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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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... thrilled to meet his wife. These children don’t go to school, and this is as close as they’ll get to the joy of seeing the teacher in the grocery store, with no more authority than anyone else. RichardPrice 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 ...
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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... Kingdom in 1801 and the death of Victoria almost exactly one hundred years later, historians still opt for a split at 1815 and an end in the 1880s. So in choosing to conclude his new survey at 1880, RichardPrice 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 ...
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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... credit cards etc), could claim with Wallace Stevens that our whole life, whether we are reading or writing poetry or applying for life insurance, is an affair of the imagination. As a certain RichardPrice 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 ...
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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... was seen as the gradually maturing triumph of the working class, and the search for origins, pioneers, forerunners and precedents constituted the historiographical task. In Masters, Unions and Men RichardPrice 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 ...
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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... of 16th-century Spain, who maintained in private the religion they were required to disavow in public. 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 ...

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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... of population growth, Rickman’s tables confounded contemporary assumptions about the relationship between demography and prosperity. Population was a controversial subject. The radical philosopher RichardPrice 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 ...

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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... Spadafora’s Scots are well known, almost to the point of ennui: Ferguson, Millar, Hume, Smith, Robertson. But his five Englishmen (who actually include two Welshmen) are not all equally famous. RichardPrice, 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 ...


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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... many readers – is a man fascinated by savage, tropical war who is too young to have any memory of such 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 ...

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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... screen savers. (If you haven’t seen it, Googling ‘Mandelbrot set’ will lead you to thousands of sites.) The (Mis)behaviour 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 ...

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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... of the chronicle play look a lot tidier than might otherwise have been the case. (The plays their author 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 ...

Hiss and Foam

Anne Diebel: Tana French

26 September 2019
The Wych Elm 
by Tana French.
Penguin, 528 pp., £6.99, September, 978 0 241 37953 0
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... over the past decade for her riveting series of police procedurals, the Dublin Murder Squad series. She has been celebrated as a stylish genre defier, in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith and RichardPrice – 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 ...


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 ...

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 ...
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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... the British political character in their obsessive exploration of the French. That this is the way to read a good deal of Burke, we probably take for granted. Burke’s Reflections were provoked by RichardPrice, 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 ...

This is America, man

Michael Wood: ‘Treme’ and ‘The Wire’

27 May 2010
The Wire 
created by David Simon.
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created by Eric Overmyer and David Simon.
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... in any given episode, but a single complex story threads its way through a whole season. This is a method that creates both a sort of viewing leisure, and an unusual, slow-burning suspense. RichardPrice, 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 ...

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