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Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 16 July 1998

Lyric Wonder: Rhetoric and Wit in Renaissance English Poetry 
by James Biester.
Cornell, 226 pp., £31.50, May 1997, 0 8014 3313 4
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Reason Diminished: Shakespeare and the Marvellous 
by Peter Platt.
Nebraska, 271 pp., £42.75, January 1998, 0 8032 3714 6
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Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder 
by T.G. Bishop.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £32.50, January 1996, 0 521 55086 6
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The Genius of Shakespeare 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 386 pp., £20, September 1997, 0 330 35317 9
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... Harold Bloom on the influence of Marlowe, Peter Conrad on Shakespeare and Romantic opera, Michael Bristol on the ‘culture wars’) without thinking very hard about either their implications or their compatibility. (It’s manifestly counter-productive, for example, to conclude an engagingly fervent book about the unique irreplaceability of ...


Terence Hawkes, 22 February 1990

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe 
by Andrew Gurr and John Orrell.
Weidenfeld, 197 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 297 79346 2
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Shakespeare and the Popular Voice 
by Annabel Patterson.
Blackwell, 195 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 631 16873 7
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Re-Inventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present 
by Gary Taylor.
Hogarth, 461 pp., £18, January 1990, 0 7012 0888 0
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Shakespeare’s America, America’s Shakespeare 
by Michael Bristol.
Routledge, 237 pp., £30, January 1990, 0 415 01538 3
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... from the wings in the most recent example of what might be termed American cultural materialism, Michael Bristol’s fascinating Shakespeare’s America, America’s Shakespeare. Taylor’s nationality, his co-editorship of the Oxford Shakespeare, to say nothing of his capacity for discovering ‘new’ poems by the Bard (the best-forgotten ‘Shall I ...

Scoutmaster General

Peter Clarke, 24 September 1992

Tony Benn 
by Jad Adams.
Macmillan, 576 pp., £20, July 1992, 0 333 52558 2
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The End of an Era: Diaries, 1980-1990 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 704 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 09 174857 7
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... at 40 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, next door to Sidney and Beatrice Webb. With his elder brother Michael, Anthony went to the local school (Westminster), and he grew up thinking that he might work locally too, just like his dad. Lady Stansgate gives another insight on the boys’ upbringing: ‘They used to pretend they were workmen called Bill and Jim ...

Myrtle Street

Hugh Pennington: The Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry, 8 March 2001

Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry Report 
by Michael Redfern and Jean Keeling.
Stationery Office, 535 pp., £40, January 2001, 9780102775013
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The Inquiry into the Management of Care of Children Receiving Complex Heart Surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary: Interim Report: Removal and Retention of Human Material 
Bristol Royal Infirmary, 56 pp., May 2000Show More
Report of the Independent Review Group on the Retention of Organs at Post-Mortem 
46 pp., January 2001Show More
The Removal, Retention and Use of Human Organs and Tissue from Post-Mortem Examination 
Stationery Office, 48 pp., £16.95, January 2001, 0 11 322532 6Show More
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... had been retained following the post-mortem occasioned by her death after cardiac surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. In March 1996, Mrs Rickard watched a television programme about paediatric cardiac surgery in Bristol, which led her to ask the hospital for her daughter’s medical records. On learning from them that ...

Did more mean worse?

Michael Brock, 23 October 1986

Government and the Universities in Britain: Programme and Performance 1960-1980 
by John Carswell.
Cambridge, 181 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 9780521258265
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... with the Committee. Like every other commentator Mr Carswell judges Morris, the Vice-Chancellor of Bristol, to have been the most powerful member of the group. His summary of Morris’s attitude and position could not be bettered. ‘For the Robbins Committee to succeed,’ he writes, it had to deliver a report with which the universities would co-operate, as ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton, 20 September 2001

Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... and forgery. Chatterton not only invented the character and work of Thomas Rowley, supposedly a Bristol monk, but also carefully presented it in faded ink on artificially aged parchment, strangely intent on fooling connoisseurs of medieval literature such as Horace Walpole, author of the earliest Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, and publishers such as ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1990, 24 January 1991

... rabbits, weasels and so on; and as a first step have been watching videos and nature films. Michael Bryant, who plays Badger, is sceptical about this, as older actors tend to be. However, Jane Gibson, who is teaching them movement, thinks she has made a breakthrough when Michael asks if he can take away the videos and ...

