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Wandability

Hugh Pennington: Supermarkets, 18 November 2004

Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets 
by Joanna Blythman.
Fourth Estate, 368 pp., £12.99, May 2004, 0 00 715803 3
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Not on the Label: What Really Goes into the Food on Your Plate 
by Felicity Lawrence.
Penguin, 272 pp., £7.99, May 2004, 0 14 101566 7
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Food Policy Old and New 
edited by Simon Maxwell and Rachel Slater.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £19.99, March 2004, 1 4051 2602 7
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... week. In Britain we buy more than a million tonnes every year. Food Policy Old and New, edited by Simon Maxwell and Rachel Slater, contains papers first published in the Overseas Development Institute’s journal Development Policy Review, and analyses policy options, especially for developing countries. Supermarkets, we are told, are spreading ...

All the Cultural Bases

Ian Sansom, 20 March 1997

Moon Country: Further Reports from Iceland 
by Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell.
Faber, 160 pp., £7.99, November 1996, 0 571 17539 2
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... which has sustained numerous readings and spillages, while remaining in excellent condition. Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell visited Iceland in 1994, to retrace the steps of Auden and MacNeice. They made a recording of the trip for a five-part BBC radio series, Second Draft from Sagaland, first broadcast on Radio 3 in ...

Entranced by the Factory

Simon Schaffer: Maxwell’s Demon, 29 April 1999

The Natural Philosophy of James Clerk Maxwell 
by P.M. Harman.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £35, April 1998, 0 521 56102 7
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... in 1873 to join a new society for metropolitan physicists, the Cambridge professor James Clerk Maxwell set out in his witty way the practical philosophy of this public science. He thought soirées were like clouds of gas particles: they allowed buttonholing only during the brief if violent collisions of their participants. Lecture-rooms were ...

Gangs

D.A.N. Jones, 8 January 1987

The Old School: A Study 
by Simon Raven.
Hamish Hamilton, 139 pp., £12, September 1986, 0 241 11929 4
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The Best Years of their Lives: The National Service Experience 1945-63 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 7181 2459 6
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Murder without Conviction: Inside the World of the Krays 
by John Dickson.
Sidgwick, 164 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780283994074
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Inside ‘Private Eye’ 
by Peter McKay.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 947795 80 4
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Malice in Wonderland: Robert Maxwell v. ‘Private Eye’ 
by Robert Maxwell, John Jackson, Peter Donnelly and Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 191 pp., £10.95, December 1986, 0 356 14616 2
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... by the public school system, expressed in schoolmasters’ aspirations and schoolboys’ comics. Simon Raven’s notorious devotion to that system began when he was only a seven-year-old comic reader, as he admits in The Old School, a loving but mordant survey of the dormitory schools: he went on avidly to Charterhouse and he fancies other men will envy or ...
A Word from the Loki 
by Maurice Riordan.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, January 1995, 0 571 17364 0
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After the Deafening 
by Gerard Woodward.
Chatto, 64 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 0 7011 6271 6
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The Ice-Pilot Speaks 
by Pauline Stainer.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £6.95, October 1994, 1 85224 298 1
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The Angel of History 
by Carolyn Forché.
Bloodaxe, 96 pp., £7.95, November 1994, 1 85224 307 4
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The Neighbour 
by Michael Collier.
Chicago, 74 pp., £15.95, January 1995, 0 226 11358 2
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Jubilation 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, March 1995, 0 19 282451 1
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... In a recent radio programme, Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell, two of the most prominent of the New Generation poets, retraced the journey undertaken by Auden and MacNeice in Letters From Iceland – a sign of the renewed interest which younger poets are showing in the poetry of the Thirties ...

Heat Death

Simon Schaffer: Entropists v. Energeticists, 13 April 2000

Ludwig Boltzmann: The Man who Trusted Atoms 
by Carlo Cercignani.
Oxford, 329 pp., £29.50, September 1998, 0 19 850154 4
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... inherited from his great forbears, the German Rudolf Clausius and the Scotsman James Clerk Maxwell, was entropy, a term designed to describe the apparently universal and irreversible tendency of heat to become less capable of doing useful work. Thus entropy measured disorder and the loss of accumulated resources, and reflected the strange but ...

