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Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... Labour votes and Labour seats. Hence our behaviour during the long gestation period between Roy Jenkins’s Dimbleby Lecture call for a realignment of the ‘radical centre’ and the establishment of the Council for Social Democracy 15 months later. We differed sharply over our tactics. Some of us – notably Colin Phipps and Michael Barnes – thought ...

Esprit de Corps

Roy Porter, 21 January 1988

Granville Sharp Pattison: Anatomist and Antagonist 1791-1851 
by F.L.M. Pattison.
Canongate, 284 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 86241 077 0
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Death, Dissection and the Destitute 
by Ruth Richardson.
Routledge, 426 pp., £19.95, January 1988, 0 7102 0919 3
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... As Ruth Richardson argues in her original anatomy of the Anatomy Acts, sentiment had always run strong throughout society against the desecration of the corpse. Popular piety went in awe of the shades of the departed, while traditional Christian orthodoxy decreed that bones should lie in holy ground awaiting the Last Trump. The rich treated their dead as ...

The Need for Buddies

Roy Porter, 22 June 2000

British Clubs and Societies 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World 
by Peter Clark.
Oxford, 516 pp., £60, January 2000, 0 19 820376 4
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... a characteristically fact-packed but thoughtful study, that most English of institutions was going strong long before then. Indeed, Sam Johnson’s beloved ‘clubbable’ men must have been in clover in 18th-century England. In those days Oxford offered the Eternal Club, the Jelly Bag Society, or the Town Smarts, whose members decked themselves out in white ...

The Purser’s Tale

Frank Kermode, 5 April 1984

Home and Dry: Memoirs III 
by Roy Fuller.
London Magazine Editions, 165 pp., £8.95, February 1984, 0 904388 47 6
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... This is the third and last volume of Roy Fuller’s memoirs, and it takes him up to the end of the war. It may sound ungracious, but I can’t help wondering why I find all three books so appealing that the strong implication of finality seems quite unacceptable. Though literate and pleasantly, even amusingly morose, these are not what are commonly called compulsive reads ...

Crisis at Ettrick Bridge

William Rodgers, 12 October 1989

A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-88 
by Chris Cook.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £9.95, August 1989, 0 333 44884 7
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Against Goliath 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 318 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 9780297796787
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Labour’s Decline and the Social Democrats’ Fall 
by Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan Lee Williams.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 46541 5
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Penhaligon 
by Annette Penhaligon.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0501 2
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Citizens’ Britain: A Radical Agenda for the 1990s 
by Paddy Ashdown.
Fourth Estate, 159 pp., £5.95, September 1989, 1 872180 45 0
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... Fifteen or 20 per cent for the Liberal Democrats at the next election, together with a continuing strong base in local government? It would be a poor reward for his career, especially when the potential support for a party of the centre-left continues to grow, sustained by economic and social trends. For many members of the newly-born SDP – both political ...

A Human Kafka

Gabriel Josipovici, 5 March 1981

The World of Franz Kafka 
edited by J.P. Stern.
Weidenfeld, 263 pp., £9.95, January 1981, 0 297 77845 5
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... has a good deal of truth in it. One cannot read a page of Kafka without feeling that there is a strong religious sensibility at work, allied to the kind of violent honesty of which no more than a handful of writers are capable in any generation. Nevertheless, those who had come to know and love the works must have felt uneasy with this view, and here and ...

I ain’t a child

Roy Porter, 5 September 1996

Growing Up Poor: Home, School and Street 1870-1914 
by Anna Davin.
Rivers Oram, 289 pp., £19.95, January 1996, 9781854890627
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... of single-parent families, easily colour historians’ readings. The other temptation is equally strong – to romanticise the metropolitan masses as Cockney sparrows or street-wise, bolshie rebels, engaged in an endless rearguard action against exploitation and embourgeoisement. Vindications of working-class ‘honour’ along these lines used to be ...

Confounding Malthus

Roy Porter, 21 December 1989

Health and the Rise of Civilisation 
by Mark Nathan Cohen.
Yale, 285 pp., £22.50, October 1989, 0 300 04006 7
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Nutrition and Economic Development in the 18th-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropomorphic History 
by John Komlos.
Princeton, 325 pp., $45, November 1989, 0 691 04257 8
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... just of nature but of human powers. Increasing internal social stratification enabled the rich and strong to seize the benefits of a larger cake. Latterly, precisely as happened in Ireland in the age of the Great Famine, colonialism has replicated this process on a global scale, with the developed nations creating underdevelopment. Komlos’s more optimistic ...

