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Miriam Griffin, 13 February 1992

Cicero the Senior Statesman 
by Thomas Mitchell.
Yale, 345 pp., £22.50, May 1991, 0 300 04779 7
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Cicero the Politician 
by Christian Habicht.
Johns Hopkins, 148 pp., £17.50, April 1990, 9780801838729
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... and that the Romans did not just copy Greek sculpture and architecture but also transformed them. Thomas Mitchell’s detailed and fully documented account of the last twenty years of Cicero’s life, which aims to combine the story of his career with ‘a comprehensive discussion of the political ideas and events that helped to shape it’, is thus ...

Alan Bennett remembers Peter Cook

Alan Bennett, 25 May 1995

... the golf in Hong Kong, one thinks of one of the stock characters in an old-fashioned Western, Thomas Mitchell, say in John Ford’s Stagecoach, the doctor who’s always to be found in the saloon and whose allegiance is never quite plain. Seldom sober, he is cleverer than most of the people he associates with, spending his time playing cards with the ...

Roman History in Chains

Fergus Millar, 19 June 1980

Romans and Aliens 
by J.P.V.D. Balsdon.
Duckworth, 310 pp., £18, August 1979, 0 7156 1043 0
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Pompey: A Political Biography 
by Robin Seager.
Blackwell, 209 pp., £12, August 1979, 0 631 10841 6
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The Gracchi 
by David Stockton.
Oxford, 251 pp., £9.50, October 1979, 0 19 872104 8
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Cicero: the Ascending Years 
by Thomas Mitchell.
Yale, 257 pp., £11, September 1979, 0 300 02277 8
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Clio’s Cosmetics: Three Studies in Greco-Roman Literature 
by T.P. Wiseman.
Leicester University Press, 209 pp., £13, November 1979, 0 7185 1165 4
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... geographical or intellectual. Something of the latter is provided, rather surprisingly, by Thomas Mitchell’s Cicero: The Ascending Years. The title arouses foreboding, apparently justified by the first few pages and their obsessive use of those Latin catch-words (dignitas, nobilitas, amicitia, adfinis, potentia, principes familiarum) with which ...

Happier Days

Rosalind Mitchison, 4 April 1991

Scottish Voices 1745-1960 
by T.C. Smout and Sydney Wood.
Collins, 334 pp., £16.95, August 1990, 0 00 215190 1
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... mostly memoirs and mostly familiar to historians. Old friends include George Robertson, Joseph Mitchell, Thomas Somerville and Ramsay of Ochtertyre. The accounts are separated into themes, such as school, factory and mine, leisure, crime (though none of the memorialists claim active participation in this). The excerpts ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington, 30 November 2006

State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... complex beside the Potomac. It was about one of the building’s better-known residents, Martha Mitchell, wife of then US attorney general John Mitchell, soon to leave that post to become head of Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President, better remembered as Creep. The story doesn’t reveal much about Woodward ...

All I Can Stand

Thomas Powers: Joseph Mitchell, 18 June 2015

Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Thomas Kunkel.
Random House, 384 pp., £22.50, April 2015, 978 0 375 50890 5
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... Joseph Mitchell​ of Fairmont, North Carolina lived one of the classic American lives: dreamy boy in a Southern town with a mother interested in the finer things, read a zillion books in college following no particular plan, decided he was going to get a newspaper job in New York City and become a writer, and by God did ...

In the dark

Philip Horne, 1 December 1983

The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
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Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
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... he knew; and of the moving scene in which Cary Grant lights a cigarette for his dying friend Thomas Mitchell and goes slowly outside that Hawks’s brother died in a frying accident. It is hard to define the difference this makes. In Hitchcock’s work, the extraordinary three-minute scene where Norman Bates mops, scrubs and wipes up the bathroom ...

Scribbling Rascal

Leslie Mitchell, 1 August 1996

John Wilkes 
by Peter D.G. Thomas.
Oxford, 280 pp., £25, March 1996, 0 19 820544 9
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... misplaced desire to tease. John Wilkes met all these criteria, and was therefore much loved. Peter Thomas has produced the first serious study of Wilkes for some years. This neglect is surprising, in that Wilkes was the quintessential English Radical. With few teeth, a pronounced lisp and one of the most famous squints in history, he leers out of Hogarth’s ...

