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Desperate Responses

Richard Hyman, 5 April 1984

Industry, Unions and Government: Twenty-One Years of NEDC 
by Keith Middlemas.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, January 1984, 0 333 35121 5
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Strikes in Post-War Britain: A Study of Stoppages of Work Due to Industrial Disputes, 1946-73 
by J.W. Durcan, W.E.J. McCarthy and G.P. Redman.
Allen and Unwin, 448 pp., £20, November 1983, 0 04 331093 1
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Picketing: Industrial Disputes, Tactics and the Law 
by Peggy Kahn, Norman Lewis, Rowland Livock and Paul Wiles.
Routledge, 223 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 7100 9534 1
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... The incredible frequency of these strikes proves best of all the extent to which the social war has broken out all over England. No week passes, scarcely a day, indeed, in which there is not a strike in some direction, now against a reduction, then against a refusal to raise the rate of wages ... sometimes against new machinery, or for a hundred other reasons ...

Rogering in Merryland

Thomas Keymer: The Unspeakable Edmund Curll, 13 December 2007

Edmund Curll, Bookseller 
by Paul Baines and Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 388 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 19 927898 5
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... though he collaborated with at least forty others before Queen Anne’s death in 1714. Paul Baines and Pat Rogers track the process statistically in their biography, the first since 1927, cutting their way with expert vigilance through the maze of obscure, misleading and often downright fraudulent imprints that have hitherto shrouded their ...

Diary

Edward Said: My Encounter with Sartre, 1 June 2000

... Once the most celebrated intellectual, Jean-Paul Sartre had, until quite recently, almost faded from view. He was already being attacked for his ‘blindness’ about the Soviet gulags shortly after his death in 1980, and even his humanist Existentialism was ridiculed for its optimism, voluntarism and sheer energetic reach ...

Plato’s Friend

Ian Hacking, 17 December 1992

Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 520 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 7011 3998 6
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... Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Derrida) have been discovering rhetoric and using its wiles against blundering one-eyed theoretical reason,’ she tartly retorts that she ‘would rather back analytic philosophy against rhetoric’. But her own way of thinking philosophically is not analytic. It is deeply rooted in philosophy’s past. It is what ...

Really Very Exhilarating

R.W. Johnson: Macmillan and the Guardsmen, 7 October 2004

The Guardsmen: Harold Macmillan, Three Friends and the World They Made 
by Simon Ball.
HarperCollins, 456 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 00 257110 2
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... peace in the early hours of the morning while playing a drunken game of bicycle polo with Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. He insisted that behaving this way was his birthright and that he had merely been entertaining those he had woken up. What made all the difference was war and the Guards. All four joined up, keen to do their duty but also to see action; the ...

Only More So

Rosemary Hill: 1950s Women, 19 December 2013

Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties 
by Rachel Cooke.
Virago, 368 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 1 84408 740 2
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... Holbeinesque pose to suggest that there is more to her defiance than teenage sulks. Her girlish wiles win her father round, she rashly falls in love with Seymour and with his disgrace and execution nearly loses her own head. It is a life entirely dominated and shaped by men up to the moment when she is about to ascend the throne, at which point the film ...

Forty Thousand Kilocupids

Marina Warner: The Femfatalatron, 30 July 2014

The Erotic Doll: A Modern Fetish 
by Marquard Smith.
Yale, 376 pp., £35, January 2014, 978 0 300 15202 9
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... whoever was placed inside the apparatus instantaneously experienced all the charms, lures, wiles, winks and witchery of all the fairer sex in the universe at once. The femfatalatron operated on a power of forty megamors … while the system’s libidinous lubricity, measured of course in kilocupids, produced up to six units for every remote-control ...

Inside Mr Shepherd

James Wood: In conversation with Jane Austen, 4 November 2004

Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation 
by Bharat Tandon.
Anthem, 303 pp., £45, March 2003, 1 84331 101 1
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Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style 
by D.A. Miller.
Princeton, 108 pp., £12.95, September 2003, 0 691 09075 0
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... Comedy is the disguised priest who weds every couple, the German writer Jean Paul Richter said, and in the English novel the greatest of all disguised priests, the comic celebrant of happy unions, is Jane Austen. For the puff of marital harmony that ends every one of her books, among other things, Austen’s comedy began to be called ‘Shakespearean’ soon after her death ...

Holy Boldness

Tom Paulin: John Bunyan, 16 December 2004

Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent 
by Richard Greaves.
Stanford, 693 pp., £57.50, August 2002, 0 8047 4530 7
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Theology and Narrative in the Works of John Bunyan 
by Michael Davies.
Oxford, 393 pp., £65, July 2002, 0 19 924240 2
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The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ 
by Isabel Hofmeyr.
Princeton, 320 pp., £41.95, January 2004, 0 691 11655 5
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... one day, he would preach the next. Towards the end of his sentence, the Bedfordshire justices sent Paul Cobb, a clerk of the peace, to obtain Bunyan’s submission. Had Bunyan been willing to sue for pardon and to admit that he had wrongfully convened the meeting at Lower Samsell, he would have been freed, but he refused. Bunyan told Cobb he was willing to ...

Call me Ahab

Jeremy Harding: Moby-Dick, 31 October 2002

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale 
by Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
Northwestern, 573 pp., £14.95, September 2001, 0 8101 1911 0
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Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live in 
by C.L.R. James.
New England, 245 pp., £17.95, July 2001, 9781584650942
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Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival 
by Clare Spark.
Kent State, 744 pp., £46.50, May 2001, 0 87338 674 4
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Lucchesi and the Whale 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Duke, 104 pp., £14.50, February 2001, 9780822326540
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... the wounding of its ‘companions’. Hunters aren’t always wrong to impute their own ways and wiles to members of other species, but they give themselves away when they do. Moby-Dick avoids anything too obvious by devising the white whale as an enormous marine pallet, which is then stacked with anxieties about God and nature and human ambition, offset ...

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