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Why Do the Tories Always Have the Luck?

Peter Clarke, 23 February 1995

Conservative Century: The Conservative Party since 1900 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball.
Oxford, 842 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 19 820238 5
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... to become known as the ‘Conservative century’? This is the claim which Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball advance in the wide-ranging and thought-provoking volume which they have edited. ‘Either standing alone or as the most powerful element in a coalition,’ they write, ‘the party will have held power for seventy of the hundred years since ...

Stanley and the Activists

Philip Williamson, 13 October 1988

Baldwin and the Conservative Party: The Crisis of 1929-1931 
by Stuart Ball.
Yale, 266 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 300 03961 1
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... compared the gravity of this situation to that of the Great War, and its consequence was, in Stuart Ball’s words, ‘a reshaping of the party system, and a new basis in the pattern of issues, which was to hold sway for the following fifty years’. The difficulties of 1929 to 1931 were of three kinds – imperial, economic and ...

Master’s Voice

Stuart Hampshire, 19 June 1986

The Time of My Life: An Autobiography 
by W.V. Quine.
MIT, 499 pp., £21.50, September 1985, 0 262 17003 5
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... Ontology resembles an old-fashioned game of Solitaire, in which you eliminate one glass ball after another by a regular procedure of reduction, hoping to be left at the end with just one ball at the centre of the board. In the development of ontology, the hope is that the one ...


Tristram Stuart: Beekeeping, 24 October 2013

... rubber bands around the wrists of my gardening gloves, and shimmied up the tree on which the rugby-ball-size blob of twenty thousand or so bees had settled, with a queen in their midst. The rest flowed as if a re-enactment of a swarm-catching miracle I’d witnessed as a mesmerised six-year-old. Badger Kirby (so named for the streak of white in his hair) came ...

Clarissa and Louisa

Karl Miller, 7 November 1985

Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady 
by Samuel Richardson, edited with an introduction by Angus Ross.
Viking, 1533 pp., £19.95, August 1985, 0 670 80829 6
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Memoire of Frances, Lady Douglas 
by Lady Louisa Stuart, edited by Jill Rubenstein.
Scottish Academic Press, 106 pp., £9.50, August 1985, 0 7073 0358 3
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... The second is by an admirer of Richardson’s novels, two generations later – Lady Louisa Stuart, whose Memoire of Frances Scott, Lady Douglas as she became, has been redeemed from the archives of the Border nobility, with the blessing of a former prime minister, Lord Home. The memoir appears to have been written at some point in the 1820s, and is ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Scotland's hirsute folk hero, 17 August 2006

... standing by her man in much the same way as Mrs Sheridan. But even the historically fragrant Mary Stuart, with her talent for poetry – ‘I am but a body whose heart’s torn away’ – would have struggled to compete with Mrs Sheridan’s estimation of her husband’s hirsuteness. ‘He looks like a gorilla,’ she said. ‘He’s covered in hair frae ...

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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... the convicts out of sight. For last year’s Bicentenary, replica convict ducks, with imitation ball and chain and spray-on sweat, were sold. So the revelation of a convict ancestor in the Pilger family has none of the iconoclastic impact he expects. The radical edge to writing on convicts has long since been blunted by those historians whom Robert ...

Black Electricities

John Sutherland, 30 October 1997

The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Vol. XXV: January-December 1850 
edited by Clyde de L. Ryals and K.J. Fielding.
Duke, 364 pp., £52, September 1997, 0 8223 1986 1
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by Thomas Carlyle, edited by K.J. Fielding and Ian Campbell.
Oxford, 481 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 0 19 281748 5
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... Index than ‘Dickens: novelist’. A gem is Jane’s account to her cousin, Helen, of the great ball they went to at Bath House in July 1850, at the height of the London season. ‘Mr C.,’ Jane reports, ‘was “quite determined for once in his life to see an aristocratic ball”.’ Seeing was one thing, being seen ...

Reduced to Ashes and Rubbage

Jessie Childs: Civil War Traumas, 3 January 2019

Battle-Scarred: Mortality, Medical Care and Military Welfare in the British Civil Wars 
edited by David Appleby and Andrew Hopper.
Manchester, 247 pp., £80, July 2018, 978 1 5261 2480 7
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... rubbage’: 236 families lost their homes there. The church survived, minus its spire; a cannon ball is embedded in the masonry. Even places that didn’t see any bloodshed suffered: husbands were absent fighting, disease spread, there was swingeing taxation and slumps in trade. In Battle-Scarred, a collection of essays that examine the physical and mental ...

Reader, I married you

Alethea Hayter, 30 March 1989

Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett: The Courtship Correspondence 1845-1846 
edited by Daniel Karlin.
Oxford, 363 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 19 818547 2
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... of another correspondence such as she had had in the past with other men of letters – with Hugh Stuart Boyd on prosody, with Richard Hengist Horne on contemporary literature, with Benjamin Robert Haydon on the artist’s vocation. Browning in this first letter told her that he loved her poetry with its ‘fresh strange music, the affluent language, the ...

The Trouble with HRH

Christopher Hitchens, 5 June 1997

Princess Margaret: A Biography 
by Theo Aronson.
O’Mara, 336 pp., £16.99, February 1997, 1 85479 248 2
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... birth, Princess Margaret was often to be described, in the years ahead, as being typically ‘Stuart’, in contrast to what was regarded, in the same journalistic shorthand, as Princess Elizabeth’s stolid, more ‘Hanoverian’ appearance. And indeed, for a while, the younger princess’s looks did seem to reflect something of the elegance and romance ...

At the RA

Julian Bell: Rubens and His Legacy , 5 March 2015

... right turned 41, Europe had been locked in intractable ideological bloodshed. The allegory for the Stuart monarch was upside down: it was Sedition who was pushing down Minerva, the goddess of state wisdom, with no bottom to the abyss in sight. The canvas, you might argue, was equally upside down. While Jacques Callot’s Les Grandes Misères de la guerre, his ...

Schrödinger’s Tumour

Jenny Diski: Schrödinger’s Tumour, 6 November 2014

... by Day 6 the full weight of exhaustion – had the new blood run out? – hit me like a wrecking ball and I spent that weekend asleep for ten and more hours of daytime after eight or nine hours at night. Days, by the way, are my new way of telling time. They are the units of chemo, Day 1 to Day 21, after which it all starts again at Day 1. Day 6 or 7 is the ...

White Sheep at Rest

Neal Ascherson: After Culloden, 12 August 2021

Culloden: Battle & Aftermath 
by Paul O’Keeffe.
Bodley Head, 432 pp., £25, January, 978 1 84792 412 4
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... Lord Kilmarnock used their last moments together to dismiss the idea that Prince Charles Edward Stuart, their ‘bonnie prince’, could have signed such an order. They both ‘vehemently denied’ it before they walked to the scaffold. Whether Cumberland himself was aware of the forgery, or even arranged it, is not known.The duke was disconcertingly young ...

Glaucus and Ione

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 17 April 1980

The Last Days of Pompeii 
by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton.
Sidgwick, 522 pp., £6.95, December 1979, 0 283 98587 9
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... could to encourage excavation. In England, too, Classicism came into fashion: this was the age of Stuart and Revett’s journeys, the folios of the Society of Dilettanti and Wood’s essay on the original genius of Homer. During the Seventies, Sir William Hamilton, who had personally taken part in the excavations, did much to make the new discoveries ...

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