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Ferdinand Mount: Magna Carta

22 April 2015
Magna Carta 
by David Carpenter.
Penguin, 594 pp., £10.99, January 2015, 978 0 241 95337 2
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Magna Carta Uncovered 
by Anthony Arlidge and Igor Judge.
Hart, 222 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 1 84946 556 4
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Magna Carta 
by J.C. Holt.
Cambridge, 488 pp., £21.99, May 2015, 978 1 107 47157 3
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Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015 
by Nicholas Vincent.
Third Millennium, 192 pp., £44.95, January 2015, 978 1 908990 28 0
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Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter 
by Dan Jones.
Head of Zeus, 192 pp., £14.99, December 2014, 978 1 78185 885 1
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... through all England’, is often mentioned to show the Charter’s comical outmodedness, but in fact free navigation along the rivers was crucial for merchants moving their goods or themselves. NicholasVincent tells us that in modern times Clause 33 has been ingeniously deployed by indigenous peoples in North America and New Zealand to defend their rights. The unappealing clauses relating to debts ...

Diary

Tim Gardam: New Conservatism

13 June 1991
... generation looking beyond her, or is it just that they haven’t got the stuffing to endure the bracing truths of her uncompromising vision? John Major talks of a nation at ease with itself, and Nicholas Ridley told Newsnight: ‘The British want a rest. They don’t want to have everything turned upside down, they want a quiet time. I’m not saying this is an admirable quality of the British ...

Dark Tom

Christopher Ricks

1 December 1983
Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley 1933-1980 
by Nicholas​ Mosley.
Secker, 323 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 436 28852 4
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Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas​ Mosley.
Fontana, 274 pp., £2.50, October 1983, 0 00 636644 9
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... Not the satisfaction which looks smaller but is larger – believing someone.) His son will always be, as every son is but momentously more so, the victim-beneficiary of being his father’s son. Nicholas Mosley wanted when young to believe in his father; he moved on to wanting to believe his father; he moved on again to wanting to believe that his father – well, many things, but mostly that his ...

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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... Nicholas Mosley’s parents, Cynthia Curzon and Oswald Mosley, were married in the Chapel Royal, St James’s on 11 May 1920: ‘Cimmie’s wedding dress had a design of green leaves in it, in defiance of a ...
16 October 1997
Keats 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 612 pp., £25, October 1997, 9780571172276
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... a transhistorical truth in moral indictment. It is too easy to get oneself off the moral hook by referring Keats’s remark to Imperial practice.) Back to Endymion. Motion – though drawing on Vincent Newey’s essay in Nicholas Roe’s 1995 collection Keats and History for his quotations about Keats’s ‘unwitting but definite imaginative consumption, and entrepreneurial representation, of the ...

Journey to Arezzo

Nicholas​ Penny: The Apotheosis of Piero

17 April 2003
Piero della Francesca 
by Roberto Longhi, translated by David Tabbat.
Sheep Meadow, 364 pp., £32.50, September 2002, 1 878818 77 5
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... greatest follower, Hippolyte Flandrin, painted austere, schematic images of saints and martyrs set against a dull gold ground on the walls of the churches of Saint Germain-des-Prés and Saint Vincent-de-Paul, works in which the Greek and the Gothic are condensed into an exalted style that may one day be acknowledged as more original than the gross realism of Courbet. In these murals, Flandrin had ...

Powered by Fear

Linda Colley: Putting the navy in its place

3 February 2005
The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649-1815 
by N.A.M. Rodger.
Allen Lane, 907 pp., £30, September 2004, 0 7139 9411 8
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... discussion of the navy’s public image between 1750 and 1815, Glyndwr Williams’s wonderful book on Lord Anson’s circumnavigation of the world, a significant new biography of Captain Cook by Nicholas Thomas, and many other substantial works. John Sugden and Andrew Lambert have just produced biographies of Horatio Nelson, and a further biography by R.J.B. Knight is eagerly awaited. The Royal Navy ...
19 March 1987
The Revenge of the Philistines 
by Hilton Kramer.
Secker, 445 pp., £12.50, July 1986, 0 436 23687 7
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Gilbert and George 
by Carter Ratcliff.
Thames and Hudson, 271 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 500 27443 6
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British Art in the 20th Century 
edited by Susan Compton.
Prestel-Verlag (Munich), 460 pp., £16.90, January 1987, 3 7913 0798 3
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... incidentally, hesitation is inappropriate. His achievement is as remarkable as that of any of the Impressionists, and were his murals in the Parisian churches of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul to be cleaned, they would be acclaimed as among the most solemn and powerful works of religious art created in recent centuries. These issues preoccupy British critics and historians rather ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies

26 January 2012
An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... Fuchs, Henry Fonda, John Garfield, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Henry Hathaway, Van Heflin, Fritz Lang, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Burgess Meredith, Groucho Marx, Vincente Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Robert Ryan, Edward G. Robinson, Donna Reed, Nicholas Ray, Robert Siodmak, Frank Sinatra, Sylvia Sidney, Claire Trevor, Franchot Tone, Walter Wanger, Keenan Wynn, William Wyler, Orson Welles ...
26 November 1987
Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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Judges 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... post-war British governments, starting with Paul Addison on the wartime background to Attlee’s success, and ending with some surprisingly detached reflections on Mrs Thatcher from the pen of John Vincent. As a final savoury, Tony Benn, Michael Fraser, David Marquand and David Butler sum up the entire era. The argument starts with the first and by some way the best piece in the collection, Paul ...

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