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Unhappy Mothers

Judy Dunn, 17 July 1980

Babyshock 
edited by John Cobb.
Hutchinson, 255 pp., £5.95, May 1980, 9780091408305
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Infancy 
by Martin Richards.
Harper and Row, £4.95, March 1980, 9780063181243
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Childhood 
by Sheldon White and Barbara Notkin White.
Harper and Row, £4.95, March 1980, 0 06 318122 3
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... ten or fifteen years ago for a professional psychologist to assert on his own authority, as Martin Richards does, that in England most babies are hit before the age of one. Richards’s book is an example of a new style of professional writing concerned to unite social realism with developmental understanding. We ...

Boy’s Own

Erika Hagelberg: Adam, Eve and genetics, 20 November 2003

The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Astonishing Story that Reveals How Each of Us Can Trace Our Genetic Ancestors 
by Bryan Sykes.
Corgi, 368 pp., £6.99, May 2002, 0 552 14876 8
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Mapping Human History: Unravelling the Mystery of Adam and Eve 
by Steve Olson.
Bloomsbury, 293 pp., £7.99, July 2003, 0 7475 6174 5
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The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey 
by Spencer Wells.
Penguin, 224 pp., £8.99, May 2003, 0 14 100832 6
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... B. Many sub-Saharan peoples fall into subgroups of a haplogroup given the letter L. In 1996, Martin Richards at Oxford and several other scientists, including the mathematician Hans-Jürgen Bandelt and Bryan Sykes, concluded that most of the mitochondrial DNA types of living Europeans fall into several major haplogroups, eventually named ...

Norman Bread

Christopher Holdsworth, 16 October 1980

The Norman Conquest of the North 
by William Kapelle.
Croom Helm, 329 pp., £14.95, March 1980, 0 7099 0040 6
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Consul of God 
by Jeffrey Richards.
Routledge, 309 pp., £9.75, March 1980, 0 7100 0346 3
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Martin of Tours 
by Christopher Donaldson.
Routledge, 171 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 7100 0422 2
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Mistra 
by Steven Runciman.
Thames and Hudson, 160 pp., £9.50, March 1980, 0 500 25071 5
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... which make consideration of them together worthwhile. The earliest is Christopher Donaldson’s Martin of Tours, which concerns the life of a soldier who around the middle of the fourth century left his career in middle life to become a hermit and ultimately bishop of a see in north France. Consul of God by Jeffrey ...

Hairy

E.S. Turner, 1 October 1987

The war the Infantry knew 1914-1919: A Chronicle of Service in France and Belgium 
by Captain J.C. Dunn, introduced by Keith Simpson.
Jane’s, 613 pp., £18, April 1987, 0 7106 0485 8
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Passchendaele: The Story behind the Tragic Victory of 1917 
by Philip Warner.
Sidgwick, 269 pp., £13.95, June 1987, 0 283 99364 2
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Poor Bloody Infantry: A Subaltern on the Western Front 1916-17 
by Bernard Martin.
Murray, 174 pp., £11.95, April 1987, 0 7195 4374 6
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... That), Siegfried Sassoon (Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer) and Frank Richards (not, as some have supposed, the creator of Billy Bunter but the author of Old soldiers never die, an excellent view of the war by a Regular in the ranks). As many will know, Good-Bye to All That, published in 1929, erupted like a burst of mustard ...

Nutmegged

Frank Kermode: The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 by Martin Amis., 10 May 2001

The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 506 pp., £20, April 2001, 0 224 05059 1
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... can be left till later, if only a little later. Clichés are infallible symptoms of used thinking. Martin Amis has always wanted to be a good writer and he has got what he wanted. He early acquired a habit of vigilance, of stopping clichés at the frontier, and that habit couldn’t easily be broken. He is one of the few critics who trouble, even in a shortish ...

Fame at last

Elaine Showalter, 7 November 1991

Anne Sexton: A Biography 
by Diane Wood Middlebrook.
Virago, 488 pp., £20, November 1991, 1 85381 406 7
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... Russell and Jane Wyman, or Joan Crawford and Joan Fontaine. It was clear that Anne – drinking a martini, talking too loud – was the bad girl, and that Maxine was taking anxious care of her. It had been a difficult year. Anne’s divorce from Kayo Sexton, the businessman she had married at 19, had not been a leap into a Hollywood dream of glamorous ...

