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19 October 1995
Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 
by Richard Grove.
Cambridge, 540 pp., £45, April 1995, 0 521 40385 5
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... Thomas’s Man and the Natural World and by the work of Donald Worster and Alfred Crosby. If environmental history is quite a new development, however, environmentalism is not. In Green Imperialism RichardGrove demonstrates that modern, scientific environmentalism, and the state-sponsored programmes of conservation based on it, in fact had their origins two centuries ago in what is, at first sight, a ...

Cod on Ice

Andy Beckett: The BBC

10 July 2003
Panorama: Fifty Years of Pride And Paranoia 
by Richard​ Lindley.
Politico’s, 404 pp., £18.99, September 2002, 1 902301 80 3
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The Harder Path: The Autobiography 
by John Birt.
Time Warner, 532 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 316 86019 0
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... for handling legally sensitive programmes’ and ‘no one who told its journalists that they were not doing well’. Birt agreed, with consequences for the BBC as a whole. But it is also clear from Richard Lindley’s long, densely researched history of Panorama that the programme’s perceived importance over the past fifty years has been generated as much by its own staff, with their professional ...

Possibility throbs

Richard​ Altick

23 July 1987
by Richard​ Sennett.
Faber, 274 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 571 14718 6
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... for the new Galerie d’Orléans, but this enterprise was far to outdo it in innovative boldness and size. The architect the duke commissioned was Pierre-François Fontaine, and it is the premise of Richard Sennett’s attractive novel that he chose for his assistant a young Englishman who was just finishing his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Frederick Courtland was the son of an architect who had ...

Where the Apples Come From

T.C. Smout: What Makes an Oak Tree Grow

29 November 2007
by Oliver Rackham.
Collins, 609 pp., £25, September 2006, 0 00 720243 1
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Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees 
by Richard​ Mabey.
Chatto, 289 pp., £20, October 2007, 978 1 85619 733 5
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Wildwood: A Journey through Trees 
by Roger Deakin.
Hamish Hamilton, 391 pp., £20, May 2007, 978 0 241 14184 7
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The Wild Trees: What if the Last Wilderness Is above Our Heads? 
by Richard​ Preston.
Allen Lane, 294 pp., £20, August 2007, 978 1 84614 023 5
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... declined after the Bronze Age. Vera believes that oaks reproduced within light thorny thickets where animals could not get at them. Once they had grown up and overtopped the thorn they created an oak grove. They did not reproduce beneath themselves, but grew up in new thickets in the savannah, to which their acorns had been carried by jays. Eventually, a grove would collapse from old age, grazing ...

No Light on in the House

August Kleinzahler: Richard​ Brautigan Revisited

14 December 2000
An Unfortunate Woman 
by Richard​ Brautigan.
Rebel Inc, 110 pp., £12, July 2000, 1 84195 023 8
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Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-70 
by Richard​ Brautigan.
Rebel Inc, 146 pp., £6.99, June 2000, 1 84195 027 0
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You Can't Catch Death 
by Ianthe Brautigan.
Rebel Inc, 209 pp., £14.99, July 2000, 1 84195 025 4
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... misleading signs or camouflaged helpful ones in order to discourage tourists. For many years a fair number of artists and writers have made Bolinas their home, or one of their homes. One of them was Richard Brautigan. When I gave a reading 16 years ago at the Bolinas Public Library, a couple of Brautigan’s old friends from his North Beach days in the 1960s told me that he had recently turned up in ...


Julian Loose

11 May 1995
The Information 
by Martin Amis.
Flamingo, 494 pp., £15.99, March 1995, 0 00 225356 9
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... reading about the things we cannot get too much of – like fame and money, sex and information. Amis’s latest anti-hero suffers from too much information, and not nearly enough fame, money or sex. Richard Tull, a ‘charisma bypass’, lives on the obscure margins of the literary world. The author of a clutch of difficult novels with hopeless titles like Aforethought and Untitled, he works as a ...

O brambles, chain me too

Tom Paulin: Life and Vowels of Andrew Marvell

25 November 1999
World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 294 pp., £20, September 1999, 0 316 64863 9
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Marvell and Liberty 
edited by Warren Chernaik and Martin Dzelzainis.
Macmillan, 365 pp., £47.50, July 1999, 0 333 72585 9
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Andrew Marvell 
edited by Thomas Healy.
Longman, 212 pp., £12.99, September 1998, 0 582 21910 8
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... language, employing a principle of spreading or kinetic assonance. Where Melville predicts the rise of the US as a sinister maritime republic with an all-powerful navy (Ahab is a fighting Quaker like Richard Nixon), Marvell hints at what the future may hold for a Commonwealth that has no institutional continuity. The theme of wounded male narcissism – the mower on a hot day mown, self-injured – may ...


