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God’s Endurance

Peter Clarke, 30 November 1995

by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 698 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 333 60216 1
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... acknowledges the assistance of others, notably the editor of the Gladstone diaries, H.C.G. Matthew, Jenkins has extended himself formidably over seven hundred pages, displaying a sure grasp of a mass of baffling detail. He is the first biographer to draw on all 13 fat volumes of the published edition of the diaries: an incomparable source which he ...

Dreadful Sentiments

Tom Paulin, 3 April 1986

The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats. Vol. I: 1865-1895 
edited by John Kelly and Eric Domville.
Oxford, 548 pp., £22.50, January 1986, 0 19 812679 4
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... and sister of Charles Stewart) take on an almost fictive existence, like characters in a novel. Herbert Horne and Yeats’s view of him, Yeats’s ‘hushed, musical, eerie’ manner of speaking on that night in Southwark, as well as Crilly’s recent trial on a political charge, all become intensely present, so that a hasty scrawl in a London editor’s ...

Phantom Gold

John Pemble: Victorian Capitalism, 7 January 2016

Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds and the Rise of Modern Finance 
by Ian Klaus.
Yale, 287 pp., £18.99, January 2015, 978 0 300 18194 4
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... this way of thinking. Fire and brimstone evangelists like Carlyle, agonised agnostics like Matthew Arnold, Arts and Crafts socialists like Ruskin and Morris, and vegetarian Fabians like Shaw and the Webbs accused capitalism of betraying what was best for all by bringing out the worst in each. In Victorian fiction its heroes are few, and overshadowed by ...


John Mullan: Eric Griffiths, 23 May 2019

If Not Critical 
by Eric Griffiths, edited by Freya Johnston.
Oxford, 248 pp., £25, March 2018, 978 0 19 880529 8
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The Printed Voice of Victorian Poetry 
by Eric Griffiths.
Oxford, 351 pp., £55, July 2018, 978 0 19 882701 6
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... duties – Griffiths published only a monograph about Victorian poetry and, in collaboration with Matthew Reynolds, an anthology of English translations of Dante. This was not an output to impress today’s REF bureaucrats. His thinking, and his efforts to describe the intricate working of literary texts, was largely contained in his lectures. Now Freya ...

A Little Talk in Downing St

Bee Wilson, 17 November 2016

My Darling Mr Asquith: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Venetia Stanley 
by Stefan Buczacki.
Cato and Clarke, 464 pp., £28.99, April 2016, 978 0 9934186 0 0
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... and post-Edwardian times. In the letters of love and friendship exchanged between the members of Herbert Asquith’s circle – he was the Liberal prime minister from 1908 to 1916 – ‘dearest’ meant something different from ‘darling’ and ‘my darling’ was something else again. As Stefan Buczacki parses it, plain ‘darling’ was so commonly used ...

All the Sad Sages

Ferdinand Mount: Bagehot, 6 February 2014

Memoirs of Walter Bagehot 
by Frank Prochaska.
Yale, 207 pp., £18.99, August 2013, 978 0 300 19554 5
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... muddy tones, they peered out from behind straggly beards and whiskers with sad, rheumy eyes – Matthew Arnold, Carlyle, Swinburne, William Morris, Leslie Stephen, Tennyson – giving off a steamy despair. They had heard the melancholy long withdrawing roar of faith, and they did not like the sound of it. Today relegated to a wall in a side room, these ...

‘I’m not racist, but …’

Daniel Trilling, 18 April 2019

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities 
by Eric Kaufman.
Allen Lane, 617 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 241 31710 5
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National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy 
by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin.
Pelican, 384 pp., £9.99, October 2018, 978 0 241 31200 1
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... criticised Coates’s ideas, from a variety of positions.* He treats Marcel Duchamp, New Labour, Herbert Marcuse and US affirmative action policies as if they are all part of the same continuous trend. More important, Kaufmann gives too little consideration to the difference between top-down initiatives – the celebration of diversity in advertising ...

