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Let’s to billiards

Stephen​ Walsh: Constant Lambert

22 January 2015
Constant Lambert: Beyond the Rio Grande 
by Stephen Lloyd.
Boydell, 584 pp., £45, March 2014, 978 1 84383 898 2
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... Gluepot, as it was known), keeping its regulars up till dawn with his brilliant conversation. There was a lot more to him than one-liners and limericks; and if one thing emerges from the thickets of StephenLloyd’s excessively long biography, it is that Lambert had one of the finest musical minds of his generation and a critical faculty second to almost none. During his lifetime, you would have come ...

Wigan Peer

Stephen​ Koss

15 November 1984
The Crawford Papers: The Journals of David Lindsay, 27th Earl of Crawford and 10th Earl of Balcarres, during the Years 1892 to 1940 
edited by John Vincent.
Manchester, 645 pp., £35, October 1984, 0 7190 0948 0
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... for the mining constituency of Wigan, where he owned extensive properties. As opposition chief whip, he wrestled with such contentious issues as A.J. Balfour’s removal from the Unionist leadership, Lloyd George’s ‘People’s Budget’ and the Parliament Act crisis. Although he went on to hold minor portfolios in the wartime and post-war coalition governments, his father’s demise cost him not ...
21 February 1985
The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain. Vol. II: The 20th Century 
by Stephen​ Koss.
Hamish Hamilton, 718 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 241 11181 1
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Lies, Damned Lies and Some Exclusives 
by Henry Porter.
Chatto, 211 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 2841 0
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Garvin of the ‘Observer’ 
by David Ayerst.
Croom Helm, 314 pp., £25, January 1985, 0 7099 0560 2
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The Beaverbrook I Knew 
edited by Logan Gourlay.
Quartet, 272 pp., £11.95, September 1984, 0 7043 2331 1
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... Readers who had encountered its first volume would have known that Stephen Koss’s work on the British political press was monumental. Now it has become his monument in another, brutally unexpected sense, for Stephen Koss died suddenly soon after the completion of the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Ulysses vs. Ulysses

13 December 2001
... year, the Irish Times told the story of David Fennessy, a 23-year-old Irish composer studying in Scotland who asked for permission to use 18 words from Finnegans Wake in a three-minute choral piece. Stephen Joyce refused. ‘My wife and I don’t like your music,’ he said. In the recent case, the estate contended not only that the edition infringed their copyright on two counts, but that something ...


Donald Davie

21 March 1991
The Oxford Book of Essays 
edited by John Gross.
Oxford, 680 pp., £17.95, February 1991, 0 19 214185 6
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... he believes much sturdier than Norman Douglas allowed for. By one of the unforeseeable connections that only anthologies can provoke, this sent me back nearly two hundred pages to Eliot’s ‘Marie Lloyd’. This I thought I knew well; it was what as a youth I was required not just to read but to admire. Brain-washed and biddable, I did as I was told. Only now, encountering it anthologised, do I see ...

What to do with the Kaiser?

Stephen​ Sedley: Charging the Kaiser

11 October 2018
The Trial of the Kaiser 
by William A. Schabas.
Oxford, 432 pp., £24.99, October 2018, 978 0 19 883385 7
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... decided – and in the event never did decide – what to do with him if they got their hands on him. Although the chief of the imperial general staff had noted on the day of the Armistice that ‘Lloyd George wants to shoot the Kaiser … Winston does not,’ the Liberal leader’s subsequent election manifesto was limited to trying the Kaiser and punishing those responsible for atrocities. Schabas ...

Grand Old Sod

Paul Driver: William Walton

12 December 2002
The Selected Letters of William Walton 
edited by Malcolm Hayes.
Faber, 526 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 571 20105 9
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William Walton: Muse of Fire 
by Stephen Lloyd.
Boydell, 332 pp., £45, June 2001, 9780851158037
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William Walton, the Romantic Loner: A Centenary Portrait Album 
by Humphrey Burton and Maureen Murray.
Oxford, 182 pp., £25, January 2002, 0 19 816235 9
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... Reed’s ploy when editing Britten’s letters of slipping a full-blown biography into the footnotes) while always putting the case for the defence (if sometimes disapproving of Walton’s egotism). StephenLloyd’s solid monograph is unexceptional if careful in its judgments, marshalling the available facts about each piece and its reception, copiously quoting from Walton’s letters (from one not ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine

