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Peter McGill: In Japan, 31 March 2011

... morning and evening. Kobe’s death and destruction were concentrated in the solidly working-class ward of Nagata, a centre of Japanese shoe production. Before it was levelled, Nagata was home to about half of Kobe’s 20,000 Korean residents, as well as Japan’s largest ghetto of burakumin. The word means ‘hamlet people’ though its mere mention usually ...


Elisa Segrave: Revved Up on Solpadeine, 22 July 1993

... Saturday. I’m in a ward in the Charing Cross Hospital with Bertha, another woman with breast cancer. All the lymph glands under my right arm have been removed. Bertha, who’s 60 and lives near Heathrow Airport, is talking to a woman with hennaed hair who was bitten by her own corgi, or her daughter’s corgi, I’m not sure which ...

A View of a View

Marina Warner: Melchior Lorck, 27 May 2010

Melchior Lorck 
edited by Erik Fischer, Ernst Jonas Bencard and Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen.
Royal Library Vandkunsten, 808 pp., €300, August 2009, 978 87 91393 61 7
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... of photographers like Atget and Sander. In a rare essay on Lorck’s drawings from 1955, Peter Ward-Jackson noticed ‘the hallucinatory quality’ of his work, ‘the morbid trend of his imagination’ and ‘his predilection for the weird and the sinister’. Lorck practised bizarre conjunctions and often communicates a cold absorption in his ...

Take a bullet for the team

David Runciman: The Profumo Affair, 21 February 2013

An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... feels most sorry for are Astor, and the other man on whom the scandal came to centre, Stephen Ward. In the case of Astor, this is understandable. It was at Astor’s house, Cliveden, in the summer of 1961, that Profumo met Keeler, who was there with Ward, who was in cahoots with the Russian naval attaché Ivanov. ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley, 11 July 2002

Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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The Cat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... was, I suspect, someone mentioned only parenthetically here: Aldous’s aunt, Mrs Humphry Ward. Aldous’s mother, Julia, was among the first generation of girls able to compete for the benefits of higher education. After attending Oxford High School she was a home student at Somerville. In 1882, she got a first-class degree in English, the first of ...

Making saints

Peter Burke, 18 October 1984

Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom 1000-1700 
by Donald Weinstein and Rudolph Bell.
Chicago, 314 pp., £21.25, February 1983, 0 226 89055 4
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The Norman Conquest and Beyond 
by Frank Barlow.
Hambledon, 318 pp., £22, June 1983, 0 907628 19 2
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Miracles and the Medieval Mind 
by Benedicta Ward.
Scolar, 321 pp., £17.50, November 1983, 0 85967 609 9
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The Great Debate on Miracles: From Joseph Glanvill to David Hume 
by R.M. Burns.
Associated University Presses, 305 pp., £17.50, July 1983, 0 8387 2378 0
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Saints and their Cults: Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore and History 
edited by Stephen Wilson.
Cambridge, 435 pp., £35, December 1983, 0 521 24978 3
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... gradually became more formal and more centralised. First the bishops became involved, acting, as Peter Brown puts it in his brilliant study The Cult of the Saints, as ‘spiritual impresarios’. Then it was the turn of the Popes, such as Urban II in the 11th century, Calixtus II in the 12th and Gregory IX in the 13th. As Professor Barlow reminds us in an ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: American Prints, 8 May 2008

... too, had worked for newspapers) and George Bellows’s lithographs of a prize fight, a psychiatric ward and couples in the park. In London and Paris, the illustrations that painters admired – some reproduced by wood engraving, some by lithography – were done by others. In America the illustrators themselves became painters and printmakers. While many of ...

Among the quilters

Peter Campbell, 21 March 1991

by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 313 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 7011 3509 3
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Health and Happiness 
by Diane Johnson.
Chatto, 260 pp., £13.99, January 1991, 0 7011 3597 2
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by Carol Shields.
Fourth Estate, 388 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 1 872180 08 6
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... does not flag and the medical detail is excellent. Great books about illness (The Rack, Cancer Ward) in which the struggle with illness engages with larger themes date back to the time before antibiotics when doctors had to look on knowing they could do little; moral crises now revolve around when to stop doing what you can. When to pull the plug is a real ...

From Notre Dame to Cluny, via a Beehive Hut

John Bossy: Abelard’s Final Fling, 2 July 1998

Abelard: A Medieval Life 
by M.T. Clanchy.
Blackwell, 416 pp., £45, January 1997, 0 631 20502 0
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... but he does not bang on about it. He is telling a story; his mode, to borrow a phrase from Peter Burke, is thick narrative. First he sets up his characters: Abelard himself; his enemy Bernard of Clairvaux, saint and, on Clanchy’s showing, insufferable rhetorician; his lover, short-lived wife and long-lived correspondent Heloise, niece or daughter and ...


Tobias Jones: The Politics of Football, 7 May 1998

... desire to react to hooliganism by erecting unforgiving steel cages which became coffins’, Colin Ward writes in All Quiet on the Hooligan Front (1996). Lord Justice Taylor produced his interim report on the tragedy on 1 August that year. The chief superintendent in charge, Taylor decided, ‘could not face the enormity of the decision to open the gates and ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Lucian Freud, 25 July 2002

... admit to having seen – or perhaps I was treating the picture as you might a person in a hospital ward whose dressing-gown falls open, making you aware of something on the periphery of vision it would be kinder/ more polite/less embarrassing not to notice. Faced with a mass of Freud’s paintings like those in the retrospective at Tate Britain, which runs ...

Schrödinger’s Tumour

Jenny Diski: Schrödinger’s Tumour, 6 November 2014

... connotations. What​ has most surprised me is that as soon as I arrived at the oncology day ward for the final infusion, I found myself anxious, distressed even, that there would be no more visits to the ward. I worried that ‘my’ designated nurse, L., would no longer be available to be called, as she insists, with ...


Karl Miller: Conflict of Two Egos, 3 June 1982

... places. The sequences featuring three eventually famous friends, James Prior of Northern Ireland, Peter May of England, one of its cricket captains, and William Rees-Mogg, late of the Times, are among the tightest and funniest things he has written. May is present, while utterly silent, as a batsman of genius, and as a figure of fun and a pillar of rectitude ...


Valerie Pearl, 4 February 1982

The Shell Guide to the History of London 
by W.R. Dalzell.
Joseph, 496 pp., £12.50, July 1981, 0 7181 2015 9
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... of London to be published. John Stow arranged his pioneering Survey on a topographical system, ward by ward, conducting the reader on a perambulation of the city, providing him with much historical, architectural and biographical information and pausing here and there, as our latterday guides do, to utter nostalgic ...

Protestant Guilt

Tom Paulin, 9 April 1992

Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 517 pp., £18.99, March 1992, 0 571 16604 0
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... study by a Jesuit academic which ought to be better-known, Shakespeare’s Religious Background by Peter Mil-ward, Hughes probes Shakespeare’s Catholicism. Following Milward, he notes that his mother’s family, the Ardens, were strongly Catholic, and that the head of the Warwickshire branch, Edward Arden, was first ...

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