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C.K. Stead writes about Christina Stead

C.K. Stead, 4 September 1986

Ocean of Story: The Uncollected Stories of Christina Stead 
edited by R.G. Geering.
Viking, 552 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 670 80996 9
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The Salzburg Tales 
by Christina Stead.
498 pp., £4.95, September 1986, 0 86068 691 4
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... while Uncle Morgan, ducking his head and grinning whispered to left and right, ‘She’ll do it,’ gleefully, ‘Granny will do it!’  ‘Renée!’ shrieked her mother and fell on the baby, pulling the poor thing from the fire.  ‘She touched the fire, she touched the fire,’ the children shouted, jubilating, dismayed.  ‘Granny did not ...

Blush, grandeur, blush

Norma Clarke: One of the first bluestockings, 16 December 2004

Hannah More: The First Victorian 
by Anne Stott.
Oxford, 384 pp., £20, September 2004, 0 19 927488 6
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... Poems such as ‘The Bas Bleu’ eulogised the bluestockings Elizabeth Montagu and Elizabeth Carter who had made her welcome (the wealthy Montagu was one of her patrons); and when she started lecturing ‘the great’ on their propensity for drinking, gambling and having their hair done on Sundays (thus preventing their hairdressers from going to ...

A.E. Housman and Biography

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 22 November 1979

A.E. Housman 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Routledge, 304 pp., £9.75
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... taking account of the literary attitudes expressed in the London Introductory and Leslie Stephen Lectures. The author of such a study would find it helpful to have some understanding of the scholarly work which was the main business of Housman’s life, since the relation of this activity to his poetry is of great interest. Mr Graves quotes copiously ...


Peter Campbell, 7 May 1987

Joseph Banks: A Life 
by Patrick O’Brian.
Collins Harvill, 328 pp., £15, April 1987, 0 00 217350 6
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... of O’Brian’s fictional heroes, Jack Aubrey, with the passion for natural history of another, Stephen Maturin. Moreover O’Brian’s accounts in his novels of 18th-century seamanship are, like Tolstoy’s battle pieces, better historical description than most historians manage: it was clear that the variety of incident in Banks’s voyage to the Great ...

Brandenburg’s Dream

Derek Walmsley: Digital Piracy, 7 January 2016

How Music Got Free 
by Stephen Witt.
Bodley Head, 280 pp., £20, June 2015, 978 1 84792 282 3
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... as the heartland of hiphop, belt buckles were used for bragging and branding. Everyone wore them, Stephen Witt writes in How Music Got Free, at the CD pressing plant in North Carolina that handled heavyweight hiphop labels such as Def Jam, Interscope and Death Row. ‘The white guys wore big oval medallions with the stars and bars painted on. The black guys ...

Sonic Foam

Ian Penman: On Kate Bush, 16 April 2014

... sparkling songs. (Example: the deeply unsettling, off-kilter ‘Big Stripey Lie’ from her LP The Red Shoes.) Even as recently as 2005, on the more subdued Aerial, such traces remain: the huskily whispered love for mystical geometry in ‘π’,3 the oddly downbeat dream of aetherial flight that is ‘How to Be Invisible’.4Rushton was very coy about ...

In Search of New Enemies

Stephen Holmes, 24 April 1997

The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order 
by Samuel Huntington.
Simon and Schuster, 370 pp., £16.99, February 1997, 0 684 81164 2
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... he did rise to a second-tier position in the National Security Council under President Jimmy Carter. His intellectual achievements, by way of compensation, have far out-stripped those of his peers. His immensely influential Political Order in Changing Societies (1968), in particular, established his reputation as a leading authority on ...

Looking Away

Stephen Holmes: Questions of Intervention, 14 November 2002

A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide 
by Samantha Power.
Basic Books, 640 pp., £21.99, January 2002, 0 465 06150 8
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War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton and the Generals 
by David Halberstam.
Bloomsbury, 540 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 7475 5946 5
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... to Iraq has already been mentioned. For similar reasons, to please China and displease Vietnam, ‘Carter sided with the dislodged Khmer Rouge regime,’ orchestrating a vote in their favour in the UN credentials committee. She also mentions other cases in which, for geopolitical and economic reasons, the US cynically consorted with the perpetrators of mass ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... looks very much like being established that the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 went behind President Carter’s back and made a private understanding with the Iranians about the American diplomatic hostages. But those hostages were the original cause of the yellow ribbon movement! Can a piece of fraud and treason really have been the foundation of the storied ...

The Middling Sort

Alan Ryan, 25 May 1995

The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy 
by Christopher Lasch.
Norton, 276 pp., £16.95, March 1995, 0 393 03699 5
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... of Rochester. His only practical intervention in American politics was a disaster: Jimmy Carter greatly admired Lasch’s bestseller, The Culture of Narcissism, and in 1979 delivered a speech on ‘the American malaise’ that may have been composed, and was certainly inspired, by Lasch, and whose chief effect was to deliver large numbers of voters ...

A Very Active Captain

Patrick Collinson: Henricentrism, 22 June 2006

The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church 
by G.W. Bernard.
Yale, 736 pp., £29.95, November 2005, 0 300 10908 3
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Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation 
by Greg Walker.
Oxford, 556 pp., £65, October 2005, 0 19 928333 8
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... sarcophagus which had contained his remains for five centuries until Elton, as if playing Howard Carter in the Public Record Office, excitedly opened it in 1947. But most followed Elton in attributing credit, discredit and, generally, responsibility for what happened in Henry’s reign to others, the politicians, courtiers and prelates who either contributed ...

‘We wrapped the guns in plastic bags’

Piero Gleijeses: Revolutionaries at Large, 2 November 2017

Cuba’s Revolutionary World 
by Jonathan Brown.
Harvard, 600 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 674 97198 1
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... was no need to enact social reforms. In his book The Most Dangerous Area in the World (1999), Stephen Rabe pointed out that Kennedy’s support for democratic presidents in Latin America was contingent on their ‘unflagging allegiance to its Cold War policies’. This is why he refused to defend Frondizi when the Argentine military moved to overthrow ...

Somebody Shoot at Me!

Ian Sansom: Woody Guthrie’s Novel, 9 May 2013

House of Earth: A Novel 
by Woody Guthrie.
Fourth Estate, 234 pp., £14.99, February 2013, 978 0 00 750985 0
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... machine kills fascists,’ the phrase stickered by Guthrie onto his beautiful old black Gibson L-00 and later onto his sunburst Southern Jumbo, guitars full of both threat and promise. Alas, my machine – a dirt-cheap Yamaha dreadnought with plastic machine heads coated to look silver, a terrible action and tooth-rattling fret buzz – merely caused ...

Blood for Oil?

Retort: The takeover of Iraq, 21 April 2005

... In response, Cheney’s Energy Task Force did no more than recapitulate an argument made by Jimmy Carter: demand is growing, oil is not scarce, but it is unevenly distributed. Carter had emphasised conservation, at least in the first instance, as a response to market dependency; Cheney stressed military ...

At the White House’s Whim

Tom Bingham: The Power of Pardon, 26 March 2009

... jury tampering, on condition that he stay out of union politics; and Ford was succeeded by Jimmy Carter, who commuted the 20-year sentence on Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate conspirators, after four years and three months because of a perceived disparity between his sentence and that imposed on others. Carter’s ...

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