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The Cruel Hoax of Development

Basil Davidson, 6 March 1997

Fighting for the Rainforest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone 
by Paul Richards.
James Currey/Heinemann, 182 pp., £35, November 1996, 0 85255 397 8
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A Claim to Land by the River: A Household in Senegal 1720-1994 
by Adrian Adams and Jaabe So.
Oxford, 300 pp., £50, October 1996, 0 19 820191 5
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... to another, contrary process and that Africa’s peoples are retaking possession of themselves. Paul Richards is a veteran British anthropologist whose special interest is the rainforest peoples of Sierra Leone and Liberia: groups which have spent most of the Nineties in apparently fruitless pestering or killing of themselves and their ...

The Frighteners

Jeremy Harding, 20 March 1997

The Ends of the Earth 
by Robert Kaplan.
Macmillan, 476 pp., £10, January 1997, 0 333 64255 4
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... a xeroxed paper, datelined ‘Hackney, September 1995’ – not Kaplan territory. The author was Paul Richards, who works in the Department of Anthropology at University College London. Richards accused Kaplan of arguing ‘that there is no political problem worthy of note in Sierra Leone’ and the piece of being ...

English Marxists in dispute

Roy Porter, 17 July 1980

Arguments within English Marxism 
by Perry Anderson.
New Left Books, 218 pp., £3.95, May 1980, 0 86091 727 4
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Capitalism, State Formation and Marxist Theory 
edited by Philip Corrigan.
Quartet, 232 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2241 2
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Writing by Candlelight 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 286 pp., £2.70, May 1980, 0 85036 257 1
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... to Marxist history. In France, Louis Althusser and his disciples, and in England followers such as Paul Q. Hirst and Barry Hindess, have argued that the business of Marxist intellectuals is to construct not history but theory (e.g. a rationally water tight account of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, not one purportedly told from the ‘facts’ and ...

The Savage Life

Frank Kermode: The Adventures of William Empson, 19 May 2005

William Empson: Vol. I: Among the Mandarins 
by John Haffenden.
Oxford, 695 pp., £30, April 2005, 0 19 927659 5
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... Jacob Bronowski and Humphrey Jennings, and those seniors best qualified to judge – I.A. Richards especially – admired him greatly. The quality of his writing as an undergraduate is not surprising only because we have been brought up to believe, with approximate accuracy, that Seven Types of Ambiguity began as essays written for ...


Richard Luckett, 21 December 1989

I.A. RichardsHis Life and Work 
by John Paul Russo.
Routledge, 843 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 03134 6
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... Bless you’ was Ivor Richards’s characteristic farewell in his last years, an envoi which never failed to convey the careful omission of ‘God’. Yet it also recalled, because what he said, though not what he wrote, was often highly allusive, his choice in life of                     Whatever most can bless The mind of man or elevate a rhyme ...

Come here, Botham

Paul Foot, 9 October 1986

High, Wide and Handsome. Ian Botham: The Story of a Very Special Year 
by Frank Keating.
Collins, 218 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 00 218226 2
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... he was having a row with Somerset County Cricket Club Committee, which sacked his two friends Richards and Garner. The row seemed to inspire him. He ended the season with the most sustained display of boundary-hitting in the history of the game. Cricket lovers everywhere rejoiced – not just, I think, at the glory of the stroke play but because every ...

Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver, 8 January 1987

The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... tower overhead. It is no wonder that none of the particulars I have so far cited appear in Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie’s history, exceptionally rich though it is in station lore collected world-wide, and assiduous in its pursuit both of main-line socio-economic themes and of lightly trafficked sub-cultural branches. I claim no special knowledge of my ...


Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... good one is worth his weight in gold.’ And here is the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock on drummer Paul Cook: ‘that steady rhythm of his was the whole backbone of the Pistols’ sound.’ Then you have the singer, the showman – who probably does the lyrics too; and the lead guitarist, who probably comes up with the music; not forgetting the ...

Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig, 20 June 1985

Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... this: ‘all of her so lovely and never even been for a walk.’ Quite soon, she is contemplating Paul Treece, the Rupert Brooke figure, and thinking: ‘I wanted to kick him.’ Whom one meets is a matter of luck, as Polly reflects at the end of the novel; and the men who come her way – it could be Robinson Crusoe who is speaking – are ‘all duds or ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires, 31 March 2005

Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... to swirl round a number of partially submerged icebergs. One is the shadowy figure of his son, Paul, whom he refers to in one awful letter as ‘it’, and who was entirely estranged from him after university. His daughter, Candida Lycett Green, enjoyed a much happier and more reciprocally loving relationship with her father, managing to deal tactfully ...

The Subtleties of Frank Kermode

Michael Wood, 17 December 2009

... about the articles he published elsewhere, or his scholarly books, lectures and essays. Defending Paul de Man’s rather slim academic publishing record – his first book, Blindness and Insight, appeared when he was 51 – Kermode says that in view of the density and strangeness of the work, and of its author’s fame: ‘It would take a very tough dean to ...

Country Life

David Cannadine, 5 November 1981

The Victorian Countryside 
edited by G.E. Mingay.
Routledge, 380 pp., £25, July 1981, 0 7100 0734 5
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... In 1972, Routledge and Kegan Paul published The Victorian City: Images and Realities, edited by H.J. Dyos and Michael Wolff, a Wagnerian epic in which history went to town in exuberant, zestful and flamboyant fashion. Understandably, the two volumes won immediate and widespread acclaim as a tour de force of entrepreneurial inspiration and editorial skill: ‘a study in superlatives’ was the response of one ecstatic reviewer ...

At Pallant House

Rosemary Hill: Victor Pasmore, 20 April 2017

... in the 1930s with some of the most prominent interwar painters, including Ivon Hitchens, Ceri Richards and William Coldstream. With Coldstream he became a founder of the Euston Road School, and financial support from Kenneth Clark, then the innovative young director of the National Gallery, allowed him to give up the day job. This is where the Pallant ...

Lethal Pastoral

Paul Keegan: Housman’s Lethal Pastoral, 17 November 2016

Housman Country: Into the Heart of England 
by Peter Parker.
Little, Brown, 446 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 4087 0613 8
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... rumour, handed down by the primary witnesses: his siblings Laurence and Kate, his publisher Grant Richards, the small group of Cambridge initiates. Auden called Housman one of the classic case-histories, and most accounts of his life have a spurious smoothness about them, as if the teller were at the helm. A biographer can but do as Housman exhorts in one of ...

Dear Sphinx

Penelope Fitzgerald, 1 December 1983

The Little Ottleys 
by Ada Leverson and Sally Beauman.
Virago, 543 pp., £3.95, November 1982, 0 86068 300 1
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The Constant Nymph 
by Margaret Kennedy and Anita Brookner.
Virago, 326 pp., £3.50, August 1983, 0 86068 354 0
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The Constant Novelist: A Study of Margaret Kennedy 1896-1967 
by Violet Powell.
Heinemann, 219 pp., £10.95, June 1983, 0 434 59951 4
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... and in fact she had already contributed, on and off, to Punch and the Yellow Book. Now Grant Richards, who says in his Memories of a Misspent Youth that ‘an introduction to Mrs Ernest Leverson was one of the most important things that could happen to a young man,’ persuaded her to turn novelist. Her grandson, Francis Wyndham, has told us that she ...

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