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Ceremonies

Rodney Hilton, 21 January 1988

Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies 
edited by David Cannadine and Simon Price.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 521 33513 2
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... replaced bad by good kings – a useful legitimation of conquest or usurpation. According to Simon Price, the symbolic apotheosis to divinity of the Roman emperors from their funeral pyre, with Senatorial control of the deification process in judging the ‘candidate’s’ virtue, reconciled republican and imperial ideologies. The rituals described ...

Mythology in Bits

Tim Whitmarsh: Ancient Greek ‘Religion’, 20 December 2018

The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion 
edited by Esther Eidinow and Julia Kindt.
Oxford, 736 pp., £30, December 2017, 978 0 19 881017 9
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... was seen primarily as a symptom of Hellenistic decline. Then studies by Christian Habicht and Simon Price argued that the ruler cult was in effect a mechanism for dealing with the concentration of vast power in the hands of individuals: the cities extended their traditional honorific system, using the new category of ‘god-like honours’ to ...

Apollo’s Ethylene

Peter Green: Delphi, 3 July 2014

Delphi: A History of the Centre of the Ancient World 
by Michael Scott.
Princeton, 422 pp., £19.95, February 2014, 978 0 691 15081 9
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... long, confirmed the religious faith of its clients. He quotes, approvingly, the question posed by Simon Price in 1985, and echoed by many scholars since: ‘Why was it that the sane, rational Greeks wanted to hear the rantings of an old woman up in the hills?’ Scott’s explanation is essentially in line with current sociological thinking. His opening ...

The Monte Lupo Story

Simon Schama, 18 September 1980

Faith, Reason and the Plague 
by Carlo Cipolla.
Harvester, 112 pp., £7.50, November 1980, 0 85527 506 5
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... of a Florentine espresso: minuscule in size; briefly stimulating in effect; and extortionate in price. At £7.50 for 85 pages of text his readers will be shelling out eight pence a page, a tariff which, I couldn’t help but calculate, would have put my own first book in the shops for around £65 a copy. Not for nothing, then, is he renowned as the most ...

This is America, man

Michael Wood: ‘Treme’ and ‘The Wire’, 27 May 2010

The Wire 
created by David Simon.
HBO/2002-2008
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Treme 
created by Eric Overmyer and David Simon.
HBO/April
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... Four and Five picked up just under two years later. The creator of The Wire is David Simon, who wrote many of the episodes and by the third season was executive producer. He is a reporter who became a full-time writer of books: Homicide (1991) and, with Ed Burns, The Corner (1997), both of which were turned into successful TV series. Both concern ...

Revolution and Enlightenment in France

Simon Schama, 20 December 1979

The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the ‘Encyclopédie’ 1775-1800 
by Robert Darnton.
Harvard, 624 pp., £13, September 1979, 0 674 08786 0
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... primed the type which printed the 36 million sheets which comprised the quarto which lowered the price which Spread the Word which overthrew superstition which disarmed the Old Regime and inaugurated the rationalist millennium. Or was it? Historians have long been given to attributing the French Revolution and all its unholy works to the corrosive influence ...

A Peece of Christ

Charles Hope: Did Leonardo paint it?, 2 January 2020

Leonardo da Vinci 
at the Louvre, until 24 February 2020Show More
Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered 
by Carmen Bambach.
Yale, 2350 pp., £400, July 2019, 978 0 300 19195 0
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The Last Leonardo: The Secret Lives of the World’s Most Expensive Painting 
by Ben Lewis.
William Collins, 396 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 00 831341 8
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Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ and the Collecting of Leonardo in the Stuart Courts 
by Margaret Dalivalle, Martin Kemp and Robert Simon.
Oxford, 383 pp., £35, November 2019, 978 0 19 881383 5
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... of Sir Francis Cook, when it was not regarded as of any particular merit, acquired its astonishing price tag in only 12 years is told in absorbing detail by Ben Lewis. The key moment in this history of the painting was its inclusion in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan held at the National Gallery in late 2011. There was no ...

