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Not No Longer but Not Yet

Jenny Turner: Mark Fisher’s Ghosts, 9 May 2019

k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher 
edited by Darren Ambrose.
Repeater, 817 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 1 912248 28 5
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... with a discussion of Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón’s film from 2006, adapted from a P.D. James novel, set in a near-future Britain of caged refugees and cheap euthanasia, a world in which no children have been born for a generation. As Fisher says, this dystopia extrapolates only a little: I watched the film myself the other day to check I’d ...


Alan Bennett: My 2006, 4 January 2007

... of it being a first night as that the cast have been doing it on and off now for two years. When James C. drops his head on his desk it’s with an almighty crash and he gets up looking a bit pale, but there are no other slip-ups. The response at the end is tumultuous, the audience (though I think this is nowadays obligatory) rising to their feet en ...

I want to be real

Rosemary Dinnage, 27 May 1993

Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: Theosophy and the Emergence of the Western Guru 
by Peter Washington.
Secker, 470 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 436 56418 1
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... a number of books by intelligent followers, and the movement has been extensively documented by James Webb. Washington also traces the career of P.D. Ouspensky, a clever and melancholy Russian disciple who adopted Gurdjieff’s system, but broke away from him because he disliked his morals (Gurdjieff had several children by followers, and there must be ...

Putting Down the Rising

John Barrell, 22 February 1996

The Collected Works of James Hogg. Vol. I: The Shepherd’s Calendar 
edited by Douglas Mack.
Edinburgh, 287 pp., £29.50, July 1995, 9780748604746
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Collected Works of James Hogg. Vol. II: The Three Perils of Woman 
edited by David Groves, Antony Hasler and Douglas Mack.
Edinburgh, 466 pp., £32.50, July 1995, 9780748604746
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Collected Works of James Hogg. Vol. III: A Queer Book 
edited by P.D. Garside.
Edinburgh, 278 pp., £29.50, July 1995, 0 7486 0506 1
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... Early 19th-century Edinburgh had a lot less time for James Hogg than for the Ettrick Shepherd, the literary persona created partly by Hogg himself, partly by the tight circle that ran Blackwood’s Magazine. Comic, bibulous, full of naive folk-wisdom, easy to patronise, the Ettrick Shepherd was invented as a souvenir of the pastoral Lowlands, a survival whose presence among one of the Edinburgh literary élites could represent both the continuity of modern Scots culture and the impolite past it had left behind ...
The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe 
edited by George Holmes.
Oxford, 398 pp., £17.50, March 1988, 0 19 820073 0
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A History of 12th-century Western Philosophy 
edited by Peter Dronke.
Cambridge, 495 pp., £37.50, April 1988, 0 521 25896 0
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The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c.350-c.1450 
edited by J.H. Burns.
Cambridge, 808 pp., £60, May 1988, 0 521 24324 6
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Medieval Popular Culture: Problem of Belief and Perception 
by Aron Gurevich, translated by Janos Bak and Paul Hollingsworth.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £27.50, May 1988, 0 521 30369 9
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A History of Private Life: Revelations of the Medieval World 
edited by George Duby, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 650 pp., £24.95, April 1988, 0 674 39976 5
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... and fell on Wessex over Twelfth Night 878, King Alfred ‘rallied his subjects’ (writes Edward James). ‘Rallied his subjects’ sounds more grown-up, more professional and political, than ‘burnt the cakes’ – though this is exactly the moment when King Alfred is supposed to have burnt the cakes – but on reflection one wonders whether it isn’t ...

I love her to bits

Deborah Friedell: ‘The Testaments’, 7 November 2019

The Testaments 
by Margaret Atwood.
Chatto, 419 pp., £20, September 2019, 978 1 78474 232 4
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... In​ P.D. James’s strangest novel, The Children of Men (1992), humans stop being able to get pregnant, and no one can figure out why. Scientific research comes to nothing. Years pass without a newborn child. All the nurseries close, then all the schools. With no hope of posterity, landowners let their estates rot; scholars take up golf ...

Poor Toms

Karl Miller, 3 September 1987

by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 234 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 241 12348 8
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... pale Hawksmoor is an inhabitant of the present day who reminds one not only of Dyer but of P.D. James’s recurrent character Inspector Dalgliesh – one of her novels, A Taste for Death, published the following year, has a church murder in London, draped in the poses of this sensitive, cultivated policeman, and it also has, like Hawksmoor, a suspected ...

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