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Hedonistic Fruit Bombs

Steven Shapin: How good is Château Pavie?

3 February 2005
Bordeaux 
by Robert Parker.
Dorling Kindersley, 1244 pp., £45, December 2003, 1 4053 0566 5
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The Wine Buyer’s Guide 
by Robert Parker and Pierre-Antoine Rovani.
Dorling Kindersley, two volumes, £50, December 2002, 0 7513 4979 8
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Mondovino 
directed by Jonathan Nossiter.
November 2004
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... remarkable thing that the United States has not only produced the wine world’s current Pooh-Bah, but, of all nations, has bowed down lowest in his presence. The ‘24-carat taste buds’ belong to RobertParker, a 57-year-old former Baltimore lawyer, who started the bimonthly subscription-only Wine Advocate in 1978, and whose many books on the world’s wines – Bordeaux, The Wines of the Rhône ...
17 November 1983
Miasma 
by Robert Parker.
Oxford, 413 pp., £30, June 1983, 0 19 814835 6
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... be removed from the Athenian citizens gathered in the theatre in much the same way as katharmata, ‘offscourings’, in certain purification rites could be thrown outside the sanctuary of the god. RobertParker is the first scholar to have considered all these different aspects of pollution, and to show how they relate to one another, and he does so without trying to impose on them a conceptual ...

Zeus Be Nice Now

James Davidson: Ancient Cults

19 July 2007
Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum 
Getty, 3014 pp., $1,215, March 2007, 978 0 89236 787 0Show More
Polytheism and Society at Athens 
by Robert Parker.
Oxford, 544 pp., £27.50, March 2007, 978 0 19 921611 6
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... of course, read the messiness of the Thesaurus as simply a reflection of the inherent messiness of ancient religions despite the best efforts of the best scholars to discover some kind of order. RobertParker in Polytheism and Society at Athens, his synthetic study of gods and cults in one small but document-rich area, compares the ever-increasing pantheon to an overflowing clothes-drawer, ‘which ...

London Review of Crooks

Robert​ Marshall-Andrews

15 July 1982
Rough Justice: The Extraordinary Truth about Charles Richardson and his Gang 
by Robert Parker.
Fontana, 352 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 00 636354 7
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Web of Corruption: The Story of John Poulson and T. Dan Smith 
by Raymond Fitzwalter and David Taylor.
Granada, 282 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 246 10915 7
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Inside Boss: South Africa’s Secret Police 
by Gordon Winter.
Penguin, 640 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 9780140057515
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Crime in Wartime: A Social History of Crime in World War II 
by Edward Smithies.
Allen and Unwin, 219 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 04 364020 6
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... sadistic and resourceful criminals is an unhappy fact of life, and even if the author goes to considerable pains to underline their culpability and to scorn their protestations of innocence, which Mr Parker certainly does, there is no doubt that this type of highly personalised saga (it is ‘Charlie’ and ‘Eddy’ throughout) invites a substantial degree of sympathy with the villains and dignifies ...
18 April 1985
The Thirty Years’ War 
by Geoffrey Parker.
Routledge, 340 pp., £20, January 1985, 0 7100 9788 3
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... Geoffrey Parker’s new book on the Thirty Years’ War is the first major study of the subject to appear in English for nearly half a century. To be more exact, it is now 47 years since the publication of a book on ...

Self-Effacers

John Lanchester

24 May 1990
Chicago Loop 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 183 pp., £12.99, April 1990, 0 241 12949 4
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Lies of Silence 
by Brian Moore.
Bloomsbury, 194 pp., £12.99, April 1990, 0 7475 0610 8
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Amongst Women 
by John McGahern.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.99, May 1990, 0 571 14284 2
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The Condition of Ice 
by Christopher Burns.
Secker, 170 pp., £12.95, April 1990, 0 436 19989 0
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... fictional monsters as disparate as Richard III and John Self. Chicago Loop (terrific title) is another book that has a cold, clear surface and a lurking nastiness underneath. Its central character, Parker Jagoda (terrific name), is a 37-year old architect-turned-developer who, unknown to his photographer’s-model wife Barbara, has been placing ads in the lonely hearts columns of the local papers. The ...

A Moustache Too Far

Danny Karlin: Melville goes under

8 May 2003
Herman Melville: A Biography. Vol. II: 1851-91 
by Hershel Parker.
Johns Hopkins, 997 pp., £31, May 2002, 0 8018 6892 0
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... earth. The better the biography, the worse: the great smooth luxurious Rolls reconverts the energy of the writer’s ascent into mere horizontal force. The publication of the second volume of Hershel Parker’s biography of Herman Melville brings to a close an enterprise of archival and critical scholarship that has lasted forty years – nearly as long as Melville’s writing career. The picture of ...

