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Animal, Spiritual and Cerebral

Mary Midgley, 18 August 1983

Animal Thought 
by Stephen Walker.
Routledge, 388 pp., £17.50, January 1983, 0 7100 9037 4
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On the Evolution of Human Behaviour 
by Peter Reynolds.
California, 259 pp., £20, December 1981, 0 520 04294 8
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The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit 
by Melvin Konner.
Heinemann, 436 pp., £16.50, October 1982, 0 434 39703 2
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Sociobiology and the Human Dimension 
by Georg Breuer.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £22.50, January 1983, 0 521 24544 3
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Sociobiology and the Pre-Emption of Social Science 
by Alexander Rosenberg.
Blackwell, 210 pp., £9.90, March 1981, 0 631 12625 2
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... an expression of scientific parsimony. It was Lloyd Morgan’s canon of 1894, whose reasoning, as Stephen Walker points out, is extremely rum. It rules that ‘in no case may we interpret an action as the outcome of the exercise of a higher psychical faculty, if it can be interpreted as the exercise of one which stands lower on the psychological ...

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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... palaces were equipped with wheelchairs and specially strengthened beds.) Three years ago, the Walker Gallery in Liverpool brought together in one room four of those giant Eworth/Holbein images (Trinity, Chatsworth, Petworth and their own), which glowered intimidatingly at each other from the four walls. Historians and biographers have never offered ...

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 ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll, 1 December 2011

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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11.22.63 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... explanation, and the powers that be will prefer it to the truth, even though they know better.’ Stephen King’s new novel, 11.22.63, combines a variety of genres, being a JFK assassination thriller, a story of time travel, a variation on the grail quest, a novel of voyeurism, a love story, a historical novel, a counterfactual historical novel, and ...

What can the matter be?

Denis Donoghue, 5 April 1990

Ulster Politics: The Formative Years, 1868-86 
by B.M. Walker.
Ulster Historical Foundation/Institute of Irish Studies, 327 pp., £15, February 1990, 0 901905 40 2
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Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society 
by J.J. Lee.
Cambridge, 754 pp., £55, January 1990, 0 521 26648 3
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... We feel in England that we have treated you rather unfairly,’ Haines says to Stephen Dedalus in the first chapter of Joyce’s Ulysses: ‘it seems history is to blame.’ But he doesn’t say which history. The history that accounts for the sporadic but endless killings in Northern Ireland begins no later than 24 December 1601, when Lord Mountjoy’s forces defeated Hugh O’Neill’s at the battle of Kinsale ...

Anglo-Egyptian Attitudes

Marina Warner, 5 January 2017

... arm of the British Protectorate running the country from the wings. ‘The Daughter of Admiral Walker’ (after David Wilkie) There were many prints of Egypt in our Zamalek flat – picturesque views of the ruins and the pyramids and Old Cairo, from series that had been published in the previous century – and they fascinated me: drowned temples, dhows ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’, 6 February 2014

... scene fails to put in an appearance in Tippins’s book, starting with William Dean Howells and Stephen Crane, up through Thomas Wolfe, and on to anyone you care to name, sliding to an elegant halt with Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland. Largely it’s the names, not the work. You almost get the impression that Arthur Miller might have written After ...

Maids

Philip Horne, 1 April 1983

The Slow Train to Milan 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 254 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 224 02077 3
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Holy Pictures 
by Clare Boylan.
Hamish Hamilton, 201 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 241 10926 4
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Pilgermann 
by Russell Hoban.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 224 02072 2
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September Castle: A Tale of Love 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 261 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 85634 123 1
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The Watcher 
by Charles Maclean.
Allen Lane, 343 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 7139 1559 5
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The Little Drummer Girl 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 433 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 340 32847 9
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... us by this telling of losses and gains. In Russell Hoban’s previous, much-admired novel, Riddley Walker, the narrator, ‘connection man’ for a Kent settlement far in the future which lies beyond some obscure cataclysm, agonises in his residual English about the problem of writing. ‘I dont have nothing only words to put down on paper. Its so hard. Some ...
African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity 
by Chris Stringer and Robin McKie.
Cape, 267 pp., £18.99, March 1996, 0 224 03771 4
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Humans before Humanity 
by Robert Foley.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £25, December 1995, 0 631 17087 1
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The Day before Yesterday: Five Million Years of Human History 
by Colin Tudge.
Cape, 390 pp., £18.99, January 1996, 0 224 03772 2
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The Wisdom of Bones: In Search of Human Origins 
by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman.
Weidenfeld, 270 pp., £18.99, April 1996, 0 297 81670 5
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The Neanderthal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins 
by James Shreeve.
Viking, 369 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 670 86638 5
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... inevitable link in the chain between apes and angels. Evolution is often seen as progression – Stephen Jay Gould has assembled a collection of advertisements in which the advanced state of some product or other is compared with humanity’s relentless progression from the apes, by way of a number of missing links. That this image is ingrained is ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... an awkward triangle (first time as romance comedy, second time as painful farce) with his friends Stephen and Natasha Spender, he proposed marriage almost simultaneously to three different women. Women fought over his remains, his private secretary unsuccessfully contesting the will he had changed so often. The title of his final novel, Playback, could be ...

Separating Gracie and Rosie

David Wootton: Two people, one body, 22 July 2004

One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal 
by Alice Domurat Dreger.
Harvard, 198 pp., £14.95, May 2004, 0 674 01294 1
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... In rejecting their defence of necessity the court transformed the law. The previous year Sir James Stephen had argued with perfect confidence that there was indeed such a defence: The old instance of the two drowning men on a plank large enough to support one only, and that of shipwrecked persons in a boat unable to carry them all, are the standing ...
Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Oxford, 205 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812980 7
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Representing the English Renaissance 
edited by Stephen Greenblatt.
California, 372 pp., $42, February 1988, 0 520 06129 2
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... problem is not so much to explain the rise of the so-called ‘New Historicism’ associated with Stephen Greenblatt and his friends and followers, as to account for the hostile reactions to it. Why should it be considered subversive to replace literary texts in their historical contexts? Is the movement dangerous because it is historicist or because it is ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: In LA, 25 March 1993

... executives to ‘NWA’. A few minutes later, I am a witness as George Hamilton, the actor and walker, or beard, to Hollywood matrons of a certain age, takes the air outside Paddington’s, an ersatz tea shoppe on fashionable Melrose Avenue. A blonde whom the checkout tabloids would probably call George’s ‘mystery gal pal’ takes him by the bespoke ...

All the Necessary Attributes

Stephen Walsh: Franz Liszt, Celebrity, 22 September 2016

Franz Liszt: Musician, Celebrity, Superstar 
by Oliver Hilmes, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 353 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 300 18293 4
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... account of Liszt’s death in Bayreuth in 1886 is well told and moving, but adds little to Alan Walker’s account in his great three-volume biography, which made full use of the then unpublished diary of Liszt’s pupil and unofficial carer Lina Schmalhausen. Liszt had returned to Bayreuth at Cosima’s request for that year’s festival, but arrived with ...

A Conversation with Gore Vidal

Thomas Powers: Meeting Gore Vidal, 31 July 2014

... honour, position, awards – there was Kazin. I didn’t read his memoirs. Well – I did read A Walker in the City, but not the last volume. He’s rewriting his own history. Apparently he didn’t even know Edmund Wilson all that well, and I don’t think Wilson much liked him.’ He said he’d read Wilson’s letters straight through, liked them very ...

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