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Will-be-ism?

Nicolas Walter

27 February 1992
Demanding the impossible: A History of Anarchism 
by Peter Marshall.
HarperCollins, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 00 217855 9
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The Self-Build Book 
by Jon Broome and Brian Richardson.
Green Books, 253 pp., £15, December 1991, 1 870098 23 4
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... inexpensive paperback, elegantly written, deliberately designed for ordinary readers rather than scholars. There have been other general books, but Woodcock’s has been by far the most successful. PeterMarshall’s Demanding the impossible is a broad survey – an expensive hardback, efficiently written, similarly designed for ordinary readers but with plenty of notes to please scholars. Like ...
6 September 1984
Hazlitt: The Mind of a Critic 
by David Bromwich.
Oxford, 450 pp., £19.50, March 1984, 0 19 503343 4
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William Godwin: Philosopher, Novelist, Revolutionary 
by Peter Marshall.
Yale, 496 pp., £14.95, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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Burke, Paine, Godwin and the Revolution Controversy 
edited by Marilyn Butler.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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... way to attract your readers’ interest is to look it up in Hazlitt: you are bound to get a good quote, something concrete. We use Hazlitt to advertise and illuminate other writers and artists. PeterMarshall does so in his new biography, William Godwin. Hazlitt’s vivid account of Godwin’s political importance appears on the first page of Marshall’s introduction, and his worthy book is ...

Misappropriation

Colin Kidd: Burke

4 February 2016
Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke 
by Richard Bourke.
Princeton, 1001 pp., £30.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 14511 2
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Training Minds for the War of Ideas: Ashridge College, the Conservative Party and the Cultural Politics of Britain, 1929-54 
by Clarisse Berthezène.
Manchester, 214 pp., £75, June 2015, 978 0 7190 8649 6
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol. IV: Party, Parliament and the Dividing of the Whigs, 1780-94 
edited by P.J. Marshall and Donald Bryant.
Oxford, 674 pp., £120, October 2015, 978 0 19 966519 8
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... Edmund Burke. The principal cause of delay was the death of this volume’s original editor, Donald Bryant, in 1987, though other problems intervened and the volume is only now brought to harbour by PeterMarshall, the pre-eminent authority on the late 18th-century British Empire, who took on the task in 2011. The lengthy wait allows Marshall to pay sad tribute to the general editor of the series ...
18 July 1996
Empire: The British Imperial Experience, from 1765 to the Present 
by Denis Judd.
HarperCollins, 517 pp., £25, March 1996, 9780002552370
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Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire 
edited by P.J. Marshall.
Cambridge, 400 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 0 521 43211 1
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Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c.1500-c.1800 
by Anthony Pagden.
Yale, 244 pp., £19.95, August 1995, 0 300 06415 2
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... in Britain’s culture for centuries, to the extent that it influenced what its people ate, infiltrated their language, distorted how they looked at the world and at themselves. Yet, as both Judd and PeterMarshall demonstrate, neither Parliament nor the public ever gave Empire much conscious and sustained attention except when things were going hideously wrong and/or when they themselves were directly ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Prometheus’

5 July 2012
Prometheus 
directed by Ridley Scott.
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... how well-endowed the executive suite on an up-to-date spaceship can be – I mean will be. There is an android who makes cups of tea, learns ancient languages and models his diction and appearance on Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. A clip from that film, with the android devotedly watching it, is included for our information, and a little later the android, out of the spaceship and on the alien ...
3 September 1987
... Justice Parker went through extraordinary antics in order to try to prejudice the result of the trial. According to Knightley and Kennedy’s An Affair of State, the judge in the case, Mr Justice Marshall, was overheard in conversation with ‘a person very high up in the judiciary’, who asked: ‘Are you certain that you’ll be able to get him?’ Marshall replied: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get him ...
19 January 1984
That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in 19th-Century Intellectual History 
by Stefan Collini, Donald Winch and John Burrow.
Cambridge, 385 pp., £25, November 1983, 9780521257626
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... and Macaulay, Bagehot and Sidgwick can agree on what game they are playing, it is not clear what they are doing here, along with such as Dugald Stewart, David Ricardo, the Mills, E.A. Freeman, Alfred Marshall and Graham Wallas. Are these the First Eleven, or just the first eleven names that cropped up? When the Whigs were in charge, at least we used to have an identifiable team of All Stars, whom the fans ...