Diary

Karl Miller: On Doubles, 2 May 1985

... to a close: every few months came a further contribution – not a few of them from the pen of Martin Amis – to a subject which is widely supposed to be exhausted. To suppose it exhausted is not to be unable to suppose that its new works may be pathfinders: the subject presents both faces. At all events, I swallowed my anxieties and tackled The ...

Mingling Freely at the Mermaid

Blair Worden: 17th-century poets and politics, 6 November 2003

The Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parliament: Literary and Historical Perspectives 
edited by Stephen Clucas and Rosalind Davies.
Ashgate, 213 pp., £45, November 2003, 0 7546 0681 3
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The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair 1603-60 
by Alastair Bellany.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £45, January 2002, 0 521 78289 9
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... wars, in opposition to its historical inheritance. The faculty’s polemical heavyweights, I.A. Richards and F.R. Leavis, had both given up an undergraduate history degree and taken against the subject. Richards recalled that he ‘couldn’t bear history’ and ‘didn’t think history ought to have happened’. Around ...

Got to go make that dollar

Alex Abramovich: Otis Redding, 3 January 2019

Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life 
by Jonathan Gould.
Crown, 544 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 0 307 45395 2
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... the Rolling Stones had conceived as a homage to Redding and the Stax studio sound; Keith Richards later called the Stones’ version ‘a demo for Otis’). Slow, pleading ballads like ‘These Arms of Mine’, ‘Chained and Bound’, ‘My Lover’s Prayer’, ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ and ‘Pain in My Heart’ may have been his bread ...

After-Time

Christopher Hitchens, 19 October 1995

Palimpsest: A Memoir 
by Gore Vidal.
Deutsch, 432 pp., £17.99, October 1995, 0 233 98891 2
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... ancestor with the current Vice-President, whom Vidal refuses to meet because of his connection to Martin Peretz’s plaything, the New Republic), the boy became steeped in American political lore and in the unending battle between ‘We the People’ and the robber barons and malefactors of great wealth. Engaged as a reader to the blind old man, he also ...

Like What Our Peasants Still Are

Landeg White: Afrocentrism, 13 May 1999

Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes 
by Stephen Howe.
Verso, 337 pp., £22, June 1998, 1 85984 873 7
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... 1981). They have since, however, been given an enormous boost by the controversy surrounding Martin Bernal’s Black Athena (1987), described by one critic as the ‘most discussed book on the ancient history of the eastern Mediterranean world since the Bible’. Bernal’s contention is that ancient Greece was massively indebted, not just culturally but ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor, 18 February 2016

The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... a compliment. It was that other place, inhabited by bolshie ideologues like Leavis, Empson, I.A. Richards and Raymond Williams, which set the pace as far as concepts and critical procedures were concerned, and which engaged in such superfluous pursuits as reflecting on why one was studying literature in the first place. Oxford people just read the books and ...

What’s the big idea?

Jonathan Parry: The Origins of Our Decline, 30 November 2017

The Age of Decadence: Britain 1880 to 1914 
by Simon Heffer.
Random House, 912 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 84794 742 0
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... values, typified by Mr Pooter, and schoolboys lapped up the snobbish school stories of Frank Richards. They also demanded new sporting heroes: many cricketers became celebrities, particularly if they cultivated swagger. W.G. Grace maintained his stardom because few knew he had a squeaky voice, but several other on-field heroes – A.E. Stoddart, William ...

Off-Beat

Iain Sinclair, 6 June 1996

... Uninvited by Bill Clinton to join other high-achieving Italian-Americans, such as Nicolas Cage, Martin Scorsese and ex-baseball player Joe Garagiola, at the bean-feast held in honour of President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Corso is typecast as an involuntary amnesia case, a sleeve-tugger of enormous charm. A street poet in an age that has no use for poets or ...

Cold Feet

Frank Kermode, 22 July 1993

Essays on Renaissance Literature. Vol. I: Donne and the New Philosophy 
by William Empson, edited by John Haffenden.
Cambridge, 296 pp., £35, March 1993, 0 521 44043 2
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William Empson: The Critical Achievement 
edited by Chistopher Norris and Nigel Mapp.
Cambridge, 319 pp., £35, March 1993, 0 521 35386 6
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... Empson’s return from China; this fashion, led by such as C.S. Lewis and practised by such as Fr Martin Jarrett-Kerr, seemed interesting to others, who may thus have seemed, willy-nilly, to be crypto-Christians. One point of importance in this, as usual good, but as usual digressive, essay concerns Empson’s refusal to distinguish between the truth of ...

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