A Great Big Silly Goose

Seamus Perry: Characteristically Spenderish, 21 May 2020

Poems Written Abroad: The Lilly Library Manuscript 
by Stephen Spender.
Indiana, 112 pp., £27.99, July 2019, 978 0 253 04167 8
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... up by the literary world – a friend of Nicolsons, Lehmanns and Woolfs, who lunched with Eliot, Herbert Read and Lady Ottoline Morrell, and a reviewer in the leading journals. A pamphlet, Twenty Poems, had appeared to much acclaim in 1930, and three years later Poems was published by Faber to strikingly good reviews. ‘Another Shelley speaks in these ...

Infatuated Worlds

Jerome McGann, 22 September 1994

Thomas Chatterton: Early Sources and Responses 
Routledge/Thoemmes, £295, July 1993, 0 415 09255 8Show More
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... it is a deficiency that the collection should lack certain of the most important early sources: Herbert Croft’s Love and Madness (1780), John Broughton’s edition of the Miscellanies in Verse and Prose; by Thomas Chatterton (1778) as well as the books by Dr Jeremiah Milles and Jacob Bryant. In these (often amazing) Early Sources and Responses, the oddly ...

Dancing Senator

Pat Rogers, 7 November 1985

Memoirs of King George II: Vols I, II and III 
by Horace Walpole, edited by John Brooke.
Yale, 248 pp., £65, June 1985, 0 300 03197 1
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... separate edition of the memoirs not yet mentioned: the selection of Memoirs and Portraits made by Matthew Hodgart in 1963. Brooke never once refers to this excellent sampling, the first to use some of the new materials assembled by W.S. Lewis. Almost every truly significant passage or sustained characterisation in the George II memoirs is represented in ...

Gloomy Pageant

Jeremy Harding: Britain Comma Now, 31 July 2014

Mammon’s Kingdom: An Essay on Britain, Now 
by David Marquand.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 1 84614 672 5
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... who shaped ‘the mood of their age’: inter alia, Carlyle, Ruskin, Cardinal Manning and Matthew Arnold. They’re here because, as Dicey saw, they are identified with a collectivist turn in Victorian thinking. All four, along with Mill, were in Marquand’s phrase ‘custodians of the public conscience’. Keynes is a friend for obvious reasons, and ...

Knobs, Dots and Grooves

Peter Campbell: Henry Moore, 8 August 2002

Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations 
edited by Alan Wilkinson.
Lund Humphries, 320 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 85331 847 6
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The Penguin Modern Painters: A History 
by Carol Peaker.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 124 pp., £15, August 2001, 0 9527401 4 1
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... Ben Nicholson, was published in 1937. Although they roped in a few contributors, such as Herbert Read, who were willing to give the Surrealists (for example) the time of day, only non-representational painting, abstract sculpture and asymmetrical and undecorated architecture are illustrated. The names on the cover show native troops stiffened by a ...

Appelfeld 1990

Christopher Ricks, 8 February 1990

... to return from the village.  And when all the coats had been sold, the jewels and the suits, Herbert went into Balaban’s room, sorted out his clothes and tied them up in a sheet. Tomorrow he would sell them to the farmers. At night, of course, people were afraid. But they helped one another. If a man fell or was beaten, he was not abandoned.‘Of ...

Falklands Title Deeds

Malcolm Deas, 19 August 1982

The Struggle for the Falkland Islands 
by Julius Goebel, introduced by J.C.J. Metford.
Yale, 482 pp., £10, June 1982, 0 300 02943 8
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The Falklands Islands Dispute: International Dimensions 
edited by Joan Pearce.
Chatham House, 47 pp., £2.75, April 1982, 0 905031 25 3
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The Falkland Islands: The Facts 
HMSO, 12 pp., £50, May 1982, 0 11 701029 4Show More
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... be more valuable to minor politicians in the Argentine... than it will be to men of vision. A.P. Herbert in the Law Quarterly Review, Vol.44, 1928, came to much the same conclusion: ‘One may well ask whether it was worth while raising the question of British rights, even academically.’ Misleading Cases, in the same volume, gets a better notice. Dr Goebel ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... Society and £50,000 in a Coutts bank account. There was no family money. His grandfather, Herbert Morrison, left his daughter nothing. Although Mandelson’s salary increased when he briefly served in the Cabinet, the gap between income and outgoings remains dizzying and unexplored. Only the English can dismiss the need to ask impertinent questions of ...

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