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Rigging and Bending

Simon Adams: James VI & I

9 October 2003
The Cradle KingA Life of James VI & I 
by Alan Stewart.
Chatto, 438 pp., £20, February 2003, 0 7011 6984 2
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... to facilitate a Spanish invasion of England – caused James major political difficulties, but the King remained loyal to him. On the eve of his death in 1625, James recommended Huntly to his son Charles as ‘the most faithful servant that ever served a prince’. The summer of 1587 also saw the visit to Scotland of Guillaume de Salluste, seigneur du ...

Ironed Corpses Clattering in the Wind

Mark Kishlansky: The Restoration and the Glorious Revolution

17 August 2006
Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms 
by Tim Harris.
Penguin, 506 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 14 026465 5
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Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy 1685-1720 
by Tim Harris.
Allen Lane, 622 pp., £30, January 2006, 0 7139 9759 1
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... of the Parliamentarian general, Sir William. The experiments of the 1650s were swept away as king, lords and bishops were thrust back into power with hardly a shot fired. The armies of the Commonwealth melted away, its tortured succession of governments abruptly ended and its chaotic Church dissipated. The people lined the streets to cheer their ...

A Man of No Mind

Colm Tóibín: The Passion of Roger Casement

13 September 2012
The Dream of the Celt 
by Mario Vargas Llosa and Edith Grossman.
Faber, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 571 27571 7
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... In his book King Leopold’s Ghost, Adam Hochschild describes the stretch of the Congo River as it approaches the sea: Much of the Congo River basin, we now know, lies on a plateau in the African interior. From the western rim of this plateau, nearly a thousand feet high, the river descends to sea level in a mere 220 miles ...

Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones

20 October 1983
The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael K 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... out the whole lot, bag and baggage, baby and bathwater: he may rush to the opposite extreme, seeking out illiberal values to embrace with a fervour that embarrasses old conservatives. Bill Hooper, the hero of The Good Father, was once an excessively keen feminist: now, in his thirties, separated from his wife and denied custody of their four-year-old ...

Doctors’ Orders

Ruth Bernard Yeazell

18 February 1982
‘All that summer she was mad’: Virginia Woolf and Her Doctors 
by Stephen Trombley.
Junction, 338 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 9780862450397
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... in 1904, his daughter Virginia lay in bed, listening to the birds singing in Greek and imagining King Edward lurking naked in the azaleas, shouting obscenities; that same summer she apparently attempted to kill herself by leaping out of the window. ‘I have never spent such a wretched 8 months in my life,’ she wrote to ...

Fear of Words

Mark Kishlansky: The Cavalier Parliament

18 December 2008
The Long Parliament of Charles II 
by Annabel Patterson.
Yale, 283 pp., £30, September 2008, 978 0 300 13708 8
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... Patterson displays no moral indignation towards religious intolerance.) This wasn’t the king’s preference, but it was the price he paid for a quiet life, for not having to go ‘on his travels again’. It also led to nearly every political crisis of the reign and ultimately to dependence on secret treaties that were none too secret and to Puritan ...

Necrophiliac Striptease

Thomas Jones: Mummies

6 February 2014
The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 321 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 19 969871 4
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... In 1889, Rudyard Kipling, 23 years old, recently arrived in London and looking to ingratiate himself with England’s most popular novelist, wrote to Rider Haggard with the outline of a story he’d recently heard, a ‘thing picked up the other day across some drinks’: There was first one Englishman and one mummy ...

Tacky Dress

Dale Peck

22 February 1996
Like People in History: A Gay American Epic 
by Felice Picano.
Viking, 512 pp., $23.95, July 1995, 0 670 86047 6
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How Long Has This Been Going On? 
by Ethan Mordden.
Villard, 590 pp., $25, April 1995, 0 679 41529 7
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The Facts of Life 
by Patrick Gale.
Flamingo, 511 pp., £15.99, June 1995, 0 602 24522 2
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Flesh and Blood 
by Michael Cunningham.
Hamish Hamilton, 480 pp., £14.99, June 1995, 9780241135150
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... Dancer from the Dance, George Whitmore’s Nebraska, Edmund White’s Nocturnes for the King of Naples; and a decade since the first Aids fiction started to show up: Robert Ferro’s Second Son, David B. Feinberg’s Eighty-Sixed, Allen Barnett’s beautiful The Body and Its Dangers. Today, as a result of political pressure as well as recognition of ...

