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Animal, Spiritual and Cerebral

Mary Midgley, 18 August 1983

Animal Thought 
by Stephen Walker.
Routledge, 388 pp., £17.50, January 1983, 0 7100 9037 4
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On the Evolution of Human Behaviour 
by Peter Reynolds.
California, 259 pp., £20, December 1981, 0 520 04294 8
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The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit 
by Melvin Konner.
Heinemann, 436 pp., £16.50, October 1982, 0 434 39703 2
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Sociobiology and the Human Dimension 
by Georg Breuer.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £22.50, January 1983, 0 521 24544 3
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Sociobiology and the Pre-Emption of Social Science 
by Alexander Rosenberg.
Blackwell, 210 pp., £9.90, March 1981, 0 631 12625 2
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... to get this disorderly province of the mind finally under control and to issue a clear map of it. Peter Reynolds, in his admirable book, cites one such map, from an American anthropologist writing in 1901: 1. The mentality of animals is instinctive rather than ratiocinative, and for each species responds practically alike to like stimuli; 2. the savage ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Reynolds’s theatrical portraits, 7 July 2005

... The Joshua Reynolds exhibition at Tate Britain (until 18 September) is subtitled ‘The Creation of Celebrity’. The case for Reynolds as a prime mover in the invention of that modern kind of fame is well made. The catalogue, the wall labels, the little cards with short quotations set in fancy borders which are stuck below some of the pictures, all these help fill out what can be read from the paintings themselves: that Reynolds, in his seven-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week pursuit of reputation, fame and wealth, and in his ardent prosecution of his role as a maker of iconic portraits, not only made likenesses of distinguished literary men, successful courtesans, noblemen, royalty and friends (especially friends, because many of the great and many of the scandalous were also his friends), but gave them a dignity, winsomeness, beauty or authority which the imagination of a literate public, fed with gossip and news from a burgeoning press, recognised and relished ...

Complete with spats

A.N. Wilson, 27 May 1993

Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul 
by Barbara Reynolds.
Hodder, 398 pp., £25, March 1993, 0 340 58151 4
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... I have been reading again The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers. Barbara Reynolds says that this book – together with her famous series of radio dramas The Man Born to be King – is her greatest work. And Barbara Reynolds should know. She is the goddaughter of Sayers; she is a distinguished Italian scholar and collaborated with Sayers on her translation of The Divine Comedy (a collaboration fascinatingly written up in her book The Passionate Intellect: Dorothy L ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Hemingway the Spy, 16 February 2017

... only so much damage one can do with a Robert Frost interview, but that didn’t stop the late Peter Matthiessen, one of the founding editors, from now and then leaving the office, or the Himalayas, to spy on supposed enemies of the United States. Matthiessen later said he had used the magazine as cover for some high-level snitching, but in the annals of ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Thomas Lawrence, 6 January 2011

... all its costly pictures, furniture, and articles of vertu – the magnificent Vandykes; the noble Reynolds pictures; the Lawrence portraits, tawdry and beautiful, and, 30 years ago, deemed as precious as works of real genius.’ ‘Pope Pius VII’ (1819-20) There is much crimson velvet, and many uniforms spangled with stars and sashes, in the ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: James Gillray, 21 June 2001

... of Miss Provis at her easel, her peacock train supported by naked graces. You may well recognise Reynolds in the foreground, rising from the grave with his ear trumpet, but you should also know that Edward Malone, his biographer, said that, were he alive, Reynolds would have subscribed to Miss Provis’s method. The ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gainsborough, 28 November 2002

... which put him at the same distance from subject and canvas, set at right angles to each other. Reynolds commented that the way the resulting ‘odd scratches and marks’ came together at a distance to give form was, for the painter, a matter of pride: Gainsborough wanted people to look close up and take pleasure in the dance of marks as well as to admire ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Gerrit Dou, 5 October 2000

... introduction to a monograph of 1901, almost apologised for giving time to the work. Like Joshua Reynolds, he said, he turned from Dou ‘with admiration on the lips but indifference in the heart’. This is the story told by Arthur Wheelock in his essay on Dou’s reputation in the catalogue of the exhibition of his work which can be seen at Dulwich Picture ...

Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

No Mate for the Magpie 
by Frances Molloy.
Virago, 170 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 86068 594 2
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The Mysteries 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 229 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 9780571137893
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Ukulele Music 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 103 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 40986 0
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Hard Lines 2 
edited by Ian Dury, Pete Townshend, Alan Bleasdale and Fanny Dubes.
Faber, 95 pp., £2.50, June 1985, 0 571 13542 0
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No Holds Barred: The Raving Beauties choose new poems by women 
edited by Anna Carteret, Fanny Viner and Sue Jones-Davies.
Women’s Press, 130 pp., £2.95, June 1985, 0 7043 3963 3
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Katerina Brac 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 47 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13614 1
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Skevington’s Daughter 
by Oliver Reynolds.
Faber, 88 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13697 4
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Rhondda Tenpenn’orth 
by Oliver Reynolds.
10 pence
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Trio 4 
by Andrew Elliott, Leon McAuley and Ciaran O’Driscoll.
Blackstaff, 69 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 333 4
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Mama Dot 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, August 1985, 0 7011 2957 3
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The Dread Affair: Collected Poems 
by Benjamin Zephaniah.
Arena, 112 pp., £2.95, August 1985, 9780099392507
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Long Road to Nowhere 
by Amryl Johnson.
Virago, 64 pp., £2.95, July 1985, 0 86068 687 6
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Mangoes and Bullets 
by John Agard.
Pluto, 64 pp., £3.50, August 1985, 0 7453 0028 6
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Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars 
by Ron Butlin.
Secker, 51 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 07810 4
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True Confessions and New Clichés 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 135 pp., £3.95, July 1985, 0 904919 90 0
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Works in the Inglis Tongue 
by Peter Davidson.
Three Tygers Press, 17 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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Wild Places: Poems in Three Leids 
by William Neill.
Luath, 200 pp., £5, September 1985, 0 946487 11 1
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... the demotic: fuck, balls, cock, cunt – this is Larkin’s equivalent of dialect. Nowadays Peter Reading is offering something similar, inserting into a great variety of verse-forms a language that is coarse, prosey and, some say, as they at first said about Larkin, scarcely the language of poetry at all. Reading’s vernacular England isn’t to be ...


David Reynolds: The Real Mrs Miniver, 25 April 2002

The Real Mrs Miniver 
by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.
Murray, 314 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 7195 5541 8
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Mrs Miniver 
by Jan Struther.
Virago, 153 pp., £7.99, November 2001, 1 85381 090 8
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... 1936 they had to abandon Chelsea for something more modest. At this low moment Joyce was asked by Peter Fleming, then a leader-writer on the Times, to help enliven the Court Page, whose only light relief from the comings and goings at the Palace was a series of articles about flora and fauna – ‘Woody Plants for Limey Soil’ or ‘Family Cares of the ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Pompeo Batoni, 10 April 2008

... and Duchess of Gloucester by demanding full payment before he delivered their pictures. But if Reynolds had painted you in London it would have set you back rather more, and a course on Roman antiquities could cost as much as your portrait. Months or even years later the finished portrait would arrive at the family’s country seat. A famous piece of ...

At the Museum of London

Peter Campbell: Artists’ studios, 7 June 2001

... in a view of Leicester Square in 1753 one can spot the obelisks outside the house of Sir Joshua Reynolds on one side and the gilded bust of Van Dyck above Hogarth’s door on the other. By the middle of the 19th century painters were making the fashion as much as following it. Millais put up a grand, if conventional mansion in Knightsbridge and Watts led ...

Crossed Palettes

Ronald Paulson, 4 November 1993

Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in 18th-Century England 
by David Solkin.
Yale, 312 pp., £40, July 1993, 0 300 05741 5
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... divided into those who followed academic precepts, often slavishly but sometimes imaginatively (Reynolds, Wilson, Barry and West), and those whose paintings were, in important ways, anti-academic, or ‘English’: Hogarth himself, Zoffany, Wright of Derby, Stubbs, Gainsborough, Rowlandson and Blake. The second group all shared something of Hogarth’s ...

Braudel’s Long Term

Peter Burke, 10 January 1983

Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: Vol. I. The Structures of Everyday Life 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Collins, 623 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 00 216303 9
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Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: Vol. II. The Wheels of Commerce 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Collins, 670 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 9780002161329
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Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe-XVIIIe siècle: Vol. III. Le temps du monde 
by Fernand Braudel.
Armand Colin, 607 pp., frs 250, May 1979, 2 253 06457 2
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... on ‘society’ in the widest sense, the ensemble des ensembles – neatly translated by Sian Reynolds as the ‘set of sets’ – which discusses the influence on the economy of the social hierarchy, politics and culture. Taken by itself, the analysis offered in Braudel’s second volume appears too static, and its readers should be aware that Braudel ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: London 1753, 25 September 2003

... pleasures are shown in black and white, for this is an exhibition dominated by engravings. Reynolds’s portrait of Garrick being tugged right and left by Comedy and Tragedy is here, but as a mezzotint. Hogarth’s work is represented in the form of drawings and prints, not paintings. The topography comes that way too. The Sandby watercolours (above ...

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