Later, Not Now

Christopher L. Brown: Histories of Emancipation, 15 July 2021

Murder on the Middle Passage: The Trial of Captain Kimber 
by Nicholas Rogers.
Boydell, 267 pp., £16.99, April 2020, 978 1 78327 482 6
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The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery 
by Michael Taylor.
Bodley Head, 382 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 1 84792 571 8
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... do with it can’t always be predicted, as last year’s toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol showed. But, by any measure, the degree of attention recently given to topics once seen as peripheral to British history is impressive. According to the Royal Historical Society’s Bibliography of British and Irish History, since 2007 more has been ...

A Sort of Nobody

Michael Wood, 9 May 1996

Not Entitled: A Memoir 
by Frank Kermode.
HarperCollins, 263 pp., £18, May 1996, 0 00 255519 0
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... the Second World War. He got lecturing jobs at Newcastle and Reading; then chairs at Manchester, Bristol, London and Cambridge. Never one to miss an irony against himself, he remembers the double meaning lurking in the word ‘professor’: ‘what you have principally done to earn a living has been to teach, or profess to.’ He doesn’t think he was a ...


Alexei Sayle: The 006 from Liverpool to London, 19 January 1984

... In this series Paul Theroux takes the London Transport Number 19 from his house down to the shops. Michael Frayn goes on a sight-seeing tour round Sheffield, and Michael Palin pays five quid to go to India on an old Leeds Corporation double-decker. And I, in a bus-ride down memory motorway, take the number 006 National Coach ...

No Theatricks

Ferdinand Mount: Burke, 21 August 2014

The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: from the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence 
by David Bromwich.
Harvard, 500 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 0 674 72970 4
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Moral Imagination: Essays 
by David Bromwich.
Princeton, 350 pp., £19.95, March 2014, 978 0 691 16141 9
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... Ireland, although free trade with Ireland was scarcely a cause calculated to endear him to the Bristol merchants who had elected him to Parliament. Nor was his support of the American colonists, which made him so unpopular in Bristol that he told his constituents in August 1776, ‘in this temper of yours and of my ...

Spying made easy

M.F. Perutz, 25 June 1987

Klaus Fuchs: The man who stole the atom bomb 
by Norman Moss.
Grafton, 216 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 246 13158 6
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... On 10 September 1949 Michael Perrin, one of the heads of the British Atomic Energy Programme, was woken up by an urgent telephone call asking him to come to the communications room at the US Embassy in London. There his opposite number in the Pentagon asked that an RAF plane be sent to the upper atmosphere to check radioactivity detected by the US Air Force that appeared to signal a Soviet atomic explosion ...

Nouvelle Vague

Anthony Quinn, 7 January 1993

The Conclave 
by Michael Bracewell.
Secker, 339 pp., £8.99, October 1992, 0 436 20020 1
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Cock & Bull 
by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 310 pp., £9.99, October 1992, 0 7475 1274 4
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... Readers making their way through Michael Bracewell’s latest novel may gradually become aware of a small but persistent ache: it comes of the author nudging them in the ribs. There is no chance of being caught napping during the various crises and cruces of The Conclave because Bracewell signposts them all with a diligence and clarity that would not disgrace a sightseeing guide ...


A.J.P. Taylor: Birthdays and Centenaries, 5 May 1983

... of my 21st birthday. The guests included Norman Cameron and Tom Driberg, now both dead, and ‘Michael Innes’, still alive. We had dinner in a private room at the George restaurant, now also dead. Halfway through dinner the waiter asked to speaks to me in private. Then he said: ‘I am a respectable married man and if that gentleman comes out again I ...


Tim Dee: Twitching, 11 March 2010

... I’d never seen one; few people in Britain had. I was offered a place in a car travelling from Bristol and eagerly accepted. My bird-listing years, long dreamed of, were about to begin. The four of us spread out along the bank at Breydon between 20 other observers and stared at the mud. I was schooled in the awful disappointment of the ‘dip’: the ...

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