At the Queen’s Gallery

Inigo Thomas: David Hockney

2 March 2017
... elsewhere, but the English monarchy has long liked to acquire pictures of artists. Charles I, a king much absorbed by how he was himself depicted, bought, commissioned or was given numerous artist portraits. The Commonwealth sold Charles’s collection, and although many of those pictures were reacquired by Charles II, a Dürer self-portrait, for ...

Cowboy Coups

Phillip Knightley

10 October 1991
Smear! Wilson and the Secret State 
by Stephen Dorrill and Robin Ramsay.
Fourth Estate, 502 pp., £20, August 1991, 9781872180687
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... from the office’ who had a story which might interest the Sunday Times, where I was then working. There was another guest, an aristocratic young man from the City whose role appeared to be that of prompting the MI5 officer – for that is what I took the man from ‘the office’ to be – when he hesitated over a real or pretended indiscretion. The ...

What are we at war about?

Isaac Land: Nelson the Populist

1 December 2005
The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson 
by Roger Knight.
Allen Lane, 874 pp., £30, July 2005, 0 7139 9619 6
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Admiral Lord Nelson: Context and Legacy 
edited by David Cannadine.
Palgrave, 201 pp., £19.99, June 2005, 1 4039 3906 3
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... sea itself seems to wear a different and diminished aspect from the sea of Lord Nelson’s day.’ Roger Knight’s life of Nelson is almost fifty times as long as Conrad’s centenary essay (excluding the appendices, which take up more than a hundred additional pages), but readers may nevertheless conclude that biography too is ‘different and ...

It’s the plunge that counts

Heathcote Williams: Waterlog by Roger Deakin

19 August 1999
Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain 
by Roger Deakin.
Chatto, 320 pp., £15.99, May 1999, 0 7011 6652 5
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... Roger Deakin has swum through England. Instead of a travelogue, he has written a waterlog, and instead of being waterlogged, he has moved around the country untrammelled, and often naked. In this seductive book he gives a rare and visionary account of what it means to feel an affinity with the lakes, springs, rivers, streams and seashores of these islands, instead of the motorways, car-parks and Little Chefs that blight the instincts of the traveller who is eager to commune with what is left of raw nature ...

Shady

Colin Jones: Voltaire’s Loneliness

25 May 2006
Voltaire Almighty: A Life in Pursuit of Freedom 
by Roger Pearson.
Bloomsbury, 447 pp., £18.99, November 2005, 0 7475 7495 2
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Le Monde des salons 
by Antoine Lilti.
Fayard, 572 pp., £30, October 2005, 2 213 62292 2
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... had lived by writing – and after 1758 the words came just as abundantly. At a shrewd estimate, Roger Pearson calculates in his sprightly and thoroughly engaging biography, some fifteen million words flowed from Voltaire’s pen. The critical edition currently being published by Oxford’s Voltaire Foundation is scheduled to contain 85 volumes. As well as ...
3 March 1988
... century and, in the absence of much hard information, encounter what is scarcely more than a striking anecdote of frustrated love and subsequent insanity. To probe the few available facts about a man who vanished from sight in his mid-twenties is to discover that the Reynolds portrait, the poetry and the story of ill-fated love are inextricably woven ...
20 December 1979
The Moment of ‘Scrutiny’ 
by Francis Mulhern.
New Left Books, 354 pp., £11.75
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The Literary Criticism of F.R. Leavis 
by R.P. Bilan.
Cambridge, 338 pp., £12.50
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... Scrutiny.’ There isn’t one even now, though Francis Mulhern has done valuable work towards making such a thing possible. His book offers an analysis of the major periods of the journal’s history, and what emerges is a kind of contour map of a very rugged terrain. But Mr Mulhern has, he admits it frankly, an ulterior purpose in writing this account of ...

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