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Bring back the 19th century

Miles Taylor, 22 June 2000

British Society 1680-1880: Dynamism, Containment and Change 
by Richard Price.
Cambridge, 349 pp., £40, October 1999, 0 521 65172 7
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... for a split at 1815 and an end in the 1880s. So in choosing to conclude his new survey at 1880, Richard Price joins a long tradition of irreverent timekeeping. Except that, according to Price, it is not the 19th century that ends in the 1880s, but the ‘long’ 18th century. In recent years the lifetime of the ...

Suicide by Mouth

Deborah Friedell: Richard Price, 17 July 2008

Lush Life 
by Richard Price.
Bloomsbury, 455 pp., £12.99, August 2008, 978 0 7475 9601 1
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... to the joy of seeing the teacher in the grocery store, with no more authority than anyone else. Richard Price wrote the scene for his novel Clockers, and reused it in an episode of the television show The Wire. It’s fine as written, but better on TV, with everything expressed by the quiet way one of the dealers asks, ‘Y’all go to the ...

For a Few Dollars More

Frank Kermode, 18 September 1997

Frozen Desire: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Money 
by James Buchan.
Picador, 320 pp., £17.99, September 1997, 0 330 35527 9
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... or writing poetry or applying for life insurance, is an affair of the imagination. As a certain Richard Price explained in 1778, paper money must be thought of as the sign of a sign. If coin signified real value, paper, ‘owing its currency to opinion’, had ‘only a local and imaginary value’.* We have no choice but to re-imagine it daily. I ...

The light that failed

Peter Clarke, 18 September 1980

The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815-1848 
by Maxine Berg.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £16, April 1980, 0 521 22782 8
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Masters, Unions and Men 
by Richard Price.
Cambridge, 355 pp., £18.50, June 1980, 0 521 22882 4
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Work, Society and Politics 
by Patrick Joyce.
Harvester, 356 pp., £24, July 1980, 0 85527 680 0
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... forerunners and precedents constituted the historiographical task. In Masters, Unions and Men Richard Price takes issue with this approach, which he identifies specifically with the work of the doyen of current practitioners, Henry Pelling. ‘Inconsistent even in the explanations that it does adduce to explain the rise of labour, traditional labour ...

The devil has two horns

J.G.A. Pocock, 24 February 1994

The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography and Commented Anthology of Edmund Burke 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Minerva, 692 pp., £8.99, September 1993, 0 7493 9721 7
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... There is a case for thinking that the crucial conversion was that of Edmund Burke’s father Richard, and that Burke grew up knowing that his father had publicly renounced as an ignoble superstition the Catholic religion which Edmund’s Nagle mother, and later his Nugent wife, continued to practise. O’Brien eloquently and convincingly argues that ...

The Statistical Gaze

Helen McCarthy: The British Census, 28 June 2017

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker: The Story of Britain through Its Census, since 1801 
by Roger Hutchinson.
Little, Brown, 352 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 4087 0701 2
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... between demography and prosperity. Population was a controversial subject. The radical philosopher Richard Price had been convinced in the 1770s that Britain’s population was shrinking fast, with dire consequences for national wellbeing. Thomas Malthus was equally convinced that the opposite was true, making that case in his Essay on the Principle of ...

Progress Past

Paul Langford, 8 November 1990

The Idea of Progress in 18th-Century Britain 
by David Spadafora.
Yale, 464 pp., £22.50, July 1990, 0 300 04671 5
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George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron 
by Vincent Carretta.
Georgia, 389 pp., £38.50, June 1990, 0 8203 1146 4
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... Robertson. But his five Englishmen (who actually include two Welshmen) are not all equally famous. Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, and perhaps Edmund Law, need no introduction. But William Worthington and John Gordon have not previously been placed in the august company of the Humes and Priestleys. Worthington figures briefly in the DNB and Williams’s ...

Hiss and Foam

Anne Diebel: Tana French, 26 September 2019

The Wych Elm 
by Tana French.
Penguin, 528 pp., £6.99, September 2019, 978 0 241 37953 0
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... She has been celebrated as a stylish genre defier, in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith and Richard Price – and her books sell. French’s opening salvo was leaving one of the chief mysteries in her first novel, In the Woods, unsolved. Since then, she has demonstrated remarkable range. The classic detective series follows a single familiar ...

