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John Sutherland: Sad Professor

18 February 1999
An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture 
by Roger Scruton.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £14.95, November 1998, 0 7156 2870 4
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... Like Diogenes in his tub, RogerScruton has stripped himself of his professorship of aesthetics to rail, ungowned, against the age in which fate has deposited him. Scruton’s opposition to the times has two current manifestations: one is his lyrical advocacy of the feudal harmonies of the fox-hunt; the other is his hatred of ‘yoof’ culture. In An Intelligent ...


John Sutherland

21 March 1991
by Roger Scruton.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 236 pp., £13.95, February 1991, 9781856190480
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Slave of the Passions 
by Deirdre Wilson.
Picador, 251 pp., £14.99, February 1991, 0 330 31788 1
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The Invisible Worm 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 182 pp., £12.95, February 1991, 1 85619 041 2
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The Secret Pilgrim 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 335 pp., £14.95, January 1991, 0 340 54381 7
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... There are many RogerScrutons and it is not easy to reconcile them: barrister, aesthetician, champion of Senator Joseph McCarthy, teacher at Birkbeck College (an institution with a tradition of proletarian outreach ...
20 February 1986
Sexual Desire 
by Roger Scruton.
Weidenfeld, 428 pp., £18.95, February 1986, 9780297784791
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The History of Sexuality. Vol. II: The Use of Pleasure 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Robert Hurley.
Pantheon, 293 pp., $17.95, December 1985, 0 394 54349 1
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Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times 
by Philippe Ariès and André Béjin, translated by Anthony Forster.
Blackwell, 220 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 9780631134763
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No Magic Bullet: A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States since 1880 
by Allan Brandt.
Oxford (New York), 245 pp., £18.50, August 1985, 0 19 503469 4
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by Nancy Friday.
Collins, 593 pp., £12.95, January 1986, 0 00 217587 8
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... a moral system at all. This is the terrain vague of our sexual life, the habitat of eros. Science has failed to frame this subtle carnivore. Now the philosophers take the field. In Sexual Desire, RogerScruton is bent on recapturing eros in the name of the old morality and restoring him to his proper place in the ethical zoo. No relativist he; for him the two projects described above, descriptive ...

Palpitating Stones

Roger Scruton

3 April 1997
The Dancing Column: On Order in Architecture 
by Joseph Rykwert.
MIT, 598 pp., £49.95, May 1996, 0 262 18170 3
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... Subtitled ‘On Order in Architecture’, Joseph Rykwert’s exploration of the classical Orders, and their meaning for the many architects who have made use of them, has the shape, size and trimmings of a magnum opus. Footnotes and bibliography take up one third of its six hundred pages, and the text is burdened with photographs, plans and drawings illustrating each period of the classical style ...
3 May 1984
... Female desire aims to subdue, overcome and pacify the unbridled ambition of the phallus. RogerScruton The unbridled phallus of the philosopher Was seen last week galloping across the South Downs, Flame spurting from its flared nostril. The phallus being a horse in which Both mane and tail are ...
24 January 2013
Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense 
by Francis Spufford.
Faber, 224 pp., £12.99, September 2012, 978 0 571 22521 7
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Our Church: A Personal History of the Church of England 
by Roger Scruton.
Atlantic, 199 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84887 198 4
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... that the emissaries of the new atheism haven’t had it all their own way. You can’t, as Swift remarked, reason a person out of something that they weren’t reasoned into. What Spufford and RogerScruton want to explain – in their very different ways – is why they can’t and couldn’t be reasoned out of the Christianity that they believe in and live by. Spufford is preaching to the unconverted ...


Peter Pulzer

20 February 1986
The Redefinition of Conservatism: Politics and Doctrine 
by Charles Covell.
Macmillan, 267 pp., £27.50, January 1986, 0 333 38463 6
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Thinkers of the New Left 
by Roger Scruton.
Longman, 227 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 582 90273 8
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The Idea of Liberalism: Studies for a New Map of Politics 
by George Watson.
Macmillan, 172 pp., £22.50, November 1985, 0 333 38754 6
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Socialism and Freedom 
by Bryan Gould.
Macmillan, 109 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 333 40580 3
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... is religion. All of this comes out well in Charles Covell’s scholarly, discriminating and curiously detached study of the Cambridge fogeys – Michael Oakeshott, John Casey, Maurice Cowling and RogerScruton – with side-glances at Shirley Robin Letwin and the conservative potential in Wittgenstein, Elizabeth Anscombe and Philippa Foot. Other than that, some of the conservatives are closer to ...


