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Living Doll and Lilac Fairy

Penelope Fitzgerald, 31 August 1989

Carrington: A Life of Dora Carrington 1893-1932 
by Gretchen Gerzina.
Murray, 342 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 7195 4688 5
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Lydia and Maynard: Letters between Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Polly Hill and Richard Keynes.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 233 98283 3
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Mazo de la Roche: The Hidden Life 
by Joan Givner.
Oxford, 273 pp., £18, July 1989, 0 19 540705 9
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Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby: A Working Partnership 
by Jean Kennard.
University Press of New England, 224 pp., £24, July 1989, 0 87451 474 6
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Dangerous by Degrees: Women at Oxford and the Somerville College Novelists 
by Susan Leonardi.
Rutgers, 254 pp., $33, May 1989, 0 8135 1366 9
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The Selected Letters of Somerville and Ross 
edited by Gifford Lewis.
Faber, 308 pp., £14.99, July 1989, 0 571 15348 8
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... The full-length biography of Carrington and the edited correspondence of Maynard Keynes and Lydia Lopokova (from 1918 to their marriage in 1925, more volumes to follow) also suggest that there is still a good deal of reading to be done about Bloomsbury. Both these two books show the fate of newcomers, arrivals in Bloomsbury from the ...

Can Maynard Keynes do it?

Peter Clarke, 3 June 1982

The Collected Writings of John Maynard KeynesVol. XIX. Activities 1924-9: The Return to Gold and Industrial Policy 
edited by Sir Austin Robinson and Donald Moggridge.
Macmillan, 468 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 333 10727 6
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The Collected Writings of John Maynard KeynesVol. XX. Activities 1929-31: Rethinking Employment and Unemployment Policies 
edited by Sir Austin Robinson and Donald Moggridge.
Macmillan, 675 pp., £20, December 1981, 0 333 10721 7
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The Collected Writings of John Maynard KeynesVol. XXI. Activities 1931-9: 
edited by Sir Austin Robinson and Donald Moggridge.
Macmillan, 645 pp., £20, March 1982, 0 333 10728 4
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... The question what Keynes would be advocating today is, of course, a nonsense question.’ So Lord Kahn warned us in a brilliant lecture in 1974, invoking Keynes’s propensity – ‘apart from the fact that he would be 91 years old’ – to develop new answers for new questions, rather than to make a fetish of consistency ...

‘They Mean us no Harm’

Ross McKibbin: John Maynard Keynes, 8 February 2001

John Maynard KeynesVol. III: Fighting for Britain 1937-46 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 580 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 333 60456 3
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... Robert Skidelsky’s John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain completes a remarkable biography. No other biographer of Keynes is likely to surpass it, and everyone who has an interest in the intellectual and public life of this country is in Skidelsky’s debt. This third volume starts in 1937, where the second volume left off ...

Starting up

Peter Clarke, 6 November 1986

The German Slump: Politics and Economics 1924-1936 
by Harold James.
Oxford, 469 pp., £30, March 1986, 0 19 821972 5
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The Making of Keynes’s General Theory 
by Richard Kahn.
Cambridge, 327 pp., £20, May 1984, 9780521253734
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Towards the Managed Economy: Keynes, the Treasury and the Fiscal Policy Debate of the 1930s 
by Roger Middleton.
Methuen, 244 pp., £25, September 1985, 0 416 35830 6
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Keynes and his Contemporaries 
edited by G.C. Harcourt.
Macmillan, 195 pp., £22.50, October 1985, 0 333 34687 4
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The Policy Consequences of John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Harold Wattel.
Macmillan, 157 pp., £29.50, April 1986, 0 333 41340 7
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... Government could not be expected to have foreseen or averted, much less mastered. John Maynard Keynes, by contrast, reached for a mechanical metaphor appropriate to the current state of the art. ‘We have magneto trouble,’ he wrote in December 1930. ‘How, then, can we start up again?’ Keynesian policies, at the time and subsequently, were presented ...

Extravagance

Ross McKibbin, 2 February 1989

The Keynesian Revolution in the Making, 1924-1936 
by Peter Clarke.
Oxford, 348 pp., £29.50, November 1988, 0 19 828304 0
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... A few years ago the present director-general of NEDO, Mr Walter Eltis, told me that in due course Keynes would simply be a footnote in the history of economic theory. If so, it will be a stupendously long footnote, for additions to the already vast Keynesian literature mount by the day, not least from Mr Eltis himself ...