Tory History

Alan Ryan, 23 January 1986

English Society 1688-1832 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 439 pp., £30, November 1985, 0 521 30922 0
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Virtue, Commerce and History 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 521 25701 8
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... in 1688 the English had cashiered their king for misconduct and appointed another in his stead. Richard Price was to say just that in 1790 and bring down the wrath of Edmund Burke, and Locke probably construed 1688-9 in that light: but the Whigs’ most reliable support was the view that James II had left them in the lurch and had left them to find the ...

Bratpackers

Richard Lloyd Parry: Alex Garland, 15 October 1998

The Beach 
by Alex Garland.
Penguin, 439 pp., £5.99, June 1997, 0 14 025841 8
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The Tesseract 
by Alex Garland.
Viking, 215 pp., £9.99, September 1998, 0 670 87016 1
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... a thing. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for my name is Richard,’ the prologue (which is called ‘Boom-Boom’) concludes. ‘I was born in 1974.’ Richard’s nostalgia is not so much for the Vietnam War as for his own fictional encounters with it: I saw 84 Charlie Mopic in ...
Digging Deeper: Issues in the Miners’ Strike 
edited by Huw Beynon.
Verso, 252 pp., £3.95, March 1985, 0 86091 820 3
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Policing the Miners’ Strike 
edited by Bob Fine and Robert Millar.
Lawrence and Wishart, 243 pp., £4.95, March 1985, 0 85315 633 6
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The Strike: An Insider’s Story 
by Roy Ottey.
Sidgwick, 157 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 9780283992285
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Scargill and the Miners 
by Michael Crick.
Penguin, 172 pp., £2.95, March 1985, 0 14 052355 3
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The Great Strike: The Miners’ Strike of 1984-5 and its Lessons 
by Alex Callinicos and Mike Simons.
Socialist Worker, 256 pp., £3.95, April 1985, 0 905998 50 2
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... of pits as uneconomic – was a natural corollary of government policy, particularly since the price paid for coal by the CEGB failed to rise in line with that of electricity itself. Thus the economics of mining, as ecologically-sensitive observers appreciated during the course of the dispute, cannot be assessed independently of the politics of energy, and ...

Effervescence

Alan Ryan, 9 November 1989

Burke and the Fall of Language: The French Revolution as Linguistic Event 
by Steven Blakemore.
University Press of New England, 115 pp., £10, April 1989, 0 87451 452 5
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The Impact of the French Revolution on European Consciousness 
edited by H.T. Mason and William Doyle.
Sutton, 205 pp., £17.95, June 1989, 0 86299 483 7
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The French Revolution and the Enlightenment in England 1789-1832 
by Seamus Deane.
Harvard, 212 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 0 674 32240 1
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... to read a good deal of Burke, we probably take for granted. Burke’s Reflections were provoked by Richard Price, an English Dissenting minister, and addressed to an anonymous French gentleman, but when Burke says ‘you’ he is apostrophising the French nation at large, and when he says ‘we’ he claims to speak for the whole British people – or at ...

This is America, man

Michael Wood: ‘Treme’ and ‘The Wire’, 27 May 2010

The Wire 
created by David Simon.
HBO/2002-2008
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Treme 
created by Eric Overmyer and David Simon.
HBO/April
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... is a method that creates both a sort of viewing leisure, and an unusual, slow-burning suspense. Richard Price, the author of Clockers and Lush Life, who worked on several episodes, calls The Wire a ‘Russian novel of an HBO series’, and Simon himself is fond of this metaphor too, speaking of ‘a novel for television’. We need to be careful not to ...

Humdrum Selfishness

Nicholas Guyatt: Simon Schama’s Chauvinism, 6 April 2006

Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution 
by Simon Schama.
BBC, 448 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 563 48709 7
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... unsettling realisation that the colonists were justified in their complaints. From Edmund Burke to Richard Price, observers across the political spectrum struggled to see much evidence of British liberty in the crass mismanagement that led to the Revolution. Some even followed Jefferson, who in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence blamed ...

That Corrupting Country

Thomas Keymer: Orientalist Jones, 9 May 2013

Orientalist Jones: Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer and Linguist, 1746-94 
by Michael Franklin.
Oxford, 396 pp., £35, September 2011, 978 0 19 953200 1
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... miles away, immersed in philology and comparative jurisprudence. His friends or admirers, from Richard Price to Mary Wollstonecraft, might be making trouble, but at least he wouldn’t be replying to Burke’s Reflections. There wasn’t much danger of Jones fomenting unrest in India. Franklin makes persuasive analogies between the subaltern peoples ...

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