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John Bayley

22 March 1990
Hazlitt: A Life. From Winterslow to Frith Street 
by Stanley Jones.
Oxford, 397 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 812840 1
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Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism 1730-1830 
by Jonathan Bate.
Oxford, 234 pp., £27, September 1989, 0 19 811749 3
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... he admired him, as the kind of bore who suffers from ‘the fallacy of retrogression’ and tries to bring back an imaginary past, an epoch of freedom and justice. The phrase is not Hazlitt’s but StanleyJones’s, and gives an idea of the crispness of Jones’s style, as the instance does of the erudition with which he has reached into every cranny of Hazlitt’s distracted polemical existence. His ...
5 April 2007
StanleyThe Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer 
by Tim Jeal.
Faber, 570 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 0 571 22102 8
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... For a biographer looking for an unlikely reputation to rescue, reputations don’t come much unlikelier than that of Henry Morton Stanley. Widely excoriated in his own time as one of the most brutal of African travellers, condemned by historians for his part in the creation of King Leopold II’s Congo Free State, and derided both then ...

Motiveless Malignity

D.A.N. Jones

11 October 1990
The Dwarfs 
by Harold Pinter.
Faber, 183 pp., £11.99, October 1990, 0 571 14446 2
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The Comfort of Strangers, and Other Screenplays 
by Harold Pinter.
Faber, 226 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 571 14419 5
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The Circus Animals 
by James Plunkett.
Hutchinson, 305 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 09 173530 0
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The South 
by Colm Tóibín.
Serpent’s Tail, 238 pp., £7.99, May 1990, 1 85242 170 3
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... scripts is his version of Joseph Conrad’s Victory. It comes out like Pinter’s play The Birthday Party – where Goldberg, a jaunty Jew, and McCann, a morose Irishman, descended upon the reclusive Stanley in a seaside town, to demolish him with interrogations. GOLDBERG: Don’t lie! McCANN: You betrayed the organisation. I know him! STANLEY: You don’t! GOLDBERG: What can you see without your ...

‘We would rather eat our cake than merely have it’

Rosemary Hill: Victorian men and women

4 October 2001
A Circle of Sisters: Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin 
by Judith Flanders.
Penguin, 392 pp., £17.99, September 2001, 0 670 88673 4
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The Hated Wife: Carrie Kipling 1862-1939 
by Adam Nicolson.
Short Books, 96 pp., £4.99, May 2001, 0 571 20835 5
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Victorian Diaries: The Daily Lives of Victorian Men and Women 
edited by Heather Creaton.
Mitchell Beazley, 144 pp., £14.99, February 2001, 1 84000 359 6
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... Versa, a novel that was, in its way, subversive of late Victorian ideas about authority, the world is turned if not upside down then round through many degrees. In the story of the Macdonald sisters Stanley Baldwin and Kipling are, for most of the time, children, little seen or heard. Ruskin is a recurring nuisance. We sympathise with Georgiana Macdonald, an independent woman tied by an early marriage ...


D.A.N. Jones

18 September 1986
Search Sweet Country 
by B. Kojo Laing.
Heinemann, 256 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 0 434 40216 8
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The Jewel Maker 
by Tom Gallagher.
Hamish Hamilton, 180 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 241 11866 2
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The Pianoplayers 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 208 pp., £8.95, August 1986, 0 09 165190 5
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An After-Dinner’s Sleep 
by Stanley​ Middleton.
Hutchinson, 224 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 09 163620 5
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Coming Home 
by Mervyn Jones.
Piatkus, 263 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 86188 525 2
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... simple for the young violinist to play on the open strings while the accompanying pianist makes her sound like a virtuoso. After this pleasant absurdity, Anthony Burgess’s 29th novel, we turn to Stanley Middleton’s 25th and Mervyn Jones’s 22nd, both of them rather dour books concerned with an ‘older’ man renewing acquaintance with his first love. ‘Older’ is by no means a precise term ...

Clever, or even Clever-Clever

Adam Kuper: Edmund Leach

23 May 2002
Edmund Leach: An Anthropological Life 
by Stanley​ Tambiah.
Cambridge, 517 pp., £60, February 2002, 0 521 52102 5
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The Essential Edmund Leach: Vol. I: Anthropology and Society 
by Stephen Hugh-Jones and James Laidlaw.
Yale, 406 pp., £30, February 2001, 0 300 08124 3
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The Essential Edmund Leach: Vol. II: Culture and Human Nature 
by Stephen Hugh-Jones and James Laidlaw.
Yale, 420 pp., £30, February 2001, 0 300 08508 7
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... some established position to attack. There was also an element of showing off, and a strong desire to score in argument. ‘His forte was the quick and clever or even clever-clever,’ Stephen Hugh-Jones, a former student, remarks. His old antagonist, Meyer Fortes, the professor of social anthropology at Cambridge, said that Leach had the public schoolboy notion that just by turning an argument on ...

