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5 March 2015
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies 
by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.
Norton, 306 pp., £17.99, January 2014, 978 0 393 23935 5
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Average Is Over: Powering America beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation 
by Tyler Cowen.
Plume, 290 pp., £12.99, September 2014, 978 0 14 218111 9
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... expect to find under the Christmas tree. The force at work here is a principle known as Moore’s law. This isn’t really a law at all, but rather the extrapolation of an observation made by Gordon Moore, one of the founders of the computer chip company Intel. By 1965, Moore had noticed that silicon chips had for a number of years been getting more powerful, in relation to their price, at a ...

Her pen made the first move

Ruth Bernard Yeazell

7 July 1994
Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Chatto, 418 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 9780701161378
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Shared Lives 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Vintage, 285 pp., £6.99, March 1994, 0 09 942461 4
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The Sickroom in Victorian Fiction: The Art of Being Ill 
by Miriam Bailin.
Cambridge, 169 pp., £30, April 1994, 0 521 44526 4
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... When Charlotte Brontë was not yet 21, she submitted a sample of her work to the reigning poet laureate, Robert Southey, together with a letter in which she apparently confided her ambition ‘to be for ever known’ as a poet. Three months later, Southey replied. Though he acknowledged her gift and encouraged ...

Mr Straight and Mr Good

Paul Foot: Gordon​ Brown

19 February 1998
Gordon​ Brown: The Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 358 pp., £17.99, February 1998, 0 684 81954 6
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... shines from afar.’ Judging from this hagiography, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must be very unhappy. The guiding star of his youth has entirely vanished from his firmament. In 1975 the young Gordon Brown compiled, edited and published a socialist manifesto entitled Red Paper for Scotland. At 24, he had just completed a three-year term as rector of Edinburgh University and chaired the University ...

Diary

Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows

7 October 1993
... Valentine Cunningham and he had been invited to the party because I’d quoted in my memoir a remark of his, in the TLS, about a subsequent book of mine: ‘There is even a case to be made for Giles Gordon being the only true inheritor of the late B.S. Johnson’s mantle as one of the serious Anglicises of French modes.’ Heady stuff. No British reviewer or critic would write like that now. Many ...
18 February 1988
The Road to Botany Bay 
by Paul Carter.
Faber, 384 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 571 14551 5
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The Oxford History of Australia. Vol. IV: 1901-1942 
by Stuart Macintyre.
Oxford, 399 pp., £22.50, October 1987, 0 19 554612 1
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The Archibald Paradox: A Strange Case of Authorship 
by Sylvia Lawson.
Penguin Australia, 292 pp., AUS $12.95, September 1987, 0 14 009848 8
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The Lucky Country Revisited 
by Donald Horne.
Dent, 235 pp., AUS $34.95, October 1987, 9780867700671
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... that Mr Carter looks like achieving in the rest of his life, unless Husserl is forcibly withheld from him. The sad thing is that in real life Mr Carter is a literary journalist of some repute. As Robert Haupt’s successor to the editorship of the Age Monthly Review, he inhabits a milieu, or space, in which the standards of plain speaking were set by the redoubtable Michael Davie, who really should ...

Generations

John Sutherland

4 March 1982
The Survivors 
by Elaine Feinstein.
Hutchinson, 316 pp., £7.95, February 1982, 0 09 145850 1
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Helliconia Spring 
by Brian Aldiss.
Cape, 361 pp., £6.95, February 1982, 0 224 01843 4
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The Great Fire of London 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 169 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 241 10704 0
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A Loss of Heart 
by Robert​ McCrum.
Hamish Hamilton, 282 pp., £7.95, February 1982, 0 241 10705 9
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... ethnic class and shared past they are markedly different. The Gordons are adaptable and individualistic – sharp even against each other. The Katzes are a warmer, happier, less steady family. The Gordon gifted son makes himself a leading London publisher, wilfully disowning his origins. The Katz gifted son is a lame duck, unable to leave home. Benjy, the youngest Katz, has artistic talent, but he ...

