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In the dark

Philip Horne, 1 December 1983

The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
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Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
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... think I’m a monster.’ The biography he authorised and checked – Hitch by his friend John Russell Taylor – appeared two years before his death on 29 April 1980 to contradict this idea, and, for all its blandness and sparseness of reference, brought much information to light. Its blurb called it ‘the only serious biography of the man ...

Napoleon was wrong

Ian Gilmour, 24 June 1993

Capitalism, Culture and Decline in Britain 1750-1990 
by W.D. Rubinstein.
Routledge, 182 pp., £25, April 1993, 0 415 03718 2
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British Multinational Banking 
by Geoffrey Jones.
Oxford, 511 pp., £48, March 1993, 0 19 820273 3
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Going for Broke: How Banking Mismanagement in the Eighties Lost Thousands of Billions of Pounds 
by Russell Taylor.
Simon and Schuster, 384 pp., £17.50, April 1993, 0 671 71128 8
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... growing weakness of the British economy in the 20th century reduced the demand for their services. Russell Taylor forcibly makes the same point. Professor Rubinstein’s argument is nearly always serious and absorbing and based on detailed and original research, but occasionally he falls well below his usual level. Thus, in an attempt to show that good ...

He’s Humbert, I’m Dolores

Emily Witt, 21 May 2020

My Dark Vanessa 
by Kate Elizabeth Russell.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £12.99, March, 978 0 00 834224 1
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... drinking. When the book opens she is compulsively monitoring a Facebook post by a woman called Taylor Birch, who has revived an accusation of sexual assault against a former high school teacher. Taylor first made her allegation more than a decade earlier, when she was 14, but this time people are listening. The accused ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery, 3 November 2016

... The bookseller was a snob about snobbery and thought it was vulgar to talk about class. D.J. Taylor is perhaps a literary snob for Cooper gets no mention in his much less enjoyable The New Book of Snobs: A Definitive Guide to Modern Snobbery (Little, Brown, £16.99). His first mistake is to attempt a definition rather than rely on examples. He suggests ...

Escaping from Belfast

V.S. Pritchett, 5 February 1981

Green Avenue: The Life and Writings of Forrest Reid 1875-1947 
by Brian Taylor.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 521 22801 8
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... of him or married – the last hard for him to bear. An earlier biographer of Forrest Reid – Russell Burlingham – found this subject difficult to discuss in 1953. So, even now, does Brian Taylor, but he has treated it with delicacy and understanding. If Forrest Reid was ‘a case’, ...

In a flattened world

Richard Rorty, 8 April 1993

The Ethics of Authenticity 
by Charles Taylor.
Harvard, 142 pp., £13.95, November 1992, 0 674 26863 6
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... a culture of tolerance. If you have mixed feelings, you might settle for the description Charles Taylor suggests: it is a culture of authenticity. Taylor says that we ought neither to boost this culture (in the manner of the truly dreadful books produced by representatives of ‘the human potential movement’) nor knock ...

Did You Have Bombs?

Deborah Friedell: ‘The Other Elizabeth Taylor’, 6 August 2009

The Other Elizabeth Taylor 
by Nicola Beauman.
Persephone, 444 pp., £15, April 2009, 978 1 906462 10 9
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... Do novelists come nicer than Elizabeth Taylor? Her mother died of politeness – she developed appendicitis over Christmas, and didn’t want to interrupt the doctor’s holiday – but rather than renounce good manners on the spot, her biographer Nicola Beauman writes, Taylor ‘cared about good manners very much indeed’ to the end of her days ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: The End of Solitary Existence, 17 March 1983

... rather casually: I was put at the bottom of the list when all the great figures such as Bertrand Russell and Michael Foot had gone home: However, for some reason I put the audience in a frenzy. After I had finished and gone home, the audience swarmed out and laid siege to No 10 Downing Street. It was a very satisfactory start to the Campaign for Nuclear ...

Carers or Consumers?

Barbara Taylor: 18th-Century Women, 4 November 2010

Women and Enlightenment in 18th-Century Britain 
by Karen O’Brien.
Cambridge, 310 pp., £17.99, March 2009, 978 0 521 77427 7
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... by masculine greed and individualism. Feminine ‘affections’, the Scottish philosophe William Russell wrote in 1773, ‘are in the commerce of the world what current money is in trade: they are sometimes not absolutely necessary, but one can never safely be without them … The women correct that rudeness which pride and passion introduce into the company ...

