know. However right Paul Rogers, Lee Chadwick, Arthur Gavshon and I may have been, the fact is that without the sustained interest of Guardian readers, and, in my case, the Labour Party up and down the country, there was no way which the professors of Belgrano Studies, as David Frost has christened us, could have carried on ...

Up to Islip

Rosalind Mitchison, 2 August 1984

An Old Man’s Diary 
by A.J.P. Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 155 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 241 11247 8
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... I can settle to a collection of diary pieces from our most distinguished modern historian, A.J.P. Taylor. Of course these are not real diary entries. A real diary entry is full of personal items which the law of libel or the proscription of the totally trivial contrive to rule out. Journalism diaries have to be compiled on principles of their own. Names can ...

Dig, Hammer, Spin, Weave

Miles Taylor: Richard Cobden, Class Warrior, 12 March 2009

The Letters of Richard Cobden. Vol. I: 1815-47 
edited by Anthony Howe.
Oxford, 529 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 921195 1
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... of those great Victorian achievements which, like sewers, public libraries and bicycles, seems to mark the dawn of civilised modernity. He led the crusade against the Corn Laws – the notorious ‘bread tax’ of 1815, a tariff on imports designed to subsidise the British farmer – and campaigned for peace and disarmament, cheap newspapers and the penny ...

Ropes, Shirts or Dirty Socks

Adam Smyth: Paper, 15 June 2017

Paper: Paging through History 
by Mark Kurlansky.
Norton, 416 pp., £12.99, June 2017, 978 0 393 35370 9
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... In​ 1619, for a bet, John Taylor – prolific poet, proud Londoner, waterman, prankster, anti-pollution campaigner, barman, literary celebrity, palindrome enthusiast (‘Lewd did I live, & evil I did dwel’) – sailed forty miles down the Thames to Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey in a boat made from brown paper ...

Old Dad dead?

Michael Neill: Thomas Middleton, 4 December 2008

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 2016 pp., £85, November 2007, 978 0 19 818569 7
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Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 1183 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 818570 3
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... be learned from the appearance of the new Oxford Middleton. Even as the blurb declares that Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino’s monumental collection is ‘based on the award-winning design of the Oxford Shakespeare’, the binding and dust jacket defiantly proclaim its difference from that distinguished model. The Shakespeare was bound in the press’s ...

My Shirt-Front Starched

Adam Phillips: Proust’s Megalomania, 28 July 2016

Proust: The Search 
by Benjamin Taylor.
Yale, 199 pp., £16.99, November 2015, 978 0 300 16416 9
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... of 18, ‘possession withers them.’ It was an insight from which he never recovered. As Benjamin Taylor puts it in his new biography, Proust’s ‘vitality’ was ‘checkmated by the excess of self-seeing’; knowing these people – knowing anyone – ended in catastrophic disappointment. Only a new lyricism of self-doubt could do justice to his ...

Small America

Michael Peel: A report from Liberia, 7 August 2003

... had just emerged from another devastating civil conflict, in which the current President, Charles Taylor, played a leading role. A former Government minister who fell out with the military regime of Samuel Doe, Taylor managed to escape from a Massachusetts jail in 1985: he was being held pending extradition on embezzlement ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Preposterous Arrangements, 18 August 1983

... lecture climax I heard from him was: ‘To confuse nudity with indecency is the distinguishing mark of the barbarian.’ I wonder whether the Greeks really said this. Stoughton Holborn certainly said it with a strong Scotch accent. Nothing of the slightest interest seems to be happening in public affairs. It would be better to close the whole show down for ...

Carers or Consumers?

Barbara Taylor: 18th-Century Women, 4 November 2010

Women and Enlightenment in 18th-Century Britain 
by Karen O’Brien.
Cambridge, 310 pp., £17.99, March 2009, 978 0 521 77427 7
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... History of Women. Alexander was a man of the Enlightenment who regarded politeness to women as a mark of civilisation. Savages and ‘musselmen’ might treat their women as sexual helots, but a gentleman was solicitous of his womenfolk. Whether women deserved such treatment was another matter. Modern European women were commendably good-hearted, always ...

One Good Side

Brendan Simms: Edvard Benes, 18 February 1999

The Life of Edvard Benes, 1884-1948: Czechoslovakia in Peace and War 
by Zbynek Zeman and Antonin Klimek.
Oxford, 293 pp., £40, July 1997, 9780198205838
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... Edvard Benes, as A.J.P. Taylor once remarked, enjoyed the doubtful distinction of having signed away his country twice, once to the Germans, and later to the Russians. His capitulation at Munich in 1938, the betrayal by Britain and France, the tribulations of the Nazi occupation and the final humiliation of the Soviet takeover in 1948 all helped to foster the image of a democratic, peace-loving Czechoslovakia which has endured to the present day ...

How do you see Susan?

Mary Beard: No Asp for Zenobia, 20 March 2003

Cleopatra: Beyond the Myth 
by Michel Chauveau, translated by David Lorton.
Cornell, 104 pp., £14.95, April 2002, 0 8014 3867 5
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The Roman Mistress: Ancient and Modern Representations 
by Maria Wyke.
Oxford, 452 pp., £40, March 2002, 9780198150756
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... Emperor, Augustus. Three days of triumphal procession through the streets of the capital – to mark his victories over an assortment of Northern barbarians, over Mark Antony’s forces at the battle of Actium and finally over Egypt itself – were to draw a line under civil war and inaugurate the new regime. Along with ...

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