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Why name a ship after a defeated race?

Thomas Laqueur: New Lives of the ‘Titanic’

24 January 2013
The Wreck of the ‘Titan’ 
by Morgan Robertson.
Hesperus, 85 pp., £8, March 2012, 978 1 84391 359 7
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Shadow of the ‘Titanic’ 
by Andrew Wilson.
Simon and Schuster, 392 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 1 84739 882 6
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‘Titanic’ 100th Anniversary Edition: A Night Remembered 
by Stephanie Barczewski.
Continuum, 350 pp., £15.99, December 2011, 978 1 4411 6169 7
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The Story of the Unsinkable ‘Titanic’: Day by Day Facsimile Reports 
by Michael Wilkinson and Robert Hamilton.
Transatlantic, 127 pp., £16.99, November 2011, 978 1 907176 83 8
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‘Titanic’ Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 404 pp., £9.99, September 2012, 978 0 00 732166 7
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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage 
by Hugh Brewster.
Robson, 338 pp., £20, March 2012, 978 1 84954 179 4
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‘Titanic’ Calling 
edited by Michael​ Hughes and Katherine Bosworth.
Bodleian, 163 pp., £14.99, April 2012, 978 1 85124 377 8
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... leaving survivors bobbing for a few minutes in shit. The Titanic and her sister ships, on the other hand, were the crowning glory of the century of progress. A White Star Line poster reproduced in MichaelWilkinson and Robert Hamilton’s collection shows the great hulk of the ship, sunlit, belching smoke out of three of its four funnels – the fourth was there only for effect – and cutting a ...

Wrong Kind of Noise

Marina Warner: Silence is Best

19 December 2013
Silence: A Christian History 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Allen Lane, 337 pp., £20, April 2013, 978 1 84614 426 4
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... by medieval Catholic worship, with its heterogeneous local shrines and feast days, miracle stories, rewards and fairies, dances and processions. The Tate show includes in the last room a sculpture by MichaelWilkinson; made from scores of unspooling audiotapes it remembers the Taliban’s furious campaign against recorded music – a more recent instance of puritan fervour against private pleasures ...

Finding an Enemy

Conor Gearty: Sixty Years of Anti-Terrorist Legislation

15 April 1999
Legislation against Terrorism: A Consultation Paper. CM 4178. 
by Home Office and Northern Ireland Office.
70 pp., £9.95, December 1998, 0 10 141782 9
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... to support for the measure, and thereby effectively neutering Parliamentary opposition in the face of a ‘national crisis’. On 1 April 1996, the Monday of Easter week, the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard, made a surprise statement full of foreboding about imminent IRA violence and the need for immediate legislation to prevent it. Various lacunae in the law had been discovered which it was now ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding

3 July 1997
Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... locked away, those who rather enjoy it.’ Twenty-five, thirty years after the best of them began to publish – John James, Chris Torrance, Lee Harwood, Andrew Crozier, Peter Riley, J.H. Prynne, Michael Haslam, Douglas Oliver, Barry MacSweeney, Denise Riley – they must nonetheless wonder, from time to time, whether theirs is a case of having missed the boat which would only have been worth ...

At the Movies

Michael​ Wood: ‘The International’, ‘Duplicity’

9 April 2009
The International 
directed by Tom Twyker.
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directed by Tony Gilroy.
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... there is just a battle between two American companies. We don’t even know what they sell, although it seems to be cosmetics. We only know that each is an empire, and that the emperors, Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti, think of little except doing each other in. Enter Clive Owen and Julia Roberts – well, they enter several times, given the complicated time frames of the movie. He is ex-MI6, she ...

At the Movies

Michael​ Wood: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

16 April 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
directed by Wes Anderson.
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... so fond of. We see a girl in a city park, paying tribute to the bust of a writer on top of a small pillar. She sits down to read a book called Grand Budapest Hotel. Next we see an elderly writer (Tom Wilkinson), apparently filming a television interview at home. He gives way to his younger self (Jude Law), who is staying at almost empty and not quite derelict Grand Budapest Hotel. He meets the owner, who ...

City of Dust

Julian Symons

25 July 1991
A Den of Foxes 
by Stuart Hood.
Methuen, 217 pp., £13.99, July 1991, 9780413651105
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Dirty Tricks 
by Michael​ Dibdin.
Faber, 241 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 0 571 16216 9
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A Strange and Sublime Address 
by Amit Chaudhuri.
Heinemann, 209 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 9780434123483
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by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 221 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 670 83684 2
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... like Martin Amis, or cover it with the cloak of magical realism, which, whatever its dubious imaginative benefits, weakens any intended social point. So it is no surprise that Stuart Hood and Michael Dibdin concern themselves with the present state of society and morality via Science Fiction and a crime story. Both have produced ingenious – indeed, immensely clever – fictions. Hood’s Peter ...