Satanic School

Rosemary Ashton, 7 May 1987

Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo in Modern Culture 
by James Twitchell.
Columbia, 311 pp., £15.60, December 1986, 0 231 06412 8
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Shelley and his Circle 1773-1822: Vols VII and VIII 
edited by Donald Reiman and Doucet Devin Fischer.
Harvard, 1228 pp., £71.95, October 1986, 0 674 80613 1
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Shelley’s Venomed Melody 
by Nora Crook and Derek Guiton.
Cambridge, 273 pp., £25, August 1986, 0 521 32084 4
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The Journals of Mary Shelley 1814-1844 
edited by Paula Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert.
Oxford, 735 pp., £55, March 1987, 0 19 812571 2
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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Selected Letters 
edited by H.J. Jackson.
Oxford, 306 pp., £19.50, April 1987, 0 19 818540 5
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... Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death), and by Ken Russell, who has tried to make them palpable in his latest film, Gothic. If one considers the current general concern with the Aids virus in conjunction with these detailed studies, both scholarly and popularising, of the lives of the so-called Satanic School on ...

Diary

Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman, 16 July 2015

... said, ‘I have the feeling of the conclusion of the age of the prophets.’The pianist Cecil Taylor performed an elegy of shimmering delicacy,1 punctuated by hints of an impending storm. Ravi Coltrane, John Coltrane’s son, gave a stately reading on soprano saxophone of Coleman’s 1959 composition ‘Peace’, with Geri Allen on piano. The tenor ...

Hiatus at 4 a.m.

David Trotter: What scared Hitchcock?, 4 June 2015

Alfred Hitchcock 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 279 pp., £12.99, April 2015, 978 0 7011 6993 0
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Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much 
by Michael Wood.
New Harvest, 129 pp., £15, March 2015, 978 1 4778 0134 5
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Hitchcock à la carte 
by Jan Olsson.
Duke, 261 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 8223 5804 6
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Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews, Vol. II 
edited by Sidney Gottlieb.
California, 274 pp., £24.95, February 2015, 978 0 520 27960 5
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... believe that the motive was sadism. Nor does he think, like Hitchcock’s first biographer, John Russell Taylor, that Hitchcock, far from enjoying the distress he was able to inflict on them, identified strongly with his victims. The women in the movies are, Wood proposes, ‘whatever we most fear to lose’. This ‘we’ may be just a bit too ...

Ayer, Anscombe and Empiricism

Alasdair MacIntyre, 17 April 1980

Perception and Identity: Essays presented to A.J. Ayer with his replies to them 
edited by G.E. MacDonald.
Macmillan, 358 pp., £15, December 1979, 0 333 27182 3
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Intention and Intentionality: Essays in Honour of G.E.M. Anscombe 
edited by Cora Diamond and Jenny Teichmann.
Harvester, 205 pp., £16.95, December 1979, 0 85527 985 0
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... for the secular and liberal causes of their day. John Stuart Mill was one such, and Bertrand Russell another. In our own time, the latest and perhaps the last of this chain of great figures has been Sir Alfred Ayer. Ayer shares with Russell and with Mill not only an intellectual allegiance to empiricist doctrine, and a ...

Ambifacts

Gary Taylor, 7 January 1993

Shakespeare: The Later Years 
by Russell Fraser.
Columbia, 380 pp., $35, April 1992, 0 231 06766 6
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Shakespeare: His Life, Work and Era 
by Dennis Kay.
Sidgwick, 368 pp., £20, May 1992, 0 283 99878 4
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William Shakespeare: The Anatomy of an Enigma 
by Peter Razzell.
Caliban, 188 pp., May 1992, 1 85066 010 7
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Politics, Plague and Shakespeare’s Theatre: The Stuart Years 
by Leeds Barroll.
Cornell, 249 pp., £20.80, January 1992, 0 8014 2479 8
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Shakespeare Verbatim: The Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparatus 
by Margreta de Grazia.
Oxford, 244 pp., £30, February 1991, 0 19 811778 7
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... the pretence of objectivity and the pleasure of narrative to a few hundred pages of critical fiat. Russell Fraser’s Shakespeare: The Later Years contains 88 pages of notes (the text itself is only 280 pages); but the overwhelming majority are simply line-references to phrases culled from Shakespeare’s plays and poems, verbal glitter with which Fraser ...

Dictators on the Loose

Miles Taylor: Modelling Waterloo, 6 January 2005

Wellington’s Smallest Victory: The Duke, the Model Maker and the Secret of Waterloo 
by Peter Hofschröer.
Faber, 324 pp., £14.99, April 2004, 0 571 21768 0
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... arrival on the scene during the Crimean campaign of the Times’s correspondent, William Howard Russell, and the photographer Roger Fenton, the only alternative to accepting the official line was to go and see for yourself. Which is what many people did in 1815. As Hofschröer notes, by the time Siborne’s model went on show in 1838, most people already ...

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