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Pound Foolish

Kit McMahon, 9 May 1996

Politics and the Pound: The Conservatives’ Struggle with Sterling 
by Philip Stephens.
Macmillan, 364 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 333 63296 6
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... In Politics and the Pound, Philip Stephens has produced a book which should be required reading for anyone aspiring to be either Chancellor or Prime Minister. Let’s hope Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are studying it carefully. They can legitimately enjoy the more egregious mistakes made by the Tories since 1979, but they should be sparing with their scorn ...

Anglicana

Peter Campbell, 31 August 1989

A Particular Place 
by Mary Hocking.
Chatto, 216 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 7011 3454 2
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The House of Fear, Notes from Down Below 
by Leonora Carrington.
Virago, 216 pp., £10.99, July 1989, 1 85381 048 7
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Painted Lives 
by Max Egremont.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 241 12706 8
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The Ultimate Good Luck 
by Richard Ford.
Collins Harvill, 201 pp., £11.95, July 1989, 0 00 271853 7
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... by comparison, over-fleshed. In her introductory essay, Marina Warner mentions W.W. Jacobs, James Stephens, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear and Harry Graham: a reading-list which suggests a mix of the commonsensical and the fantastical which consorts easily with the insect-headed humans and other macabre juxtapositions of Max Ernst’s collage illustrations ...

Bogey’s Clean Sweep

Michael Holroyd, 22 May 1980

The Life of Katherine Mansfield 
by Antony Alpers.
Cape, 466 pp., £9.50, May 1980, 0 224 01625 3
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... in a violent ritualistic dance until he could celebrate Frank Harris as another Shakespeare, James Stephens as greater than Milton, Dostoevsky and D.H. Lawrence as of the same order as Christ: and only a little above the lot of them, in ‘her rightful place’, Katherine Mansfield. There he could love her. Antony Alpers’s new Life, as he explains in his ...

Green War

Patricia Craig, 19 February 1987

Poetry in the Wars 
by Edna Longley.
Bloodaxe, 264 pp., £12.95, November 1986, 0 906427 74 6
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We Irish: The Selected Essays of Denis Donoghue 
Harvester, 275 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 7108 1011 3Show More
The Battle of The Books 
by W.J. McCormack.
Lilliput, 94 pp., £3.95, October 1986, 0 946640 13 0
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The Twilight of Ascendancy 
by Mark Bence-Jones.
Constable, 327 pp., £14.95, January 1987, 0 09 465490 5
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl 
edited by John Quinn.
Methuen, 144 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 413 14350 3
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... and the fourth contains spirited appraisals of literary figures like George Moore and James Stephens. Poetry in the Wars is notable for its alertness and assiduity. Edna Longley is a formidable critic, and never better than when she’s proposing a revaluation of someone wrongly discounted, like Edward Thomas. The first two essays in this book ...

Social Arrangements

John Bayley, 30 December 1982

The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry 
edited by Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 208 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 14 042283 8
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The Rattle Bag 
edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
Faber, 498 pp., £10, October 1982, 0 571 11966 2
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... threats and intellectual gestures, seems far away, but almost as distant is the world of Philip Larkin, with all its equally carefully set-up shabbinesses, contrivances and confidences which only ten years ago seemed an exact and honest image of the way people actually lived. To the poetry of every age its dream and image of itself, but there seems ...

The Mask It Wears

Pankaj Mishra: The Wrong Human Rights, 21 June 2018

The People v. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It 
by Yascha Mounk.
Harvard, 400 pp., £21.95, March 2018, 978 0 674 97682 5
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Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World 
by Samuel Moyn.
Harvard, 277 pp., £21.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 73756 3
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... forage for ideas and inspiration on the lumpen right. The New York Times’s op-ed page lured Bret Stephens, a climate-change denier, and Bari Weiss, a campus agitator known for persecuting Arab scholars, away from the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. The Atlantic hired, then a few days later fired, Kevin Williamson, a prose stylist at the National Review ...

The Getaway Car

Glen Newey: Machiavelli, 21 January 2016

Machiavellian Democracy 
by John McCormick.
Cambridge, 252 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 0 521 53090 3
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Machiavelli in the Making 
by Claude Lefort, translated by Michael Smith.
Northwestern, 512 pp., £32.50, January 2012, 978 0 8101 2438 7
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Redeeming ‘The Prince’: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece 
by Maurizio Viroli.
Princeton, 189 pp., £18.95, October 2013, 978 0 691 16001 6
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... of being ‘admired of those that hate [him] most’. ‘A sicke Machiavell Pollititian,’ John Stephens wrote in his Essays of 1615, ‘is a baked meate for the devill.’ No other political theorist has received remotely similar treatment. Hobbes, who came in for a handsome share of vilification from the 1650s, was namechecked as an early exponent of ...

Racist Litter

Randall Kennedy: The Lessons of Reconstruction, 30 July 2020

The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution 
by Eric Foner.
Norton, 288 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 0 393 65257 4
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... to racial hierarchy. ‘Our new government … rests,’ the Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens, observed, ‘upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.’Lincoln did not believe that the federal government had the authority to do anything ...

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