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Economic Performance

Sydney Checkland, 19 April 1984

The Victorian Economy 
by François Crouzet, translated by Anthony Forster.
Methuen, 430 pp., £18, June 1982, 0 416 31110 5
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British Economic Growth 1856-1973 
by R.C.O. Matthews, C.H. Feinstein and J.C. Odling-Smee.
Oxford, 712 pp., £37.50, October 1982, 0 19 828453 5
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The Cambridge Economic History of Europe. Vol. VII: The Industrial Economies: Capital, Labour and Enterprise 
edited by Peter Mathias.
Cambridge, 832 pp., £13.50, June 1982, 0 521 28800 2
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... chapters, all by different hands. This was the remit set by the late M.M. Postan and his pupil Peter Mathias. Postan, who creatively dominated British economic history for so long, loved debate about the kind of framework or historical idiom one should employ for different purposes. The present volume, the penultimate one in the Cambridge Economic ...

Napoleon was wrong

Ian Gilmour, 24 June 1993

Capitalism, Culture and Decline in Britain 1750-1990 
by W.D. Rubinstein.
Routledge, 182 pp., £25, April 1993, 0 415 03718 2
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British Multinational Banking 
by Geoffrey Jones.
Oxford, 511 pp., £48, March 1993, 0 19 820273 3
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Going for Broke: How Banking Mismanagement in the Eighties Lost Thousands of Billions of Pounds 
by Russell Taylor.
Simon and Schuster, 384 pp., £17.50, April 1993, 0 671 71128 8
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... Rubinstein needs strong evidence to deny that Britain’s was ‘the first industrial economy’ (Peter Mathias) or that there was a ‘transformation of the British economy to an industry state’ (Phyllis Deane). The evidence he relies on comes from income-tax returns: ‘The totals for London and the Home Counties may be taken as convenient shorthand ...

Strong Government

Linda Colley, 7 December 1989

The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688-1788 
by John Brewer.
Unwin Hyman, 289 pp., £28, April 1989, 0 04 445292 6
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Cambridge in the Age of the Enlightenment: Science, Religion and Politics from the Restoration to the French Revolution 
by John Gascoigne.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £32.50, June 1989, 0 521 35139 1
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Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 
by C.A. Bayly.
Longman, 295 pp., £16.95, June 1989, 0 582 04287 9
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... indirect commodity taxes on domestically-produced goods. Like some economic historians such as Peter Mathias and Patrick O’Brien, Brewer suggests that the taxes may well have been heavier in Britain than in many other European states, and may also have fallen disproportionately hard on the middling and lower classes, rather than the landed and ...

Oud, Saz and Kaman

Adam Mars-Jones: Mathias Enard, 24 January 2019

Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants 
by Mathias Enard, translated by Charlotte Mandell.
Fitzcarraldo, 144 pp., £10.99, November 2018, 978 1 910695 69 2
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... Behind​ its grand and oblique title, derived rather surprisingly from Kipling, Mathias Enard’s new book is a fictional account, no more than novella length, of a visit by Michelangelo to Constantinople in 1506. Sultan Bayezid II had already commissioned a design for a bridge over the Golden Horn from Leonardo da Vinci, and rejected it ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: L is Lorentzen, 23 January 2014

... a refugee of the Napoleonic Wars. He had a farm in Jutland and died in 1809. Of his two sons, Mathias went broke and shipped out to America, fate unknown; the other was the first in a line of three men called Peter Andreas. Peter Andreas I prospered: his farm had a windmill. ...

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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... 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’s been possible to detect Holroyd’s presence in his ...

Half a Million Feathers

Peter Campbell, 4 April 1996

Oceanic Art 
by Nicholas Thomas.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £6.95, May 1995, 0 500 20281 8
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... style-changes. The new art in Thomas’s book which works best – paintings and drawings by Mathias Kauage from Papua New Guinea, for example – is eclectic in its content, but confident, even conservative, in style. Kauage digests Western subject-matter brilliantly. His buses, aeroplanes and uniforms bring to mind both the transformations of European ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... Street nexus were confirmed by the reception of Paul Routledge’s very unauthorised biography of Peter Mandelson, the Labour Member for Hartlepool who would like to be prime minister. Routledge, an Old Labour hack, set out with an apparently impossible ambition – to do a service to the Labour movement by taking on the second most powerful man in the ...

Priapus Knight

Marilyn Butler, 18 March 1982

The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751-1824 
edited by Michael Clarke and Nicholas Penny.
Manchester, 189 pp., £30, February 1982, 0 7190 0871 9
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... Knight became a favourite target. He was also lampooned in The Anti-Jacobin, and in the Rev. T.J. Mathias’s satiric poem ‘The Pursuits of Literature’. Mathias later appended a footnote in which he observed darkly: ‘the Dilettanti Society best know what emblem modelled in wax is laid upon the table at their solemn ...

Shovelling Clouds

Adam Mars-Jones: Fred Vargas, 23 April 2015

Temps glaciaires 
by Fred Vargas.
Flammarion, 490 pp., €19.90, March 2015, 978 2 08 136044 0
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... a mystery. This was done with a light comic touch: three impoverished young men, Marc, Lucien and Mathias, take on the lease of a dilapidated old building, each of them complaining about the arrangement since they have absolutely nothing in common. They all turn out to be academic historians, with different specialist areas – the Middle ...

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