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Is there another place from which the dickhead’s self can speak?

Marina Warner: The body and law, 1 October 1998

Bodies of Law 
by Alan Hyde.
Princeton, 290 pp., £39.50, July 1997, 0 691 01229 6
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... been accompanied – and deepened – by a myriad interpretative moves. The originality of Alan Hyde’s Bodies of Law is that he is trying to apply psychoanalytic, structuralist, poststructuralist and feminist theories of the embodied individual to the analysis of American law. His approach depends on the Foucauldian tenet that while bodies exist in the ...


Brigid Brophy, 2 December 1982

Bernard Shaw: The Darker Side 
by Arnold Silver.
Stanford, 353 pp., $25, January 1982, 0 8047 1091 0
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Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence 
edited by Mary Hyde.
Murray, 237 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 7195 3947 1
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... The most charming fact I have stumbled on in intellectual history is that Freud and Shaw were shocked by one another. Freud’s wounded romanticism speaks in his reference (in Group Psychology, 1921) to ‘Bernard Shaw’s malicious aphorism to the effect that being in love means greatly exaggerating the difference between one woman and another.’ If I am right in supposing that what he had in mind is one of the speeches Undershaft addresses to Cusins at the climax of Major Barbara, ‘Like all young men, you greatly exaggerate the difference between one young woman and another,’ then Freud has performed a little secondary elaboration ...

Beneath the Ice-Shelf

Aidan Higgins, 15 September 1983

... the imprisoned Leigh Hunt who had been put away for two years for ridiculing the Prince Regent. Hyde Park was then littered with dirty people and provisions (not that much has changed in the interval), Mary Lamb had toothache very badly and was about to go mad again. Insanity ran in the Lamb family like a streak through ...

Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis, 4 April 2002

Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... it as the first of the serial homicides. Curtis’s study begins with the murder on 31 August of Mary Ann (‘Polly’) Nichols, whose abdomen was so savagely ripped open that her intestines were exposed. Her windpipe, gullet and spinal cord were severed, and her private parts had been stabbed. The murder on 8 September of Annie Chapman was even more ...

Builder of Ruins

Mary Beard: Arthur Evans, 30 November 2000

Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth 
by J.A. MacGillivray.
Cape, 313 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 224 04352 8
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... piece of Morris wallpaper). But later in the century, artists, film-makers and novelists (notably Mary Renault) in their turn found inspiration in what he and his team had created. There are very few movies set in the heroic age of Greece that do not derive their backdrop, at least in part, from the ‘Palace of Minos’. This popularity is hardly ...

Why we have them I can’t think

Rosemary Hill: ‘Mrs Woolf and the Servants’, 16 August 2007

Mrs Woolf and the Servants: The Hidden Heart of Domestic Service 
by Alison Light.
Fig Tree, 376 pp., £20, August 2007, 978 0 670 86717 2
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... reveals incidentally, a minor theme in the history of architecture. The Stephens’ home at 22 Hyde Park Gate had a staff of seven to look after a household of 11. It was a tall terraced house which the family extended yet further upwards, and if the front wall had been removed the interior would have revealed, like a slightly sinister dolls’ house, a ...

Much of a Scramble

Francesca Wade: Ray Strachey, 23 January 2020

A Working Woman: The Remarkable Life of Ray Strachey 
by Jennifer Holmes.
Troubador, 392 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 1 78901 654 3
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... lives guided her in steering a course away from her own mother’s demands. Strachey’s mother, Mary Whitall Smith, lived for emotional drama and the struggle, as she would later put it, for ‘self-development, real education, knowledge, enjoyment’. From a wealthy family of Philadelphia Quakers, Mary shocked her ...