Jeremy Harding: Ash Dieback

6 December 2012
... in the air, except perhaps a feeling of optimism. Rackham, who has been to Denmark, is sure that the country’s ‘90 per cent’ losses reported by the press are too high. The naturalist and author Richard Mabey believes that resistance in the Danish ash population is 5-10 per cent and probably higher in Lithuania. I noticed this upbeat tone too in Julian Roughton, chief executive of the Suffolk ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories

24 January 2013
The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard​ Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... workings than the current insights of political science and organisational behaviour. Yet when confronted with the culture of the Tories since 1945, the mind drifts off time and again to the sacred grove of Diana at Lake Nemi in the Alban hills. In antiquity this idyllic setting was the scene of a ‘strange and recurring tragedy’ which provided the point of departure for James Frazer’s ...

Britain’s Thermonuclear Bluff

Norman Dombey and Eric Grove

22 October 1992
... in the New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 29 (1990). The History of the Royal Air Force by J. Rawling, P. Jackson, F.K. Mason and P. Woods (Temple Press and Aerospace Publishers, 1984). ‘William Richard Joseph Cook’ by W.G. Penney and V.H.B. Macklen in Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 34 (1988). Quarterly Progress Report to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. Part ...

Bigger Peaches

Rosemary Hill: Haydon

22 February 2001
The Immortal Dinner: A Famous Evening of Genius and Laughter in Literary London, 1817 
by Penelope Hughes-Hallett.
Viking, 336 pp., £15.99, September 2000, 0 670 87999 1
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... silver spoons and forks for a recent party of her own. The considerable difficulty he had in getting them back had led to a froideur. The party, in Haydon’s painting room at his lodgings in Lisson Grove, was a success. Wordsworth was not too much on his dignity, Lamb was not too drunk. The talk was of Milton and Shakespeare, Voltaire and Newton. Lamb and Keats agreed that Newton had ‘destroyed all ...

Austward Ho

Patrick Parrinder

18 May 1989
Moon Palace 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 307 pp., £11.99, April 1989, 0 571 15404 2
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Prisoner’s Dilemma 
by Richard​ Powers.
Weidenfeld, 348 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 297 79482 5
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A Prayer for Owen Meany 
by John Irving.
Bloomsbury, 543 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 7475 0334 6
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... Driving across America, one of the characters in Richard Powers’s new novel remarks that the whole country has become a gigantic theme park. The same impression might have been gained from reading American novels, or from going to the movies. From ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern

20 July 2000
... slightly less than the diameter of two red blood cells. His portrait of Little Red Riding Hood, whose diminutive has never been so well-deserved, features a mere speck of a girl lost amid a towering grove of trees in a needle’s eye; only after one’s eyes have grown accustomed to the microscopic detail is it possible to see that she carries a tiny basket in her hand.In 1980, sensing trouble ahead ...

Out of the Closet

Richard​ Altick

20 August 1981
The Private Case: An Annotated Bibliography of the Private Case Erotica Collection in the British Library 
by Patrick Kearney.
Jay Landesman, 354 pp., £45, July 1981, 0 905150 24 4
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... Present-day pornography is hardly more subject to systematic recording as it is issued than were old-time erotica. With a few exceptions, such as the Olympia Press originals in Paris and the Grove Press reprints in New York, the bulk of it is produced and distributed well outside the usual channels, so that there is no record of it in current trade bibliographies. It is methodically collected ...

The New Lloyd’s

Peter Campbell

24 July 1986
Richard​ Rogers 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 271 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 571 13976 0
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A Concrete Atlantis 
by Reyner Banham.
MIT, 265 pp., £16.50, June 1986, 0 262 02244 3
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William Richard​ Lethaby 
by Godfrey Rubens.
Architectural Press, 320 pp., £30, April 1986, 0 85139 350 0
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... Richard Rogers’s new Lloyd’s building in London has begun business, to predictable complaints. A Guardian journalist asking for off-the-cuff comments from underwriters found them grumpy – the only ...

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