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The Big Store

Norman Hampson

21 January 1982
The Bon Marché: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store 1869-1920 
by Michael Miller.
Allen and Unwin, 266 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 0 04 330316 1
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Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the 19th Century 
by Bonnie Smith.
Princeton, 303 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 691 05330 8
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Marianne into Battle: Republican Imagery and Symbolism in France 1789-1880 
by Maurice Agulhon, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Cambridge, 235 pp., £18.50, June 1981, 0 521 28224 1
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... the replacement of Squire Allworthy by Mr Bounderby. In this interesting and original book, Michael Miller suggests that they may have ordered these things better in France. His subject is the history of the greatest of the 19th-century Paris department stores, the Bon Marché, from its creation until the 1914 War. In his conclusion, however, he ...
3 March 1988
Timebends: A Life 
by Arthur Miller.
Methuen, 614 pp., £17.95, November 1987, 0 413 41480 9
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Vivien Leigh: The Life of Vivien Leigh 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 342 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79118 4
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... Pursuing the truth about the McCarthyite witch-hunt via 17th-century Salem, Arthur Miller was one day transfixed by an etching in a library. It had been made by an eyewitness of the original trials, and showed a bearded judge with arms upraised in horror as he watched a covey of girls screaming and clawing at invisible tormentors ...

Who speaks for the state?

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Brexit in Court

1 December 2016
... Parliament and the executive? It’s a question raised by the recent High Court decision in Miller v. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, a member state must ‘notify the European Council of its intention’ to leave, commencing a two-year period of negotiations on the terms of its ...

Ich bin ein Belieber

Michael Herbert Miller: Ich bin ein Belieber

21 March 2013
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine 
by Teddy Wayne.
Free Press, 285 pp., £24.95, February 2013, 978 1 4767 0585 9
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... The pop star Justin Bieber was born in London, Ontario, the son of two teenagers. His mother was a high-school dropout who liked beer and LSD, and his father an amateur musician. Jeremy Jack Bieber, also a heavy drinker, was in the local jail the night his son was born. He abandoned the family when Bieber was ten months old and went on to pursue a career as a martial arts fighter, often missing visits to his son, resurfacing now and then with a guitar in tow as the boy got older ...

Pouting

Karl Miller: Smiley and Bingham

9 May 2013
A Delicate Truth 
by John le Carré.
Viking, 310 pp., £18.99, April 2013, 978 0 670 92279 6
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The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham 
by Michael Jago.
Biteback, 308 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 1 84954 513 6
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... very spirited one, too, as it gathers speed. John Bingham, 7th Baron Clanmorris, hits the pages of Michael Jago’s biography, The Man Who Was George Smiley, as a man of whom no one had anything but good to say but who was able to describe himself fictionally as no good at anything at all. He was a patriot, a novelist, a spy-handler, and an early friend of his ...

Gaol Fever

David Saunders-Wilson

24 July 1986
Prisons and the Process of Justice 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 217 pp., £5.95, June 1986, 0 19 281932 1
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Growing out of Crime: Society and Young People in Trouble 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Penguin, 189 pp., £3.95, January 1986, 0 14 022383 5
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... as villains. The star of London Weekend Television’s new Once a thief? is 22-year-old Michael Baillie, who began his criminal career as a burglar at the age of eight, and served his first borstal sentence at the age of 15. According to the Sunday Times, he originally wanted to play football for Aston Villa, but now he’s thinking of taking acting ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘300’

26 April 2007
300 
directed by Zack Snyder.
December 2006
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... Greek’, a character says in Zack Snyder’s blood-spattered box-office success 300 (and in Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name, on which the movie is faithfully, not to say slavishly based). Thus the Western world was saved, at least for a while, from what the film calls ‘mysticism and tyranny’. Mysticism? That’s what you call fanaticism ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Certified Copy’

7 October 2010
Certified Copy 
directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
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... edition displayed before us on a table as the movie opens. The book has won an Italian prize, and Miller (played by Shimell) is here to say thank you. Or he will be here in a minute. His Italian host appears on camera and plays for time, in Italian – everyone speaks their own language in this film, except when they also speak someone else’s. ...

English Changing

Frank Kermode

7 February 1980
The State of the Language 
edited by Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks.
California, 609 pp., £14.95, January 1980, 0 520 03763 4
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... is no coincidence that the best political styles belong to Enoch Powell, Anthony Wedgwood-Benn and Michael Foot, all men ‘committed to working on and defending the idea of the United Kingdom’. As it happens, Mr Powell himself contributes a piece on ‘The Language of Politics’, in which he concludes that although speeches are briefer and politicians a ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s

18 July 2013
Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... can be surmised for the romantic socialism of Aneurin Bevan, and for the romantic sociology of Michael Young and Raymond Williams, as the views of these three have been characterised. One of the best sayings culled for the new volume is drawn from Bevan, and is as good as the ‘poetry’ heard by someone in his speeches. ‘Lazy? Lazy?’ Bevan responded ...

More about Marilyn

Michael Church

20 February 1986
Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 414 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 575 03641 9
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Norma Jeane: The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe 
by Fred Lawrence Guiles.
Granada, 377 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 246 12307 9
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Poor Little Rich Girl: The Life and Legend of Barbara Hutton 
by C. David Heymann.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 09 146010 7
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Deams that money can buy: The Tragic Life of Libby Holman 
by Jon Bradshaw.
Cape, 431 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 224 02846 4
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All Those Tomorrows 
by Mai Zetterling.
Cape, 230 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 224 01841 8
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Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady 
by Florence King.
Joseph, 278 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 7181 2611 4
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... people, Maggie. That’s what it’s for.’ Thus Quentin, the tormented Prospero-figure in Arthur Miller’s autobiographical play After the Fall. Maggie replies by eating a handful of pills, and the scene then twists and turns between Quentin’s acknowledged guilt and his defiant belief that she would have done it anyway. ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Basingstoke’s Paisleyite

21 April 2005
... his ‘How I See It’ column for the last time; Conservatism in Basingstoke has a new face. Maria Miller is a working mother of three, campaigning vigorously on local issues: education, ‘local environment improvement’ and crime. She ought to win easily. The constituency, a hotbed of affluence, has returned a Tory in every election since World War ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Artist’

9 February 2012
The Artist 
directed by Michel Hazanavicius.
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... film form can save a man’s life. And a dead film life can be reborn. When the new star, Peppy Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo, rescues Valentin from his gloom, saying she won’t act in her new hit if he isn’t allowed to join her, a marvellous verbal formulation maps a whole intricate world. Valentin doesn’t believe in himself, or in this second ...
15 May 1980
... and D.H. Lawrence, and the rest of them. A writer in the American magazine Commentary, Michael Vannoy Adams, gives this account of some of the arguments in Gerald Graff’s anti-deconstructionist philippic, Literature Against Itself: The deconstructionists render literature invalid or ineffectual by default; they deprive literature of the ...

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