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Richard J. Evans

8 November 1990
Male Fantasies Vol. I: Women, Floods, Bodies, History 
by Klaus Theweleit, translated by Chris Turner, Erica Carter and Stephen Conway.
Polity, 517 pp., £35, May 1987, 0 7456 0382 3
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Male Fantasies Vol. II: Male Bodies: Psychoanalysing the White Terror 
by Klaus Theweleit, translated by Chris Turner, Erica Carter and Stephen Conway.
Polity, 507 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 7456 0556 7
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... Since its appearance in Germany in 1977, Klaus Theweleit’s psychoanalytical study of fascist literature has graduated from the status of a cult work to that of a classic. Rereading it in English, a decade after my first, rather sceptical perusal, it is easy to see why. Much of what made Theweleit’s book so startlingly original in the mid-Seventies has since become relatively conventional in literary ...

Shock Lobsters

Richard Fortey: The Burgess Shale

1 October 1998
The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals 
by Simon Conway​ Morris.
Oxford, 242 pp., £18.99, March 1998, 0 19 850256 7
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... of the original describers – for these animals were unexpected, anomalous hallucinations. The Burgess Shale, and the insight its fossils provided into the early history of life, was made famous by Stephen Jay Gould in Wonderful Life (1989). Not that Gould himself first described any of these vanished animals: rather, he promulgated their importance to a world outside the hermetic palaeontological ...

Coloured Spots v. Iridescence

Steven Rose: Evolutionary Inevitability

22 March 2018
Improbable Destinies: How Predictable Is Evolution? 
by Jonathan Losos.
Allen Lane, 364 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 241 20192 3
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... The issue​ of evolutionary inevitability was brought sharply into focus by the late Stephen Jay Gould in his book Wonderful Life (1989). Gould discussed the bizarre fossils uncovered by the Cambridge palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris in an outcrop of rock in the Canadian Rockies, known as ...

How to Make a Mermaid

Adrian Woolfson: A theology of evolution

5 February 2004
Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe 
by Simon Conway​ Morris.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £18.95, September 2003, 0 521 82704 3
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... in some distant galaxy, would our morphology appear as remarkable to them as a centaur’s does to us, or would it be reassuringly familiar? One way of settling the issue, suggested by the late Stephen Jay Gould, would be to wind the tape of life back to its origins, around four and a half billion years ago, then let the tape run again and see what happens. Ideally, we’d repeat this a few ...

Histories of Australia

Stuart Macintyre

28 September 1989
The Oxford History of Autralia. Vol III: 1860-1900 
by Beverley Kingston.
Oxford, 368 pp., £22.50, July 1989, 0 19 554611 3
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The Road from Coorain: An Australian Memoir 
by Jill Ker Conway.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 434 14244 1
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A Secret Country 
by John Pilger.
Cape, 286 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 224 02600 3
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Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia’s Past 
edited by Stephen​ Nicholas.
Cambridge, 246 pp., $45, June 1989, 0 521 36126 5
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... them memories and predispositions that they nurtured during their absence and now become even sharper as they recall the place of their youth. Two recent books provide instructive examples. Jill Ker Conway left Australia in the early Sixties to undertake postgraduate study at Harvard and thereafter pursued with distinction an academic career in North America – Vice-President of the University of ...
28 June 1990
Wonderful Life 
by Stephen​ Jay Gould.
Hutchinson Radius, 347 pp., £14.95, February 1990, 0 09 174271 4
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... that everyone will come up with a different image – a discus covered with hundreds of nut shells, and with two rows of bent knife blades bristling along its back. ‘About 5 mm from the front end, Conway Morris found two arc-shaped bars, each carrying a row of simple, conical teeth directed toward the rear. The front bar bears a notch at the centre, marking a toothless area between the two side ...

His Spittin’ Image

Colm Tóibín: John Stanislaus Joyce

22 February 2018
... A father​ is a necessary evil,’ Stephen Dedalus says in Ulysses. In Yeats: The Man and the Masks, Richard Ellmann quoted Ivan Karamazov: ‘Who doesn’t desire his father’s death?’ ‘From the Urals to Donegal,’ Ellmann writes, the ...

Genetic Mountaineering

Adrian Woolfson: The evolution of evolvability

6 February 2003
A New Kind of Science 
by Stephen​ Wolfram.
Wolfram Media, 1197 pp., £40, May 2002, 1 57955 008 8
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... of how evolution accomplishes its conjuring tricks continues to mature. While Darwin’s foundations were easily built on to accommodate genes and mutations, recent work has been more challenging. Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, for example, used the spandrels of St Mark’s in Venice, which exist as a necessary by-product of the process of mounting a dome on rounded arches, as a way of ...

We Are Many

Tom Crewe: In the Corbyn Camp

10 August 2016
... of division? No one seemed to have given much thought to any of this. But in any case, they asked, what was the alternative? The next evening​ I arrived in what was possibly an even stuffier room, Conway Hall in Central London, for an Emergency Rally to support Corbyn’s campaign. Outside there was the inevitable Morning Star stall, and Momentum posters that read ‘#KeepCorbyn. We are the Labour ...
18 April 2019
Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities 
by Eric Kaufman.
Allen Lane, 617 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 241 31710 5
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National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy 
by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin.
Pelican, 384 pp., £9.99, October 2018, 978 0 241 31200 1
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... material improvements to their own lives or the lives of others: the strikes led by Asian women workers at Grunwick in the 1970s, for instance, or the mass campaign to get justice for the family of Stephen Lawrence in the 1990s. It’s easy to single out the excesses of campus politics and go on to depict anti-racism as an elite project – or its opposite, a form of mob rule. It would be harder to do ...
3 September 1987
... but then allowed publication on the grounds that the Diaries dealt with events a decade old. In all this, the chief concern of the judges is to try to see things the Government way. Lord Reid, in Conway v. Rimmer (1968), best summarised the attitude of the Law Lords. The premature disclosure of Cabinet Minutes was, he said, in no way allowable, for ‘disclosure would create or fan ill-informed or ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel

4 July 1996
Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... seldom allowing a name to pass by without offering a thumbnail sketch. Indeed, the book is a sort of stage, on which Inglis’s gods and heroes disport themselves. Thus at the memorial meeting in Conway Hall there is Nick Garnham, ‘elegant, intelligent, disdainful Wykehamist’. Earlier, at the Garden House Hotel riot – a Cambridge protest against the rule of the Greek colonels – there is Bob ...

A Man with My Trouble

Colm Tóibín: Henry James leaves home

3 January 2008
The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume I 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 391 pp., £57, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2584 8
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The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume II 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 524 pp., £60, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2607 4
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... the time of James’s visit. (Some of James’s most stilted and insufferable letters in these two volumes were written to members of the Norton family.) With the Nortons in London, James saw Leslie Stephen, whom James’s father had also known, and met Charles Dickens’s daughter, who was, he reported to Alice, ‘plain-faced, ladylike (in black silk & black lace)’, and visited William Morris and ...

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