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Keep yr gob shut

Christopher Tayler: Larkin v. Amis

20 December 2012
The Odd Couple: The Curious Friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin 
by Richard Bradford.
Robson, 373 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84954 375 0
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... the bigotry in a more forgiving perspective. There have even been not wholly jokey ‘queerings’ of the Larkin oeuvre by way of his Sapphic schoolgirl jottings and taste for mannish women. For RichardBradford, however, it’s still 1993. ‘Left-leaning commentators’, in league with ‘academics and other members of the literary establishment’, are gunning for Larkin and Amis from all sides ...

Rites of Passage

Anthony Quinn

27 June 1991
The Elephant 
by Richard​ Rayner.
Cape, 276 pp., £13.99, May 1991, 0 224 03005 1
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The Misfortunes of Nigel 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Peter Owen, 176 pp., £12.95, June 1991, 0 7206 0830 9
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Famous for the creatures 
by Andrew Motion.
Viking, 248 pp., £14.99, June 1991, 0 670 82286 8
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Double Lives 
by Stephen Wall.
Bloomsbury, 154 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 0 7475 0910 7
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... Richard Rayner's new novel, his second, opens with a nervous exhibition of rhetorical trills and twitches, buttonholing the reader like a stand-up comic on his first night:      My name is Headingley ...

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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... Kipling, who was sent to a boarding-house and allowed to see his aunts only at Christmas, wrote the 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 price ...

Southern Discomfort

Bertram Wyatt-Brown

8 June 1995
The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism 
by Eugene Genovese.
Harvard, 138 pp., £17.95, October 1994, 0 674 82527 6
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... of Caroline and John Randolph of Roanoke, Old School Presbyterian defenders of slavery, T.S. Eliot, Karl Marx, Karl Barth, Reinhold Niebuhr, the Nashville Agrarians and their latterday apostles, Richard Weaver and Melvin Bradford. Liberals thus find themselves confronting a shrewd scholar who denies them the luxury of easy retort – he lashes out from both right and left to rough up the bourgeois ...
10 January 1983
Benjamin Disraeli Letters: Vol. I 1815-1834, Vol. II 1835-1837 
edited by J.A.W. Gunn, John Matthews, Donald Schurman and M.G. Wiebe.
Toronto, 482 pp., £37.50, June 1982, 0 8020 5523 0
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The Gladstone Diaries: with Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence, Vol. VII, January 1869-June 1871, Vol. VIII, July 1871-December 1874 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew.
Oxford, 641 pp., £35, September 1982, 0 19 822638 1
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by Sarah Bradford.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 297 78153 7
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Gladstone: Vol. I 1809-1865 
by Richard​ Shannon.
Hamish Hamilton, 580 pp., £18, November 1982, 0 241 10780 6
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H.H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia Stanley 
edited by Michael Brock and Eleanor Brock.
Oxford, 676 pp., £19.50, November 1982, 0 19 212200 2
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... to his investigations will never finish his biography. But I wish I had pursued more energetically the quest for papers at Belvoir Castle (Lord John Manners and George Smythe), Weston Park (Lady Bradford and Lady Chesterfield) and Windsor Castle, where there apparently still exists a notable private correspondence with Queen Victoria alleged by Lord Esher in 1905 to have been destroyed by King Edward ...

Blite and Whack

Paul Seabright

19 January 1984
A Pocket Popper 
edited by David Miller.
Fontana, 479 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 00 636414 4
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The Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery. Vol. I: Realism and the Aim of Science 
by Karl Popper, edited by W.W. Bartely.
Hutchinson, 420 pp., £20, March 1983, 0 09 151450 9
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The Philosophy of Popper 
by T.E. Burke.
Manchester, 222 pp., £16, July 1983, 0 7190 0904 9
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In Pursuit of Truth: Essays in Honour of Karl Popper’s 80th Birthday 
edited by Paul Levinson.
Harvester, 337 pp., £25, May 1983, 0 7108 0424 5
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Science and Moral Priority 
by Roger Sperry.
Blackwell, 135 pp., £12.50, February 1983, 9780631131991
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Art, Science and Human Progress 
edited by R.B. McConnell.
Murray, 196 pp., £12.50, June 1983, 0 7195 4018 6
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... applied specifically to subject-matters rather than generally to cultures) are apt and important. What a tonic, then, to pick up Art, Science and Human Progress, a volume of lectures sponsored by the RichardBradford Trust, which was founded in 1969 ‘to explore the relationships between the methods of scientific investigation and of artistic creation in literature, the visual arts, and other art forms ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2013