Old Stragers

Pat Rogers

7 May 1981
The Garrick Stage: Theatres and Audience in the 18th Century 
by Allardyce Nicoll.
Manchester, 192 pp., £14.50, April 1980, 0 7190 0768 2
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The Kemble Era: John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons and the London Stage 
by Linda Kelly.
Bodley Head, 221 pp., £8.50, April 1980, 0 370 10466 8
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Early English Stages 1300 to 1660: Vol. 3: Plays and their Makers to 1576 
by Glynne Wickham.
Routledge, 357 pp., £14.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0218 1
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... on Caleb Williams; and a just appraisal of Mrs Siddons’s superior powers as a performer. We hear of her brother, with his poor singing voice, ‘murdering’ Grétry – the word is the Irish tenor Michael Kelly’s – and we witness a number of total theatrical flops, which have always provided good copy for the annalist. Of course, it is all very much in the anecdotal line. Is it any the worse for ...

Making sentences

Philip Horne

21 November 1991
The Jameses: A Family Narrative 
by R.W.B. Lewis.
Deutsch, 696 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 233 98748 7
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Meaning in Henry James 
by Millicent Bell.
Harvard, 384 pp., £35.95, October 1991, 9780674557628
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... William James (1984); Gerald Myers in William James: His Life and Thought (1986); Jane Maher in Biography of Broken Fortunes: Wilky and Bob, Brothers of William, Henry and Alice James (1986); Michael Anesko in ‘Friction with the Market’: Henry James and the Profession of Authorship (1986); Rayburn Moore in Selected Letters of Henry James to Edmund Gosse (1988); and Lyall Powers in Henry James ...

The Best Barnet

Jeremy Harding

20 February 1997
With Chatwin: Portrait of a Writer 
by Susannah Clapp.
Cape, 246 pp., £15.99, January 1997, 0 224 03258 5
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... a good deal of what they have to say. Some of it is twaddle. Much comes in the form of little stories, vignettes like Chatwin’s, humorous and on occasion startling. The best of them are memorable. Michael Ignatieff watches Chatwin ‘like an old baboon’ under a mulberry tree in the south of France, having his hair combed by his wife. The ravenous Francis Wyndham and James Fox spoon up a pitifully ...

Associated Prigs

R.W. Johnson: Eleanor Rathbone

8 July 2004
Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience 
by Susan Pedersen.
Yale, 469 pp., £25, March 2004, 0 300 10245 3
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... a comment on the tribalism of party memory. As an Independent, both on Liverpool City Council and in Parliament, she holds no place in the party pantheons. Yet she was a far greater figure than Ellen Wilkinson, Nancy Astor, Margaret Bondfield or Barbara Castle. Her neglect shows how important it is to have members of your party or faction evoking your name as part of their tradition. Perhaps the greatest ...

Taking the Blame

Jean McNicol: Jennie Lee

7 May 1998
Jennie Lee: A Life 
by Patricia Hollis.
Oxford, 459 pp., £25, November 1997, 0 19 821580 0
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... the middle class had always dominated the Bevanites, but this time the faithful weren’t on the same side as their leader. Rather than acting as a vehicle for Bevan’s views, Tribune, edited by Michael Foot, described itself as leading the campaign against the H-bomb. Lee believed that the Bevanites’ desertion was responsible for the cancer that killed Bevan in 1960: ‘until their attacks began ...

History of a Dog’s Dinner

Keith Ewing and Conor Gearty

6 February 1997
... The only difference between this and the situation in Entick v. Carrington is that the modern executive has secured a Parliamentary sanction for its actions. The point was well made by Lord Browne-Wilkinson during the debate on the second reading of the 1996 Act, which he described as a ‘major constitutional shift’. As he understood the Act, ‘an officer of the security services’ can obtain ‘a ...

Cubist Slugs

Patrick Wright: The Art of Camouflage

23 June 2005
DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature – Military – Culture 
DPM, 2 vols, 944 pp., £100, September 2004, 9780954340407Show More
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... on the German side and, as Roy Behrens points out in this flamboyantly peculiar Encyclopedia of Camouflage, ships painted in the disruptive ‘dazzle’ schemes developed by the British artist Norman Wilkinson were said to resemble ‘Cubist paintings on a colossal scale’. Yet the First World War was not merely history’s way of confirming Picasso’s genius, and the emergence of strategic camouflage ...

Attila the Hus

Mary-Kay Wilmers

4 November 1982
Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 436 28849 4
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... are trying to keep a family on 15s a week’; and, later on, his outrage at Mussolini’s occupation of Corfu. There are several different versions of Mosley’s political career. Fellow politicians, Michael Foot and Richard Crossman among them, took the view that, like themselves, he was interested in power but that, unlike them, unlike Foot and Crossman at any rate, he was too impatient to wait his ...

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