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Soul to Soul

Ian Buruma, 19 February 1987

The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness 
by Peter Dale.
Croom Helm, 233 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 7099 0899 7
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... the Nihonjinron, literally the ‘theory of Japaneseness’. Nihonjinron is the subject of Peter Dale’s book, the style of which is marred somewhat by his own almost Nihonjinronish fondness for psycho-socio-anthropological jargon. He has interesting things to say, however. The intellectual quest for the essence of Japaneseness is a huge industry in ...

Mad Doings in Trade

Anatole Kaletsky, 21 June 1984

The World’s Money: International Banking from Bretton Woods to the Brink of Insolvency 
by Michael Moffitt.
Joseph, 284 pp., £9.95, February 1984, 0 7181 2414 6
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International Debt and the Stability of the World Economy 
by William Cline.
MIT, 134 pp., £5.10, September 1983, 0 262 53048 1
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Managing Global Debt 
by Richard Dale and Richard Mattione.
Brookings, 50 pp., October 1983, 0 8157 1717 2
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... or even by reading such serious and detailed studies of the debt crisis as the ones by Cline or Dale and Mattione. One could, however, begin to understand what had happened by talking to the practitioners themselves – and talking to them not as a theoretician, seeking post hoc rationalisations, but as a journalist looking for juicy yarns. This is why a ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... We shouldn’t need Dale Spender to remind us that the language of literary history is man-made, and the order it imposes on the past a male construct. We shouldn’t, but we probably do, and the truth remains salutary, even though Spender’s book is about as flawed in execution as it is possible to get without the pages flying apart as you read ...

Spies and Secret Agents

Ken Follett, 19 June 1980

Conspiracy 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 639 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 575 02846 7
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The Man Who Kept the Secrets 
by Thomas Powers.
Weidenfeld, 393 pp., £10, April 1980, 0 297 77738 6
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... was the best book about espionage he had ever read. It is a history of the CIA through the life of Richard Helms, who was director from 1966 to 1973. Much of Powers’s information comes from the spies themselves, and while it is a great achievement to persuade such men to speak, they are masters of what they call ‘disinformation’, and it seems to me that ...

Japanese Power

Richard Bowring, 14 June 1990

God’s Dust: A Modern Asian Journey 
by Ian Buruma.
Cape, 267 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 224 02493 0
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The Cambridge History of Japan. Vol V: The 19th Century 
edited by Marius Jansen.
Cambridge, 828 pp., £60, October 1989, 0 521 22356 3
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The Cambridge History of Japan. Vol. VI: The 20th Century 
edited by Peter Duus.
Cambridge, 866 pp., £60, June 1989, 0 521 22357 1
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... that produced such dire results in 19th- and 20th-century Europe, as Buruma and, especially, Peter Dale, author of The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness, have done? Or should we take it all with a pinch of salt? The position of those who take up an adversarial stance and invoke the direst of scenarios is fraught with difficulties. The Japanese can always neatly turn ...

Patrons

Peter Burke, 15 October 1987

Patronage, Art and Society in Renaissance Italy 
edited by F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons.
Oxford/Humanities Research Centre, 331 pp., £35, June 1987, 0 19 821978 4
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Pienza: The Creation of a Renaissance City 
by Charles Mack.
Cornell, 250 pp., $43.95, June 1987, 9780801416996
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Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian and the Franciscans 
by Rona Goffen.
Yale, 285 pp., £30, July 1986, 0 300 03455 5
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Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance 
by Margaret King.
Princeton, 524 pp., £42.90, April 1986, 0 691 05465 7
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The Venetian Patriciate: Reality versus Myth 
by Donald Queller.
Illinois, 386 pp., $29.95, September 1986, 0 252 01144 9
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Tradesman and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250-c.1650 
by Richard MacKenney.
Croom Helm, 289 pp., £35, January 1987, 0 7099 1763 5
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Florence, Rome and the Origins of the Renaissance 
by George Holmes.
Oxford, 273 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 19 822576 8
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From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in 15th and 6th-Century Europe 
by Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £29.95, January 1987, 0 7156 2100 9
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Renaissance and Revolt: Essays in the Intellectual and Social History of Early Modern France 
by J.H.M. Salmon.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £30, June 1987, 0 521 32769 5
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... and the links between the two are made visible from time to time, as in the brief discussion by Dale Kent of the effect on the artistic patronage of the Pazzi and Rucellai families of their position as clients of the Medici. Some contributors, like Richard Goldthwaite (on consumer demand) and Bill Kent (on ties of ...