At Tate Britain

Frank Kermode: William Blake

14 December 2000
... with informative if inaccessible commentary adjacent on the walls. The admirable Juliet Stevenson provides an audio commentary. And there are lots of educational backups, some, like lectures by Peter Ackroyd and Tom Paulin, now over, others, including various conferences and courses, still to come. The most visible, and in some ways the most instructive of the exhibits are those which demonstrate ...

Pretty Letters

Megan Marshall: The Death of Edgar Allan Poe

21 February 2008
Poe: A Life Cut Short 
by Peter​ Ackroyd.
Chatto, 170 pp., £15.99, February 2008, 978 0 7011 6988 6
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... ever-forward motion. Why not borrow the sure-fire novelistic tricks of flashback and flash-forward to elude that soporific ‘and then’? So, it is little surprise to find the prolific genre-bender Peter Ackroyd beginning his brief biography of Edgar Allan Poe with a recounting of his subject’s final days. Never mind that Paul Strathern’s recent biographical study, Poe in 90 Minutes, and a new ...
2 February 1984
The Oxford Companion to American Literature 
by James Hart.
Oxford, 896 pp., £27.50, November 1983, 0 19 503074 5
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The Modern American Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Oxford, 209 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 19 212591 5
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The Literature of the United States 
by Marshall​ Walker.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £14, November 1983, 0 333 32298 3
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American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Valuation 
by Frederick Karl.
Harper and Row, 637 pp., £31.50, February 1984, 0 06 014939 6
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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 919 pp., £21, January 1984, 0 233 97610 8
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... are crammed with appendices, footnotes, bibliographies. Malcolm Bradbury includes a ‘Select Bibliography’ and a ‘List of Major Works’. Frederick Karl offers up columns of elaborate notes. Marshall Walker supplies a ‘chronological table’ that correlates authors and titles with events (Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone the same year that Henry James published Roderick Hudson; Carl ...

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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... the ‘Detective’s Tale’: a factual account of the original police investigations. The ‘Doctor’s 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 ...

Flat-Nose, Stocky and Beautugly

James Davidson: Greek Names

23 September 2010
A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. V.A Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia 
edited by T. Corsten.
Oxford, 496 pp., £125, March 2010, 978 0 19 956743 0
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... a retreat to more timeless and ageless seeming names, especially for boys. On my first day at primary school I was surrounded by boys with what I still think of as normal classic names: Simon, Mark, Peter, Andrew, Paul, Martin, Michael, Stephen, Richard, Robert, David. Girls’ names remained more modish: some Sarahs, Anns and Elizabeths and even some residual Marys, but also plenty of Janets, Jackies ...
21 April 1983
Britain can work 
by Ian Gilmour.
Martin Robertson, 272 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 85520 571 7
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The Use of Public Power 
by Andrew Shonfield, edited by Zuzanna Shonfield.
Oxford, 140 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 215357 9
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... misguided and ill-founded policy, and he as a victim of his views about it. Perhaps his views might not have mattered so much – even in Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet there are some unbelievers, Peter Walker is an honourable example – but his style must have been insufferable. It is not only wickedly witty – better, perhaps, even than Galbraith. From a background of Eton, Balliol, the Guards ...
30 September 1999
Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... orchestras, art exhibitions – or in the setting up of foundations in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ against Soviet totalitarianism. One of the rare dissenters, Charles Burton Marshall, is quoted here as saying that this bizarre operation to ‘counter Communism’ by trying ‘to break down ... doctrinaire thought patterns’ and anti-American attitudes throughout the world was ...

Exit Humbug

David Edgar: Theatrical Families

1 January 2009
A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 620 pp., £25, September 2008, 978 0 7011 7987 8
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... the evidence for and against there having been a sexual liaison between Terry and Irving, and concluding that it could go either way. Formally, too, he errs on the side of prudence. Unlike Peter Ackroyd, Holroyd doesn’t insert fictional passages; nor does he emulate Edmund Morris’s insertion of himself – as a schoolboy – into a life of Ronald Reagan. But he’s there nonetheless. It ...

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