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A Peece of Christ

Charles Hope: Did Leonardo paint it?, 2 January 2020

Leonardo da Vinci 
at the Louvre, until 24 February 2020Show More
Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered 
by Carmen Bambach.
Yale, 2350 pp., £400, July 2019, 978 0 300 19195 0
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The Last Leonardo: The Secret Lives of the World’s Most Expensive Painting 
by Ben Lewis.
William Collins, 396 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 00 831341 8
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Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ and the Collecting of Leonardo in the Stuart Courts 
by Margaret Dalivalle, Martin Kemp and Robert Simon.
Oxford, 383 pp., £35, November 2019, 978 0 19 881383 5
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... expressed about the attribution.One of the two owners identified at the time, an art dealer named Robert Simon, did produce a press release before the exhibition opened, ‘summarising the ownership, critical and conservation history of the painting’, as he now puts it. In this he rather coyly stated that the picture was ‘privately owned and not for ...

Gangs

D.A.N. Jones, 8 January 1987

The Old School: A Study 
by Simon Raven.
Hamish Hamilton, 139 pp., £12, September 1986, 0 241 11929 4
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The Best Years of their Lives: The National Service Experience 1945-63 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 7181 2459 6
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Murder without Conviction: Inside the World of the Krays 
by John Dickson.
Sidgwick, 164 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780283994074
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Inside ‘Private Eye’ 
by Peter McKay.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 947795 80 4
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Malice in Wonderland: Robert Maxwell v. ‘Private Eye’ 
by Robert Maxwell, John Jackson, Peter Donnelly and Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 191 pp., £10.95, December 1986, 0 356 14616 2
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... by the public school system, expressed in schoolmasters’ aspirations and schoolboys’ comics. Simon Raven’s notorious devotion to that system began when he was only a seven-year-old comic reader, as he admits in The Old School, a loving but mordant survey of the dormitory schools: he went on avidly to Charterhouse and he fancies other men will envy or ...

Make Soap from the Ref!

Simon Kuper: Spartak Moscow, 10 June 2010

Spartak Moscow: A History of the People’s Team in the Workers’ State 
by Robert Edelman.
Cornell, 346 pp., £21.95, January 2010, 978 0 8014 4742 6
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... perhaps the most popular semi-autonomous institution in the state: the ‘people’s team’, as Robert Edelman calls it in this revealing and often funny microhistory. Thanks partly to the Starostins’ imprisonment, Spartak gained an aura of independence that still persists. For many, supporting the club was a small way of saying ‘no’ to the ...

Rigging and Bending

Simon Adams: James VI & I, 9 October 2003

The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I 
by Alan Stewart.
Chatto, 438 pp., £20, February 2003, 0 7011 6984 2
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... homosexuality as given, but writes as though it did not become open until the appearance of Robert Kerr in 1607. Twenty years ago Roger Lockyer initiated a serious reappraisal of the homosexual ambience at James’s Court in his biography of Buckingham. One would have expected a fuller discussion of this important subject from the author of Close ...

Old Iron-Arse

Simon Collier: Latin America’s independence, 9 August 2001

Liberators: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence, 1810-30 
by Robert Harvey.
Murray, 561 pp., £25, May 2000, 0 7195 5566 3
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... It will end in 2025, with the bicentenary of the end of the wars and the independence of Bolivia. Robert Harvey’s splendid book gives us the first large-scale narrative of Latin America’s struggle for independence in English since – well, when exactly? It is hard to think of any comparable attempt to come to grips with the whole vast story, and in such ...

Intimate Strangers

Thomas Jones: A.L. Kennedy’s new novel, 7 October 2004

Paradise 
by A.L. Kennedy.
Cape, 344 pp., £14.99, September 2004, 0 224 06258 1
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... what shape it has (drink has a tendency to make things lose their shape), is between Hannah and Robert, an alcoholic dentist. Alcoholism and dentistry have coincided, more grotesquely, in Kennedy’s fiction before: a desperate character in Everything You Need (1999), a publisher called Jack Grace, visits a sadist in Soho to be administered alcohol ...

Before I Began

Christopher Tayler: Coetzee Makes a Leap, 4 June 2020

The Death of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 208 pp., £18.99, January, 978 1 78730 211 2
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... discussions of Don Quixote, and the cryptic allusions to the gospels, there are faint echoes of Robert Walser, W.G. Sebald and others, and nods to Kleist’s essay ‘On the Marionette Theatre’, to Wittgenstein and Heidegger, and to the Spanish poet Rafael Alberti. ‘There is no such thing as a llave universal,’ Simón is told when he gets the Spanish ...

