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Lorna Scott Fox

22 September 1994
The Still Moment 
by Paul Binding.
Virago, 290 pp., £20, May 1994, 1 85381 441 5
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... with the loss of the past, by adjusting through a small and exquisite opus to the downward slide of the whole world; it’s this that makes of her a more divided and indeed interesting writer than PaulBinding’s new study, in its pursuit of a resolving wholeness, will allow. For she is the Optimist’s Daughter whose father died tragically in the prime of life, of leukaemia – ‘a disease that ...

Red Stars

John Sutherland

6 December 1984
Wild Berries 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, translated by Antonia Bovis.
Macmillan, 296 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 333 37559 9
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The Burn 
by Vassily Aksyonov, translated by Michael Glenny.
Hutchinson, 528 pp., £10.95, October 1984, 0 09 155580 9
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Fellow Travellers 
by T.C. Worsley.
Gay Men’s Press, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 907040 51 9
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The Power of the Dog 
by Thomas Savage.
Chatto, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 3939 0
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The Fourth Protocol 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 448 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 09 158630 5
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The Set-Up 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 397 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30583 3
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... the novel in the Thirties, concurrently with the events it describes. It was published in 1971, by the London Magazine. Now it is put forward, somewhat polemically, by GMP, with an introduction by PaulBinding (who is, I believe, working on a critical biography of Stephen Spender). Binding argues that Worsley’s novel gains from a historically-distanced perspective on the fusion of high-born ...

Papers

Paul​ Driver

9 October 1986
The Beethoven Sketchbook: History, Reconstruction, Inventory 
by Douglas Johnson, Alan Tyson and Robert Winter, edited by Douglas Johnson.
Oxford, 611 pp., £60, January 1986, 0 19 315313 0
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... reverenced and used. Now, for the first time since the sketchbooks, lovingly protected by Beethoven, passed into the hands of early collectors (Dominic Artaria, Ludwig Landsberg, Friedrich Grasnick, Paul Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Anton Schindler), before being scattered to the European winds, serious students are in possession of the bibliographical information they need. Our authors supply the fullest ...
22 August 1996
A Perfect Execution 
by Tim Binding.
Picador, 344 pp., £15.99, May 1996, 0 330 34564 8
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... Tim Binding is a confident writer. His paragraphs, lengthy but under control, take swift possession of the thick sheaf of pages, imposing form. The narrative voice is modestly assertive. There is a tale to be ...

Faking the Canon

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Forging the Bible

6 February 2014
Forgery and Counter-Forgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics 
by Bart Ehrman.
Oxford, 628 pp., £27.50, January 2013, 978 0 19 992803 3
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... On my bookshelves is a handsome set of late Victorian printed books in a plum-coloured binding. I take down a volume, and read on the spine the name ‘David Copperfield’; underneath, in slightly smaller letters, is another name, ‘Charles Dickens’. I open the book, and find the same ...

Walking among ghosts

Paul​ Fussell

18 September 1980
The Private Diaries of Sir H. Rider Haggard, 1914-1925 
edited by D.S. Higgins.
Cassell, 299 pp., £14.95, May 1980, 0 304 30611 8
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... library I use contains few books which the undergraduates have read virtually to pulp. One is Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, published 95 years ago. Its pages are falling out and its binding has been worn to threads and cardboard. Clearly students told off to go and read Wittgenstein and George Eliot have been spending delicious secret hours enjoying Allan Quatermain’s phlegmatic ...

The Four Degrees

Paul​ Kingsnorth: Climate Change

22 October 2014
Don’t Even Think about It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change 
by George Marshall.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 1 62040 133 0
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This Changes Everything: Capitalism v. The Climate 
by Naomi Klein.
Allen Lane, 576 pp., £20, September 2014, 978 1 84614 505 6
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... Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed at the summit, committed the wealthiest nations to reducing their emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’. But the treaty wasn’t binding, so nothing changed and emissions continued to rise in line with the economic growth to which the wealthiest nations were also committed. The UN tried again in 1997. Nearly two hundred countries ...

Your Mum and Dad

Paul​ Sayer

2 February 1989
Thou shalt not uncover thy mother’s nakedness 
by George Hayim.
Quartet, 232 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 7043 2690 6
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My Father’s House 
by Sylvia Fraser.
Virago, 254 pp., £4.95, February 1989, 0 86068 181 5
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... with boys, and lives under threat of the sexual contact forced on her by her father. At last she finds salvation with Danny, who is unaware of the previous situation with the father: ‘He holds me, binding the pieces of myself together, allowing me to heal.’ The ‘Appearances’ contrivance is dismantled and in 1957 Fraser enters the University of Ontario. She and Danny agree to marry, but the idea ...

