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At the Soane Museum

Josephine Quinn: ‘The Romance of Ruins’, 12 August 2021

... had long ventured beyond the standard confines of the Grand Tour into Ottoman lands. In 1751 James Stuart and Nicholas Revett had undertaken a journey to Athens to measure and record the standing remains of the ancient city – the first time, they insisted, this had been done properly. In 1762 the Society of Dilettanti published Antiquities of Athens, based ...

You, Him, Whoever

Philip Connors: Anthony Giardina’s new novel, 7 September 2006

White Guys 
by Anthony Giardina.
Heinemann, 371 pp., £11.99, August 2006, 0 434 01605 5
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... to persuade professors to buy the firm’s anthologies, the most popular of which he calls ‘White Guys’: ‘White Guys’ sells in the hundreds of thousands annually. It is the text of choice at community colleges and for the less imaginative graduate assistants at the big state universities. It begins with an ...

Founding Moments

Stuart Macintyre, 11 March 1993

The Oxford History of Australia. Vol. II, 1770-1860: Possessions 
by Jan Kociumbas.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 19 554610 5
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The Rule of Law in a Penal Colony: Law and Power in Early New South Wales 
by David Neal.
Cambridge, 266 pp., £30, March 1992, 9780521372640
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Waterloo Creek: The Australia Day Massacre of 1838, George Gipps and the British Conquest of New South Wales 
by Roger Milliss.
McPhee Gribble, 965 pp., February 1992, 0 86914 156 2
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Living in a New Country: History, Travelling and Language 
by Paul Carter.
Faber, 214 pp., £14.99, July 1992, 0 571 16329 7
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... a source of pride, but there was a desire to know an Aboriginal past, however harrowing to the white conscience it might be. The revisiting expatriate could not but be struck by the altered sensibility. As Conrad observed, ‘if anything, Tasmania possesses too much history: a succession of pasts queuing up like unappeased revenants to accuse the ignorant ...

The ‘R’ Word

Adam Smyth: For the Love of the Binding, 4 November 2021

Book Ownership in Stuart England 
by David Pearson.
Oxford, 352 pp., £69.99, January, 978 0 19 887012 8
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... is typical of many libraries from the 17th century. David Pearson’s Book Ownership in Stuart England gives us a superlative tour of just about everything we might want to know about the early modern culture of book buying, borrowing, listing, shelving, storing and displaying. The ‘backbone’ of his book, Pearson writes, juggling his body ...

Sacrifice

Frank Kermode, 14 May 1992

The Gonne-Yeats Letters, 1893-1938 
edited by Anna MacBride White and A. Norman Jeffares.
Hutchinson, 544 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 09 174000 2
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... her fairly ample fortune in attempts to alleviate the routine cruelties of British rule. Francis Stuart, who at 17 married Maud’s daughter Iseult and was himself a fair hater and rebel, disliked his mother-in-law, attributing her political passion to sexual repression; and she often told Yeats she had an aversion to sex. Her youthful liaison with the ...

Farewell to the Log Cabin

Colin Kidd: America’s Royalist Revolution, 18 December 2014

The Royalist Revolution 
by Eric Nelson.
Harvard, 390 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 73534 7
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... and ambition might be enough in themselves to propel the humblest of citizens from log cabin to White House is a vital ingredient in the American Dream. Indeed, it has served as a powerful anaesthetic against the inequalities of American society. But for how much longer? A rampant dynasticism – verging on royalism – threatens the efficacy of this ...

Always on Top

Edward Said: From Birmingham to Jamaica, 20 March 2003

Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-67 
by Catherine Hall.
Polity, 556 pp., £60, April 2002, 0 7456 1820 0
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... piece by piece after the Second World War; now, after years of degeneration following the white man’s departure, the empires that ruled Africa and Asia don’t seem quite as bad. The perplexingly affirmative work of Niall Ferguson and David Armitage scants, if it doesn’t actually trivialise, the suffering and dispossession brought by empire to its ...

Short Cuts

Sadiah Qureshi: Black History, 22 November 2018

... was asked if her promotion had been inspired by political correctness. For some academics, mainly white men, a black woman making history during Black History Month – October – was not a happy coincidence but a conspiracy. (At Bath Spa, all applications for professorships are submitted in the spring, and all results announced in October.) The Royal ...

