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Everybody’s Friend

D.A.N. Jones, 15 July 1982

William Cobbett: The Poor Man’s Friend 
by George Spater.
Cambridge, 318 pp., £15, March 1982, 0 521 22216 8
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... against the modern business practices of newfangled Quakers and Jews. (It is not surprising that Richard Ingrams of Private Eye should think G.K. Chesterton’s biography of Cobbett the best.) Hazlitt supported the Jews as much as the Catholics, and he rebuked Cobbett quite fiercely for being a ‘bullying antagonist’ to the Quakers. Though he admired and ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington, 30 November 2006

State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... signs off on dockets ensuring the swift arrival of tomorrow’s new orders. This is reminiscent of Preston Sturges’s The Great McGinty, a movie about a good-looking puppet installed as mayor of an American city by thugs too ugly and too thuggish to appear in public themselves. ‘To us,’ you can almost hear Adelman cry at that dinner party – to the ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... a joke.’7 May. On the TV news footage of Stuart Hall arriving for the first day of his trial at Preston Crown Court; he is seemingly handcuffed with his hands held in front of him, but thus shackled has to negotiate the quite steep steps from the police van. At 84, he manages this without much help, which is more than I would be able to do even with free ...
From Author to Reader: A Social Study of Books 
by Peter Mann.
Routledge, 189 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9089 7
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David Copperfield 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 781 pp., £40, March 1981, 0 19 812492 9
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Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Margaret Cardwell.
Oxford, 923 pp., £45, December 1982, 0 19 812488 0
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Books and their Readers in 18th-Century England 
edited by Isabel Rivers.
Leicester University Press, 267 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7185 1189 1
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Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century 
by Ian Norrie.
Bell and Hyman, 253 pp., £12.95, October 1982, 0 7135 1341 1
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Reading Relations 
by Bernard Sharratt.
Harvester, 350 pp., £18.95, February 1982, 0 7108 0059 2
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... know next to nothing about the major Victorian publishers who were his partners. An exception is Richard Bentley, whose publishing career was extensively dealt with in Royal Gettmann’s A Victorian Publisher. There are objections to Peter Mann’s attempt to flatten out the distinction between literary and non-literary books. So, too, are there objections ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee, 7 September 2006

‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... marker that never quite blends with the elegiac intent. The boy in The Morning Watch is called Richard, but he is the same character as Rufus in A Death in the Family, now at the edge of puberty. The death of his father is mentioned and it is the same death: a car accident, a concussion, the mother saying they will not see their father ‘ever any ...

Ink Blots, Pin Holes

Caroline Gonda: ‘Frankenstein’, 28 January 2010

The Original ‘Frankenstein’ 
by Mary Shelley, with Percy Shelley, edited by Charles Robinson.
Bodleian Library, 448 pp., £14.99, October 2009, 978 1 85124 396 9
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... 1818. In October 1823, at a masked ball in Liverpool, a local newspaper reported: ‘Mr Harris, of Preston, personated (we are told) Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. His appearance was most singular. His dress was of variegated colours, one half dark, the other light. His face was of different hues, the colours running insensibly into each other, and ...


Chris Mullin: The Birmingham Bombers, 21 February 2019

... Within four hours of the explosions on 21 November five Irishmen – Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy Power and Johnny Walker – were arrested at Heysham in Lancashire as they got off a train from Birmingham New Street which connected with the ferry to Belfast. A sixth man, Hughie Callaghan, was arrested the next day in Birmingham. The ...


Alan Bennett: A Round of Applause, 7 January 2021

... with dusters. I don’t mean I want to play Burt Reynolds parts, only somewhere between him and Richard Wattis, say – those are the parameters.’She was a great woman, her performance of ‘Let’s Do It’ at the Albert Hall the stuff of legend. I just hope Noël Coward was still around to see it. I first met her, almost epically, in Sainsbury’s in ...


Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 16 July 1998

Lyric Wonder: Rhetoric and Wit in Renaissance English Poetry 
by James Biester.
Cornell, 226 pp., £31.50, May 1997, 0 8014 3313 4
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Reason Diminished: Shakespeare and the Marvellous 
by Peter Platt.
Nebraska, 271 pp., £42.75, January 1998, 0 8032 3714 6
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Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder 
by T.G. Bishop.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £32.50, January 1996, 0 521 55086 6
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The Genius of Shakespeare 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 386 pp., £20, September 1997, 0 330 35317 9
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... minority sport, but in the late Nineties it suddenly looks like the critical craze of the moment. Richard Wilson, for example, published an article in the TLS a few months ago reviving the claim that the young William Shakespeare can be identified with the actor William Shakeshafte who is named in the will of one of Edmund Campion’s Lancashire Catholic ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... More generally, there is the literature on the corruption of the innocent which takes its cue from Richard Hoggart’s Uses of Literacy and which is apt to picture every form of mass consumption as degenerate. Here – as in the writings of Jeremy Seabrook – it is the prosperity of the working class, rather than, or as well as, the poverty, which is the ...

Comrades in Monetarism

John Lloyd, 28 May 1992

... and who had spotted all the members of Gaidar’s group years before they became a team, and Richard Layard, an LSE professor specialising in labour markets and wages, who with his wife Molly Meacher, another labour-market specialist, embraced the reform process and Russia and moved into a flat in Central Moscow to work full-time with Shokhin. Round them ...

The smallest details speak the loudest

John Upton: The Stephen Lawrence inquiry, 1 July 1999

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 
by Sir William Macpherson.
Stationery Office, 335 pp., £26, February 1999, 0 10 142622 4
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The Case of Stephen Lawrence 
by Brian Cathcart.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, May 1999, 0 670 88604 1
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... the legal process had run its course and the case against these men was overwhelming.’ Peter Preston, the former editor of the Guardian, concluded that the alternative verdict reached by the Mail (whose editor, Paul Dacre, knew Neville Lawrence) was ‘a valid way of expressing the extreme anger at the state this case has been left in’. In the general ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... in the flats above and below don’t even know there’s been a fire. This was something else.’ Richard Welsh is a senior officer with the London Fire Brigade. His pager went off at 1.18 a.m. ‘Initially they had six machines there,’ he said. ‘Then they asked for eight, and then ten, and then 15, 20, and then 25. I’m hearing that on the way there, so ...

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