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The Redeemed Vicarage

John Lennard, 12 May 1994

Pictures of Perfection 
by Reginald Hill.
HarperCollins, 303 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 00 232392 3
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... that Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and Sergeant Peter Pascoe would develop as they have, except Reginald Hill’s unusual and wise decision never to write consecutive novels about them.* Their debut in A Clubbable Woman (1970) came eight years after Julian Symons had first pronounced the ‘detective story’ dead; as late as 1989 T.J. Binyon, in ...


Rosemary Hill: At Mars Avenue, 26 May 2022

... he was born, but it was an excuse to play with a new archive. I found him straight away. Edward Reginald Hill was just where I expected him to be, in Eltham, South London, an only child living with his parents. It was a bigger household than I had realised. His maternal grandfather and great-grandmother were living with them, but the address was more ...

Take my camel, dear

Rosemary Hill: Rose Macaulay’s Pleasures, 16 December 2021

Personal Pleasures: Essays on Enjoying Life 
by Rose Macaulay.
Handheld Classics, 256 pp., £12.99, August 2021, 978 1 912766 50 5
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... lingers in hope of hearing the first cuckoo of spring. From the ‘steep shoulder’ of Wheatham Hill, she looks down on the curving wood – or ‘hanger’ as she calls it, typically preferring the more arcane term – ‘coiled like a great snake of beech and oak’. She is there again on New Year’s Eve, ‘walking in the fields on the last of those ...

Short Cuts

Patrick Wright: The Moral of Brenley Corner, 6 December 2018

... Enthusiasts would drive to the village of Boughton after nightfall just to park at the top of the hill and watch in amazement as the lorries hauled themselves up and out of the village, shattering the night with blazing lights and roaring engines – and, as was surely registered by the Tolkien-addled hippies among the nocturnal onlookers, with all the ...

Before Wapping

Asa Briggs, 22 May 1986

Victorian News and Newspapers 
by Lucy Brown.
Oxford, 305 pp., £32.50, November 1985, 0 19 822624 1
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... unexplained, which Gladstone, for example, was to imitate. It is true that as long ago as 1910 Reginald Lucas wrote a revealing book, Lord Glenesk and the ‘Morning Post’, which revealed many details of the fascinating relationship between Palmerston and the press, and that Stephen Koss in the first volume of The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in ...

Degradation, Ugliness and Tears

Mary Beard: Harrow School, 7 June 2001

A History of Harrow School 
by Christopher Tyerman.
Oxford, 599 pp., £30, October 2000, 0 19 822796 5
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... was said to have breathed ‘the atmosphere of the Council of Nicaea’ rather than Harrow-on-the-Hill, but his ineptness cannot explain why Westminster’s pupil numbers were also plummeting (from 300 in 1821 to 67 twenty years later), as were Shrewsbury’s, Winchester’s and Rugby’s. This widespread crisis of recruitment must have had more to do with ...


Iain Sinclair: On the Promenade, 17 August 2006

... above the tannin scum: leathery seaweed, wads of yellow paper. They tiptoe out, speeded-up Benny Hill, over sharp stones, to neat piles of folded clothes. The watched, towelled down and returned to their balconies, rusting rails and anti-gull devices, become the watchers. A slow-motion cinema of such tender boredom that they will never move again. Along the ...

A Little of this Honey

Frank Kermode, 29 October 1987

Oscar Wilde 
by Richard Ellmann.
Hamish Hamilton, 632 pp., £15, October 1987, 0 241 12392 5
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... Wilde to homosexuality at the age of 32, stood by him to the end, and he was supported by Reginald Turner and Frank Harris. They were joined by Jean Dupoirier, proprietor of the Paris hotel in which Wilde died, and perhaps of all his friends the most disinterested and serviceable. It is easy to say that Wilde brought his distress on himself. The ...