Spurning at the High

Edward Pearce: A poet of Chartism

6 November 2003
Ernest Jones, Chartism and the Romance of Politics 1819-69 
by Miles Taylor.
Oxford, 290 pp., £45, January 2003, 0 19 820729 8
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... to Parliament by a constituency who paid his expenses. Middlemarch The ‘hopefulness’ being ‘much checked in our days’ speaks the caution of 1867 as against the enthusiasm of 1832. But Ernest Jones could have done with Will Ladislaw’s luck. If Ladislaw’s connections with a ‘good family’ had been hopelessly vitiated by a parentage involving foreign and thus dubious, blood, Jones was well ...
1 June 2000
Stanley​ Baldwin: Conservative Leadership and National Values 
by Philip Williamson.
Cambridge, 378 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 521 43227 8
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... in the management of relations public or private, all the more so when what you want to present is the genuine article. Genuineness has to look genuine, for what your audience gets is what it sees. Stanley Baldwin, moreover, reached the top in politics just when it had become possible for millions to observe politicians in close-up on the cinema screen and hear them, with an even greater illusion of ...

Short Cuts

Norman Dombey: False Intelligence

19 February 2004
... Iraq’s mobile biological weapons laboratories was immediately criticised by David Kelly, who recognised them as trucks bought from Marconi for filling balloons with hydrogen. David Kelly and Brian Jones were not the only ones to have doubts about the dossier: similar doubts were expressed by nuclear experts. We shall see what the Butler committee finds. Where were the bogus stories about Iraq’s ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Cold fish at the royal household

20 November 2003
... obliterating secret that lurks on Fleet St will have been revealed and the last of the Windsors will be preparing for exile in Bermuda, or some other far-flung corner of their former realm: Port Stanley, say, or Balmoral. Paul Burrell will have packed their bags for them one last time. The ‘irony’ of which, as Burrell would say (the only words that he misuses more often are ‘surreal’ and ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Facebook Misery

16 July 2014
... the top of the Guardian’s homepage as I write (shortly before 2 p.m. on Thursday, 3 July) has just shown a new story about social media giants. There’s no mention of Mark Zuckerberg as the new Stanley Milgram. But ‘Twitter will double its UK revenues this year to almost £100 million, while Facebook is expected to enjoy a 40 per cent boost to nearly £570 million ...

‘A Being full of Witching’

Charles Nicholl: The ‘poor half-harlot’ of Hazlitt’s affections

18 May 2000
... Hazlitt has been forgiven his lapse, but Sarah continues to live this two-dimensional life, hardly real at all except as a figment of one man’s amour fou. The exception is the Hazlitt scholar StanleyJones. In the late 1960s he succeeded in tracing a direct descendant of Sarah’s younger brother, Micaiah Walker. He pursued certain trails this opened up for him, and published his findings about ...

Find the Method

Timothy Shenk: Loyalty to Marx

28 June 2017
Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion 
by Gareth Stedman Jones.
Penguin, 768 pp., £14.99, May 2017, 978 0 14 102480 6
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... themselves, and identifying them would allow history’s chosen subjects – the proletariat – to seize control of their world. They would be history’s masters, not its victims. Gareth Stedman Jones came across Sartre’s writings on Marxism when he was about the same age Sartre had been when he first read Marx. A Francophile in his adolescence, Stedman Jones had worked in Paris for Agence ...

Save it for HBO

Jenny Diski: Stanley​ Fish and ‘The Fugitive’

17 March 2011
The Fugitive in Flight: Faith, Liberalism and Law in a Classic TV Show 
by Stanley​ Fish.
Pennsylvania, 152 pp., £16.50, November 2010, 978 0 8122 4277 5
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... Academics: beware of loving what you write about. Fandom can tempt intellectuals to take uncharacteristic risks with their primary sources. Even Stanley Fish, who as the author of Is There a Text In This Class? knows better than anyone how important the division of insider and outsider is for keeping amateurs at bay. In 1993, Fish-the-fan, enamoured ...

Knobs, Dots and Grooves

Peter Campbell: Henry Moore

8 August 2002
Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations 
edited by Alan Wilkinson.
Lund Humphries, 320 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 85331 847 6
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The Penguin Modern Painters: A History 
by Carol Peaker.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 124 pp., £15, August 2001, 0 9527401 4 1
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... domestic interior. Even if they were adventurous aesthetically the private buyers Sickert and Clark wished to encourage would still want pictures of modest size and unemphatic subject-matter. Stanley Spencer painted his potboilers because there was a less ready market for his religious pictures. Critics explained that it was the way the representation (or non-representation) was achieved that ...

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