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A Few Home Truths

Jonathan Rée: R.G. Collingwood, 19 June 2014

R.G. Collingwood: ‘An Autobiography’ and Other Writings, with Essays on Collingwood’s Life and Work 
edited by David Boucher and Teresa Smith.
Oxford, 581 pp., £65, December 2013, 978 0 19 958603 5
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... An Autobiography​ ’ by R.G. Collingwood must be one of the most popular philosophical books in the English language, but when it was published in 1939, it was not expected to do well. Collingwood warned Oxford University Press that it was ‘destitute of all that makes autobiography saleable’. It was going to be a ‘dead loss’, he said, and in a preface he offered a pre-emptive apology: he was a philosopher by vocation – had been as long as he could remember – so the story of his life could not be anything more than a compendium of abstract ideas ...


Jeremy Harding: Teeter-Tottering on the Border, 20 April 2017

Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the US-Mexico Boundary 
by Ronald Rael.
California, 184 pp., £24.95, May 2017, 978 0 520 28394 7
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... theoretically topples the wall’. A section of the US-Mexico border painted pale blue by Ana Teresa Fernández. ‘Eventually’ and ‘theoretically’ are weasel words for Palestinians, intruders on their own land, displaced by state-creation and – on the West Bank – living under military occupation and settler colonialism, which have lasted half ...

In praise of work

Dinah Birch, 24 October 1991

Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite Circle 
by Teresa Newman and Ray Watkinson.
Chatto, 226 pp., £50, July 1991, 0 7011 3186 1
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... that would have swallowed a weaker man. In this unpretentious and deeply affectionate biography, Teresa Newman and Ray Watkinson show how fiercely Brown maintained this independence. He was closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, but never as an insider. Nor was he included in the establishment of painters represented by the Royal Academy. Proud ...

Verdi’s Views

John Rosselli, 29 October 1987

Verdi: A Life in the Theatre 
by Charles Osborne.
Weidenfeld, 360 pp., £18, June 1987, 0 297 79117 6
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... his wife – these were fairly well documented. Even his supposed late affair with another singer, Teresa Stolz, was known. But neither his life nor his work was matter for serious debate. Six or seven operas flourished in the theatre – nothing could have kept them down; so in the concert hall did the Requiem. All that is utterly changed. Verdi’s 26 operas ...

Nation of Mutes

Tony Wood: Marquis de Custine, 24 August 2000

A Taste for Freedom: The Life of Astolphe de Custine 
by Anka Muhlstein, translated by Teresa Waugh.
Helen Marx, 393 pp., $16.95, November 1999, 1 885983 41 7
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... Kohler, American Ambassador from 1962 to 1966. Her edition has an introduction by Walter Bedell Smith, American Ambassador from 1946 to 1949 (and later head of the CIA). Like Kennan, who published The Marquis de Custine and His ‘Russia in 1839’ in 1972, Bedell Smith seized on the obvious parallels between Custine’s ...

Drop a tiger into a court-bouillon

Bee Wilson: Mesopotamian cookery, 6 October 2005

The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia 
by Jean Bottéro, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan.
Chicago, 134 pp., £16, May 2004, 0 226 06735 1
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... whether other Roman cooks would have found his advice sensible or strange. Was he more like Delia Smith or Heston Blumenthal (the chef at the Fat Duck and practitioner of molecular gastronomy)? We know that the book was used over several centuries, but we do not know how it compared with other cookbooks, such as that of Paxamus, which hasn’t survived, never ...

The One-Eyed World of Germaine Greer

Brigid Brophy, 22 November 1979

The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work 
by Germaine Greer.
Secker, 373 pp., £12.50, November 1979, 1 86064 677 8
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... committed by men seem not to be sins at all when committed by women. Ms Greer relates that Matthew Smith is recorded to have married a fellow painter. ‘We hear nothing more of her,’ says Ms Greer accusingly. A few pages on, Ms Greer herself tells us that the new ‘wife’ who ‘sweetened the last months of Rosa Bonheur’s life’ was her fellow painter ...

