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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Shop around the Corner’, 6 January 2011

The Shop around the Corner 
directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
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... secret benevolence? We have. And we know him as Frank Morgan, alias the Wizard of Oz. And James Stewart, looking much younger than the wry, unageing James Stewart of legend and memory (he was 32 when he made this movie) – why doesn’t he seem more out of place? James Stewart, the man ...

It’s me you gotta make happy

Andrea Brady: John Wieners, 29 July 2021

Yours Presently: The Selected Letters of John Wieners 
edited by Michael Seth Stewart.
New Mexico, 333 pp., £60, December 2020, 978 0 8263 6204 9
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... other selections from his working drafts. Yours Presently, the new volume of letters edited by Michael Seth Stewart, shows Wieners cutting across various groups in American avant-garde writing.‘A homosexual,’ Wieners wrote, ‘since he has been a stigma or outcast freak for so long, does not [usually] have a chance ...

With or without the workers

Ross McKibbin, 25 April 1991

The Progressive Dilemma: From Lloyd George to Kinnock 
by David Marquand.
Heinemann, 248 pp., £20, January 1991, 0 434 45094 4
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... of the 19 are biographical studies and are often outstandingly good: the essay on Douglas Jay and Michael Stewart (‘The Tortoise and the Hare’), for example, is absolutely just and that on David Owen – which I doubt that Owen will like very much – is remarkable. On the whole, I think the theoretical essays are more successful than the historical ...

Who should own what?

John Dunn, 18 October 1984

Property and Political Theory 
by Alan Ryan.
Blackwell, 198 pp., £15, August 1984, 0 631 13691 6
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... destruction. (This is a point which Mr Kinnock should bear in mind, though no doubt it is also, as Michael Stewart has recently suggested in these columns, a point about which Mr Scargill could not care less.) The instrumental and expressive conceptions of the implications of systems of property rights are not two different and competing views about the ...

What are we there for?

Tom Stevenson: The Gulf Bargain, 9 May 2019

AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain 
by David Wearing.
Polity, 275 pp., £15.99, September 2018, 978 1 5095 3203 2
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... a ‘very profitable market in military equipment’, in the words of the then foreign secretary, Michael Stewart. Even now, a striking number of Middle East rulers are graduates of Sandhurst, including the kings of Bahrain and Jordan, the sultan of Oman, the emir of Dubai, the emir and crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the emir of Qatar, and the late emir of ...

Christopher Hitchens states a prosecution case

Christopher Hitchens, 25 October 1990

Crossman: The Pursuit of Power 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 361 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 02592 9
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... one for 17 June 1966: Once again we are taking the subsidiary role, the pro-American line, and Michael Stewart as our new Foreign Secretary is following it very faithfully indeed. And in all this Harold is deeply, personally committed ... He just saw that one must either go into Europe or become a subsidiary of the Americans, and he chose the ...

Other Selves

John Bayley, 29 October 1987

How I Grew 
by Mary McCarthy.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 0 297 79170 2
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Myself and Michael Innes 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 206 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 575 04104 8
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... for whom the distance of the past lends enchantment, or at least the appearance of it. With J.I.M. Stewart we are on more familiar English ground, sharing in the jests and gambits of youth and young manhood. The effect is as modest as it is delightful, neither an adjective to be readily applied to Mary McCarthy’s reminiscences. Impossible to imagine her ...

Tooth and Tail

Mark Urban, 7 September 1995

Brassey’s Defence Yearbook 1995 
edited by Lawrence Freedman and Michael Clarke.
Brassey, 396 pp., £35.95, April 1995, 1 85753 131 0
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Broken Lives: A Personal View of the Bosnian Conflict 
by Bob Stewart.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., £6.99, July 1994, 0 00 638268 1
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Looking for Trouble: An Autobiography 
by Peter de la Billière.
HarperCollins, 449 pp., £19.99, September 1994, 0 00 255245 0
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... the limited wars which once claimed only a small percentage of the budget. In the Defence Yearbook Michael Clarke repeats what everyone knows: although ‘the Army, in particular, may lament the fact that Bosnia – like the Northern Ireland commitment – detracts from the real business of training for a major war, the fact is that the prospect of major war ...

Rigging and Bending

Simon Adams: James VI & I, 9 October 2003

The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I 
by Alan Stewart.
Chatto, 438 pp., £20, February 2003, 0 7011 6984 2
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... is the theme of The Reign of James VI (2000), a collection of essays edited by Julian Goodare and Michael Lynch. The most radical suggestion has been made by Jenny Wormald, who regards James’s reign overall as a ‘triumphant success’, and any problems after 1603 as a consequence of English xenophobia and the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War. Given the ...

Marvellous Boys

Mark Ford, 9 September 1993

The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... in a single afternoon and evening by two young Australian poets, James McAuley and Harold Stewart, as part of a plot to expose the obscurantism and meaninglessness of what passed for poetry under the aegis of Modernism. The Malley oeuvre was composed, they were later to reveal, with the aid of a chance collection of books which happened to be on our ...

‘Mmmmm’ not ‘Hmmm’

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn, 11 September 2003

Kate Remembered 
by A. Scott Berg.
Simon and Schuster, 318 pp., £18.99, July 2003, 0 7432 0676 2
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... clearly you don’t have the brains of a seven-year-old.’ There is the dinner party for Michael Jackson at Hepburn’s New York townhouse, where the singer is silent on all topics except the pleasure he has in watching his pet boa constrictor eat small rodents. And there is the saga of Warren Beatty, with Berg’s help, recruiting Hepburn for Love ...

Making them think

J.I.M. Stewart, 18 September 1986

G.K. Chesterton 
by Michael Ffinch.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £16, June 1986, 0 297 78858 2
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... In a Foreword to this very substantial book Michael Ffinch says that G.K. Chesterton ‘was above all things a great champion of Liberty’. He goes on: ‘This being so, it has often come as a surprise that in religion Chesterton should have moved away from the Liberal Unitarianism of his childhood towards Catholicism ...

Ballooning

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 June 1986

The Unknown Conan Doyle: Letters to the Press 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 377 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 436 13303 2
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... deal with public affairs, there must be much in them which is no longer readily understood. John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green have prudently decided against annotation, preferring to provide 13 notes on selected topics. They provide, also, a ‘Categorical Index’, excellent alike in conception and ...

Anglo-Irish Occasions

Seamus Heaney, 5 May 1988

... terms a pamphlet of mine, published in Belfast as part of a series that included Seamus Deane, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Stewart Parker, James Simmons, and several other Northern Irish poets whose voices were beginning to raise themselves in the mid-Sixties. To hear John Carey now, almost a quarter of a century ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Senna’, 14 July 2011

Senna 
directed by Asif Kapadia.
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... the go-karts was the British driver Terry Fullerton. No mention of Nigel Mansell or Niki Lauda or Michael Schumacher. Still less of Alain Prost. All Senna ever wanted, in this perspective, was to drive cars fast. Politics and fame were for other people; or perhaps just a cross he had to bear. He was fond of calling on God to help him, and of thanking God for ...

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