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Thomas Powers: Stephen Crane, 17 July 2014

Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire 
by Paul Sorrentino.
Harvard, 476 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 674 04953 6
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... The Red Badge of Courage​ is generally the only thing about Stephen Crane that readers remember now. The novel, first published in 1895 when Crane was only 23, is short and centres on the battlefield experience of a man younger still, Henry Fleming, who worries that in the test of war he will prove a coward, and then does ...


Elspeth Barker, 9 April 1992

by Robert Liddell.
Peter Owen, 228 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 0 7206 0853 8
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Farewell Sidonia 
by Erich Hackl.
Cape, 135 pp., £5.99, February 1992, 0 224 02901 0
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... place despite the potent opposition of Oswald’s sisters-in-law, who were caring for Andrew and Stephen. Elsa insisted on being called ‘mummy’. ‘Never call that German woman what you called your own mother,’ an aunt had insisted. Guilt and treachery thus informed the children’s first dealings with their stepmother, complicated by bewilderment at ...

My Little Lollipop

Jenny Diski: Christine Keeler, 22 March 2001

The Truth at Last: My Story 
by Christine Keeler and Douglas Thompson.
Sidgwick, 279 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 0 283 07291 1
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... Keeler may or may not have been the most moral woman of the 1960s (my vote would go to Elizabeth Taylor for her belief in the sacred bond of marriages), but the looseness of her definitions is problematical for someone claiming to offer the whole truth. Apart from the moral issue, her assertion that she was never a prostitute is important for her other big ...

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-conceived and indefatigably-executed works of late 19th-century self-regard, comparable to the Victoria County Histories and the Survey of London ...

Haley’s Comet

Paul Driver, 6 February 1997

The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 431 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 297 81720 5
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... thrived – the careers of N.F. Simpson, Pinter and Stoppard were nurtured there. Desmond Shawe-Taylor wrote in the New Statesman that ‘the whole musical landscape’ was ‘likely to be transformed by the arrival of the Third Programme’; Edward Sackville-West in Picture Post thought that it could ‘well become the greatest educative and civilising ...

He’s Humbert, I’m Dolores

Emily Witt, 21 May 2020

My Dark Vanessa 
by Kate Elizabeth Russell.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £12.99, March, 978 0 00 834224 1
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... drinking. When the book opens she is compulsively monitoring a Facebook post by a woman called Taylor Birch, who has revived an accusation of sexual assault against a former high school teacher. Taylor first made her allegation more than a decade earlier, when she was 14, but this time people are listening. The accused ...

Floating Hair v. Blue Pencil

Frank Kermode, 6 June 1996

Revision and Romantic Authorship 
by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 354 pp., £40, March 1996, 0 19 812264 0
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... that there is something false in the cult of the original unrevised version. He takes issue with Stephen Gill, whose Oxford Authors edition of Wordsworth prints the poems ‘in texts in which their original identity is restored’. Thus all the ‘secondary’ work that resulted in the final authorised text, the six-volume Poems of 1849-50, published at the ...


Stephen Sedley: The man who tried to bring Pinochet to justice, 24 June 2004

... of open adversarial justice, and it is soon to end; but I recall that it was only when Peter Taylor became Lord Chief Justice in 1992 that our own criminal appeal court began letting the defence see the case summaries prepared by the court’s officials. Things which you have lived with tend to seem unproblematical until you change them; then you wonder ...

The Great War Revisited

Michael Howard, 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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... 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 Hazlehurst began to ...

Mandela: Death of a Politician

Stephen W. Smith: Mandela, the Politician, 9 January 2014

... opinion, which has now canonised Mandela, would be outraged were a ‘warlord’ such as Charles Taylor not brought to justice, though Taylor gave up power in 2003 when he left Monrovia for exile in Nigeria. In 2006, when the former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano negotiated with Joseph Kony for his peaceful ...

My Wife

Jonathan Coe, 21 December 1989

Soho Square II 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 287 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 7475 0506 3
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... writers so rarely use the phrase ‘my husband’. Then it started to happen again and again. Stephen Amidon, we are told in the Contributors’ Notes, ‘lives in London with his wife and daughter Clementine’. Mr Amidon’s daughter has a name, apparently, but ‘his wife’ does not. Amidon’s story, ‘Echolocation’, turns out to be about a man ...


Inigo Thomas: Michael Wolff’s Book Party, 8 February 2018

... As he would later explain, his work was made easier because he was often left alone, waiting for Stephen Bannon, in whose office he sat: Actually, I would make these appointments, and I would come in and these appointments weren’t kept. So, I would sit on the couch. What I haven’t said is what a humiliating experience it is. Because everybody would look ...

Loadsa Serious Money

Ian Taylor, 5 May 1988

Regulating the City: Competition, Scandal and Reform 
by Michael Clarke.
Open University, 288 pp., £25, May 1986, 9780335153817
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Regulating fraud: White-Collar Crime and the Criminal Process 
by Michael Levi.
Tavistock, 416 pp., £35, August 1987, 0 422 61160 3
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... Dick Morland and others,3 and it is also an operative assumption of the controversial films of Stephen Frears and Hanif Kureishi and of Steve Bell’s Maggie’s Farm cartoons. It may be that an unlivable and impoverished public sphere – where the buses are all but non-existent and far too expensive, where the inner city is a ‘no-go’ area (especially ...

Breast Cancer Screening

Paul Taylor, 5 June 2014

... estimate of over-diagnosis in the UK screening programme with that of another statistician, Stephen Duffy. This graph shows the incidence of breast cancer in women of different ages in the UK from 1974 to 2003. The key feature is the unmistakeable spike in cases in the 50-64 age-group, which followed the introduction of the screening programme ...

Powers of Darkness

Michael Taylor: Made by Free Hands, 21 October 2021

Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition 
by Bronwen Everill.
Harvard, 318 pp., £31.95, September 2020, 978 0 674 24098 8
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... my own interests and on that account I have not given the subject impartial consideration.’ Stephen Lushington, the dashing cricketer-jurist who represented the black men Louis Lecesne and John Escoffery after their unlawful deportation from Jamaica, was identified as the son of an East India Company chairman. The planters of Mauritius, which Britain ...

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