Redheads in Normandy

R.W. Johnson: The 1997 election, 22 January 1998

The British General Election of 1997 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 343 pp., £17.50, November 1997, 0 333 64776 9
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Labour's Landslide 
by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge.
Manchester, 211 pp., £40, December 1997, 0 7190 5159 2
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Britain Votes 1997 
edited by Pippa Norris and Neil Gavin.
Oxford, 253 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 9780199223220
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Collapse of Stout Party: The Decline and Fall of the Tories 
by Julian Crtitchley and Morrison Halcrow.
Gollancz, 288 pp., £20, November 1997, 0 575 06277 0
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Les Election Legislatives, 25 Mai-1er Juin 1997: Le president desavoue 
Le Monde, 146 pp., frs 45, June 1998Show More
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... that politics is often funny. Critchley bids an appalled farewell to his colleagues, ‘Mother’ Teresa Gorman, ‘Little Norm’ Lamont, ‘Big Norm’ Tebbit and all the rest: John Carlisle, the right-wing MP for Luton North, is vin de table ... I hope he will take up residence in a cardboard box in Luton Airport. Steve Norris, the party’s chief ...

Making a Mouth in a Contemptuous Manner

John Gallagher: Civility Held Sway, 4 July 2019

In Pursuit of Civility: Manners and Civilisation in Early Modern England 
by Keith Thomas.
Yale, 457 pp., £25, June 2018, 978 0 300 23577 7
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... it became central to English conceptions of their nation and its relation to the wider world. As Teresa Bejan showed in Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration (2017), we moderns are still wrestling with the implications of these 17th-century debates. For Thomas, when early modern people invoked civility, ‘they were implicitly articulating ...

Kinks and Convolutions

James Lasdun: GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS, 20 February 2020

Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope, Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church 
by Megan Phelps-Roper.
Riverrun, 289 pp., £14.99, October 2019, 978 1 78747 800 8
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... mark in their special way. ‘Two whores in a week!’ Gramps exulted after the deaths of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana a few days apart. In 1998 members travelled to Laramie, Wyoming to picket the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a gay student who had been tortured and beaten to death. It was their first funeral stunt, and its astounding cruelty (Shepard’s ...

As Many Pairs of Shoes as She Likes

Jenny Turner: On Feminism, 15 December 2011

... said she was ‘baffled’ by her own behaviour – she had a much nicer TV set at home. Shonola Smith, 22, pleaded guilty, along with her sister and a friend, to ‘entering’ Argos in Croydon: ‘The tragedy is that you are all of previous good character,’ the judge said, as he sentenced them to six months each. Chelsea Ives, the 18-year-old ‘shamed ...

An Infinity of Novels

Philip Horne, 14 September 1989

A Short Guide to the World Novel: From Myth to Modernism 
by Gilbert Phelps.
Routledge, 397 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 415 00765 8
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The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction 
by John Sutherland.
Longman, 696 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 582 49040 5
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The Haunted Study: A Social History of the English Novel 1875-1914 
by Peter Keating.
Secker, 533 pp., £30, September 1989, 0 436 23248 0
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... and individuals from fools and rogues, so that credit could be given where it was due: to George Smith for instance, as the ‘godfather to Esmond’, saving Thackeray from the scatty habits he lapsed into when he wrote for serialisation, and providing support for the more measured creation of an elegiac masterpiece. In the new Companion the half-dozen ...

‘It was everything’

Eliot Weinberger: The Republican Convention, 11 August 2016

... a dictator’ and should be impeached. She told an NRA convention that she’d take up her Smith & Wesson against the government ‘should they decide that my rights are no longer important’, and thinks states should be free to nullify federal laws. She is an Agenda 21 conspiracist and believes that George Soros and the United Nations want to move ...

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