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Something to Steer by

Richard Rorty, 20 June 1996

John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism 
by Alan Ryan.
Norton, 414 pp., $30, May 1995, 0 393 03773 8
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... Dewey wants the social value of religious belief without being willing to pay the epistemological price for it.’ That passage, of course, put my pragmatist back up. As I said at the outset, the whole point of pragmatism is to stop distinguishing between the usefulness of a way of talking and its truth. We pragmatists do not think that beliefs come with ...

Neil Corcoran confronts the new recklessness

Neil Corcoran, 28 September 1989

Manila Envelope 
by James Fenton.
28 Kayumanggi St, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Phillipines, 48 pp., £12, May 1989, 971 8647 01 5
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New Selected Poems 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 190 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15482 4
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The Mirror Wall 
by Richard Murphy.
Bloodaxe, 61 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9781852240929
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Selected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 85635 741 3
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The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 47 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3455 0
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... this me? The fields are mined and the night is long; Stick with me when the shooting starts. Richard Murphy is not a reckless poet. Those who rate him surely rate him much too highly. Ted Hughes compliments him with the anti-reckless word ‘classical’ and with ‘the gift of epic objectivity’, and Seamus Heaney praises his ‘poised and appeased ...

Undesirable

Tom Paulin, 9 May 1996

T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form 
by Anthony Julius.
Cambridge, 308 pp., £30, September 1995, 0 521 47063 3
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... identity he used to wear a white rose on the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth, in memory of Richard III, whom he regarded as the last English – because Plantagenet – king. Coincidentally, Shapiro quotes from a popular postwar textbook, The Plantagenets, in which John Hooper Harvey states that the Jews engaged in a series of ‘most sinister crimes ...

The Blindfolded Archer

Donald MacKenzie: The stochastic dynamics of market prices, 4 August 2005

The (Mis)behaviour of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward 
by Benoit Mandelbrot and Richard Hudson.
Profile, 328 pp., £9.99, September 2005, 1 86197 790 5
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... of Markets, jointly written by Mandelbrot and a financial journalist, Richard Hudson, covers a much less well-known aspect of his work, his contributions to economics. At their core is an apparently esoteric issue that nevertheless has fundamental practical ramifications, intertwined as it is with the fate of pensions and of ...

Invader

Linda Colley, 9 July 1987

Richard Cobden: A Victorian Outsider 
by Wendy Hinde.
Yale, 379 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 300 03880 1
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Richard Cobden: Independent Radical 
by Nicholas Edsall.
Harvard, 479 pp., £23.95, February 1987, 0 674 76879 5
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... Richard Cobden is not a man for all seasons, but his life, career and values have been interpreted in widely different ways at different times. When he died in 1865, he was mourned by many as a secular saint. The majority remembered his leadership of one of the most triumphantly successful pressure groups in British history, the Anti-Corn Law League; and a minority honoured his uncompromising and frequently unpopular opposition to war: ‘seldom has hero rested, stained by so superb a fault ...

Whatever you do, buy

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s First Folio, 15 November 2001

The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book Vol. I: An Account of the First Folio Based on Its Sales and Prices, 1623-2000 
by Anthony James West.
Oxford, 215 pp., £70, April 2001, 0 19 818769 6
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... had known as The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster, Richard Duke of York and All Is True, for example, reappeared as, respectively, Henry VI Parts 2 and 3 and Henry VIII.) Pre-Christian British kings, however, though just as solemnly vouched for by Holinshed’s Chronicles, weren’t seen to count as ...

In Athens

Richard Clogg, 5 July 2012

... ever recorded, five thousand times more severe than the Weimar inflation of the early 1920s. Price levels in January 1946 were more than five trillion times those of May 1941. The exchange rate for the gold sovereign in the autumn of 1944, shortly after the liberation, stood at 170 trillion drachmas. By that time, Davis’s pile of notes would scarcely ...

Out of Sight

Richard Murphy: What is a tax haven?, 14 April 2011

... does not attract comment. No wonder they continue to survive. The question is: who is paying the ...

Flying Costs

Richard Adams: The great Ryanair Disaster, 2 September 2004

Aircraft 
by David Pascoe.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £14.95, September 2003, 1 86189 163 6
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Aviation Insecurity: The New Challenges of Air Travel 
by Andrew Thomas.
Prometheus, 263 pp., $21, May 2003, 1 59102 074 3
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Airline Survival Kit 
by Nawal Taneja.
Ashgate, 224 pp., £46.50, May 2003, 0 7546 3452 3
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Ryanair 
by Siobhán Creaton.
Aurum, 263 pp., £9.99, May 2004, 1 85410 992 8
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... a sense that air travel was a luxury good, and thus that demand wouldn’t vary much according to price. O’Leary is so dedicated to cost-cutting that Ryanair is the only airline in Europe to charge for helping wheelchair-bound passengers at airports. ‘Do you know how many people British Airways has got working in customer service?’ O’Leary once ...

Calcutta in the Cotswolds

David Gilmour: What did the British do for India?, 3 March 2005

Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India 
by Elizabeth Buettner.
Oxford, 324 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 19 924907 5
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... most harrowing account of such an exile in his story ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’. But many others, Richard Rhodes James for example, have recorded their experiences as ‘orphans of the Raj, paying the price of empire by a separation from parents’. Parents, too, of course had to pay the ...

Liber Amoris

Christopher Hitchens, 28 May 1992

The Russian Girl 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 296 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 0 09 174536 5
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... in London is enough to vanquish and dissipate the phlegmatic composure of the Russianist lecturer Richard Vaisey. As we come to know old Vaisey we can only guess at how his phleg. comp. has held up so long, what with his terrifying spouse Cordelia and all. Cordelia, though rendered in an aspect of nastiness which entirely lacks chiaroscuro, turns out all the ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... its bibliophile vice-president, Gordon Ray) acquired the literary correspondence of the publisher Richard Bentley and Sons, principal purveyor of the three-decker novel to the Victorian reading public. At the same time, the British Library (with financial assistance from the Friends of National Libraries) took possession of most of Bentley’s ledgers and ...

At Christie’s

Paul Myerscough: Buying Art, 21 February 2008

... art in the first half of last year. In May, Sotheby’s in New York more than doubled the record price for a contemporary work when it sold Rothko’s White Centre (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) for $72.8 million; the following night, at Christie’s, Warhol’s Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) went for $71.7 million in a sale that fetched a record ...

Vertigo

Richard Rudgley: Plant obsessions, 15 July 1999

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession 
by Susan Orlean.
Heinemann, 348 pp., £12.99, April 1999, 0 434 00783 8
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The Tulip 
by Anna Pavord.
Bloomsbury, 438 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 7475 4296 1
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Plants of Life, Plants of Death 
by Frederick Simoons.
Wisconsin, 568 pp., £27.95, September 1998, 0 299 15904 3
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... agents caught two men each carrying 16 orchids wired to their bodies, a haul with a black market price of $320,000. The Orchid Thief is full of twists and turns. At first it seems as if it is going to be a biographical account of the trickster figure of John Laroche, one of the thieves in question. Laroche is an obsessive collector, having been ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Impressionist Pictures, 2 November 2000

... important as the two-dimensional image. There are plenty of details in the exhibition catalogue by Richard Brettell (Yale, £16.95) which help you appreciate what is going on at brush-stroke level, but to test what is said you must go to the paintings themselves. In the pictures on show the size of the marks is large in relation to the size of the canvas and ...

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