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Menswear

Philip Booth, 20 July 1995

Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts 
by Roger Baker.
Cassell, 284 pp., £35, December 1994, 0 304 32836 7
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... Nowadays it’s possible to make a career exclusively within gay journalism. Roger Baker, however, was a journalist of wide-ranging interests whose careful think-pieces were a strong feature of Gay News in the mid-Seventies, but who was just as comfortable writing for the Times. His books include studies of those gay icons Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe, but he also published works on exorcism and Israel ...

Michael Gove recommends …

Robert Hanks: Dennis Wheatley, 20 January 2011

The Devil Is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley 
by Phil Baker.
Dedalus, 699 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 903517 75 8
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... in his lifetime is widely accepted, though the basis for it is elusive – the only source Phil Baker cites in his exhaustive biography is Wheatley’s own memoirs, and Wheatley was a relentless self-aggrandiser; but it sounds about right. In the mid-1960s, three decades into his career, he had 55 books in print, which collectively accounted for one seventh ...

Hegel in Green Wellies

Stefan Collini: England, 8 March 2001

England: An Elegy 
by Roger Scruton.
Chatto, 270 pp., £16.99, October 2000, 1 85619 251 2
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The Faber Book of Landscape Poetry 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 426 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 571 20071 0
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... School and eventually to qualify as a teacher, later moving to leafy Buckinghamshire, where young Roger grew up. But Jack Scruton nursed a vivid sense of the grievances of his class. He was not just Old Labour, he was Paleo-Labour: the country was in the grip of a ruling class whose comfortable way of life rested on the exploitation of the workers. Scruton ...

Chucky, Hirple, Clart

David Craig: Robert Macfarlane, 24 September 2015

Landmarks 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 241 14653 8
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... Idea of North), Nan Shepherd (The Living Mountain), Richard Jefferies (Nature near London), J.A. Baker (The Peregrine), Jacquetta Hawkes (A Land) and Roger Deakin (Waterlog). It’s interesting that all these were connoisseurs of nature rather than workers with it or in it. Macfarlane’s accounts of them have a ...

Teacher

John Passmore, 4 September 1986

Australian Realism: The Systematic Philosophy of John Anderson 
by A.J. Baker.
Cambridge, 150 pp., £20, April 1986, 0 521 32051 8
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... Opposite the title-page of Mr Baker’s skeletonised but substantially accurate account of John Anderson’s philosophy there stand two epigraphs. They are both from Heraclitus or, more precisely, from Burnet’s translation of that enigmatic philosopher. The first of them is ontological: ‘The world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures kindling and measures going out ...

Umpteens

Christopher Ricks, 22 November 1990

Bloomsbury Dictionary of Dedications 
edited by Adrian Room.
Bloomsbury, 354 pp., £17.99, September 1990, 0 7475 0521 7
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Unauthorised Versions: Poems and their Parodies 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 446 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 571 14122 6
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The Faber Book of Vernacular Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 407 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 571 14470 5
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... duly puts in a guest-appearance: Mrs Thatcher. The Ironised Maiden is in evidence, too, in Kenneth Baker’s anthology of verse parodies, Unauthorised Versions. But then Mr Baker is a Conservative politician, mainstream, main chance. Politically these are authorised versions. One of the entries, by ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Darwinians & Creationists, 1 November 2001

... about who exactly is sitting at the drawing-board. But they do have a martyr in the shape of Roger DeHart, a high school biology teacher in Burlington, Washington, who in the spring was banned from teaching the theory. Evolution is a more satisfying explanation of life than intelligent design/creationism – or anything else that’s been so far proposed ...

Clues

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 May 1983

A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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The Agatha Christie Hour 
by Agatha Christie.
Collins, 190 pp., £6.50, September 1982, 0 00 231331 6
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The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes 
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Allen Lane, 1122 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 7139 1444 0
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The Quest for Sherlock Holmes 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Mainstream, 380 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 906391 15 6
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Essays on Photography 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 128 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 0 436 13302 4
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 456 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 436 13301 6
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The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie 
by Charles Osborne.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 00 216462 0
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... Christie is supreme. Thus in what I take to be the most famous of detective novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Ackroyd’s secretary hears his employer’s voice coming from his study: ‘the calls on my purse have been so frequent of late that I fear it is impossible for me to accede to your request.’ Poirot sees that nobody would talk like this ...

