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Beijing Envy

Joshua Kurlantzick: China in Africa, 5 July 2007

China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise 
by Ian Taylor.
Routledge, 233 pp., £75, August 2006, 0 415 39740 5
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China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the 21st Century 
edited by Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham and Derek Mitchell.
Sharpe, 232 pp., $29.95, April 2007, 978 0 7656 1713 2
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China’s African Policy 
Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, January 2006Show More
China’s Expanding Role in Africa: Implications for the United States 
by Bates Gill, Chin-hao Huang and J. Stephen Morrison.
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, February 2007
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Friends and Interests: China’s Distinctive Links with Africa 
by Barry Sautman.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, April 2006
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African Perspectives on China in Africa 
edited by Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks.
Fahamu, 174 pp., £11.95, March 2007, 978 0 9545637 3 8
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Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier 
by Harry Broadman.
World Bank, 391 pp., $20, November 2006, 0 8213 6835 4
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... develop, and to earn some of the wealth that industrialised nations now possess. Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks’s book, the first attempt in recent years to examine African views of China, makes clear that there is hunger in Africa for a new partner. Though they are cautious about the negative impact of China’s rise, and wary of the way China treats ...

Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... throw episodes you would rather have forgotten. But the Profumo case, which should be called the Stephen Ward case, will not go down. The longer it is around, the uglier it gets. It is a shocking story, which will continue to discredit its participants, all the more so for as long as they pretend, like Lord Denning, that there was no injustice perpetrated ...

In qualified praise of Stephen Vizinczey

Bryan Appleyard, 24 July 1986

Truth and Lies in Literature: Reviews and Essays 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 399 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 241 11805 0
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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A.V. 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 241 11378 4
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... There is nothing enigmatic about Stephen Vizinczey. He has views, he shouts, cajoles, threatens and sneers. He worships Kleist and Stendhal, loathes William Styron and Sainte-Beuve, is conspicuously silent about Flaubert and seems to have a love-hate relationship with Nabokov. He delights in summoning up his rhetoric of loathing for the Nazis and the Mafia and in distilling hard, frequently paradoxical conclusions from his insights ...

One Small Moment

Christopher Tayler: Michael Frayn, 21 February 2002

Spies 
by Michael Frayn.
Faber, 224 pp., £14.99, February 2002, 0 571 21286 7
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... model is L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between. Like Hartley’s narrator, Leo, Frayn’s protagonist, Stephen Wheatley, is tormented by a schoolboy code prohibiting sneaking, blubbing and emotional expression in general. Leo is bullied by ‘Jenkins and Strode’, Stephen by ‘Hanning and Neale’. Both boys worship the family ...

Because it’s pink

Stephen Mulhall: John Hyman’s objective eye, 25 January 2007

The Objective Eye: Colour, Form and Reality in the Theory of Art 
by John Hyman.
Chicago, 286 pp., £20, June 2006, 0 226 36553 0
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... it doesn’t equip us with any obvious answers when we stand back and ask ourselves how mere marks on paper or sounds in the air can embody and convey meaning. A similar difficulty arises if we ask how a configuration of lines and colours on a plane surface can possibly succeed in depicting a man or a battle, a forest or a god. Indeed, once we are struck ...

Diary

Blake Morrison: On the Independent on Sunday , 27 May 1993

... been not a moral crusade but a calculated move to exploit a ‘market gap’. Or so I learn from Stephen Glover, originally foreign editor of the daily and later editor of the Independent on Sunday, whose book Paper Dreams* is a cross between a company report and W.E. Johns, a venture-capital story for boys: three fellows have a terrific wheeze which earns ...

Keeping mum

Stephen Sedley, 2 March 1989

The Spycatcher Trial 
by Malcolm Turnbull.
Heinemann, 228 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 434 79156 3
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Reform of the Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911: Government White Paper 
HMSO, 16 pp., £2.60, June 1988, 0 10 104082 2Show More
Official Secrets Bill 
HMSO, 14 pp., £3, December 1988, 0 10 300989 2Show More
Security Service Bill 
HMSO, 8 pp., £2.60, November 1988, 9780103007892Show More
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... to the stratification of social power and prestige and to the differentiation of accent that marks it. Spoken and written, the tone has the timbre of authority, of those who alone understand the causes of things – and control them. The Oxbridge accent of the White Paper is unmistakable, just as the spoken words of Sir Robert, now Lord Armstrong, are ...