9 January 2014
... implied a criticism of his performance. 4 February. I don’t imagine that my old Oxford supervisor, the medieval historian Bruce McFarlane, would be much exercised by the discovery of the body of Richard III, though there would be some mild satisfaction in finding the king exactly where the sources said he was. McFarlane wouldn’t have thought the body particularly informative as compared with the ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1990

24 January 1991
... and is directing about two papyrologists who piece together the fragments of a satyr play and then take on the central roles, cocks and all. It is to open first in a warehouse at Saltaire, near Bradford, and Tony had to meet the local press to tell them something about the play, the issues it discusses and how it relates to subsequent cultural history. The papers came out the next day all more or ...

Fiery Particle

Lawrence Goldman: Red Ellen Wilkinson

12 July 2017
Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist 
by Laura Beers.
Harvard, 568 pp., £23.95, October 2016, 978 0 674 97152 3
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... the Labour minister and fixer, and Otto Katz, a Czech spy and Marxist whose every move in Britain in 1938 was followed by Special Branch. Wilkinson was born in Manchester in 1891. Her father, Richard, was a devoted Methodist and teetotaller (like so many of those who founded the Labour Party), with a sense of social justice that he passed on to his precocious, rebellious daughter. The family was ...

Get the placentas

Gavin Francis: ‘The Life Project’

1 June 2016
The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of Our Ordinary Lives 
by Helen Pearson.
Allen Lane, 399 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 1 84614 826 2
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... to get his funding. She does tell us that he spent his evenings writing begging letters to the worthies listed in Who’s Who, and that he managed to get money from the likes of Robert Maxwell, Cliff Richard and Twiggy. Since 1958 Butler had been the co-ordinator of a perennially impoverished study which began by examining the medical, social and economic circumstances of 17,000 babies born in the same ...


Rose George: In Dewsbury

17 November 2005
... but still managed to ignore Dewsbury. There were better shops in Leeds and better clubs in Wakefield. In this semi-rural conurbation, you can head out of town in any direction and hit a city: Leeds, Bradford, Barnsley, Huddersfield. There was no call to hang out in Dewsbury. It was a dump, we thought, and it got worse when the mills started closing, and unemployment started rising. My stepfather’s mill ...

The Overlooked

Owen Bennett-Jones: The Deobandis

7 September 2016
... in Deobandi madrasas and a study of Pakistani police data on 2344 people convicted on terrorism charges between 1990 and 2009 found that 90.5 per cent of them were Deobandis. The would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid had Deobandi connections, as did the 2006 transatlantic airline bomb plotters and two of the 7/7 attackers. As Deobandis sometimes rather wearily point out, these concerns are not new. In 1875 ...

Trollope’s Delight

Richard​ Altick

3 May 1984
The Letters of Anthony Trollope 
edited by John Hall.
Stanford, 1082 pp., $87.50, July 1983, 0 8047 1076 7
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Anthony Trollope: Dream and Art 
by Andrew Wright.
Macmillan, 173 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 34593 2
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... ago. The capable and indefatigable editor and annotator of these letters tells us that the collection includes twice as many as were printed, many only in summary, in the earlier edition by the late Bradford Booth. Many of the newly printed ones are substantial and, in their various fields of interest, important. There is much official correspondence on postal matters – it is gratifying to note the ...

A Revision of Expectations

Richard​ Horton: Notes on the NHS

2 July 1998
The National Health Service: A Political History 
by Charles Webster.
Oxford, 233 pp., £9.99, April 1998, 0 19 289296 7
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... On the evening of 10 March 1969, Richard Crossman, Harold Wilson’s new Secretary of State for Social Services (‘SSSS? Impossible!’ Crossman wrote in his diary), reached into one of his three ministerial red boxes to find a long report ...
7 December 1989
Coleridge: Early Visions 
by Richard​ Holmes.
Hodder, 409 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 340 28335 1
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Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry and Revolution Politics 
by John Williams.
Manchester, 203 pp., £29.95, November 1989, 0 7190 3168 0
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Sara Coleridge, A Victorian Daughter: Her Life and Essays 
by Bradford​ Keyes Mudge.
Yale, 287 pp., £18.95, September 1989, 0 300 04443 7
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... moments in life, yet anyone today might do it. The life in Coleridge seems permanently, confusedly, perpetually present – and never more so than in this almost incredibly vivid biography. Richard Holmes has a genius for the job, as he showed fifteen years ago in his biography of Shelley. In a sense, there is no need to bring Coleridge to life, but in this compelling narrative of those early ...

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