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At the British Library

Peter Campbell: The lie of the land, 20 September 2001

... into which German tanks would be unable to pursue partisan fighters, while mapping by General Roy after the ‘45 was a preliminary to driving roads into the Highlands to bring an earlier partisan force – the supporters of Charles Edward Stuart – under control. Roy’s survey can be seen as the beginning of British ...

Maximum Embarrassment

David Marquand, 7 May 1987

Nye Bevan and the Mirage of British Socialism 
by John Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £15.95, March 1987, 0 297 78998 8
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The Political Diary of Hugh Dalton: 1918-40, 1945-60 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape, 752 pp., £40, January 1987, 0 224 01912 0
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... to office in the following decade, than some of their old opponents from the right. But, as John Campbell makes clear in this marvellously lucid and moving reassessment of the political career of Aneurin Bevan, the similarities with the Thirties were only skin-deep. This time, the schisms did touch the core of party purpose. Though Left and Right both called ...

Kiss Count

John Campbell, 19 April 1984

Speak for yourself: A Mass-Observation Anthology 1937-1949 
edited by Angus Calder and Dorothy Sheridan.
Cape, 272 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 224 02102 8
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Voices: 1870-1914 
by Peter Vansittart.
Cape, 292 pp., £9.95, April 1984, 0 224 02103 6
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... to be reminded in passing that in 1945 the Conservatives still held five of the 15 Glasgow seats: Roy Jenkins toppled the last of these when he won Hillhead.)Unquestionably, however, the most resonant items concern women – who, significantly, came by the end of the war to dominate Mass Observation’s panel of observers. There is a shrewd account by a ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... as a ‘provincial’ bore, there have been poets around for some time, such as Edwin Morgan and Roy Fisher, who give the lie to that. Home is no longer ‘so sad’. At home few people speak Proper English all the time. Home-based poetry may be in dialect, which is present in nearly all the writers considered here: but it may also fuel itself with a ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney, 14 October 1999

‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... presumably his own clenched group at Oxford (A.E. Coppard, de la Sola Pinto, Richard Hughes and Roy Campbell, with Yeats sometimes attending) who called themselves the New Elizabethans. When Rickword came to London in search of a home and work, it was with Turner that he stayed. So did Gurney, conducting that same year his slow retreat, via High ...

Sexual Tories

Angus Calder, 17 May 1984

The Common People: A History from the Norman Conquest to the Present 
by J.F.C. Harrison.
Croom Helm and Flamingo, 445 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7099 0125 9
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British Society 1914-45 
by John Stevenson.
Allen Lane/Penguin, 503 pp., £16.95, March 1984, 0 7139 1390 8
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The World We Left Behind: A Chronicle of the Year 1939 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £11.95, April 1984, 0 297 78287 8
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Wigan Pier Revisited: Poverty and Politics in the Eighties 
by Beatrix Campbell.
Virago, 272 pp., £4.50, April 1984, 0 86068 417 2
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... on such matters. Dr Stevenson is amply equipped with academic snaffles and bits, but instead of Roy Campbell’s ‘bloody horse’ one encounters a beast rather too close for comfort to Gradgrind’s graminivorous quadruped. The book is stuffed with Statistics, and Facts about Acts and Commissions and Surveys and Boards and Plans. It suffers, I am ...

A Man without Regrets

R.W. Johnson: Lloyd George, 20 January 2011

David Lloyd George: The Great Outsider 
by Roy Hattersley.
Little, Brown, 709 pp., £25, September 2010, 978 1 4087 0097 6
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... of greatness because he is so self-obsessed he can’t understand that the game was up long ago. Roy Hattersley has rightly drawn praise for this portrait: he is better able than most to understand how powerful a parliamentary presence someone of Lloyd George’s rhetorical gifts could be while also doing justice to his dazzling unscrupulousness. There is no ...

Highway to Modernity

Colin Kidd: The British Enlightenment, 8 March 2001

Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World 
by Roy Porter.
Allen Lane, 728 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 7139 9152 6
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... during the Augustan age by a variegated cast of libertine rakes, deists and heterodox theologians. Roy Porter detects in Redwood’s book ‘a decidedly rum case: incapable of mounting a truly rational critique of Throne and Altar, rationalist enemies of the Establishment had, rather caddishly, stooped to raillery and ridicule.’ However, Redwood’s book had ...

