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Oxford University’s Long Haul

Sheldon Rothblatt, 21 January 1988

The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. I: The Early Oxford Schools 
edited by J.I. Catto.
Oxford, 684 pp., £55, June 1984, 0 19 951011 3
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. III: The Collegiate University 
edited by James McConia.
Oxford, 775 pp., £60, July 1986, 9780199510139
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. V: The 18th Century 
edited by L.S. Sutherland and L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 949 pp., £75, July 1986, 0 19 951011 3
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Learning and a Liberal Education: The Study of History in the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, 1880-1914 
by Peter Slee.
Manchester, 181 pp., £25, November 1986, 9780719018961
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... subject to delays. The obscure origins of the University are carefully reconstructed. In Sir Richard Southern’s distinction, Oxford was not ‘created’ – it ‘emerged’. The contributors explain the significance of its geographical location and its importance as a centre of legal activity. They discuss how it separated from the town and the ...

Short Cuts

William Davies: Woke Conspiracies, 24 September 2020

... massed choirs and a packed flag-waving audience ruled out on medical grounds,’ Richard Morrison wrote, ‘there will never be a better moment to drop that toe-curlingly embarrassing anachronistic farrago of nationalistic songs that concludes the Last Night of the Proms.’ He was referring to ‘Rule Britannia!’ and ‘Land of Hope and ...

At the National Gallery

Richard Taws: Louis-Léopold Boilly, 9 May 2019

... Boilly was a very early adopter of lithography – in 1845, the year of his death, William Henry Fox Talbot selected one of his prints for photographic reproduction in The Pencil of Nature. The majority of works on display at the National Gallery come from the collection of Harry Hyams, the property developer responsible for Centre Point, and haven’t been ...

On the Rant

E.P. Thompson, 9 July 1987

Fear, Myth and History: The Ranters and the Historians 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £22.50, September 1986, 0 521 26243 7
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... like ‘loony Left’, a term invented by opponents. It is not likely that Coppe or Bauthumley or Richard Coppin would have assented to the sobriquet. As for the historians, perhaps Cohn, in The Pursuit of the Millennium, was a little credulous, since his thesis required that millennial sects be seen at their most crazy. But Morton, Hill and others have ...

Misappropriation

Colin Kidd: Burke, 4 February 2016

Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke 
by Richard Bourke.
Princeton, 1001 pp., £30.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 14511 2
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Training Minds for the War of Ideas: Ashridge College, the Conservative Party and the Cultural Politics of Britain, 1929-54 
by Clarisse Berthezène.
Manchester, 214 pp., £75, June 2015, 978 0 7190 8649 6
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol. IV: Party, Parliament and the Dividing of the Whigs, 1780-94 
edited by P.J. Marshall and Donald Bryant.
Oxford, 674 pp., £120, October 2015, 978 0 19 966519 8
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... wit, cerebral depth and a marvellous turn of phrase. But reductionism of this sort won’t do, as Richard Bourke shows in his erudite and compelling study of Burke’s political life. Burke’s earliest works, before his engagement to the Rockingham Whigs, were concerned with fundamental questions in political philosophy and aesthetics. The Tory ...

Crabby, Prickly, Bitter, Harsh

Michael Wood: Tolstoy’s Malice, 22 May 2008

War and Peace 
by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Vintage, 1273 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 09 951223 3
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... Isaac Babel said, ‘it would write like Tolstoy.’ The remark is quoted at the head of Richard Pevear’s introduction to this handsome new translation of War and Peace. I should like to think Babel meant that if the world was given to intricate thematic contrasts and parallels among its materials, to careful cross-cutting between city and ...

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 ...

