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Barbarians

Stuart Airlie, 17 November 1983

Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 
by K.J. Leyser.
Hambledon, 302 pp., £18, February 1983, 0 907628 08 7
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The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987 
by Rosamond McKitterick.
Longman, 414 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 582 49005 7
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Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J.M. Wallace-Hadrill 
edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.
Blackwell, 345 pp., £27.50, September 1983, 0 631 12661 9
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... Confronted with kings called Charles the Bald, Charles the Simple, Charles the Fat and Louis the Blind, and chroniclers like Notker the Stammerer, Benzo of Alba and Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, we might be tempted to think that the history of France and Germany a millennium ago can offer us nothing more than the dreary spectacle of one barbarian succeeding another on the banks of the Seine or the Rhine ...

The Most Beautiful Icicle

Inigo Thomas: Apollo 11, 15 August 2019

Reaching for the Moon: A Short History of the Space Race 
by Roger D. Launius.
Yale, 256 pp., £20, July 2019, 978 0 300 23046 8
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The Moon: A History for the Future 
by Oliver Morton.
Economist Books, 334 pp., £20, May 2019, 978 1 78816 254 8
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... the photography was practised and programmed. ‘They would loan us a Hasselblad,’ said Michael Collins, the third member of the Apollo 11 mission, who stayed behind in the moon’s orbit in Columbia, the command module, while his companions descended to its surface. Mia Fineman, curator of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Apollo’s ...

A Whale of a Time

Colm Tóibín, 2 October 1997

Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White 
edited by Roger Sawyer.
Pimlico, 288 pp., £10, October 1997, 9780712673754
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The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement 
edited by Angus Mitchell.
Anaconda, 534 pp., £40, October 1997, 9781901990010
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... Jessie Conrad remembered his visit: Sir Roger Casement, a fanatical Irish protestant, came to see us, remaining some two days our guest. He was a very handsome man with a thick, dark beard and piercing, restless eyes. His personality impressed me greatly. It was about the time when he was interested in bringing to light certain atrocities which were taking place in the Belgian Congo ...

At the Hydropathic

T.J. Binyon, 6 December 1984

Agatha Christie 
by Janet Morgan.
Collins, 393 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 00 216330 6
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... In 1926 she became famous. In the spring of that year she published The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a book based on an idea suggested to her independently by her brother-in-law and by Lord Louis Mountbatten and which certainly has claims to be the most ingenious of her novels. At 11 p.m. on Friday 3 December she came downstairs, got into her ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Ukip’s wrinkly glitz, 4 November 2004

... of a majority of the United Kingdom Independence Party’s local chairmen in his bid to replace Roger Knapman as Ukip’s leader. The party’s highest-profile MEP isn’t going to let a ‘farcical’ straw poll stand in his way, however. He has accused Ukip of being run by a ‘cabal’ headed by Nigel Farage, the Ukip MEP for the South-East, and says ...

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 ...
... books. Publishing houses were rumoured to be in financial difficulty – such as Penguin – and Collins were presently said to have become ‘over-heated’ in Australia. Publishers were felt to be peculiarly exposed to the fortunes of the economy, and the country, for all its oil rigs, was felt to be keeling over. It is still felt to be keeling. But the ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... Chris Carduff, who had offered to send her any books she wanted, for a copy of Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher. An account of a 30,000-mile journey around the continent by two naturalists, it was originally published in 1955 and was being reissued in memory of Peterson, who had recently died. Fitzgerald wanted it, however, for the sake ...

Diamond Daggers

Stephen Wall, 28 June 1990

Death’s Darkest Face 
by Julian Symons.
Macmillan, 272 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 333 51783 0
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Vendetta 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 281 pp., £12.99, June 1990, 0 571 14332 6
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Gallowglass 
by Barbara Vine.
Viking, 296 pp., £13.99, March 1990, 0 670 83241 3
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... not often much point in going back over it – as Edmund Wilson almost said, who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd afterwards – but good examples of the form have other attractions. They usually seem to owe their durability to elements in them that are gratuitous, strictly speaking. The sleuths don’t really need all those fetching idiosyncrasies: Holmes’s ...

Thus were the British defeated

Colin Munro: ‘Tipu’s Tiger’, 4 January 2018

... esteemed one of the most beautiful as well as the most ferocious of animals?’ to which Lady Collins replies with a verbatim recital of Conran’s letter. The story was also related in The Third Chapter of Accidents and Remarkable Events Containing Caution and Instruction for Children (1801); Scenes in Asia for the Amusement and Instruction of Little ...

Where the Apples Come From

T.C. Smout: What Makes an Oak Tree Grow, 29 November 2007

Woodlands 
by Oliver Rackham.
Collins, 609 pp., £25, September 2006, 0 00 720243 1
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Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees 
by Richard Mabey.
Chatto, 289 pp., £20, October 2007, 978 1 85619 733 5
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Wildwood: A Journey through Trees 
by Roger Deakin.
Hamish Hamilton, 391 pp., £20, May 2007, 978 0 241 14184 7
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The Wild Trees: What if the Last Wilderness Is above Our Heads? 
by Richard Preston.
Allen Lane, 294 pp., £20, August 2007, 978 1 84614 023 5
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... Oliver Rackham’s Woodlands is Volume 100 of the New Naturalist series, started by Collins after the Second World War with the aim of making ecology accessible to the increasing numbers of people who visited the countryside and had a serious curiosity about what it contained. It included such early classics as R ...

Gloom without Doom

Frank Kermode, 19 April 1990

Letters of Leonard Woolf 
edited by Frederic Spotts.
Weidenfeld, 616 pp., £30, March 1990, 0 297 79635 6
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... from bigger houses. He tells Cecil Day-Lewis he doesn’t mind him taking his detective stories to Collins, but adds that he won’t accept an arrangement whereby he gets sent the books that probably won’t sell while the others are reserved for somebody else. On such topics he meditates with a common sense that still has its relevance to the business of ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... in conjunction with the club’s ‘few first editions of Conan Doyle, Poe, Le Fanu and Wilkie Collins’, is enough to invoke, by conditioned reflex, the Agatha Christie cornerstone, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Or as Derek Raymond (Robin Cook) frequently proclaimed, paraphrasing Edmund Wilson: ‘who gives a fuck who ...

Antigone in Galway

Anne Enright, 17 December 2015

... patriot who was executed in 1916 and buried in the yard of what is now Cork Prison, at the rear of Collins Barracks, once the Victoria Barracks. His coffin was first removed to the garrison church, where thousands of people – including Dr John Buckley, the bishop of Cork and Ross – filed past to pay their respects. The funeral echoed the reinterment of ...

Francis and Vanessa

Peter Campbell, 15 March 1984

Francis Bacon 
by Michel Leiris, translated by John Weightman.
Phaidon, 271 pp., £50, September 1983, 0 7148 2218 3
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Vanessa Bell 
by Frances Spalding.
Weidenfeld, 399 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 297 78162 6
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The Omega Workshops 
by Judith Collins.
Secker, 310 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 436 10562 4
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The Omega Workshops 1913-1919: Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury 
Crafts Council, 96 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 903798 72 7Show More
The Omega Workshops: Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920 
Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 80 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 947564 00 4Show More
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... has been displayed and catalogued at the Crafts Council and Anthony d’Offay galleries. Judith Collins’s Omega Workshops gives the history, while Frances Spalding’s biography of Vanessa Bell is an account of Bloomsbury in which the painters and decorators take centre-stage. The time is ripe for this celebration. Decorated furniture, pots with patterns ...

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