A Time for War

Peter Clarke, 21 October 1982

The Rebirth of Britain 
edited by Wayland Kennet.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £12, October 1982, 0 297 78177 4
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Claret and Chips 
by Hugh Stephenson.
Joseph, 201 pp., £8.95, September 1982, 0 7181 2204 6
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... crisis has reinforced Labour’s chronic debility, so far the SDP has been able to thrive upon it. Roy Jenkins talked of an experimental aircraft in adumbrating the idea of a centre party in the early summer of 1980: a ‘dangerously caricaturable analogy’, as he admits in a retrospective comment in The Rebirth of Britain. He said then that it ‘might well ...

At the Hayward

Peter Campbell: Roy Lichtenstein, 18 March 2004

... installation currently give the Hayward Gallery an of-our-own-time presence. But the paintings by Roy Lichtenstein which line the walls – the early ones anyway – are now so well established as an ironic commentary on pop culture that they read as decoration, as conventional and period-flavoured in their way as chintz.* The general effect of the show is ...

Tissue Wars

Roy Porter: HIV and Aids, 2 March 2000

The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and Aids 
by Edward Hooper.
Allen Lane, 1070 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9335 9
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... alone – and those areas in which Aids first became epidemic. These, he maintains, provide strong circumstantial support for the OPV/Aids hypothesis. For the ‘contaminated vaccine’ inference to hold water a further point must be established. The zoonotic jump from SIV to HIV is feasible only in respect of transmission from chimpanzees, not ...

Royalties

John Sutherland, 14 June 1990

CounterBlasts No 10. The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain’s Favourite Fetish 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 42 pp., £2.99, January 1990, 0 7011 3555 7
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The Prince 
by Celia Brayfield.
Chatto, 576 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 7011 3357 0
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The Maker’s Mark 
by Roy Hattersley.
Macmillan, 558 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 9780333470329
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A Time to Dance 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Hodder, 220 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 0 340 52911 3
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... Mark is ‘based on the true story of a real family and is the first of a trilogy’. Written by Roy Hattersley, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the narrative opens at Christmas 1931, with a chapter about ‘Father’ Frederick Roy Hattersley, a Catholic priest about to leave orders and marry Enid Brackenbury. Who’s ...

Upper Ireland

Nicholas Canny, 16 March 1989

Modern Ireland 1600-1972 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 688 pp., £18.95, October 1988, 0 7139 9010 4
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... histories of Ireland seems insatiable and sales can match those of a moderately successful novel. Roy Foster’s Modern Ireland has exceeded such expectations. It has recorded sales in excess of 12,000 hardback copies on the Irish market alone since its publication in October 1988. Such an astonishing success is richly deserved. Foster’s book is the most ...

An English Vice

Bernard Bergonzi, 21 February 1985

The Turning Key: Autobiography and the Subjective Impulse since 1800 
by Jerome Hamilton Buckley.
Harvard, 191 pp., £12.75, April 1984, 0 674 91330 2
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The Art of Autobiography in 19th and 20th-Century England 
by A.O.J. Cockshut.
Yale, 222 pp., £10.95, September 1984, 0 300 03235 8
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... the institutionalising of literary study it has been comparatively neglected by academic critics. Roy Pascal’s Design and Truth in Autobiography, published nearly twenty-five years ago, remains an indispensable pioneering work; more recently John Pilling’s Autobiography and Imagination provided some interesting studies of particular autobiographies by ...

Yeltsin has gone mad

R.W. Davies: Boris Yeltsin and Medvedev, 9 August 2001

Midnight Diaries 
by Boris Yeltsin, translated by Catherine Fitzpatrick.
Phoenix, 409 pp., £8.99, April 2001, 0 7538 1134 0
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Post-Soviet Russia: A Journey through the Yeltsin Era 
by Roy Medvedev, translated by George Shriver.
Columbia, 394 pp., £24, November 2000, 0 231 10606 8
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Zagadka Putina 
by Roy Medvedev.
Prava cheloveka, 93 pp., $8, March 2000, 9785771201269
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... in 1990. The privatisation of industry which accompanied this decline is graphically described by Roy Medvedev. At first, vouchers were issued, which were supposed to give every citizen an equal share of state property. This merely led to the transfer of industry into the hands of its old managers. Yeltsin then launched the so-called ‘monetary phase’ of ...

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