Blame Robert​ Maxwell

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: How Public Inquiries Go Wrong

17 March 2016
... inquiries. There have since been inquiries into a wide range of matters of public interest, from the Aberfan disaster to the death of David Kelly, Profumo to tabloid phone hacking. On 15 June 2009, Gordon Brown announced an inquiry into the Iraq war – to investigate, as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chairman, put it, ‘the UK’s involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and ...

Where mine is at

Gordon​ Burn

28 May 1992
Outerbridge Reach 
by Robert​ Stone.
Deutsch, 409 pp., £14.99, May 1992, 0 223 98774 3
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... When Robert Stone’s best-known novel, Dog Soldiers, was published in 1974, there was a small but significant overlap of material with The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe’s souped-up, superheated ...

Short Cuts

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Gordon​ Brown

7 June 2007
... My Vision’, ranging in quality from the not at all bad, such as Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, to the simply intolerable: look no further than It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton. But Gordon Brown doesn’t need to write a job application. The spavined and gelded Parliamentary Labour Party has just anointed him by acclamation, and he thus becomes the first Labour leader in more than ...

Matsanga

Jeremy Harding

16 February 1989
... Renamo as a ‘progressive force’ representing ‘the argument for peace and national reconciliation’ in Mozambique. The campaign is patronised by many young right-wingers, including Marc Gordon of the International Freedom Foundation, an anti-communist organisation which enjoys extremist American funding. Like many Western ideologues who sup with the devil, Gordon has the long spoon of ...

Travelling in the Classic Style

Thomas Laqueur: Primo Levi

5 September 2002
Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics 
by Robert Gordon.
Oxford, 316 pp., £45, October 2001, 0 19 815963 3
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Primo Levi 
by Ian Thomson.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £25, March 2002, 0 09 178531 6
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The Double Bond: Primo Levi, a Biography 
by Carole Angier.
Viking, 898 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 670 88333 6
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... salvaged a humane, optimistic moral vision from mankind at its worst. How his ‘Enlightenment liberal ethics survive Auschwitz’, shaken, challenged to the core, ‘but intact’, is the subject of RobertGordon’s superb book. Its thesis is that very early in his career Levi moved beyond the language of testimony to the ‘language of ethics’, a ‘flexible, sensitive, intelligent language’ that ...
18 August 1994
Mallarmé: A Throw of the Dice 
by Gordon​ Millan.
Secker, 389 pp., £16.99, March 1994, 9780436270963
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... figure for critical movements from psychoanalytic and thematic criticism to structuralism, semiotics and deconstruction. We have had analyses of his work by Charles Mauron, Jean-Pierre Richard, Robert Greer Cohn, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Leo Bersani, Malcolm Bowie and others. It might seem surprising, therefore, not to find a single full-length biography published between ...
29 September 1988
Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert​ Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... The idea that Eliot’s poetry was rooted in private aspects of his life has now been accepted,’ says Lyndall Gordon in the Foreword to her second volume of biographical rooting among these aspects. This acceptance, which she evidently approves, has undoubtedly occurred, as a root through the enormous heap of books ...

Two Poems

Gavin Ewart

17 March 1988
... tunes to which the name is given. Beethoven, Chopin and Schubert have left écossaises for piano, and there is nothing Scottish about any of them. Percy Scholes, The Oxford Companion to Music Like Robert Louis Stevenson living in Samoa, like George MacBeth living in Sheffield, like Ian Brady living in Greater Manchester, I am a Scotsman living in exile; my father was the first of the family to fly ...

A New Kind of Being

Jenny Turner: Angela Carter

3 November 2016
The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography 
by Edmund Gordon.
Chatto, 544 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 7011 8755 2
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... any way possible – short of falling into the hands of Michael Winner – ‘to make money for my boys’: Mark Pearce, her second husband, and Alexander, the couple’s son, born in 1983. As Edmund Gordon says towards the beginning of his biography, Carter was never so widely acclaimed in life as she would be in the weeks and years after her death. The tributes were long, sometimes fulsome, always ...

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