3 December 1981
The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... Mr Stephen is editing a little dictionary,’ a friend explained to a clergyman foolhardy enough to ask whether Leslie ‘did any writing’. The enterprise in question was the DNB, one of those grandiosely ...
6 December 1984
Frederic Harrison: The Vocations of a Positivist 
by Martha Vogeler.
Oxford, 493 pp., £27.50, September 1984, 0 19 824733 8
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Leslie StephenThe Godless Victorian 
by Noël Annan.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 297 78369 6
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... Frederic Harrison once climbed Mont Blanc and found Leslie Stephen on the top. Not an improbable location for the encounter of two eminent Victorians: and they might equally have met in George Eliot’s drawing-room. Whereas Stephen was much the more distinguished ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inside Man’, ‘V for Vendetta’

11 May 2006
Inside Man 
directed by Spike Lee.
March 2006
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V for Vendetta 
directed by James McTeigue.
March 2006
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... V for Vendetta’ series, which ran in Warrior magazine in the 1980s, although Moore, best known for the Watchmen comics, explained that the idea belonged to his co-author and illustrator David Lloyd. ‘We shouldn’t burn the chap every November 5th,’ Lloyd wrote to Moore, ‘but celebrate his attempt to blow up Parliament!’ Moore says two thoughts occurred to him when he read this. ‘Dave ...

The Ultimate Novel

William Empson

19 August 1982
by Hugh Kenner.
Allen and Unwin, 182 pp., £10, March 1980, 0 00 480003 6
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A Starchamber Quiry: A James Joyce Centennial Volume 1882-1982 
edited by E.L. Epstein.
Methuen, 164 pp., £9.50, February 1982, 0 416 31560 7
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... more material available for the centenary collection, A Starchamber Quiry, just after printing his own book. He puts a new idea of his own into both of these books, and it urgently needs refuting. Stephen, he says (Kenner’s Ulysses, p. 152), is practically blind all through the book; his eyes without his glasses focus eight inches in front of his nose, and he broke them ‘yesterday’. This proves ...

Dr Blair, the Leavis of the North

Terence Hawkes: English in Scotland

18 February 1999
The Scottish Invention of English Literature 
edited by Robert Crawford.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 521 59038 8
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... and Prejudice like the rest of us? How otherwise could he have written plays full of ‘characters’ who, as all O and A-level candidates know, endlessly, remorselessly, ‘develop’? Admittedly, Stephen Potter’s The Muse in Chains had offered to blow the gaff in 1937. But pell-mell postwar expansion, to say nothing of Potter’s decline into a chronicler of comfy national foibles, soon settled its ...
23 April 1987
The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War 1914-1918 
by Trevor Wilson.
Polity, 864 pp., £35, September 1986, 9780745600932
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British Strategy and War Aims 1914-1916 
by David French.
Allen and Unwin, 274 pp., £25, September 1986, 0 04 942197 2
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The Old Lie: The Great War and the Public School Ethos 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 319 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 09 466980 5
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... like Shelford Bidwell and T.H. Travers indicated the true problems and achievements of the commanders on the Western Front. Over naval affairs the exchanges of heavy fire between Arthur Marder and Stephen Roskill reduced all others to awe-struck silence. On domestic politics Lord Beaverbrook and his acolyte A.J.P. Taylor gave us plenty to be going on with, even before younger specialists like Cameron ...

They would have laughed

Ferdinand Mount: The Massacre at Amritsar

4 April 2019
Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre 
by Kim A. Wagner.
Yale, 325 pp., £20, February, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... All the same, by 1927 the Tories were back in power and they were determined to give their hero a supercharged send-off. Even in our own day, Dyer has had his defenders, or at least mitigators. Nick Lloyd, like Wagner a fortyish historian at King’s College London, gave his account of Amritsar the subtitle ‘The Untold Story of One Fateful Day’ (2011). It is certainly an unfamiliar story ...

Turning Turk

Robert Blake

20 August 1981
The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain. Vol. 1: The 19th Century 
by Stephen​ Koss.
Hamish Hamilton, 455 pp., £20, May 1981, 0 241 10561 7
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... than in any synthesis of the whole story. However, the task is not an impossible one. Professor Aspinall’s notable work Politics and the Press (1949) does it for the period 1780 to 1850, and Stephen Koss pays full tribute to his predecessor. Professor Koss is one of the few American historians of the top rank writing about modern British political history (as opposed to pre-revolution English ...

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