Diary

Stephen Sackur: In Khorramshahr, 23 May 1991

... of their companions. There were holes in the road blasted by artillery shells, and countless pock-marks in the masonry. Everywhere, piles of rubble – bricks, of course, but also fragments of cars and of barely identifiable domestic appliances left to rot in the sun. I walked for half a mile across this dead city, past the wildly-skewed telegraph poles and a ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: In LA, 25 March 1993

... of Florence and Normandie, the eye of last year’s disturbances, where a neat grid of ash marks out where single-storey homes and businesses stood. Over the murmur of the disc-jockey on KGFJ, there’s the pop and rumble of a clotted engine; it could be an out-board motor. A mauve Buick, its fins twisted, its radiator concave, barrels up alongside me ...

Settlers v. Natives

Stephen Sedley, 8 March 2001

Questioning Sovereignty: Law, State and Nation in the European Commonwealth 
by Neil MacCormick.
Oxford, 210 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 19 826876 9
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Waitangi and Indigenous Rights: Revolution, Law and Legitimation 
by F.M. Brookfield.
Auckland, 253 pp., NZ $39.95, November 1999, 1 86940 184 0
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... over the ability of regimes to grant themselves or their nastier predecessors amnesties, marks a strong move to qualify national sovereignty in the interests of humanitarian standards; a move tellingly resisted in regard to its own citizens by the United States, whose long-arm jurisdiction is regularly used to try citizens of other states. Frontiers ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: American Prints, 8 May 2008

... Madhouse, although it has its origin in a drawing made ten years earlier, sustains the urgency of marks made by a committed observer. In Charles Sheeler’s view of the blank side of the Delmonico Building, neat ruled lines and even shading in chalk emulate the crispness of his architectural photographs and paintings. In Thomas Hart Benton’s evocations of ...

No Man’s Mistress

Stephen Koss, 5 July 1984

Margot: A Life of the Countess of Oxford and Asquith 
by Daphne Bennett.
Gollancz, 442 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 575 03279 0
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... have posed a dilemma for both of them.) Gladstone also resorted to ‘far go’, but won higher marks by extending his ‘argot’ to embrace ‘embargo’. For all his ingenuity, however, the Grand Old Man did not use ‘farrago’, a term which Daphne Bennett’s new biography shows to have been singularly apposite. Although Margot wrote no fewer than ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde, 5 February 1998

The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... shows a phalanx of unpainted male prostitutes, leaning on some railings. Watching for a cab, Stephen Fry’s Wilde makes eye contact with one of them. ‘Looking for someone?’ asks the lad (identified as ‘Rent-boy’ in the closing credits), and Fry stares helplessly across the street. Gilbert does all he can to italicise the moment, but since Fry ...

A Man It Would Be Unwise to Cross

Stephen Alford: Thomas Cromwell, 8 November 2018

Thomas Cromwell: A Life 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Allen Lane, 752 pp., £30, September 2018, 978 1 84614 429 5
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... of the English state. Both rest their weight on an individual whose life story is full of question marks. There is no tidy box of historical explanation into which we can put him. The brisk judgment of Hugh Trevor-Roper was that Cromwell ‘was a freak in English history’. It has always been easier to fall back on broad-brush assertions or to dismiss him ...

Diamond Daggers

Stephen Wall, 28 June 1990

Death’s Darkest Face 
by Julian Symons.
Macmillan, 272 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 333 51783 0
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Vendetta 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 281 pp., £12.99, June 1990, 0 571 14332 6
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Gallowglass 
by Barbara Vine.
Viking, 296 pp., £13.99, March 1990, 0 670 83241 3
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... of the form prevail, and person is inevitably upstaged by plot. Michael Dibdin’s Vendetta marks the reappearance of Aurelio Zen, the Venetian cop who cleared up an unsavoury kidnapping in Ratking (Gold Dagger Award, 1988), where the unsparing exposé of depravity among the powerful of Perugia was matched by a command of local detail that became almost ...

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