Outfoxing Hangman

Thomas Jones: David Mitchell, 11 May 2006

Black Swan Green 
by David Mitchell.
Sceptre, 371 pp., £16.99, May 2006, 0 340 82279 1
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... David Mitchell’s first book, Ghostwritten (1999), which describes itself as ‘a novel in nine parts’, is a collection of loosely interconnected stories. The protagonist of one will have a walk-on role in the next; a minor character from someone else’s story will later reappear as the narrator of their own. The first narrator is a member of a Japanese doomsday cult, the perpetrator of a poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway, now on the run in Okinawa ...


William Thomas, 16 October 1980

Holland House 
by Leslie Mitchell.
Duckworth, 320 pp., £18, May 1980, 9780715611166
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Genius in the Drawing-Room 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 188 pp., £8.50, May 1980, 9780297777700
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... liberalism would have written an important book. At first sight, this seems to be what Leslie Mitchell has set out to do. His title suggests a book about the house and its role, not a mere biographical study of its two most famous occupants. He writes of the house as if it had views and opinions of its own. He prefers a thematic to a chronological ...

Anxiety of Influx

Tony Tanner, 18 February 1982

Plotting the Golden West: American Literature and the Rhetoric of the California Trail 
by Stephen Fender.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £15, January 1982, 0 521 23924 9
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Witnesses to a Vanishing America: The 19th-Century Response 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Princeton, 320 pp., £10.70, July 1981, 9780691064611
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... a final jump – through the paper hoop of Norman Mailer’s ‘faction’ – into the company of Thomas Pynchon and Thomas Berger. One of his propositions is that ‘as far as the intellectuals are concerned, the prophecy that a literature of the West would emerge to liberate America from European and ...

Recurring Women

Danny Karlin: Emily Dickinson, 24 August 2000

The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition 
edited by R.W. Franklin.
Harvard, 1654 pp., £83.50, October 1998, 9780674676220
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The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition 
edited by R.W. Franklin.
Harvard, 692 pp., £19.95, September 1999, 0 674 67624 6
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Emily Dickinson: Monarch of Perception 
by Domhnall Mitchell.
Massachusetts, 352 pp., £31.95, March 2000, 1 55849 226 7
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... Dickinson replicate her self-image, like a virus taking over the natural function of a cell. When Thomas Johnson published The Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1955, it was thought that her texts had finally been restored to the state in which, had she agreed to be published at all, she would have wanted them to be read. Not a bit of it. Argument has continued ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Alastair Campbell, Good Bloke, 18 March 2004

... the audience. The exchange was mediated by Ross Kemp, the ersatz hard man who used to play Grant Mitchell in EastEnders and is married to Rebekah Wade, the editor of the Sun. Kemp congratulated the heckler on having exercised her freedom of speech, then told her to get out. ‘And I thought I was hard,’ Campbell said. Someone asked if he was still writing ...

Looking back

Hugh Thomas, 7 July 1983

The Spanish Civil War 
by David Mitchell.
Granada, 208 pp., £9.95, December 1982, 0 246 11916 0
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... published by Granada publishers to capitalise on the success of the series. The author is David Mitchell, a writer not previously known in this field. His mission was to incorporate, not only the material used in the television series, but the numerous other interviews which the producers could not use. Granada’s publicity team add the quite false ...

Britten when young

Frank Kermode, 29 August 1991

Letters from a Life: The Selected Letters and Diaries of Benjamin Britten Vol. I 1923-39, Vol. II 1939-45 
edited by Donald Mitchell and Philip Reed.
Faber, 1403 pp., £75, June 1991, 9780571152216
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... he was 17, Britten went to church in Lowestoft and heard ‘quite a fine sermon’ by the Rev. Thomas Henry Stanley, who was standing in for the incumbent, the Rev. William Reeve. Reeve was away – in case you care, he was in Blankenberghe, Belgium. On August Bank Holiday in that year Britten went to see a show with Paul Robeson in it; a supporting act ...

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