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Immoralist

José Harris

1 December 1983
John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed 1883-1920 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 447 pp., £14.95, November 1983, 0 333 11599 6
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... but of symbolic logic). Such an acquiescence in classical models is scarcely surprising since, as Robert Skidelsky clearly demonstrates, there was virtually nothing in the world before 1914 to suggest to an academic liberal of Keynes’s background that the classical economic system had failed or broken down. Keynes’s economics before 1914 were ...

The Non-Existent Hand

Joseph Stiglitz: How to Save Capitalism

22 April 2010
Keynes: The Return of the Master 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Allen Lane, 213 pp., £20, September 2009, 978 1 84614 258 1
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... Recession, that ‘we are all Keynesians now.’ If this is so, then Keynes’s great biographer, Robert Skidelsky, should have much to say about the recession, its causes and the appropriate cures. And so indeed he does. I share with Skidelsky the view that, while most of the blame for the crisis should reside with ...

How Left was he?

Paul Addison

7 January 1993
John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour 1920-1937 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 731 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 333 37138 0
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Maynard Keynes: An Economist’s Biography 
by D.E. Moggridge.
Routledge, 941 pp., £35, April 1992, 9780415051415
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... Theory. A biographer of Keynes has to straddle two very different worlds, and it is one measure of Robert Skidelsky’s achievement that he writes with equal authority of both in this deeply researched and densely textured book. But what marks out his work as truly masterly is his portrayal of the interplay between the private and the public in ...

It took a Scot

Colin Kidd: English Nationalism

29 July 2015
The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century 
by George Molyneaux.
Oxford, 302 pp., £65, May 2015, 978 0 19 871791 1
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The English and Their History 
by Robert Tombs.
Allen Lane, 1012 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 103165 1
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Conquests, Catastrophe and Recovery: Britain and Ireland 1066-1485 
by John Gillingham.
Vintage, 345 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 956324 2
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From Restoration to Reform: The British Isles 1660-1832 
by Jonathan Clark.
Vintage, 364 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 956323 5
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Britain since 1900: A Success Story? 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Vintage, 472 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 957239 8
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... as being in the territory of the English. England has never existed in isolation. According to Robert Tombs, it has existed as itself only for a couple of relatively brief periods in its long history, ‘between Alfred and Cnut, and again (though by then including Wales) under the Tudors’. It has more often existed as part of a larger multinational state ...

Thatcherism

Gordon Brown

2 February 1989
Thatcherism 
edited by Robert Skidelsky.
Chatto, 214 pp., £18, November 1988, 0 7011 3342 2
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The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left 
by Stuart Hall.
Verso, 283 pp., £24.95, December 1988, 0 86091 199 3
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... duty and patriotism.’ It is on this aspect that Anthony King and Ivor Crewe concentrate in the Skidelsky collection. Margaret Roberts moved from her Anglo-Poujadist origins via Oxford, the lab and the bar to eventual leadership and Gaullist ambitions, more honoured in rhetoric than in achievement. The grocer’s daughter ...

‘They Mean us no Harm’

Ross McKibbin: John Maynard Keynes

8 February 2001
John Maynard Keynes: Vol. III: Fighting for Britain 1937-46 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 580 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 333 60456 3
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... Robert Skidelsky’s John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain completes a remarkable biography. No other biographer of Keynes is likely to surpass it, and everyone who has an interest in the intellectual and public life of this country is in Skidelsky’s debt. This third volume starts in 1937, where the second volume left off ...

You have £2000, I have a kidney

Glen Newey: Morals and Markets

21 June 2012
What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets 
by Michael Sandel.
Allen Lane, 244 pp., £20, April 2012, 978 1 84614 471 4
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How Much Is Enough?: The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life 
by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky.
Allen Lane, 256 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 1 84614 448 6
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... each of us) better off, while making nobody worse off. Everyone’s a winner. It’s here that Robert and Edward Skidelsky’s argument cuts in. Their main target is the pursuit of growth for its own sake which, as they say, has become dogma for politicians across the globe: certainly ‘mainstream’ politicians usually ...

Attila the Hus

Mary-Kay Wilmers

4 November 1982
Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 436 28849 4
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... was relieved that she had chosen a reasonably promising young man whose family he knew. Mosley, Robert Cecil reported to Curzon, was ‘not in the first flight’ but had ‘a good future before him’. He was two years older than Cimmie; very dashing (though Curzon at once remarked on his ‘rather Jewish appearance’), and the youngest MP in the ...