Dome Laureate

Dennis O’Driscoll: Simon Armitage, 27 April 2000

Killing Time 
by Simon Armitage.
Faber, 52 pp., £6.99, December 1999, 0 571 20360 4
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Short and Sweet: 101 Very Short Poems 
edited by Simon Armitage.
Faber, 112 pp., £4.99, October 1999, 9780571200016
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... Simon Armitage likes to have it both ways. He is the streetwise poet who is at home in a Radio 1 studio; but he is also the ambitious literary figure who aspires to ‘nothing less’ than a Nobel Prize. He is at ease with youth culture (‘I didn’t have a classical education of any type, so I tend to use characters from popular culture’), yet, far from stoking rebellion, he writes tenderly of his parents and looks up to Ted Hughes and W ...

Eternal Feminine

Ian Gregson, 7 January 1993

Landlocked 
by Mark Ford.
Chatto, 51 pp., £5.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3750 9
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The English Earthquake 
by Eva Salzman.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, May 1992, 1 85224 177 2
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Bleeding Heart Yard 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £6.95, May 1992, 1 871471 28 1
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The Game: Tennis Poems 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 48 pp., £6, June 1992, 1 871471 27 3
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Marconi’s Cottage 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Bloodaxe, 110 pp., £6.95, May 1992, 1 85224 197 7
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... method in this context, and in their use of it Ford’s poems have affinities with those of Glyn Maxwell and Simon Armitage. The habit all three poets have of paraphrasing rather than quoting the speech of their characters tends to upset stable perspectives by mingling the voices of author and character and so raising the ...

Diary

Ian Aitken: Closing Time at the Last Chance Saloon, 6 August 1992

... that its purpose (apart from making money) is to do down the Labour Party. I have no idea whether Simon Jenkins, the Time’s highly civilised editor, whose resignation precipitated the offer to Mr Dacre, really did intend to quit after two or three years, as he says he did. Nor do I know whether his departure was as amicable as he and his employers ...

Muted Ragu Tones

Michael Hofmann: David Szalay, 21 April 2016

All That Man Is 
by David Szalay.
Cape, 437 pp., £14.99, April 2016, 978 0 224 09976 9
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... the snooker, Martin?’ ‘Not really.’ ‘No? Fair enough.’ Or: ‘Alright, Mossy,’ Simon says. ‘How are you? Alright?’ Mossy says something. ‘Yeah alright,’ Simon says. The whole of Spring can be summarised as James’s effort to find out whether he is ‘okay’ – the word flickers through the ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... round Hugh Gaitskell, seeking to burnish the Labour Party’s shabby image. Now, in 1987, Captain Maxwell does his best when not buying up industrial companies or running Oxford United. But it is not the same. The Mirror is cracked and the images confused. It is part of the history of the British press, but may not much belong to its future. To a ...

We were the Lambert boys

Paul Driver, 22 May 1986

The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... on Richard Shead’s excellent critical biography, currently unavailable, issued in 1973 by Simon Publications, London. Motion admits his debt in the Acknowledgements, but virtually nothing we are told hasn’t stemmed from Shead; the narrative sequence is reduplicated (Motion’s account of Constant’s first marriage, for instance, follows Shead’s ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... after New Labour’s victory. Robinson’s fortune had been inflated by dealings with Robert Maxwell, the Channel Island tax havens and a legacy from a satirically named Madame Bourgeois, a Belgian heiress. He had no political base in the Commons and may have felt it politic to bankroll Blair’s closest ally. Mandelson did not declare his enormous ...

Born in a Land where Yoghurt Rules the Roost

Paul Driver: Sibelius, 26 November 1998

Sibelius. Vol. III: 1914-57 
by Erik Tawaststjerna, edited by Robert Layton.
Faber, 384 pp., £30, January 1997, 0 571 19085 5
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... century’s end. It is impossible to think of Sibelius’s music as in any way factitious, despite Simon Parmet’s claim that he used Golden Section proportions, just as Bartók and Debussy are supposed to have done. A certain amount of number-working is inherent to composition. What Sibelius demonstrates is that it was possible to write significant music in ...

Black Electricities

John Sutherland, 30 October 1997

The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Vol. XXV: January-December 1850 
edited by Clyde de L. Ryals and K.J. Fielding.
Duke, 364 pp., £52, September 1997, 0 8223 1986 1
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Reminiscences 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by K.J. Fielding and Ian Campbell.
Oxford, 481 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 0 19 281748 5
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... Carlyle’s reputation was sunk long before the Nazis took him along to their Götterdämmerung. Simon Heffer gives a useful account of the ‘long and damaging fall from the pedestal’ in the first chapter of his 1995 Life of Carlyle. The extent of that fall can also be gauged in the acres of cheap Victorian editions still to be found in secondhand ...

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