Hot Dogs

Malcolm Bull, 14 June 1990

Mine eyes have seen the glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America 
by Randall Balmer.
Oxford, 246 pp., $19.95, September 1989, 0 19 505117 3
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In God’s Country: Travels in the Bible Belt, USA 
by Douglas Kennedy.
Unwin Hyman, 240 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 04 440423 9
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The Divine Supermarket 
by Malise Ruthven.
Chatto, 336 pp., £14.95, August 1989, 0 7011 3151 9
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The Democratisation of American Christianity 
by Nathan Hatch.
Yale, 312 pp., £22.50, November 1989, 0 300 44470 2
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Religion and 20th-Century American Intellectual Life 
edited by Michael Lacey.
Cambridge/Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars, 214 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 521 37560 6
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New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America 
by Mary Farrell Bednarowski.
Indiana, 175 pp., $25, November 1989, 0 253 31137 3
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... land between them has grown desolate. The Niebuhr brothers (the subject of a stimulating essay by Richard Wightman Fox) were probably the last theologians to participate in, rather than merely comment on, public debates about moral and political values. Christian intellectuals have since found it increasingly difficult to ...

Shelley in Season

Richard Holmes, 16 October 1980

The Unacknowledged Legislator: Shelley and Politics 
by P.M.S. Dawson.
Oxford, 312 pp., £16.50, June 1980, 0 19 812095 8
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Shelley and his World 
by Claire Tomalin.
Thames and Hudson, 128 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 9780500130681
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... on Shelley’s split political background. One part was formed by the radical Whigs, George Fox and the old republican roué the Duke of Norfolk, who proposed the notorious toast to ‘our Sovreign, the People’; the other by the new concept of the ‘democratic revolution’, with its French and American antecedents – Godwin, of course, Tom ...

Make mine a Worcester Sauce

John Bayley, 23 June 1994

Richard Hughes 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Deutsch, 491 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 233 98843 2
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... in attainments, would be T.E. Lawrence, Robert Graves, Peter Fleming (perhaps both Flemings) and Richard Hughes. It makes no difference that Lawrence was half-Irish, the Flemings mostly Scottish, and Hughes partly Welsh. The presidential or father figure of the group would be John Buchan, another Scot, whose innings was over before the younger ones started ...

Back to Isfahan

Richard Lloyd Parry, 27 April 2000

A Good Place to Die 
by James Buchan.
Harvill, 343 pp., £10.99, September 1999, 1 86046 648 6
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... man who escapes the nullness of life in posh London to become a scared, amateur spook in Beirut. Richard, the hero of Heart’s journey in Winter, is another ambiguous journalist-spy, this time in Cold War Germany. John Pitt’s historical moment – Iran during the Revolution – is the most dramatic of all, and his relationship with the British ...

The Fight for Eyeballs

John Sutherland: The Drudge Report, 1 October 1998

... own conclusions about what went on in Mr Clinton’s nooky hole. Drudge has a regular feature on Fox News. The cheesiest of the cable channels, Fox has embraced the ‘hard copy’ school of ‘sleazoid’ newscasting. Fox ran the tape (with Ms Jiggler’s face blurred) as an exclusive ...

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 ...

For Want of a Dinner Jacket

Christopher Tayler: Becoming O’Brian, 6 May 2021

Patrick O’Brian: A Very Private Life 
by Nikolai Tolstoy.
William Collins, 608 pp., £10.99, October 2020, 978 0 00 835062 8
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... within it – and with a sense of humour entirely lacking in historical novelists.’ In London, Richard Ollard, an editor at Macmillan, was similarly impressed by O’Brian’s ‘originality, gusto and … really astonishing knowledge of the sources’. He was ‘a more than competent hand at characterisation’, Ollard, a former navy ...
The Dons 
by Noël Annan.
HarperCollins, 357 pp., £17.99, November 1999, 0 00 257074 2
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A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A.L.Rowse 
by Richard Ollard.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 7139 9353 7
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... tracing the links between one family and the next, is constructed around the metaphor of a fox-hunt: ‘having started a fox in the Pytchley country, we pursue it on a 200-mile point straight across the Midlands, ending on the edge of the Beaufort. So in our pursuit of this class we will start from one family and ...

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