Baby Face

John Bayley

24 May 1990
William Gerhardie: A Biography 
by Dido Davies.
Oxford, 411 pp., £25, April 1990, 0 19 211794 7
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Memoirs of a Polyglot 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 381 pp., £5.95, April 1990, 0 86072 111 6
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Futility 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 198 pp., £4.95, April 1990, 0 86072 112 4
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God’s Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age 1890-1940 
by William Gerhardie, edited by Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidelsky.
Hogarth, 360 pp., £8.95, April 1990, 0 7012 0887 2
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... he rarely managed to earn the publisher’s advance. Yet his reputation never really declined. Robert Donat was keen to do The Polyglots as a film, but eventually decided that ‘only Hollywood or Alexander Korda could do justice to the story.’ Basil Dean, who had filmed The Constant Nymph, was enthusiastic as well, but that too came to nothing. Dr ...

Double-Barrelled Dolts

Ferdinand Mount: Mosley’s Lost Deposit

6 July 2006
Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism 
by Stephen Dorril.
Viking, 717 pp., £30, April 2006, 0 670 86999 6
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Hurrah for the Blackshirts! Fascists and Fascism between the Wars 
by Martin Pugh.
Pimlico, 387 pp., £8.99, March 2006, 1 84413 087 8
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... when he was haranguing a brawling mob, with a few girlfriends in fur coats rushing for the exit. Robert Skidelsky, in his 1975 biography, attempted to mitigate Mosley’s culpability by arguing that the violence was ‘at least as much the result of Anti-Fascist demonstrators interrupting meetings or attacking Fascists’. In the original edition, ...

Posterity

Frank Kermode

2 April 1981
God’s Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age, 1890-1940 
by William Gerhardie, Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidelsky.
Hodder, 360 pp., £11.95, March 1981, 0 340 26340 7
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Futility 
by William Gerhardie.
Penguin, 184 pp., £1.75, February 1981, 0 14 000391 6
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... Gerhardie is one of those writers who are periodically rescued from near-oblivion. In 1947, a temporary revival of interest was brought about by the publication of a ‘Uniform Edition’ of his novels, and there was another in 1970, when the same edition was republished with prefaces by Michael Holroyd. Gerhardie himself prefixed to the reissue of his first book, Futility, an important essay called ‘My Literary Credo’, which is unfortunately omitted from the new Penguin Modern Classics reprint ...
9 October 1986
The Pebbled Shore 
by Elizabeth Longford.
Weidenfeld, 351 pp., £14.95, August 1986, 0 297 78863 9
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Leaves of the Tulip Tree 
by Juliette Huxley.
Murray, 248 pp., £7.95, June 1986, 9780719542886
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Enid Bagnold 
by Anne Sebba.
Weidenfeld, 317 pp., £15, September 1986, 0 297 78991 0
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... drew a decidedly crisp letter from Lady Mosley, who called it ‘fanciful in the extreme’. As Robert Skidelsky said of the meeting in his Oswald Moslev: ‘The number of future memoir writers and Labour politicians in the audience alone ensured that it would be talked about for years to come.’ There were also a hundred angry busmen present, out for ...

Dark Tom

Christopher Ricks

1 December 1983
Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley 1933-1980 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 323 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 436 28852 4
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Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Fontana, 274 pp., £2.50, October 1983, 0 00 636644 9
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... short-suffering Mosley with his other help-meet Diana Guinness née Mitford. Mosley’s biographer Robert Skidelsky avers that ‘Mosley always tried to maintain the old English distinction between private life and public life.’ But Mosley came up against that other, even more powerful, old English tradition or law which has recently snuffed out ...

Lady Talky

Alison Light: Lydia Lopokova

18 December 2008
Bloomsbury Ballerina: Lydia Lopokova, Imperial Dancer and Mrs John Maynard Keynes 
by Judith Mackrell.
Weidenfeld, 476 pp., £25, April 2008, 978 0 297 84908 7
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... two months at Tilton. Lopokova’s imaginative insights and spontaneous judgments appealed to what Robert Skidelsky, in his biography of Keynes, called the ‘liquidity’ of his mind. She didn’t pretend to understand his theories in detail but she responded to the patterning of his thought. His final book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and ...

Wear flames in your hair

William Skidelsky: Jonathan Lethem and back-street superheroes

24 June 2004
The Fortress of Solitude 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Faber, 511 pp., £12.99, January 2004, 0 571 21933 0
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... and philosopher of skully’, a form of hopscotch played with bottle tops. All this changes when Robert Woolfolk, an older boy ‘from the projects’, starts showing up on Dean Street. Almost immediately, he singles Dylan out: having threatened to steal his money, he makes off with his bicycle. But Dylan has his mother to protect him. Rachel grew up ‘a ...

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