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Saving the World

Barbara Wootton

19 June 1980
Sage: A Life of J.D. Bernal 
by Maurice Goldsmith.
Hutchinson, 255 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 9780091395506
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... Margot Heinemann as his domestic companion. In addition to these relatively durable relationships, Goldsmith says that Bernal was a ‘great lover’ and had ‘given pleasure to many women’, and that ‘when he travelled abroad his hosts, especially the Russians, usually made some appropriate arrangements.’ At Fingest, any of us who were there together ...

A Skeleton My Cat

Norma Clarke: ‘Poor Goldsmith

21 February 2019
The Letters of Oliver Goldsmith 
edited by Michael Griffin and David O’Shaughnessy.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £64.99, July 2018, 978 1 107 09353 9
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... Is​ there an 18th-century writer to rival Oliver Goldsmith? Who else achieved lasting popular and critical success in all three major genres? The Vicar of Wakefield has never been out of print; The Deserted Village was a schoolroom favourite well into the 20th century; and She Stoops to Conquer is still performed ...

New-Model History

Valerie Pearl

7 February 1980
The City and the Court 1603-1643 
by Robert Ashton.
Cambridge, 247 pp., £10.50, September 1980, 0 521 22419 5
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... inconsiderable concessions from the liveries is not touched upon in this book. A dispute in the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1529 relating to that change is wrongly described by Ashton as a dispute within the Livery over the powers exercised by the Court of Assistants. In fact, the Livery was not divided and the dispute was not about the Court of ...
1 July 1982
The Great Detectives: Seven Original Investigations 
by Julian Symons.
Orbis, 143 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 85613 362 0
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Critical Observations 
by Julian Symons.
Faber, 213 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 571 11688 4
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As I walked down New Grub Street: Memories of a Writing Life 
by Walter Allen.
Heinemann, 276 pp., £8.95, November 1981, 0 434 01829 5
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... Dr Leavis himself. Then came the Second World War and a sudden upsurge in reputation, with Maurice Bowra, Stephen Spender, John Piper, Kenneth Clark, John Lehmann and others going hysterical about her: a kind of trendy Stringalong situation, we are invited to judge. Then by 1954 it is all over and the balloon deflated for good. Can my dislike of this ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods

21 January 1999
A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... It is easy to argue about the uncertain Irishness of certain writers. Was Sterne Irish? Was Oliver Goldsmith Irish? Was Robert Tressell Irish? Is Iris Murdoch Irish? But the argument about who was gay and who was not and how we know is more difficult. How can someone be gay if, as in the case of Gogol, there is no direct evidence? Yet if you trawl through ...
23 May 1985
Secret Gardens 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Allen and Unwin, 235 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 04 809022 0
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Reading and Righting 
by Robert Leeson.
Collins, 256 pp., £6.95, March 1985, 9780001844131
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Pipers at the Gates of Dawn 
by Jonathan Cott.
Viking, 327 pp., £12.95, August 1984, 0 670 80003 1
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... deprecation, during the rational 18th century, on account of its outlandish elements (we find Goldsmith offering to bring ‘Dick Whittington’ into line with the current ‘educational’ policy on children’s fiction by cutting out the cat). ‘Tom Thumb shall now be thrown away,’ decreed an anti-fantasist of the period: however, as Leeson smartly ...

Subversions

R.W. Johnson

4 June 1987
Traitors: The Labyrinths of Treason 
by Chapman Pincher.
Sidgwick, 346 pp., £13.95, May 1987, 0 283 99379 0
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The Secrets of the Service: British Intelligence and Communist Subversion 1939-51 
by Anthony Glees.
Cape, 447 pp., £18, May 1987, 0 224 02252 0
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Freedom of Information – Freedom of the Individual? 
by Clive Ponting, John Ranelagh, Michael Zander and Simon Lee, edited by Julia Neuberger.
Macmillan, 110 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 333 44771 9
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... so on and so on. Despite the transparent craziness of such notions, the head of MI6 himself, Sir Maurice Oldfield, went along for some time with the idea that the Sino-Soviet split was a fake. The terrifying fact was that Angleton, when asked about co-operation with friendly intelligence services, would deny that there was such a thing as a friendly ...

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