Neal Ascherson

6 November 1980
The Meaning of Conservatism 
by Roger Scruton.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £12, 0 333 37635 8
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Counting Our Blessings 
by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Secker, 348 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780436294013
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by Peregrine Worsthorne.
Weidenfeld, 277 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 297 77807 2
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... last election buzzed around with stickers reading ‘We are the Freedom Fighters.’ Can a programme for less authority, less of the state, less supervision, be reconciled with the conservative idea? RogerScruton is certain that it cannot. In his sombre, clerkly little book, he claims that freedom ‘cannot occupy a central place in conservative thinking ... for the conservative, the value of ...

Conservative Chic

Michael Mason

6 May 1982
The Politics of Culture and Other Essays 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 245 pp., £8.95, October 1981, 0 85635 362 0
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... regrets what is occurring nowadays, which does not give him very much of our language’s history to play with. It so happens that the first essay in a new collection by that British conservative, RogerScruton, is about language, and he quotes as a specimen of superior antecedent English a passage from John Evelyn. Linguistic conservatives are obviously a church, not a sect: which is to say, that ...
30 January 1992
by Francis Dunlop.
Claridge, 97 pp., £9.95, October 1991, 1 870626 71 0
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... the triumph of practicality over value – the victory of civilisation, as Spengler had famously put it, over culture – has anything to say to us. Francis Dunlop and, one assumes, his publishers, RogerScruton and Jessica Douglas-Home, have no doubts. Scheler, Dunlop suggests, was addressing ‘a political situation not unlike our own ... a breakdown of the old order, loss of the sense of community ...

Into the sunset

Peter Clarke

30 August 1990
Ideas and Politics in Modern Britain 
edited by J.C.D. Clark.
Macmillan, 271 pp., £40, July 1990, 0 333 51550 1
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The Philosopher on Dover Beach 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 344 pp., £18.95, June 1990, 0 85635 857 6
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... which condones European integration. All of this is put in terms a good deal more sophisticated than those which Nicholas Ridley famously employed, but the drift is, I think, not so different. RogerScruton writes explicitly on this theme under the title, ‘In defence of the nation’, a piece also printed as the final essay in his own more diverse collection, The Philosopher on Dover Beach. As the ...


Michael Neve

20 October 1983
by Timothy Leary.
Heinemann, 397 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 434 40975 8
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Freud and Cocaine 
by E.M. Thornton.
Blond and Briggs, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 85634 139 8
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Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females 
by Andrea Dworkin.
Women’s Press, 254 pp., £4.95, June 1983, 0 7043 3907 2
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Hidden Selves: Between Theory and Practice in Psychoanalysis 
by Masud Khan.
Hogarth, 204 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 7012 0547 4
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... in a quarrel. It is salutary to reflect how comparatively rare is the expression ‘I don’t know,’ and to admit that arguing with (say) John Wesley, or Bertolt Brecht, or even – to be banal – RogerScruton, would be a pretty grim business. Part of the reason for closure, or for manic pedagogy, must be political, in the widest sense of the word. Having launched a social campaign, or founded a ...
7 February 1980
The Role of the Reader 
by Umberto Eco.
Indiana, 384 pp., £10.50, September 1980, 0 253 11139 0
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The Semiotics of the Built Environment 
by Donald Preziosi.
Indiana, 192 pp., £9, September 1980, 0 253 17638 7
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... Semiotics, semiology, hermeneutics, structuralist criticism – so many labels, but how many things? If there are distinctions here, they seem to be largely hereditary. The term ‘semiotic’ comes from C.S. Peirce, ‘semiology’ from Saussure. ‘Structuralism’ has meant one thing in anthropology, another in linguistics; its application to literary theory comes partly through the work of Propp ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bo yakasha.

4 January 2001
... of?) his indeterminate ethnicity, is not one of the speakers in a series of talks at the South Bank, beginning on 23 January, under the general title Team GB?: In Search of a British Identity. RogerScruton, whose England: An Elegy will soon be reviewed in the LRB, is giving the first lecture, and he will be followed by, among others, Robert Crawford, Meg Bateman, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Billy Bragg and ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flirtation, Seduction and Betrayal

5 September 2002
... I eagerly pounced: at last! Everything I ever wanted to know about everyone from Pamela Anderson to Ivana Trump. Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened the book at random only to see the name of RogerScruton. Confused, I had another look at the cover: ‘FLIRTATION SEDUCTION BETRAYAL’. Big, strong capital letters, solid and reliable. So what was going on? There, in elegant gothic type, lay the ...

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