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Even If You Have to Starve

Ian Penman: Mod v. Trad, 29 August 2013

Mod: A Very British Style 
by Richard Weight.
Bodley Head, 478 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 0 224 07391 2
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... of scooter-borne rock fans, draped in the ambiguous insignia of RAF targets and Union Jacks. What Richard Weight calls the ‘very British style’ of Mod found its initial foothold in late 1950s Soho with the arrival of the jazz ‘modernists’, who defined themselves in strict opposition to the reigning gatekeepers of Trad. Modernists were wilfully ...

Simply Putting on Weight

Richard Hamblyn: Salmon, 25 February 2010

To Sea and Back: The Heroic Life of the Atlantic Salmon 
by Richard Shelton.
Atlantic, 213 pp., £18.99, October 2009, 978 1 84354 784 6
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... following year when the fish returned as a splendid silver grilse. ‘Smolt’, ‘grilse’: as Richard Shelton observes, salmon are spoken of in a ‘stained-glass language’ of their own, their life stages marked by an ichthyological lexicon unchanged since Chaucer’s time. Born in a ‘redd’, a shallow, gravel-covered depression dug by the female in ...

Dazed and Confused

Paul Laity: Are the English human?, 28 November 2002

Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 
by Richard Weight.
Macmillan, 866 pp., £25, May 2002, 0 333 73462 9
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Pariah: Misfortunes of the British Kingdom 
by Tom Nairn.
Verso, 176 pp., £13, September 2002, 1 85984 657 2
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Identity of England 
by Robert Colls.
Oxford, 422 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 19 924519 3
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Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, October 2002, 1 85619 716 6
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... recording of ‘God Save the King’ and other patriotic anthems. ‘Not surprisingly’, Richard Weight remarks in Patriots, the convoy ‘got a muted reception when it parked in the ruins of Berlin’. In France, the bus crews were treated to mayoral banquets, only for their leader to complain about the ‘strange dishes’ which weren’t ...

On Richard Hollis

Christopher Turner: Richard Hollis, 24 May 2018

... and Alison Smithson, who displayed a series of found objects in a post-apocalyptic mirrored shed. Richard Hamilton’s group presented a funfair vision that launched the British Pop Art movement. Robby the Robot, star of the science-fiction movie Forbidden Planet, opened the show because, according to the critic Reyner Banham, he was much ‘easier to book ...

The Rise of Richard Adams

Graham Hough, 4 December 1980

The Girl in a Swing 
by Richard Adams.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 7139 1407 6
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... The remarkable literary career of Richard Adams began only eight years ago, but it has already reached substantial dimensions. Watership Down in 1972 was followed by two other works of mystery and imagination, relying more or less heavily on the animal world, and now by The Girl in a Swing, which is ostensibly about human beings ...

At the Met

David Hansen: Richard Serra, 30 June 2011

... fell neatly end to end. It was balletic; it was a card trick; it was industrial. It was totally Richard Serra. The artist wouldn’t thank me for the analogy. Analogy isn’t Serra’s thing. But as a foreigner, you can’t visit America and not see the forms and the textures and the dynamics of the Serraverse everywhere you look: in the serial squares of ...

Solid and Fleeting

David Sylvester, 17 December 1992

... It is interesting that Richard Serra, who is not short of offers of highly promising locations for which to make site-specific sculptures, accepted the Tate’s invitation to do something in their domineering central hall – a space ostensibly built for showing sculpture but serving that purpose rather badly, partly because it makes the things put into it look as if they were lost at the bottom of a well, partly because its huge Ionic columns dwarf other forms in the same field of vision ...

Occasions for Worship

Simon Walker, 4 September 1997

Richard II 
by Nigel Saul.
Yale, 528 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 300 07003 9
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... Each generation fashions its own image of Richard II. To his contemporaries, Richard’s fate was an admonitory instance of changing fortune: the King fell in the midst of his glory and was delivered into the hands of his enemies. To historians of the Tudor age, Richard’s deposition by one of his subjects was a terrible warning of the dangers of rebellion, bequeathing to succeeding generations a legacy of bloodshed and civil strife ...

