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Homo Duplex

Barry Glassner, 5 May 1983

Positivism and Sociology: Explaining Social Life 
by Peter Halfpenny.
Allen and Unwin, 141 pp., £10.95, October 1982, 0 04 300084 3
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The Rules of Sociological Method and Selected Texts on Sociology and its Method 
by Emile Durkheim and Steven Lukes, translated by W.D. Halls.
Macmillan, 264 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 333 28071 7
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The Sociological Domain: The Durkheimians and the Founding of French Sociology 
edited by Philippe Besnard.
Cambridge, 296 pp., £24, March 1983, 0 521 23876 5
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Durkheim and the Study of Suicide 
by Steve Taylor.
Macmillan, 249 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 333 28645 6
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... rigorous inquiry akin to the biologists’ and findings stated as laws of cause and effect. In Peter Halfpenny’s catalogue of 12 referents for ‘positivism’ as used by sociologists, Durkheim is ticketed for two: ‘the natural science of sociology consists of the collection and statistical analysis of quantitative data about society,’ and ...

Shining Pink

Tam Dalyell, 23 May 1985

Death of a Rose-Grower: Who killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Graham Smith.
Cecil Woolf, 96 pp., £5.95, April 1985, 0 900821 76 0
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... Tale’ outlines the findings of the young – by Home Office pathologist standards – Dr Peter Acland, whose expert testimony (subsequently challenged by a more experienced Welsh pathologist) was somewhat undermined by an astonishing letter to the Times, in which he said: ‘I do not know who killed Miss Murrell, but I have the strong suspicion that ...

Silent Pleasures

A.W.F. Edwards, 15 July 1982

... in the seconds left before touch-down, I resolved that I must exorcise my demon and fly again. Peter Scott started gliding the same year as me, and in Cambridge we used to say that the experience was reflected in the change that came over his wild-life paintings, the cardboard clouds of yesterday suddenly growing into beautiful living masses of cumulus. By ...

Two Men in a Boat

Ian Aitken, 15 August 1991

John Major: The Making of the Prime Minister 
by Bruce Anderson.
Fourth Estate, 324 pp., £16.99, June 1991, 9781872180540
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‘My Style of Government’: The Thatcher Years 
by Nicholas Ridley.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 09 175051 2
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... and ought to be made to work. But since it heaps new obligations on them without providing a halfpenny new money, perhaps we are entitled to amend its name. Citizen Micawber’s Charter might be nearer the mark – or better still, Conservative Party Election Manifesto. Which brings me to Nicholas Ridley’s contribution to the same debate. Like Mr ...

Toxic Lozenges

Jenny Diski: Arsenic, 8 July 2010

The Arsenic Century: How Victorian Britain Was Poisoned at Home, Work and Play 
by James Whorton.
Oxford, 412 pp., £16.99, January 2010, 978 0 19 957470 4
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... leaving her in imminent danger of being convicted of poisoning her worthless ex-lover. Lord Peter Wimsey, whimsically love-struck and coming to the rescue, confronts the real villain: Yes, well, about this arsenic. As you know, it’s not good for people in a general way, but there are some people – those tiresome peasants in Styria one hears so much ...

Lucky Lad

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Harold Evans, 17 December 2009

My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times – An Autobiography 
by Harold Evans.
Little, Brown, 515 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 1 4087 0203 1
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... and the terrible portent – of 1896, when Alfred Harmsworth launched the Daily Mail at a halfpenny, far brighter and brasher, and soon hugely outselling all the others. What happened to the Daily News and Daily Chronicle was curious, and likewise something of a portent. First they both performed weird political volte-faces. When the Boer War ...

Whatever you do, buy

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s First Folio, 15 November 2001

The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book Vol. I: An Account of the First Folio Based on Its Sales and Prices, 1623-2000 
by Anthony James West.
Oxford, 215 pp., £70, April 2001, 0 19 818769 6
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... Price Index had fallen (and the price of a loaf had remained the same, still about fivepence halfpenny), the cost of a Folio had gone on rising, to 5000 loaves, and when the Consumer Price Index started to escalate dramatically around 1950 this particular corner of the antiquarian book trade was more than ready to outstrip it entirely. In 1960 a copy of ...

Belt, Boots and Spurs

Jonathan Raban: Dunkirk, 1940, 5 October 2017

... The war​ rescued my father, Peter Raban, from his first job as a probationary teacher in the West Midlands and restored him to his proper station as an officer and a gentleman. He had hoped to go on to university (Oxford or Cambridge) from his boarding school in Worcester but his dismal Higher School Certificate results nixed that ambition ...

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