Break their teeth, O God

Colin Kidd: The Trial of Sacheverell, 21 August 2014

Faction Displayed: Reconsidering the Impeachment of Dr Henry Sacheverell 
edited by Mark Knights.
Wiley-Blackwell, 132 pp., £19.99, February 2012, 978 1 4443 6187 2
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The State Trial of Doctor Henry Sacheverell 
edited by Brian Cowan.
Wiley-Blackwell, 307 pp., £22.99, November 2012, 978 1 4443 3223 0
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... reason King James II was forced out and replaced by reliably Protestant co-rulers, William and Mary. This Revolution brought in its train several other constitutional changes. Within two decades the succession had been diverted through the Act of Settlement (1701) to the Protestant Hanoverian line whose direct descendants have reigned since the death of ...

No looking at my elephant

Mary Wellesley: Menageries, 15 December 2016

Menagerie: The History of Exotic Animals in England 1100-1837 
by Caroline Grigson.
Oxford, 349 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 19 871470 5
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... exotic animals has, at times, interlocked with larger political agendas. During the Interregnum, Hyde Park and other royal parks were sold off for the good of the Commonwealth; theatres and bear pits were closed down. The Royal Menagerie in St James’s Park fell into disuse, and Oliver Cromwell’s wife kept a dairy there. After the Restoration, Charles II ...

Why are we bad?

Paul Seabright, 15 November 1984

Wickedness: A Philosophical Essay 
by Mary Midgley.
Routledge, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1984, 9780710097590
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... only creature that has a nasty mind.’ Why? There, in a word, you have the question addressed by Mary Midgley’s new book. It is different from the Problem of Evil as this has been traditionally known to theologians – namely, how an omnipotent and good God could create a world that has evil within. Theodicy has always been capable of interpretation in two ...

A History

Allan Massie, 19 February 1981

The Kennaway Papers 
by James Kennaway and Susan Kennaway.
Cape, 141 pp., £5.50, January 1981, 0 224 01865 5
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... rich young men, drinking Bloody Marys, which they call Club’s Blood. ‘It’s the best Bloody Mary in the world,’ he is told. ‘The doctor thought, the Bloody Marys only seem stronger because it is so cold, so very cold outside, with that wind blowing across the icy lake.’ For this is Chicago 1968, and the boys in the club are getting tanked up for a ...

One of the Lads

Mary Beard, 18 June 1998

Hadrian: The Restless Emperor 
by Anthony Birley.
Routledge, 424 pp., £40, October 1997, 9780415165440
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... built, covering an area more than twice the size of the town of Pompeii (it was almost as large as Hyde Park). It was not just a single building, more a city in itself – combining grand entertainment suites, bathing complexes, libraries, theatres, dining-rooms, kitchens, service quarters and fantastic pleasure gardens. A visit to the site today captures ...

Shaving-Pot in Waiting

Rosemary Hill: Victoria’s Albert, 23 February 2012

Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death That Changed the Monarchy 
by Helen Rappaport.
Hutchinson, 336 pp., £20, November 2011, 978 0 09 193154 4
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by Jules Stewart.
I.B. Tauris, 276 pp., £19.99, October 2011, 978 1 84885 977 7
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... part of the century blotted out the prince consort again. The gilded figure enshrined in the Hyde Park memorial gradually congealed into Lytton Strachey’s ‘impeccable waxwork’ and Albert, as an individual, was for some time lost to history. The younger son of a minor Bavarian duke of philandering habits, he had started at a disadvantage, which he ...

No Clapping

Rosemary Hill: The Bloomsbury Memoir Club, 17 July 2014

The Bloomsbury Group Memoir Club 
by S.P. Rosenbaum, edited by James Haule.
Palgrave, 203 pp., £20, January 2014, 978 1 137 36035 9
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... Maynard Keynes, Vanessa and Clive Bell, Duncan Grant, the Woolfs, Lytton Strachey and Forster. Mary Hutchinson and Sydney Waterlow were also invited but fell by the wayside. Even by Bloomsbury standards it was an exclusive set. The members were all related by blood or marriage or, which weighed more heavily with some of them, by friendships formed as ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... is no acknowledgment of the debates over women’s rights, sexuality and reproduction in which Mary Robinson, for example, established her reputation. Indeed, one could read through this whole anthology without ever confronting the idea that sexuality has been a vexatious political issue in Irish history. Even Terence Brown’s introduction to the useful ...

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