The Excommunicant

Richard Popkin: Spinoza v. the Synagogue, 15 October 1998

The God of Spinoza: A Philosophical Study 
by Richard Mason.
Cambridge, 272 pp., £35, May 1997, 0 521 58162 1
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Spinoza, Liberalism and the Question of Jewish Identity 
by Steven Smith.
Yale, 270 pp., £21, June 1997, 0 300 06680 5
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... is to see the world from the aspect of eternity, and to achieve the intellectual love of God. As Richard Mason reminds us, Spinoza’s neglect of epistemology made him of little interest to those who insisted that the problem of knowledge as set out by Descartes defined what philosophy was properly about. Spinoza found a little room for that problem only at ...

‘Equality exists in Valhalla’

Richard J. Evans: German Histories, 4 December 2014

Germany: Memories of a Nation 
by Neil MacGregor.
Allen Lane, 598 pp., £30, November 2014, 978 0 241 00833 1
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Germany: Memories of a Nation 
British Museum, until 25 January 2015Show More
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... on top of a plinth. The boldness of the statement is striking, but so too is its oppressive weight: the books in Kiefer’s Language of the Birds (2013) are made of lead, ‘heavy enough to carry the weight of human history’, as he explains, but a material that in his work often carries the potential to be ...

Counting the kisses

Tony Honoré, 6 August 1992

Sex and Reason 
by Richard Posner.
Harvard, 458 pp., £23.95, May 1992, 0 674 80279 9
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... Richard Posner, Federal judge, prolific writer and teacher, is the leading figure in the American ‘law and economics’ movement. That movement has pioneered a new way of explaining Anglo-American law and showing how it could be improved. Its method is to analyse topics – for example, the law of compensation for accidents – in economic terms ...

Our Hero

C.H. Sisson, 25 January 1990

Richard Aldington: A Biography 
by Charles Doyle.
Macmillan, 379 pp., £19.95, November 1989, 0 333 46487 7
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... Charles Doyle’s biography of Richard Aldington opens so readily at the 24 excellent photographs with which the book is illustrated that the temptation to look at them, before one gets involved with the text, is irresistible. The series starts with a rather determined-looking boy with cap and striped jersey, holding a football ...

Utility

Richard Tuck, 16 July 1981

Social Justice in the Liberal State 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Yale, 392 pp., £11, October 1980, 0 300 02439 8
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Justice and Liberty 
by David Raphael.
Athlone, 192 pp., £13, November 1980, 0 485 11195 0
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... of the history of moral and political philosophy behind his pronouncements, which gives them a weight to which the Science Fiction speculations of Ackerman cannot aspire. It is this sense of the history of the subject, I suspect, which lies behind the most characteristic feature of the essays: the sympathy which Raphael extends to both utilitarianism and ...

Saint John Henry

Richard Altick, 5 August 1982

John Henry Newman: His Life and Work 
by Brian Martin.
Chatto, 160 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 7011 2588 8
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Protestant versus Catholic in Mid-Victorian England 
by Walter Arnstein.
Missouri, 271 pp., £14, June 1982, 9780826203540
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... masterpiece of rhetorical style and structure, elsewhere it is pretty heavy going. Its weight of excerpts from Newman’s private letters and his printed essays and sermons, while strategically indispensable to his defence against Kingsley’s allegations of mendacity, detracts from, if it does not destroy, the artistry of the surrounding spiritual ...

I am them

Richard Wollheim, 7 October 1993

Love of Beginnings 
by J.-B. Pontalis, translated by James Greene and Marie-Christine Régius.
Free Association, 260 pp., £13.95, May 1993, 9781853431296
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... about the possibility of a kind of writing that has measured up to what is here called ‘the weight of things’. Thirdly, there is the idea of the person held together by memory, but with memory itself now thought of, not as a series of sharp, accurate pictures of the past, but as an almost corporeal deposit of experience, left behind in the ...

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