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4 September 1980
A Portrait of Isaac Newton 
by Frank Manuel.
Muller, 478 pp., £11.75, April 1980, 0 584 95357 7
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Philosopher at War: The Quarrel between Newton and Leibniz 
by Rupert Hall.
Cambridge, 338 pp., £15, July 1980, 0 521 22732 1
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... the evolution of western science by excluding alternatives ... When Europe adopted Newtonianism as its intellectual model, something of his character penetrated to the very marrow of the system.’ RupertHall’s is a more conventional but very useful study of ‘the quarrel between Newton and Leibniz’. It arises from the author’s labours as editor of Newton’s correspondence during the last 18 ...

The Real Johnny Hall

Penelope Fitzgerald

3 October 1985
Our Three Selves: A Life of Radclyffe Hall 
by Michael Baker.
Hamish Hamilton, 386 pp., £13.95, June 1985, 0 241 11539 6
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... but overemphatic. The Times Literary Supplement also called it sincere, and Vera Brittain said it was ‘admirably restrained’. It sold quite well, going into a second impression, and Radclyffe Hall, with her lover Una Troubridge, thought of taking a cottage in Rye. She may have felt some disappointment, having planned her novel in a crusader’s spirit. She claimed to have written the first ...

Just like Rupert​ Brooke

Tessa Hadley: 1960s Oxford

5 April 2012
The Horseman’s Word: A Memoir 
by Roger Garfitt.
Cape, 378 pp., £18.99, April 2011, 978 0 224 08986 9
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... and Peter Levi, heard Ted Hughes read at the Poetry Society. Coghill read his poems, but wasn’t very enthusiastic; Peter Jay took a photo of him in a green silk smoking jacket looking ‘just like Rupert Brooke!’; he talked about jazz with Robert Graves and about Keith Douglas with Edmund Blunden, the new professor of poetry. Poetry was both companionship and competition: ‘My own poems sounded ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’

15 December 2011
... the paper. Every reader has a cherished bubble photo, from Wilson and Biafra through Kissinger in South Africa (HK to Vorster: ‘I’m only here for De Beers’) via James Goldsmith, Robert Maxwell, Rupert Murdoch, to Mugabe, Bush and Blair. For fans of a pensionable age, Verwoerd’s assassination (‘A Nation Mourns’, 17 September 1966) is a star cover. Younger readers may prefer a ghoulish photo ...


Rupert​ Wilkinson: Harvard '61

20 November 1986
... 10 per cent of us were working for government, though that group included two Democratic Congressmen. Reunion headquarters was the Harvard Freshman Union, constructed around an immense, long dining-hall where, as first-year students, we had taken all our meals together before dispersing to the Harvard Houses. I arrived to find a throng of apparent strangers holding drinks, but soon familiar faces ...

On the Blower

Peter Clarke: The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt

18 February 1999
The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume I 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 748 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 333 74166 8
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... Woodrow, having then served for nearly a decade as chairman of the Horserace Totalisator Board, had yet to reach his apotheosis with the life peerage that validated his sobriquet, Lord Toad of Tote Hall. Confidant of Margaret Thatcher, columnist in the News of the World, professional diner-out and social climber, Wyatt spotted his opportunity. His diary would be a secret but was, from the outset ...


Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015

7 January 2016
... he’s a celebrity, resenting being looked at while at the same time (and like any other celebrity) having put himself in the way of it in the first place. Bridget goes round pretty much at my pace, Rupert as always slower and taking more in, noting the tears brimming in Lucrezia’s eyes, for instance, and how she has had to half slip herself out of her heavily brocaded dress the more easily to stab ...
31 March 1988
by Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 525 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 356 17172 8
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Maxwell: The Outsider 
by Tom Bower.
Aurum, 374 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 948149 88 4
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Maxwell: A Portrait of Power 
by Peter Thompson and Anthony Delano.
Bantam, 256 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 593 01499 5
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Goodbye Fleet Street 
by Robert Edwards.
Cape, 260 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 224 02457 4
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... for Mirror works outings? Is she perhaps a ‘nice little earner’ when chartered to Arabs? A picture with a cosier domestic appeal shows the one-time home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, Headington Hill Hall, near Oxford, now the ‘council house’ seat of Robert Maxwell, lit up by rockets at night, with a huge illuminated sign saying ‘Happy Birthday Bob’ suspended from a tall tree. Perhaps because ...

Saying yes

Rupert​ Wilkinson

19 July 1984
... July and 20 August) will culminate in the acceptance speeches of the two nominees for President. When the nominees step up to the microphones to address the cheering party faithful in the convention hall, and the nation on television and radio, they will leave behind them the committee wranglings over party platforms and the balloting of the state party delegates which brought them their nominations ...
17 July 1980
Imagining America 
by Peter Conrad.
Routledge, 319 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 7100 0370 6
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... of America are located in the writings, in turn, of Frances Trollope, Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens (gathered in Chapter Two under the heading ‘Institutional America’), Oscar Wilde and Rupert Brooke (‘Aesthetic America’), Kipling and R.L. Stevenson (‘Epic (and Chivalric) America’), H.G. Wells (‘Futuristic America’), D.H. Lawrence (‘Primitive America’), W.H. Auden ...
16 June 1983
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Vol X: Companion and Vol XI: Index 
edited by Robert Latham.
Bell and Hyman, 626 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 7135 1993 2
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The Diary of John Evelyn 
edited by John Bowle.
Oxford, 476 pp., £19.50, April 1983, 0 19 251011 8
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The Brave Courtier: Sir William Temple 
by Richard Faber.
Faber, 187 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 571 11982 4
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... than simply gossip. Here there is an excellent discussion of the use of tablature as against staff notation, and the ways in which this custom may have limited Pepys’s musical accomplishments. RupertHall is authoritative on ‘Science’ and ‘The Royal Society’: again, it would be possible to treat some of this material in a wider ideological context, as has been done by Michael Hunter in ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!

3 January 2019
... a television film like this it would never have been put on and even today, epic of sheep-farming though it is, I don’t see it forming one of the Saturday night film shows they have in our village hall.19 March, Yorkshire. A gorgeous morning, the snow all but gone and though it’s windy still almost warm. Between Rupert getting up and him fetching me a cup of tea I reread ‘Elizabeth at Rycote ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama

11 October 2012
... drama audiences are widely reckoned to respond to obliquity of the kind Ford specialised in as Wyndham Lewis did in 1914: ‘What balls!’ So even given the participation of Tom Stoppard, Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch, it was surprising to see a Ford adaptation given five hours on BBC2. Ford was last unloosed in this way in 1981, when Julian Mitchell adapted The Good Soldier for Granada ...

Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig

20 June 1985
Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... novel opens. Motherless Polly, soon to be fatherless at six years old, is landed at a tall yellow house on a saltmarsh, somewhere on the Northumbrian coast. Nearby are a church, a nunnery, a folly, a Hall and an iron-works. All of these buildings, but especially the yellow house, which faces the sea, are obliged to withstand the battering of strong winds blowing from the north-east. At the yellow ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1990

24 January 1991
... d hair, short skirt and long skinny legs. It’s the legs that give him/her away, scrawny, unfleshed and too nobbly for a girl’s. He/she has also attracted the attention of someone in the snooker hall above the pub and there’s a lot of shouting. Later, as we are getting into the car, Gary, a young man crippled with arthritis, calls out to A. from the snooker hall. She knows him and asks if it ...

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