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Year of the Viking

Patrick Wormald, 17 July 1980

The Vikings 
by James Graham-Campbell and D. Kidd.
British Museum, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 7141 1352 2
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The Viking World 
edited by James Graham-Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 220 pp., £11.95, March 1980, 0 906459 04 4
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The Northern World 
edited by David Wilson.
Thames and Hudson, 248 pp., £15, February 1980, 0 500 25070 7
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Vikings! 
by Magnus Magnusson.
Bodley Head, 320 pp., £10, May 1980, 0 370 30272 9
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The Vikings 
by Johannes Bronsted.
Penguin, 347 pp., £1.95, April 1980, 0 14 020459 8
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Viking Age Sculpture 
by Richard Bailey.
Collins, 288 pp., £10.95, February 1980, 0 00 216228 8
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The Viking Age in Denmark 
by Klaus Randsborg.
Duckworth, 206 pp., £7.95, February 1980, 0 7156 1466 5
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... on pagan myth and heroic legend. This last point is one of many significant things to emerge from Richard Bailey’s delightful Viking Age Sculpture. Bailey sets out to make artistic and historical sense of the large corpus of often fragmentary and seldom (in present condition) aesthetically gratifying stone-carving in ...

Incriminating English

Randolph Quirk, 24 September 1992

Language, Self and Society: A Social History of Language 
edited by Peter Burke and Roy Porter.
Polity, 358 pp., £45, December 1991, 0 7456 0765 9
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Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language 
by Richard Bailey.
Cambridge, 329 pp., £16.95, March 1992, 0 521 41572 1
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The Oxford Companion to the English Language 
edited by Tom McArthur and Feri McArthur.
Oxford, 1184 pp., £25, September 1992, 9780192141835
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The History of the English Language: A Source Book 
by David Burnley.
Longman, 373 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 582 02522 2
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The Cambridge History of the English Language. Vol. I: Beginnings to 1066 
edited by Richard Hogg and Norman Blake.
Cambridge, 609 pp., £60, August 1992, 9780521264747
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... or with hackneyed and misleading metaphors like ‘the language of clothes’. So I turn to Richard Bailey’s Images of English: exhilarating material drawn from the less gleaned acres of language history. On the controversies over post-Renaissance style, we have not only Gil, Bullokar and Puttenham but Camden, Carew and Verstegan. On the ...

Getting it right

Tam Dalyell, 18 July 1985

The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... Without Richard Norton-Taylor of the Guardian, there would be no Belgrano affair, and doubtless Mr Clive Ponting OBE would be plying his way, ever upwards, in the Ministry of Defence. This is no exaggeration. Simply a statement of fact. I am in a position to know. However right Paul Rogers, Lee Chadwick, Arthur Gavshon and I may have been, the fact is that without the sustained interest of Guardian readers, and, in my case, the Labour Party up and down the country, there was no way which the professors of Belgrano Studies, as David Frost has christened us, could have carried on ...

At Tate Modern

Brian Dillon: Klein/Moriyama, 22 November 2012

... where he was the graphic equal of Irving Penn and a far stranger photographer than, say, David Bailey or Richard Avedon. But then he has long been ambivalent about his fashion photography; already in 1966 he had skewered that milieu with Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, the first in a series of satirical films that would take ...

Johnson’s Business

Keith Walker, 7 August 1980

A Dictionary of the English Language 
by Samuel Johnson.
Times, 2558 pp., £45, June 1980, 0 7230 0228 2
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Dictionary Johnson: Samuel Johnson’s Middle Years 
by James Clifford.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £10, February 1980, 0 434 13805 3
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... in the language. A simple record, with some jumbled senses, was all that was given by Nathaniel Bailey, Johnson’s immediate predecessor. In his 1736 edition, Bailey had 60,000 entries, about half as many again as Johnson. In 1747, Johnson, disappointed in his hopes of producing the edition of Shakespeare for which he ...

Sisyphus at the Selectric

James Wolcott: Undoing Philip Roth, 20 May 2021

Philip Roth: The Biography 
by Blake Bailey.
Cape, 898 pp., £30, April, 978 0 224 09817 5
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Philip Roth: A Counterlife 
by Ira Nadel.
Oxford, 546 pp., £22.99, May, 978 0 19 984610 8
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Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth 
by Benjamin Taylor.
Penguin, 192 pp., £18, May 2020, 978 0 525 50524 2
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... emerged from our hobbit holes and combed the cobwebs from our hair: the starship arrival of Blake Bailey’s authorised biography of Philip Roth, Philip Roth: The Biography. The ‘the’ of the subtitle said: accept no substitutes. Another biography of Roth was in the offing, Ira Nadel’s Philip Roth: A Counterlife, a sizeable, solidly ...