The Way of the Warrior

Tom Shippey: Vikings

2 April 2014
Vikings: Life and Legend 
edited by Gareth Williams, Peter Pentz and Matthias Wernhoff.
British Museum, 288 pp., £25, February 2014, 978 0 7141 2337 0
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The Northmen’s Fury 
by Philip Parker.
Cape, 450 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 0 224 09080 3
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... Vikings are here again, thanks to the British Museum’s Vikings: Life and Legend (until 22 June). The problem for the exhibition’s organisers – and for Philip Parker, whose book The Northmen’s Fury seems designed to tie in with it – is that we know too much about Vikings already. We know what they looked like: big, hairy, threatening, wearing horned helmets ...

Lethal Pastoral

Paul Keegan: Housman’s Lethal Pastoral

17 November 2016
Housman Country: Into the Heart of England 
by Peter Parker.
Little, Brown, 446 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 4087 0613 8
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... but do as Housman exhorts in one of his blasphemous squibs: ‘Mary-Jane the train is through yer:/Hallelujah, Hallelujah!/We will gather up the fragments that remain.’ In Housman Country, Peter Parker does it by writing the life and times not of the man but of his most famous book: the growing pains of A Shropshire Lad, the vicissitudes of its reception, its cultural ‘aftermaths’. The word ...

The Aestheticising Vice

Paul Seabright: Systematic knowledge

27 May 1999
Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed 
by James C. Scott.
Yale, 464 pp., £25, May 1998, 0 300 07016 0
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... non-fiction). The first vintage they declared (in 1978) was described by Gault Millau as ‘Château Lafite du Languedoc’; others have been praised to the heights by the likes of Hugh Johnson and RobertParker. The wine is now on the list at the Tour d’Argent and the 1986 vintage retails at the vineyard for £65 a bottle. The sole shadow on the lives of these millionaires is cast by the odd ...

Swinging it

Mark Ford

7 July 1988
S.J. Perelman: A Life 
by Dorothy Herrmann.
Simon and Schuster, 337 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 671 65460 8
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Don’t tread on me: The Selected Letters of S.J. Perelman 
edited by Prudence Crowther.
Viking, 372 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 670 81759 7
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... Of all the now vanished breed of New Yorker humorists – James Thurber, E.B. White, Dorothy Parker – S.J. Perelman wrote by far the richest, most meticulously crafted prose. His dedication to his art was almost frightening. He was once asked in an interview how many drafts each piece went ...

Cold Front in Arden

Michael Dobson

31 October 1996
Reading Shakespeare Historically 
by Lisa Jardine.
Routledge, 207 pp., £40, April 1996, 0 415 13490 0
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Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics of the Elizabethan Theatre 
by Louis Montrose.
Chicago, 228 pp., £39.95, May 1996, 0 226 53482 0
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Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context 
by Patricia Parker.
Chicago, 392 pp., £41.50, April 1996, 0 226 64584 3
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Impersonations: Gender and Performance in Shakespear’s England 
by Stephen Orgel.
Cambridge, 179 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 521 56842 0
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... letter from the French Ambassador, de Maisse, describing the ageing Queen’s cleavage. The essay goes on to describe Shakespeare’s Dream as, in effect, performing a function analogous to that of Robert Bly’s ‘men’s movement’: the male anxieties revealed by Foreman and de Maisse about being ruled by this dubiously sexy old woman are imaginatively soothed through the conquest of the Amazon ...
16 February 1984
Justice at Nuremberg 
by Robert​ Conot.
Weidenfeld, 593 pp., £15, October 1983, 0 297 78360 2
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The Nuremberg Trial 
by Ann Tusa and John Tusa.
Macmillan, 519 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 333 27463 6
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... draw is the same: the 22 volumes of the official transcript of the proceedings, the compendium in ten volumes of the prosecution’s documentary evidence, the unpublished papers of the US prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, and of the principal US judge, Francis Biddle, and numerous published memoirs. Both have consulted unpublished collections of papers in the US and Britain, although in some cases not the ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire

22 December 2019
... set along curving, tree-lined roads – a model for numerous municipal estates in the first half of the 20th century. The plan (and many of the cottages) was the work of Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker, who remained closely involved with the area. When George Bernard Shaw, who lived in the nearby village of Ayot St Lawrence, needed a garage, he asked Parker (his revolving writing hut was Shaw’s ...

Not in My House

Mark Ford: Flannery O’Connor

23 July 2009
Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor 
by Brad Gooch.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 316 00066 6
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... and O’Connor did not learn of her condition until the summer of 1952, shortly after the publication of her first novel, Wise Blood. Her friend Sally Fitzgerald, the wife of the poet and translator Robert Fitzgerald, broke the news, which effectively terminated all dreams of escaping Andalusia, the farm outside Milledgeville run by her mother. There O’Connor spent the last 12 years of her life ...

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