Household Sounds

Michael Irwin, 22 November 1979

The Old Jest 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Hamish Hamilton, 167 pp., £4.95
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The Goosefeather Bed 
by Diana Melly.
Duckworth, 139 pp., £5.95
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The Snow Man 
by Valerie Kershaw.
Duckworth, 159 pp., £5.95
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Spring Sonata 
by Bernice Rubens.
W.H. Allen, 215 pp., £4.94
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... of means to ends that one associates with Jane Austen. As in Austen’s case, if there is a price to be paid for elegance and economy it may lie in a limitation of range. The only scene in The Old Jest that seemed to me descriptively a little unsure was the dramatic climax. There is also an unavoidable tendency towards oversimplification: we see ...

Diary

Colin Robinson: Publishing’s Demise, 26 February 2009

... chop, it was likely to be me. And the possibility of staff cuts seemed far from remote. The share price of the corporation I worked for had fallen more than 80 per cent in the previous 18 months. The CEO of Barnes and Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the US, had just announced that ‘never in all my years as a bookseller have I seen a retail climate as ...

How frightened should we be?

John Lloyd, 10 February 1994

Russia 2010 
by Daniel Yergin and Thane Gustafson.
Random House, 302 pp., $32, October 1993, 0 679 42995 6
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What About the workers: Workers and the Transition to Capitalism in Russia 
by Simon Clarke.
Verso, 248 pp., £34.95, September 1993, 0 86091 650 2
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After the Soviet Union: From Empire to Nation 
edited by Timothy Colton and Robert Levgold.
Norton, 208 pp., $24.95, November 1992, 0 393 03420 8
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... by two of the century’s most ruthless and insouciant planners, Lenin and Stalin. ‘Stalin,’ Simon Clarke writes in the collection of neo-Marxist essays about the whirlwind which has hit Soviet workers, sought to overcome the economic weakness of his regime by expanding heavy industry as rapidly as possible. He sought to broaden the social base of his ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies, 3 February 2000

The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... sonnet, could apply equally well to its own powers of compression. Rule-bound and page-limited – Simon Rae’s introduction to News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems compares editing an anthology to doing a crossword puzzle – the Norton’s two volumes manage to give readers ‘infinite riches in a little room’. Little, but ...

Comet Mania

Simon Schaffer, 19 February 1981

The comet is coming! 
by Nigel Calder.
BBC, 160 pp., £8.75, November 1980, 0 563 17859 0
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... In the early 19th century the figure of the professional scientist emerged, and he now pays a high price if he gets involved with the disreputable face of science. Magnus Pyke and Patrick Moore stay very close to the professional end of this division; Desmond Morris seems to be crossing over; and from Nigel Calder’s evidence the most recent effort by Fred ...

Theophany

Frank Kermode: William Golding, 5 November 2009

William Golding: The Man Who Wrote ‘Lord of the Flies’ 
by John Carey.
Faber, 573 pp., £25, 0 571 23163 2
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... in others. He honoured that sanctity, which he first sought to express in the character of Simon in Lord of the Flies. Hence his special interest in the case of the curé d’Ars, a semi-literate French village priest, born in 1786 and canonised in 1925. Such was the fame of this priest as a confessor that the faithful arrived in busloads. He is said ...

Raining

Donald Davie, 5 May 1983

Later Poems 
by R.S. Thomas.
Macmillan, 224 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 333 34560 6
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Thomas Hardy Annual, No 1 
edited by Norman Page.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £20, March 1983, 0 333 32022 0
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Tess of the d’Urbervilles 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Juliet Grindle and Simon Gatrell.
Oxford, 636 pp., £50, March 1983, 0 19 812495 3
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Hardy’s Love Poems 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Carl Weber.
Macmillan, 253 pp., £3.95, February 1983, 0 333 34798 6
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. I: Wessex Poems, Poems of the Past and the Present, Time’s Laughingstocks 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 403 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 19 812708 1
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... suffered the anachronism of his view. Like Larkin, with his perfunctory condescension to ‘A cut-price crowd, urban yet simple’, Thomas, so casually and at times so randomly managing his verse-lines, evinces a far greater contempt for the common man than Yeats or Lawrence or Pound, who so vehemently castigated that man for not being other than he ...

‘I worry a bit, Joanne’

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘The Casual Vacancy’, 25 October 2012

The Casual Vacancy 
by J.K. Rowling.
Little, Brown, 503 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 4087 0420 2
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... the spell was written. The wizardry concerned is of the computer sort. A schoolboy called Andrew Price posts a defamatory statement about his hated father, Simon, on the website of Pagford Parish Council. Simon has put his name forward for election as a councillor, to replace the popular ...

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