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An Exploration of Geography

W.R. Mead, 18 March 1982

Shell Guide to Reading the Landscape 
by Richard Muir.
Joseph, 368 pp., £10.50, May 1981, 0 7181 1971 1
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The Environment in British Prehistory 
edited by Ian Simmons and Michael Tooley.
Duckworth, 334 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 9780715614419
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Geography, Ideology and Social Concern 
edited by D.R. Stoddart.
Blackwell, 250 pp., £12, May 1981, 0 631 12717 8
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... present the geographer as the student of landscape, as the environmentalist and as the ideologist. Richard Muir looks at the landscape as nature’s stage. Ian Simmons and Michael Tooley, with their team of scientists, identify the stages of nature as they have changed through the successive periods of British prehistory. David Stoddart’s conclave of ...

Topographies

W.R. Mead, 16 October 1980

The English Heartland 
by Robert Beckinsale and Monica Beckinsale.
Duckworth, 434 pp., £18, June 1980, 0 7156 1389 8
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The English Village 
by Richard Muir.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £8.50, May 1980, 0 500 24106 6
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... professionals must be included Robert and Monica Beckinsale; among the self-confessed amateurs, Richard Muir. The Beckinsales – one native to the north Cots-wolds and the other to the Vale of the White Horse – present what is for them the English heartland. Richard Muir, nostalgic for the Nidderdale hamlet ...

Flirting

P.N. Furbank, 18 November 1982

The English World: History, Character and People 
edited by Robert Blake.
Thames and Hudson, 268 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 500 25083 9
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The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal 
by Philip Mason.
Deutsch, 240 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780233974897
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... Trevor-Roper), art and popular taste (Quentin Bell), the evolution of the English landscape (Richard Muir) – are excellent and briskly-written popularising surveys. But the whole enterprise, I do think, is compromised by those gestures towards ‘the English Spirit’, ‘the making of a tradition’ etc. (They come thickest, it is true, in the ...

Façades

Peter Burke, 19 November 1981

The Building of Renaissance Florence: An Economic and Social History 
by Richard Goldthwaite.
Johns Hopkins, 459 pp., £16.50, April 1981, 0 8018 2342 0
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Public Life in Renaissance Florence 
by Richard Trexler.
Academic Press, 591 pp., £29.80, March 1981, 0 12 699550 8
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Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice 
by Edward Muir.
Princeton, 356 pp., £10.80, August 1981, 0 691 05325 1
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Venice: The Greatness and the Fall 
by John Julius Norwich.
Allen Lane, 400 pp., £12, September 1981, 0 7139 1409 2
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Ruskin and Venice 
edited by Jeanne Clegg.
Junction, 233 pp., £10.50, September 1981, 0 86245 019 5
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The Stones of Venice 
by John Ruskin and Jan Morris.
Faber, 239 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 0 571 11815 1
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... These palaces were essentially status symbols. Italy was becoming a land of façades. Professor Richard Trexler, another old Florentine hand, is interested in another kind of façade. His long-awaited book is a study of ritual and formal behaviour in Florence from the 14th century to the end of the last Republic in 1530. Historical studies of ritual have ...

Chucky, Hirple, Clart

David Craig: Robert Macfarlane, 24 September 2015

Landmarks 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 241 14653 8
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... William Cobbett of Rural Rides, a farmer’s son and himself a farmer from time to time; John Muir of My First Summer in the Sierra, a farmer’s son and farmer; and Lewis Grassic Gibbon of A Scots Quair, a farmer’s son from the Mearns in north-east Scotland. All three produced work that strikes me as special – as important, if you like – because ...

Northern Lights

Rosalind Mitchison, 19 April 1984

Literature and Gentility in Scotland 
by David Daiches.
Edinburgh, 114 pp., £6.50, June 1982, 9780852244388
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New Perspectives on the Politics and Culture of Early Modern Scotland 
edited by John Dwyer, Roger Mason and Alexander Murdoch.
John Donald, 340 pp., £15, August 1982, 0 85976 066 9
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Adam Smith 
by R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner.
Croom Helm, 231 pp., £12.95, June 1982, 9780709907299
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Sister Peg 
edited by David Raynor.
Cambridge, 127 pp., £15.50, June 1981, 0 521 24299 1
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Boswell: The Applause of the Jury 1782-1785 
edited by Irma Lustig and Frederick Pottle.
Heinemann, 419 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 434 43945 2
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Muir of Huntershill 
by Christina Bewley.
Oxford, 212 pp., £8.50, May 1981, 0 19 211768 8
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... their declarations, much hotter. Another of the new voices, in this collection of essays, that of Richard Scher, is raised to point out that over-ambitious manipulation and political ruthlessness by the Moderates in 1762 produced a reaction uniting, for a while, the middling and lower orders of Edinburgh. Indeed occasionally in the 1760s there can be heard a ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... unusual in a man in his late forties. The hero of After My Fashion is a self-portrait. Richard Storm has returned to Sussex from Paris, where he has made a name for himself with his critical appreciations of modern French writers. The first man he meets is a young painter, Robert Canyot, a traditionalist who thinks ...

