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Ailments of the Tongue

Barbara Newman: Medieval Grammar, 22 March 2012

Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric: Language Arts and Literary Theory, AD 300-1475 
edited by Rita Copeland and Ineke Sluiter.
Oxford, 972 pp., £35, May 2012, 978 0 19 965378 2
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... of essays on 12th-century Latin, The Tongue of the Fathers (1998), David Townsend and Andrew Taylor confirmed Ong’s insight. Latin discourse, they wrote, ‘endlessly replicates tradition. It upholds a monological and orthodox consensus … To enter into this language is, par excellence, to enter into patriarchy. Medieval Latin, in short, is the Tongue ...

Aitch or haitch

Clare Bucknell: Louise Kennedy’s ‘Trespasses’, 23 June 2022

Trespasses 
by Louise Kennedy.
Bloomsbury, 311 pp., £14.99, April, 978 1 5266 2332 4
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... pub are all Protestant, some of them militant (one, Fidel, moonlights as a brigadier in the local branch of the Ulster Defence Association), but they each possess specific weirdnesses that cut against their common affiliation. Between Fidel and Michael sits ‘a fitter from the shipyard called Leslie’, who ‘didn’t speak until he was drunk and one night ...

Wicked Converse

Keith Thomas: Bewitched by the Brickmaker, 12 May 2022

The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World 
by Malcolm Gaskill.
Allen Lane, 308 pp., £20, November 2021, 978 0 241 41338 8
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... last time that someone would come to grief after offending Parsons. Eighteen months on, Jonathan Taylor claimed to have been attacked in bed by three demonic snakes. He, too, suspected that this was the work of Parsons. Then Taylor started to have ‘fits’. Other accusers came forward. William ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: At the Olympic Park, 9 February 2012

... ground came the railways – the Eastern Counties Railway joined, in 1847, by the Thames Junction Branch – adding to the pollution. Today the soil has been cleaned in giant machines like twin-tubs, to neutralise the toxic elements left behind by two hundred years of industrial adventure. Never, in the fields of leisure and national prestige, has so much ...

At the Box

Emma Gattey: Songlines, 24 February 2022

... alone. Technology is now integral to the survival of the songlines. The Martu filmmaker Curtis Taylor writes that ‘just like the old people, we are dreaming. We have a new dream with technology. We’re using the newest technology with the oldest culture.’ One collaborative work, Travelling Kungkarangkalpa, is an audiovisual hemisphere showing the ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... for the success of the March on Washington. In Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65, Taylor Branch wrote: ‘Overnight, Rustin became if not a household name at least a quotable and respectable source for racial journalism, his former defects as a vagabond ex-Communist homosexual overlooked or forgotten.’ But his ‘defects’ continued to ...

For the duration

John McManners, 16 June 1983

The Oxford Book of Death 
edited by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 351 pp., £9.50, April 1983, 0 19 214129 5
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Idéologies et Mentalités 
by Michel Vovelle.
Maspéro, 264 pp., £7.15, May 1982, 2 7071 1289 5
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... Dostoevsky. As a cleric of the established Church, I am ranking high. St Augustine, Bede, Jeremy Taylor, Parson Woodforde and Kierkegaard get only one mention each (and strictly speaking, the gloomy Dane was a frondeur on the fringes of establishment piety and ought not to count). Bossuet, Bunyan and George Herbert equal me, but again, only Herbert comes ...

Judges and Ministers

Anthony Lester, 18 April 1996

... that may mean). The poll was a graphic indication of the task facing the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor, in restoring confidence in the administration of criminal justice. Popular doubts about the fitness of the judiciary to protect civil rights and liberties are understandable. But the judge-bashing indulged in by opponents of a Bill of Rights is selective ...

A Topic Best Avoided

Nicholas Guyatt: Abraham Lincoln, 1 December 2011

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery 
by Eric Foner.
Norton, 426 pp., £21, February 2011, 978 0 393 06618 0
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... disloyalty to the troops. Then the Whig Party confirmed its meretriciousness by nominating Zachary Taylor, a returning general, as its presidential candidate for 1848. Lincoln campaigned for Taylor, a Louisiana slaveholder, but was passed over for an appointment when Taylor captured the ...

One of the Cracked

Dinah Birch: Barbara Bodichon, 1 October 1998

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon: Feminist, Artist and Rebel 
by Pam Hirsch.
Chatto, 390 pp., £20, July 1998, 0 7011 6797 1
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... bear the imprint of her driving aspirations. The only exception lay in projects sponsored by any branch of Christianity, for though she was not an atheist she had her own reasons for keeping her distance from organised religion. ‘Ah! If you were only like Miss Barbara Smith!’ Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote to his pious and retiring sister Christina. She ...

Untheory

Alexander Nehamas, 22 May 1986

Contest of Faculties: Philosophy and Theory after Deconstruction 
by Christopher Norris.
Methuen, 247 pp., £16, November 1985, 0 416 39939 8
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Philosophical Profiles 
by Richard Bernstein.
Polity, 313 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 7456 0226 6
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Against Theory: Literary Studies and the New Pragmatism 
edited by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 146 pp., £12.75, November 1985, 0 226 53226 7
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... from the rest of fiction, the argument continues, only by its bad faith. For it is the only branch of literature which deceives itself into claiming that, unlike the others, it can give correct and final answers to deep, serious and substantive questions – to ‘the perennial problems’. Philosophy, the poets claim, is rhetoric which has forgotten ...

The Moral Solipsism of Global Ethics Inc

Alex de Waal: Human rights, democracy and Amnesty International, 23 August 2001

Like Water on Stone: The Story of Amnesty International 
by Jonathan Power.
Allen Lane, 332 pp., £12.99, May 2001, 0 7139 9319 7
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Future Positive: International Co-operation in the 21st Century 
by Michael Edwards.
Earthscan, 292 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 1 85383 740 7
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East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia 
by Daniel Bell.
Princeton, 369 pp., £12.50, May 2000, 0 691 00508 7
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... the polity, stupid.’ Universities teach postgraduate courses on one or another branch of ‘human rights’; research institutes produce reports and analyses; and many of the major foundations, from established giants like Ford and Rockefeller to relative newcomers such as George Soros’s Open Society Institute, have committed themselves ...

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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... In​ the Leeds branch of the West Yorkshire Archive Service, there is a long, narrow notebook with a vellum cover which shows signs of water damage and has peeled away at the top so that it’s possible to make out some of the words on the first page – ‘apricocks’, ‘plombes’ – and a date: 1633. This was the year a local gentleman, Sir John Reresby of Thrybergh Hall, began to note the contents of his garden ...

Diary

John Sutherland: Do books have a future?, 25 May 2006

... them did two large, electronically sophisticated wholesalers, Ingram Book Company and Baker & Taylor. As Laura Miller notes, these wholesalers’ speed and reliability of delivery ‘rationalised book distribution by enabling booksellers to implement a “just in time” strategy’.* The cultural tone of the mall book-chains, and the wholesalers behind ...

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