Pleased to Be Loony

Alice Spawls: The Janeites, 8 November 2012

Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures 
by Claudia Johnson.
Chicago, 224 pp., £22.50, June 2012, 978 0 226 40203 1
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... of little people.’ She is less provoked by the adventures of Janeites like Constance and Ellen Hill, who at the beginning of the 20th century made a pilgrimage to the places associated with Austen. They ran into trouble before they even reached Steventon: no one had heard of the nearby hamlet of Clarken Green where they had planned to spend the night. When ...

On the Window Ledge of the Union

Colin Kidd: Loyalism v. Unionism, 7 February 2013

Belfast 400: People, Place and History 
edited by S.J. Connolly.
Liverpool, 392 pp., £14.95, November 2012, 978 1 84631 634 0
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Ulster since 1600: Politics, Economy and Society 
edited by Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw.
Oxford, 355 pp., £35, November 2012, 978 0 19 958311 9
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The Plantation of Ulster: Ideology and Practice 
edited by Eamonn O Ciardha and Micheál O Siochrú.
Manchester, 269 pp., £70, October 2012, 978 0 7190 8608 3
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The End of Ulster Loyalism? 
by Peter Shirlow.
Manchester, 230 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 0 7190 8476 8
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... large Scotch. What a bloody awful country.’ Visiting Northern Ireland as home secretary in 1970, Reginald Maudling, whose mellow moderation verged on a slothful desire for an easy life, was understandably exasperated by the Ulster problem – but no more so than a long line of politicians, before and since. Churchill – not so easily depicted as a ...

The Crowe is White

Hilary Mantel: Bloody Mary, 24 September 2009

Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 249 pp., £19.99, June 2009, 978 0 300 15216 6
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... to the European movements of their time. The chief actor in Fires of Faith is not Mary herself but Reginald Pole, the churchman who was the queen’s closest adviser in her campaign, and who had spent much of his life in exile. Born in the year 1500, Pole was a Plantagenet, with a claim to the English throne. Both his grandfather, George, Duke of Clarence, and ...

‘Just get us out’

Ferdinand Mount, 21 March 2019

... to anything which might further the reformation of the Christian religion’. As his successor, Reginald Pole, wisecracked a few weeks later, ‘other perjurers be wont to break their oath after they have sworn, you break it before.’ Two days later, Cranmer rammed through both houses of Convocation the declaration that Henry’s brother Arthur had ...

Hard Romance

Barbara Everett, 8 February 1996

... Jane Austen’s novels’. He is supported, moreover, by an equally classic account of the writer, Reginald Farrer’s 1917 essay, which remarks: ‘Never again does the writer introduce a character so entirely irrelevant as Margaret Dashwood.’ They are right, of course. But such fighting terms from critics so unsafe to disagree with are useful in ...

Paralysed by the Absence of Danger

Jeremy Harding: Spain, 1937, 24 September 2009

Letters from Barcelona: An American Woman in Revolution and Civil War 
edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn.
Palgrave, 209 pp., £50, February 2009, 978 0 230 52739 3
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War Is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War 
by James Neugass.
New Press, 314 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 59558 427 4
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We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War 
by Paul Preston.
Constable, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 1 84529 946 0
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... mountainous and beautiful’), starting early and returning late: ‘we climbed part way up a hill and lay in the grass for a couple of hours in the sun eating candy and talking.’ Eileen had no axe to grind, which made her a rare bird among the expats in Barcelona and may have accounted for her charm in Charles and Lois’s eyes. For all their ...

Trying to Make Decolonisation Look Good

Bernard Porter: The End of Empire, 2 August 2007

Britain’s Declining Empire: The Road to Decolonisation, 1918-68 
by Ronald Hyam.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £17.99, February 2007, 978 0 521 68555 9
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The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 559 pp., August 2007, 978 0 7139 9830 6
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Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain’s Asian Empire 
by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper.
Allen Lane, 673 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 7139 9782 8
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... areas it worked indirectly – through local sultans and rajahs, for example, or by allowing the hill ‘tribes’ their head. ‘There was a curious insubstantial quality to Britain’s Asian empire … The British governed, but they did not, strictly speaking, rule.’ In the Malay States it was done ‘by smoke and mirrors’. For military backup they ...

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