Revolution and Enlightenment in France

Simon Schama, 20 December 1979

The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the ‘Encyclopédie’ 1775-1800 
by Robert Darnton.
Harvard, 624 pp., £13, September 1979, 0 674 08786 0
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... No walnuts, no Enlightenment, it seems. For, as Robert Darnton tells us in his epic chronicle of the Life and Times of the quarto edition of the Encyclopédie, it was nuts and resin from the Midi together with Paris turpentine and linseed oil which made the ink (six monstrous 250-livre barrels) which primed the type which printed the 36 million sheets which comprised the quarto which lowered the price which Spread the Word which overthrew superstition which disarmed the Old Regime and inaugurated the rationalist millennium ...

Round the (Next) Bend

Simon Adams: Sir Walter Ralegh, 6 July 2000

The Letters of Sir Walter Raleigh 
edited by Agnes Latham and Joyce Youings.
Exeter, 403 pp., £45, July 1999, 0 85989 527 0
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... Country than anyone else alive. Elsewhere her touch is not as sure as it might be. Describing Sir Robert Kerr (anglicised to Carr), James I’s favourite, who obtained Ralegh’s estate, as ‘a penniless Scotsman from Roxburghshire’ does not tell us a great deal and it misses the irony that Kerr was no more and no less than the Scottish equivalent of an ...

This is America, man

Michael Wood: ‘Treme’ and ‘The Wire’, 27 May 2010

The Wire 
created by David Simon.
HBO/2002-2008
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Treme 
created by Eric Overmyer and David Simon.
HBO/April
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... 2004. Seasons Four and Five picked up just under two years later. The creator of The Wire is David Simon, who wrote many of the episodes and by the third season was executive producer. He is a reporter who became a full-time writer of books: Homicide (1991) and, with Ed Burns, The Corner (1997), both of which were turned into successful TV series. Both concern ...

Somewhat Divine

Simon Schaffer: Isaac Newton, 16 November 2000

Isaac Newton: The ‘Principia’ Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy 
translated by I. Bernard Cohen.
California, 974 pp., £22, September 1999, 0 520 08817 4
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... predecessors. Others, including Halley and his London colleague, the irascible natural philosopher Robert Hooke, had the idea that orbiting bodies tended to move in straight lines while at the same time being pulled towards some force-centre. Only Newton fully exploited its implications. He defined forces by the changes they produced in the motions of bodies ...

Who whom?

Christopher Ricks, 6 June 1985

The English Language Today 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum.
Pergamon, 345 pp., £12.50, December 1984, 0 08 031078 8
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The English Language 
by Robert Burchfield.
Oxford, 194 pp., £9.50, January 1985, 9780192191731
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A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 1779 pp., £39.50, May 1985, 0 582 51734 6
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Words 
by John Silverlight.
Macmillan, 107 pp., £17.50, May 1985, 9780333380109
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Faux Amis and Key Words: A Dictionary-Guide to French Language, Culture and Society through Lookalikes and Confusables 
by Philip Thody, Howard Evans and Gwilym Rees.
Athlone, 224 pp., £16, February 1985, 0 485 11243 4
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Puns 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 631 13793 9
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Fair of Speech: The Uses of Euphemism 
edited by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 19 212236 3
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... good and bad angels, the authoritative and the authoritarian. Linguistic conservatives like John Simon, who sometimes seem not only not to mind being disliked but to thrive on it, do not shrink from such acts of authority as will promptly be branded authoritarian – a word wielded in Sidney Greenbaum’s tour de task-force The English Language ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett, 7 November 1985

... terms of immediate neighbourhood, I live sandwiched between the houses of Chateaubriand and Saint-Simon. From here I go daily to cross steps with Jacques Laurent (Prix Goncourt, Grand Prix de I’ Académie Française), Max Gallo, Kenneth White (Prix Médicis Etranger), Jean-Edern Hallier, Marcel Schneider, Bernard Frank, Sartre when he was alive, Barthes ...

Erratic Star

Michael Foot, 11 May 1995

Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle 
by Simon Heffer.
Orion, 420 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 297 81564 4
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... Toryism, old or new, whereas something deep in Carlyle’s has been potent enough to persuade Simon Heffer to follow in the footsteps of his Peter-house mentor, Maurice Cowling, and see whether Carlyle can be given the final accolade. It seems a pretty tall order, even though, as every schoolchild knows (as Macaulay used to say), Carlyle became in old age ...

Evil Man

Simon Schaffer: Joseph Priestley, 21 May 1998

The Enlightenment of Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1733 to 1773 
by Robert Schofield.
Pennsylvania State, 328 pp., £35.95, January 1998, 0 271 01662 0
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... and benefactors, as an attempt, he claimed, to ‘promote virtue and piety’ in his readers. Robert Schofield is well qualified to follow Priestley’s uneven path across the intellectual landscape of 18th-century society. He was trained during and after World War Two as an atomic physicist and engineer, at a moment when once again practical science ...

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