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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Post-Scepticism

Richard Tuck

19 February 1987
Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life 
by Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer.
Princeton, 475 pp., £40, February 1986, 0 691 08393 2
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... removal of quotation-marks from these hitherto contentious or puzzling terms. Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer are historians of ‘science’ who were led by their discontent with the hegemony of experimentation to study the controversy between Robert Boyle, patron saint or founding shaman of the experimental method, and ...
9 October 1986
... Lord Stanley of Alderley) are published here for the first time, with the permission of the Hon. Simon Howard. They cover the visit of the 57-year-old Robert Browning to Naworth Castle, the Cumberland home of the George Howards. Browning had recently published his great poem The Ring and the Book, with its dedication to ...

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 ...

Dome Laureate

Dennis O’Driscoll: Simon Armitage

27 April 2000
Killing Time 
by Simon Armitage.
Faber, 52 pp., £6.99, December 1999, 0 571 20360 4
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Short and Sweet: 101 Very Short Poems 
edited by Simon Armitage.
Faber, 112 pp., £4.99, October 1999, 9780571200016
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... Simon Armitage likes to have it both ways. He is the streetwise poet who is at home in a Radio 1 studio; but he is also the ambitious literary figure who aspires to ‘nothing less’ than a Nobel Prize. He is at ease with youth culture (‘I didn’t have a classical education of any type, so I tend to use characters from popular culture’), yet, far from stoking rebellion, he writes tenderly of his parents and looks up to Ted Hughes and W ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Chicanery and Fantasy

6 June 2019
... Robert Peters​ , né Parkins, wasn’t much to look at. He was ‘a little man with a stiff back who walked like a penguin’. Photographs show him as steeply balding, with a rice puddingy face that glooped onto his dog collar. He was tubby, and got tubbier. But something about him made a certain kind of woman sit up ...

His Spittin’ Image

Colm Tóibín: John Stanislaus Joyce

22 February 2018
... who will fly to avoid what seeks to ensnare him. As he flies, however, his father always follows. Simon Dedalus appears or is mentioned in seven of the 18 episodes of Ulysses. In some of the other versions we have of him, in Stanislaus’s My Brother’s Keeper and in the biography by Wyse Jackson and Costello, where he is installed at home, he is ...

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 ...
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 ...

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 ...

Family Stories

Patrice Higonnet

4 August 1994
The Past in French History 
by Robert Gildea.
Yale, 416 pp., £30, February 1994, 0 300 05799 7
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La Gauche survivra-t-elle aux socialistes? 
by Jean-Marie Colombani.
Flammarion, 213 pp., frs 105, March 1994, 2 08 066953 2
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... Robert Gildea’s subject is less French history than French ‘political culture’. His method eschews ‘the theorising pretensions of the Marxist and the Annales schools’ without ‘reducing history to one senseless deed of violence after another’, as he presumes (wrongly) Simon Schama to have done ...

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