Diary

John Barrell: On Allon White, 29 August 1991

... The autobiographical fragment by Allon White entitled ‘Too close to the bone’, which was published in 1989 in the London Review of Books, has just been republished by the LRB, this time in book form.* Allon taught at the University of Sussex until he died in 1988 at the age of 37. He was the author of The Uses of Obscurity and (with Peter Stallybrass) The Politics and Poetics of Transgression ...

Questionably Virtuous

Stuart Middleton: Harold Wilson, 8 September 2016

Harold Wilson: The Unprincipled Prime Minister? Reappraising Harold Wilson 
edited by Andrew Crines and Kevin Hickson.
Biteback, 319 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78590 031 0
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... visions he entertained. The fiasco over the proposed reforms to trade union law in the 1969 White Paper In Place of Strife may have been the low point of Wilson’s premiership. The TUC eventually gave its ‘solemn and binding’ undertaking to moderate wage demands if the legislation was abandoned. The Economist called the arrangement ‘In Place of ...

The Word on the Street

Elaine Showalter, 7 March 1996

Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics 
by Anonymous.
Chatto, 366 pp., £15.99, February 1996, 0 7011 6584 7
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... George Stephen-applesauce. There’s a copy prominently displayed in the new books section of the White House library, and 742,000 have been shipped to bookstores to meet the demand. It’s number one on the New York Times bestseller list; North American paperback rights have been sold for $1.5 million, and Mike Nichols has bought the movie rights for another ...

Diary

Zachary Leader: Oscar Talk at the Huntington, 16 April 1998

... papers of Catherine Turney, another prominent screenwriter, whose good friend, 87-year-old Gloria Stuart, of Titanic fame, has been here for lunch. Turney wrote women’s pictures for Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Ida Lupino, Rosalind Russell and Ann Sheridan, and her script helped Crawford win the Oscar for Mildred Pierce (1945). She comes to the Library every ...

Why do white people like what I write?

Pankaj Mishra: Ta-Nehisi Coates, 22 February 2018

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy 
by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 0 241 32523 0
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... interrogated predominantly African-Americans at so-called black sites. It’s only now, with a white supremacist ensconced in the White House, that those same hardheaded liberals – who did so much to create a climate of opinion and a legal regime in which black and brown bodies could be seized, broken and destroyed ...

Mauve Monkeys

William Fiennes, 18 September 1997

Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy and the First World War 
by Philip Hoare.
Duckworth, 250 pp., £16.95, July 1997, 0 7156 2737 6
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... opium-addicted bisexual aristocrat’; Brilliant Chang, ‘the emblematic Dope King and white slaver, corrupter of British maidenhood’; the Marchesa Casati, who appeared at parties surrounded by ‘albino blackbirds, mauve monkeys, a leopard, a boa constrictor, and, among Englishmen, Lord Berners’. The presiding spirit was Oscar Wilde. Robert ...

Puritan Neuroses

Blair Worden, 19 April 1984

The Puritan Gentry: The Great Puritan Families of Early Stuart England 
by J.T. Cliffe.
Routledge, 313 pp., £18.95, March 1984, 0 7102 0007 2
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £30.60, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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Godly People: Essays on English Protestantism and Puritanism 
by Patrick Collinson.
Hambledon, 604 pp., £24, July 1982, 9780907628156
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Laud’s Laboratory: The Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Early 17th Century 
by Margaret Steig.
Associated University Presses, 416 pp., £30, September 1983, 0 8387 5019 2
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The Puritan Conversion Narrative: The Beginnings of American Expression 
by Patricia Caldwell.
Cambridge, 210 pp., £17.50, December 1983, 0 521 25460 4
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Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford 
by C.M. Dent.
Oxford, 262 pp., £17.50, June 1983, 0 19 826723 1
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... I to Henrietta Maria. In a recent essay (published in Past and Present, November 1983) Peter White has thrown the Tyacke thesis into question. He contends (as H.C. Porter has long done) that the pre-Laudian Church was never narrowly Calvinist. Yet at least White and Tyacke can find common ground in their emphasis on ...

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