The Common Touch

Paul Foot, 10 November 1994

Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... Manchester on packhorses – pulsed through the veins of her great-grandsons,’ Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe write without a trace of irony. One of these was Robert Hanson, the great James’s father, through whose veins the entrepreneurial spirit pulsed so fiercely that he stored other people’s furniture in a warehouse next to a garage packed with ...

Gaslight and Fog

John Pemble: Sherlock Holmes, 26 January 2012

The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwardian England 
by Haia Shpayer-Makov.
Oxford, 429 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 19 957740 8
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... Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ snapped Edmund Wilson, writing in the New Yorker in 1945. He refused to find out who did, because he’d already discovered that Agatha Christie’s books were garbage and that he couldn’t put them down. This is what you’d expect. Wilson was a literary prude, and detective stories are literature’s oldest profession ...

The Bad News about the Resistance

Neal Ascherson: Parachuted into France, 30 July 2020

A Schoolmaster’s War: Harry Rée, British Agent in the French Resistance 
edited by Jonathan Rée.
Yale, 204 pp., £14.99, March, 978 0 300 24566 0
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... to carry out sabotage in the Franche-Comté, up against the Swiss border. Marie was married to Roger Fouillette, a schoolteacher like Harry. They lived near Montbéliard, and belonged to the secret circle of his loyal helpers and friends.The Gestapo arrested Roger in 1943. Then they brought him, chained, battered and ...

I, too, write a little

Lorna Sage: Katherine Mansfield, 18 June 1998

The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol I 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 310 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 48 4
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The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol II 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 355 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 49 2
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... Ms Scott perhaps the archival equivalent of Mansfield’s much abused lady minder ‘L.M.’ (Ida Baker)? Not in the least. Some of Mansfield’s own witty and acerbic tone seems to have rubbed off on her. She takes a cool pleasure in pointing out, for instance, that one of the mots Murry salvaged – ‘Spring comes with exquisite effort in ...

The Statistical Gaze

Helen McCarthy: The British Census, 29 June 2017

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker: The Story of Britain through Its Census, since 1801 
by Roger Hutchinson.
Little, Brown, 352 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 4087 0701 2
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... census, the decennial population count established in 1801, would have shared this sensation. As Roger Hutchinson tells us in his very lively account, the early 19th-century equivalents of my visitor were an amateurish assortment of parish overseers, churchwardens, constables and schoolmasters who trudged through fields, knocked on doors and filled in paper ...

A Walk with Kierkegaard

Roger Poole, 21 February 1980

Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age– A Literary Review 
by Søren Kierkegaard, edited and translated by Howard Hong and Edna Hong.
Princeton, 187 pp., £7.70, August 1978, 0 691 07226 4
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Kierkegaard: Letters and Documents 
translated by Henrik Rosenmeier.
Princeton, 518 pp., £13.60, November 1978, 0 691 07228 0
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... as ‘The Knight of the Three Discoveries’, giving his address as ‘Lyngby, c/o Wiedemann, the baker’. This was too much for Kierkegaard, who disliked a fool even more than a flatterer. In a hail of mutual recriminations and misunderstandings, their acquaintanceship died, and in March 1850, Kierkegaard wrote to Nielsen informing him that he felt he had ...

Bonfire in Merrie England

Richard Wilson: Shakespeare’s Burning, 4 May 2017

... the Memorial, became ‘the most important figure in Chesterton’s life’, according to David Baker in Ideology of Obsession: A.K. Chesterton and British Fascism. The two met when Chesterton went to interview Flower, ‘whose reign over Stratford-upon-Avon came as near absolutism as made no odds’. Flower was impressed by Chesterton’s refusal to use ...

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