Concini and the Squirrel

Peter Campbell, 24 May 1990

Innumeracy 
by John Allen Paulos.
135 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 670 83008 9
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The Culture of Print 
edited by Roger Chartier.
351 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 7456 0575 3
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Symbols of Ideal Life 
by Maren Stange.
Cambridge, 190 pp., £25, June 1989, 0 521 32441 6
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The Lines of My Hand 
by Robert Frank.
£30, September 1989, 0 436 16256 3
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... Thirties for the FSA. This most famous of all publicly-funded documentary enterprises was run by Roy Stryker, who went on to run a publicity project for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. The need to adapt the material gathered in the field to the needs of the picture magazines ‘mandated a new graphic rhetoric. Familiar documentary elements were used ...

Diary

John Lanchester: A Month on the Sofa, 11 July 2002

... 29 May. Everyone I know is obsessed with Roy Keane’s tournament-ending public diatribe against the Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy. ‘Who the fuck do you think you are, having meetings about me? You were a crap player, you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are manager of my country and you’re not even Irish, you English cunt ...

Bevan’s Boy

John Campbell, 20 September 1984

The Making of Neil Kinnock 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 571 13266 9
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Neil Kinnock: The Path to Leadership 
by G.M.F. Drower.
Weidenfeld, 162 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 297 78467 6
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... social equalisation postulated on continuous growth – has been overtaken by events; Roy Hattersley calls for a new Crosland (but scarcely pretends to the mantle). But Bevanism failed to convince because it was already dated in the Fifties; and it is now even harder to update. Bevan’s ideas were founded on the Marxist (emphatically not ...

Humph

Peter Campbell, 4 July 1985

Degas: His Life, Times and Work 
by Roy McMullen.
Secker, 517 pp., £18.50, March 1985, 9780436276477
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Degas: The Dancers 
by George Shackelford.
Norton, 151 pp., £22.95, March 1985, 0 393 01975 6
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Degas Pastels, Oil Sketches, Drawings 
by Götz Adriani.
Thames and Hudson, 408 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 500 09168 4
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Bricabracomania: The Bourgeois and the Bibelot 
by Rémy de Saisselin.
Thames and Hudson, 189 pp., £12.50, February 1985, 0 500 23424 8
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... It is only fair to preface anything you write about Degas with a few of his own remarks. He challenges you to prove relevance and competence. He wanted to be ‘illustrious and unknown’, and wrong-foots biographers by making their curiosity seem prurient or irrelevant. He thought most writing about art ignorant and unnecessary: ‘I have spoken to the most intelligent people about art,’ he said to George Moore, ‘and they have not understood ...

Shandying It

John Mullan: Sterne’s Foibles, 6 June 2002

Laurence Sterne: A Life 
by Ian Campbell Ross.
Oxford, 512 pp., £25, March 2001, 0 19 212235 5
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... of superiority to fashion, publicity, even print itself. Sterne affected no such loftiness. Ian Campbell Ross’s new biography provides an introductory cameo of Sterne’s triumph of self-marketing. He made himself available to his admirers, the measure and embodiment of his fictional imagination. After a week he was writing home to say he was ‘engaged ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... their way to a Royal Marine assault course. Next appears Robin Cook, who is led aside by Alastair Campbell and rehearsed in conspiratorial whispers about what he is to say to the reptiles waiting across the road. Cook, whom I’ve never met, gives me a quick, suspicious look. Alastair, whom I have, carefully ignores me. The Supremo of Spin moves over to the ...

What Blair Threw Away

Ross McKibbin: Feckless, Irresponsible and Back in Power, 19 May 2005

... Or in those seats with a high-minded middle class? Perhaps Oona King, Barbara Roche and Anne Campbell could ask him. (Indeed Oona King could ask herself what she thought was going to happen.) The prime minister’s self-indulgence should not be rewarded by another long spell in Downing Street. That is not the only thing to be said against his ...

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