Buchan’s Pathological Vitality

T.J. Binyon, 18 December 1980

The Best Short Stories of John Buchan 
edited by David Daniell.
Joseph, 224 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 7181 1906 1
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... till his arm ached, and then he flung him into a chair, gasping, cursing, and scarcely human. And Richard Chandos v. Boler, the Boche villain of Dornford Yates’s Cost Price:   ‘Look on your own face,’ I said; ‘for, by God, when you see it next, it won’t look the same.’   Then, as a man puts the weight, I put his face to the wall beside the ...

Diary

Jay Griffiths: Protesting at Fairmile, 8 May 1997

... of society, as self-dispossessed. Fréa gave up a job in publishing to protest at Fairmile. Dale gave up nursing and Richard gave up managing a mental health phone-line. Many sign on, but many others choose not to. Going against the grain of consumerism, these renunciants have discovered that there can be power in ...

Coloured Spots v. Iridescence

Steven Rose: Evolutionary Inevitability, 22 March 2018

Improbable Destinies: How Predictable Is Evolution? 
by Jonathan Losos.
Allen Lane, 364 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 241 20192 3
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... In The Crucible of Creation (1998) he attacked Gould, ‘biting the hand that once fed him’ as Richard Fortey put it in his review, in a way that made ‘a shoal of piranha seem decorous’.* The range of evolutionary options is tightly constrained, he insisted, and wherever there is life, on earth or any other planet, human-like creatures are likely to ...

Female Bandits? What next!

Wendy Doniger: The incarnations of Robin Hood, 22 July 2004

Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography 
by Stephen Knight.
Cornell, 247 pp., £14.50, May 2003, 0 8014 3885 3
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... Many people firmly believe there was. We owe the widespread belief that Robin lived in the time of Richard I (1157-1199) to William Stukeley (1687-1765), an eccentric scholar of ancient British history who fabricated for him a crazy family pedigree going back to the Normans. Knight argues that the search for the historical Robin is as quixotic as the search ...

Bloodbaths

John Sutherland, 21 April 1988

Misery 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 340 39070 0
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The Tommyknockers 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 563 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 340 39069 7
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Touch 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 245 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 9780670816545
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Sideswipe 
by Charles Willeford.
Gollancz, 293 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 575 04197 8
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Ratking 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 282 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 571 15147 7
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... circumvented the King-quota limit by bringing out five surplus horror tales under the pseudonym ‘Richard Bachman’. Unfortunately the Bachman books’ disguise was eventually penetrated. But, more significantly, their appeal was drastically altered when their true authorship was publicised. As King observed, Thinner sold 28,000 by ...

Utopia Limited

David Cannadine, 15 July 1982

Fabianism and Culture: A Study in British Socialism and the Arts, 1884-1918 
by Ian Britain.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £19.50, June 1982, 0 521 23563 4
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The Elmhirsts of Dartington: The Creation of an Utopian Community 
by Michael Young.
Routledge, 381 pp., £15, June 1982, 9780710090515
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... Mighty prophets like Gerrard Winstanley (a bankrupt cloth merchant turned cattle herdsman), Sir Richard Bulkeley (an early 18th-century hunchback virtuoso), William Blake (‘I see so little of Mr Blake now,’ his wife once complained: ‘He is always in Paradise’), and James Pierrepont Greaves (damned by Carlyle as a ‘blockhead’ and an ...
... and only occasionally – one finds a little reality in this space-age world. Major-General Richard Secord (retd) came face to face with it. ‘In Beirut,’ he told Bradlee, it always mystified me why we couldn’t pin down the location of the hostages. It’s a small place. I told Ollie many times: ‘If I were the director [of the CIA], I would ...

Among Flayed Hills

David Craig, 8 May 1997

The Killing of the Countryside 
by Graham Harvey.
Cape, 218 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 224 04444 3
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... heron have flown over it. Fifteen minutes’ walk from here, on the limestone upland between Lunesdale and the vale of Westmorland, I have stroked a badger which our dog had cornered in a crag. Two miles away I have seen a bittern planing down to its nest in the reedbeds of a wide undrained moss and a young osprey resting in a sycamore on its way south from ...

Perfectly Mobile, Perfectly Still

David Craig: Land Artists, 14 December 2000

Time 
by Andy Goldsworthy.
Thames and Hudson, 203 pp., £35, August 2000, 0 500 51026 1
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... at this time. What does link them, inside their luxuriant variety? The most austere among them, Richard Long, makes his works by walking, shuffling, treading. Many of them have probably been seen only by his camera. He fashioned a circle in the gibber-desert of the Hoggar region of the Sahara by clearing the gravel and shingle, leaving the dusty sand. He ...

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