Impatience

J.P. Stern, 30 August 1990

Unmodern Observations 
by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Herbert Golder, Gary Brown and William Arrowsmith.
Yale, 402 pp., £30, February 1990, 0 300 04311 2
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The Importance of Nietzsche 
by Erich Heller.
Chicago, 200 pp., £23.95, February 1989, 0 226 32637 3
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... portrait composed of largely asserted values illuminating and convincing: disappointingly, in Richard Schacht’s introduction such an enquiry, which would indeed be timely, is not attempted. The last essay, ‘Wagner in Bayreuth’, is designed as an apotheosis of the Master on the occasion of the first Bayreuth Festival of July 1876. ‘In ...

Autoerotisch

Richard J. Evans: The VW Beetle, 12 September 2013

The People’s Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle 
by Bernhard Rieger.
Harvard, 406 pp., £20, April 2013, 978 0 674 05091 4
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... as shopping rather than weekend outings. It even became an icon of the counterculture, with John Muir’s How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive selling more than two million copies. Muir encouraged readers to ‘feel with your car’; its ‘karma’, he wrote, ‘depends on your desire to make it and keep it – ALIVE’. The ...

Diary

Paul Laity: Henry Woodd Nevinson, 3 February 2000

... very problematically in love with his best friend’s wife. I knew little about his artist son, Richard – C.R.W. Nevinson – apart from his First World War paintings and prints. They are easy to like: influenced by Cubism but totally comprehensible – a sort of Modernism-lite. I went to the Nevinson retrospective at the Imperial War Museum hoping for ...

Foreigners

Denis Donoghue, 21 June 1984

Selected Essays 
by John Bayley.
Cambridge, 217 pp., £19.50, March 1984, 0 521 25828 6
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Collected Poems: 1941-1983 
by Michael Hamburger.
Carcanet, 383 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 9780856354977
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Poems: 1953-1983 
by Anthony Thwaite.
Secker, 201 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 436 52151 2
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... of a theory to be found readily enough, in several forms, as in Stevens, Empson, Blackmur, and Richard Poirier. Poirier’s A World Elsewhere is a typology of American literature consistent with the acceptance of Emerson as its prophet. Empson didn’t write a theory of American literature, but he thought James’s later style distinctively American in ...

Martinis with the Bellinis

Mary Beard, 31 July 1997

The Roy Strong Diaries 1967-87 
Weidenfeld, 461 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 297 81841 4Show More
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... the same time – often to dramatic effect; but also a series of stunning temporary exhibitions (Richard III, Samuel Pepys, Cecil Beaton’s photographs) which had ‘the whole of London agog’ and queues of people round Trafalgar Square. These ‘Diaries’ – in fact, partly reworked versions of a variety of ‘jottings’ and more crafted ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... example, Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 from the savagery of Ring Lardner’s The Ecstasy of Owen Muir. Small wonder that writers from Robert Graves to Noel Coward to Isaiah Berlin have been inflated to fill up gaps. It is the greatest of Douglas’s posthumous misfortunes that his brilliant inward-looking talents, so suited to a time obsessed by inward ...

Act One, Scene One

David Bromwich: Don’t Resist, Oppose, 16 February 2017

... These men and women had been noticed before: they were the ‘silent majority’ invoked by Richard Nixon. The speechwriter who coined that phrase, Pat Buchanan, would become the insurgent Republican of the 1992 primaries, and at the 1992 party convention he gave a speech that seems the prototype for Trump’s inaugural. In fact, Trump delivered no ...

Places Never Explained

Colm Tóibín: Anthony Hecht, 8 August 2013

The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht 
edited by Jonathan Post.
Johns Hopkins, 365 pp., £18, November 2012, 978 1 4214 0730 2
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... but none in a way that is easy to interpret. Perhaps the very act of bombing from a plane – what Richard Eberhart called ‘The Fury of Aerial Bombardment’, the gap between, in J.M. Synge’s phrase, ‘a gallous story and a dirty deed’ – made it impossible for anyone, including Yeats in ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’, a poem which seems to ...

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