Knights’ Moves

Peter Clarke: The Treasury View, 17 March 2005

Keynes and His Critics: Treasury Responses to the Keynesian Revolution 1925-46 
edited by G.C. Peden.
Oxford, 372 pp., £45, December 2004, 0 19 726322 4
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... was on the verge of a long premiership, during which he often reaffirmed his fealty not only as Keynes’s publisher but as his disciple. Within a generation the IEA not only saw the climate change but could claim that it had helped to make the weather. It became the prime source of new ideas – well, old ideas for the most part, but nicely freshened up ...

Serial Evangelists

Peter Clarke, 23 June 1994

Thinking the Unthinkable: Think-Tanks and the Economic Counter-Revolution, 1931-83 
by Richard Cockett.
HarperCollins, 390 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 00 223672 9
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... The most famous words Keynes wrote – apart from the ones pointing out that in the long run we are all dead – were the concluding sentences of the General Theory: the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood ...

Were we bullied?

Jamie Martin: Bretton Woods, 21 November 2013

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes,Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order 
by Benn Steil.
Princeton, 449 pp., £19.95, February 2013, 978 0 691 14909 7
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... When an ailing John Maynard Keynes travelled to the American South in March 1946, he was delighted by what he found. The ‘balmy air and bright azalean colour’ of Savannah offered a welcome reprieve from the cold and damp of London, he wrote on arriving, and the children in the streets were livelier company than the ‘irritable’ and ‘exceedingly tired’ citizens of postwar Britain ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy, 2 January 2020

Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... tracks the passage ‘from social democracy to market liberalism’ through the history of Milton Keynes, the last and largest of Britain’s postwar ‘new towns’. Ortolano calls the new towns the ‘spatial dimension’ of the postwar welfare state, and reminds us just how ambitious that building and resettlement project was. Determined to tackle the twin ...

Lady Talky

Alison Light: Lydia Lopokova, 18 December 2008

Bloomsbury Ballerina: Lydia Lopokova, Imperial Dancer and Mrs John Maynard Keynes 
by Judith Mackrell.
Weidenfeld, 476 pp., £25, April 2008, 978 0 297 84908 7
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... for acting when she felt like it, putting her love life first. After her marriage to Maynard Keynes she continued to work, but when his health began to deteriorate in the late 1930s she devoted herself to caring for him. As his widow she more or less withdrew from public life. Despite Mackrell’s title, Lopokova certainly wasn’t a ‘Bloomsbury ...

Forster in Cambridge

Richard Shone, 30 July 2020

... walk. His look of quizzical apprehension changed to an amiable apology when I explained I was the Richard Shone to whom he had sent a note a few days earlier asking me to ‘drop in’. ‘Yes, of course you are,’ he said. The note had been prompted by Nancy Ackerley, a friend of mine and the sister of Forster’s great friend J.R. Ackerley, who had written ...

Lord Vaizey sees the light

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 20 October 1983

In Breach of Promise 
by John Vaizey.
Weidenfeld, 150 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 297 78288 6
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... Vaizey has no doubt at all. ‘They were the best.’ Hugh Gaitskell, Iain Macleod, Richard Titmuss, Anthony Crosland and Edward Boyle. They were all ‘clever, honest, admirable and honourable’. They were all, except Boyle, who was at school at the time, affected by the slump. They were all excited by the political changes and administrative advances of the war ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... In 1950 a venerable, once highly successful, long-ailing magazine quietly expired. Richard Usborne, the assistant editor in its dying days, later recalled an aficionado’s touching reaction. ‘When the Strand finally folded in 1950, my old sixth-form master wrote to me regretfully: “I loved the dear old Strand ...

Creative Accounting

David Runciman: Money and the Arts, 4 June 1998

Artist Unknown: An Alternative History of the Arts Council 
by Richard Witts.
Little, Brown, 593 pp., £22.50, March 1998, 0 316 87820 0
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In Praise of Commercial Culture 
by Tyler Cowen.
Harvard, 278 pp., £18.50, June 1998, 0 674 44591 0
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... catered for in the end, but it tends not to feel like that to those on the receiving end. Maynard Keynes, the man who effectively set up and was the successful first chairman of the Arts Council, was also a generous private patron of the arts, in particular of the artistic projects of his wife, the dancer and actress Lydia Lopokova. In Cambridge, ...

Political Purposes

Frances Spalding: Art in postwar Britain, 15 April 1999

New Art New World: British Art in Postwar Society 
by Margaret Garlake.
Yale, 279 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 300 07292 9
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Cultural Offensive: America’s Impact on British Art since 1945 
by John Walker.
Pluto, 304 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 7453 1321 3
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... I do not believe it is yet realised what an important thing has happened,’ Maynard Keynes announced in a BBC broadcast soon after the foundation of the Arts Council in 1946. ‘State patronage of the arts has crept in. It has happened in a very English, informal, unostentatious way – half-baked if you like ...

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