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4 February 1982
The Nuclear Barons 
by Peter Pringle and James Spigelman.
Joseph, 578 pp., £12.95, January 1982, 0 7181 2061 2
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... targeted across the North Pole. They influence, and are influenced by, the price of sugar in Brazil and the political status of the Golan Heights. They are prime movers of the world of today. PeterPringle, formerly of the Sunday Times, now of the Observer, and James Spigelman, with civil service experience inside Gough Whitlam’s Government in Australia, have put together a remarkably well-informed ...


John Lanchester

5 June 1997
Journals 1990-92 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 434 00430 8
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... of Journals 1990-92, three volumes of diaries. The D&O is there from the first words of his first novel, Afternoon Men, published 65 years ago.   ‘When do you take it?’ said Atwater.   Pringle said: ‘You’re supposed to take it after every meal, but I only take it after breakfast and dinner. I find that enough.’   They stayed downstairs where the bar was. Upstairs there was a band ...

Get the placentas

Gavin Francis: ‘The Life Project’

1 June 2016
The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of Our Ordinary Lives 
by Helen Pearson.
Allen Lane, 399 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 1 84614 826 2
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... This was the second such study; the first, led by James Douglas, followed nearly 14,000 individuals born in the first week of March 1946. By 1981 Butler was running the project with Mia Kellmer Pringle, an educational psychologist born in Vienna who had arrived in Britain as a refugee in the 1930s (Pearson records her telling a colleague that she’d had three hurdles to overcome in Britain: ‘she ...

Make use of me

Jeremy Treglown: Olivia Manning

9 February 2006
Olivia Manning: A Life 
by Neville Braybrooke and June Braybrooke.
Chatto, 301 pp., £20, November 2004, 0 7011 7749 7
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... exclusively a writer: one not too proud to do scripts for Mrs Dale’s Diary on the BBC. In earlier days, having run away from the domestic constrictions of Portsmouth, she had worked as a clerk at Peter Jones, then in the firm’s furniture-painting studio, then as a secretary at the Medici Society, then for MGM as a reader. She used this period, the mid-1930s, as material for the best of her novels ...


James Paradis

18 June 1981
Sir Joseph Banks 
by Charles Lyte.
David and Charles, 248 pp., £10.50, October 1980, 0 7153 7884 8
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The Heyday of Natural History: 1820-1870 
by Lynn Barber.
Cape, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780224014489
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A Vision of Eden 
by Marianne North.
Webb and Bower, 240 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 906671 18 3
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... legendary travels whose reputation as England’s chief botaniser and scientific voyager drew him to the centre of society. Within a year of his return, he had been introduced to George III by Joseph Pringle, the President of the Royal Society, and had become an acquaintance of Dr Johnson and a welcome member of his club. Banks liberally applied his wealth to assembling at his London house a parlour ...

National Trolls

Huang Yuan: Censorship in China

4 October 2017
... Last month​ in an open letter, the editor of China Quarterly, Tim Pringle, reported that more than three hundred articles deemed ‘sensitive’ by the Chinese censors had been blocked in mainland China. The letter caused outrage among Sinologists. CQ’s publisher ...

The Animalcule

Nicholas Spice: Little Mr De Quincey

17 May 2017
Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey 
by Frances Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 397 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 1 4088 3977 5
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... As relations soured, the belittlements grew sardonic: for Wordsworth, De Quincey was ‘a little friend of ours’; for Lamb, ‘the animalcule’; Dorothy and Mary Wordsworth took to calling him Peter Quince. Even his friends tended to diminish him: ‘Poor little fellow!’ Carlyle exclaimed to his wife, Jane, who mused: ‘What would one give to have him in a box, and take him out to talk ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe

27 September 2012
All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... Famous Gal on the Bus between 1900 and 1980. Dedicated dyke-wonkettes will flutter, if not hyperventilate, at some of the A-list names cropping up regularly in All We Know: Maude Adams (the first Peter Pan); the Russian film star Alla Nazimova (a teetering Salomé in the ultra-campy cinematic 1923 version of Wilde’s play); Isadora Duncan, the bisexual modern dancer; the interior decorator Elsie ...

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