Short Cuts

Rory Scothorne: Under New Management, 13 August 2020

... Corbyn, has now been replaced by David Evans, a figure popular on the Labour right. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the left’s candidate to replace Corbyn, has already been sacked from the shadow cabinet. The party’s National Executive Committee has a majority defined ostensibly by loyalty to Starmer, but more concretely by opposition to Corbynism. The Socialist ...

Silly Buggers

James Fox, 7 March 1991

The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... fiction, rather than visiting Joan Crawford in her film-set caravan, accompanied by Lord Snowdon. Richard Wollheim and Colin McInnes had been overheard talking about him on the balcony at a party. ‘There we were,’ said McInnes afterwards, ‘like two Chinese civil servants in the snow, talking about the Emperor.’ He shared an office with Meriel ...

Keep Calm

Rosemary Hill: Desperate Housewives, 24 May 2007

Can Any Mother Help Me? Fifty Years of Friendship through a Secret Magazine 
by Jenna Bailey.
Faber, 330 pp., £16.99, March 2007, 978 0 571 23313 7
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... met, but whose main connection was their writing to, for and occasionally about one another. Jenna Bailey has skilfully compiled and edited some of what survives of the magazines into a series of thematic chapters. Much of the material was lost over the years and some contributions have been judged by surviving relatives too personal for publication, but what ...

Howzat?

Stephen Sedley: Adversarial or Inquisitorial?, 25 September 2003

The Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial 
by John Langbein.
Oxford, 376 pp., £30, February 2003, 0 19 925888 0
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Archbold: International Criminal Courts 
edited by Rodney Dixon, Richard May and Karim Khan.
Sweet and Maxwell, 1000 pp., £125, December 2002, 0 421 77270 0
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... Langbein traces its narrative and procedural dimensions, basing himself extensively on the Old Bailey sessions papers, a rich and only recently mined resource, but also on less obvious sources such as the Post Office solicitors’ archives at Mount Pleasant in Clerkenwell, which record early prosecutions for interfering with the mails, and the Royal ...

Diary

Thomas Jones: Death in Florence, 21 June 2012

... British Consulate in Florence on 29 September 1913, a Monday. According to his death certificate, Richard Roberts, a 67-year-old Justice of the Peace and builder, staying at the Hotel Londres & Métropole in Florence, died at the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova on Saturday, 27 September 1913. The consul, Alfred Lemon, was informed of the death by R. Ellis ...

Suffocating Suspense

Richard Davenport-Hines, 16 March 2000

Cult Criminals: The Newgate Novels 1830-47 
by Juliet John.
Routledge, 2750 pp., £399, December 1998, 0 415 14383 7
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... of pater estquem nuptiæ demonstrant; his consequent misfortunes involve him with a villain called Richard Craufurd, whom Bulwer-Lytton based on the banker Henry Fauntleroy, who had been hanged for forgery before a crowd of 100,000 people at Newgate in 1824. The central male figure in Lucretia is an artist, murderer and forger called Gabriel Varney, who was ...

Mauve Monkeys

William Fiennes, 18 September 1997

Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy and the First World War 
by Philip Hoare.
Duckworth, 250 pp., £16.95, July 1997, 0 7156 2737 6
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... lemon Rolls, the infallible bisection of his hair. As soon as the trial got under way at the Old Bailey in May 1918, Billing attracted the support of the Christian Scientists, who believed him to be ‘the Saviour, Christ the King, come to redeem them in this moment of national peril’. Concerned that he would not be able to continue his work if ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... is gossipy, anecdotal. It’s like eavesdropping in the snug of some public-house adjacent to the Bailey, when the gents in the greasy raincoats sit down with a coven of bent briefs. Morton, a former solicitor, has filleted his sources with a notable absence of fuss. He is not embarrassed at recycling large chunks of his Nipper Read ...

Between the Raindrops

David Bromwich: The Subtlety of James Stewart, 12 December 2002

James Stewart at the NFT 
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... Life. Ford called on him for a pair of late films. In Two Rode Together, Stewart and his co-star, Richard Widmark, are lost to their better qualities, lazy, loud-voiced, working from an undernourished script, with the stupefied strut of the American male who has inherited the world in 1961. Soon after, to brilliant and opposite effect, in The Man Who Shot ...

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