I’m all for it

R.W. Johnson

30 March 2000
Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII 
by John Cornwall.
Viking, 430 pp., £20, September 1999, 0 670 87620 8
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... if not a respecter of hierarchy. He wanted no colleagues, prized his solitariness, ate alone and, as the French say, consulted his own genius. He got rid of his key adviser, Giovanni Montini (later Paul VI) because he exposed irregularities at the Vatican Bank run by – surprise, surprise – two of Pacelli’s nephews. He encouraged the notion that he was not just St Peter’s successor, but ...

Jacques Derrida

Judith Butler: Commemorating ‘one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century’

4 November 2004
... to begin to mourn this thinker, who not only taught us how to read, but gave the act of reading a new significance and a new promise. In that book, he openly mourns Roland Barthes, who died in 1980, Paul de Man, who died in 1983, Michel Foucault, who died in 1984, and a host of others, including Edmund Jabès (1991), Louis Marin (1992), Sarah Kofman (1994), Emmanuel Levinas (1995) and Jean-François ...
21 May 1998
One Train 
by Kenneth Koch.
Carcanet, 74 pp., £7.95, March 1997, 9781857542691
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A World where News Travelled slowly 
by Lavinia Greenlaw.
Faber, 53 pp., £6.99, January 1997, 0 571 19160 6
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A Painted Field 
by Robin Robertson.
Picador, 98 pp., £6.99, February 1997, 0 330 35059 5
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... Kenneth Koch ends his fine and amusing collection, One Train, with a sequence called ‘On Aesthetics’, which, amongst many other things, takes in the aesthetics of Paul Valéry, of jazz, of moss, of air and of being the youngest of four sisters. In tone, the sequence is something like a cross between Auden’s ‘Academic Graffiti’ and the Private Eye scribbling ...
22 December 1983
The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Vol. II: Party, Parliament and the American Crisis, 1766-1774 
edited by Paul​ Langford.
Oxford, 508 pp., £40, April 1981, 0 19 822416 8
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Vol. V: India: Madras and Bengal, 1774-1785 
edited by P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 667 pp., £55, July 1983, 0 19 822417 6
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The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Constitutional Code, Vol. I 
edited by F. Rosen and J.H. Burns.
Oxford, 612 pp., £48, April 1983, 9780198226086
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The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Deontology, together with a Table of the Springs of Action and Article on Utilitarianism 
edited by Amnon Goldworth.
Oxford, 394 pp., £38, July 1983, 0 19 822609 8
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The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Chrestomathia 
edited by M.J. Smith and W.H. Burston.
Oxford, 451 pp., £40, November 1983, 0 19 822610 1
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Bentham and Bureaucracy 
by L.J. Hume.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £22.50, September 1981, 0 521 23542 1
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Jeremy Bentham and Representative Democracy: A Study of the Constitutional Code 
by Frederick Rosen.
Oxford, 255 pp., £19.50, May 1983, 9780198226567
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Bentham 
by Ross Harrison.
Routledge, 286 pp., £14.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9526 0
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... was won. Nevertheless, one section of the enemy was difficult to subdue because it did not admit to being an enemy. These were the upholders of the doctrine of natural law, a universal moral code, binding on everyone and therefore of course on Parliament. Many men who were by no means radical insisted, with Chatham, that the acceptance of parliamentary sovereignty did not entail the sacrifice of ...

Adrian

Peter Campbell

5 December 1985
... degree, become open to inspection, the adult world turns out to have nothing to offer but pain, betrayal and embarrassment. The epigraph to The Secret Diary is taken from Sons and Lovers: ‘Paul walked with something screwed up tight inside him ... yet he chatted away with his mother. He would never have confessed to her how he suffered over these things and she only partly guessed.’ The ...

Happy Knack

Ian Sansom: Betjeman

20 February 2003
John Betjeman: New Fame, New Love 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 736 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 7195 5002 5
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... right – most of us, after all, are going to do well to merit anything more than an In Memoriam in the local paper and half a dozen glasses raised in tribute. His relationship with his son, Paul, does seem to have been a little strained, but then again, is there a father-son relationship that isn’t? I mean – seriously – Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Betjeman apparently enjoyed teasing ...

Plenty of Puff

Charles West: Charlemagne

9 December 2019
King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne 
by Janet Nelson.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £30, July, 978 0 7139 9243 4
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... Though the crown had been held by his family only since 751, when his father ousted the ancient Merovingian dynasty in a coup, Charlemagne could claim many famous ancestors. A contemporary writer, Paul the Deacon, recounted an anecdote about a man he identified as Charlemagne’s great-great-great grandfather, the seventh-century bishop Arnulf of Metz, who was said to have found a ring he had ...

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