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What killed the Neanderthals?

Luke Mitchell, 8 May 2014

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History 
by Elizabeth Kolbert.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 4088 5122 7
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... and for reasons unknown, had disappeared from the Earth, but his conjecture was widely rejected. Thomas Jefferson put forward the consensus view in 1781, in his Notes on the State of Virginia: ‘Such is the economy of nature, that no instance can be produced of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link ...

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Richard Jenkyns: George Grote’s ‘A History of Greece’, 9 August 2001

A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 BC 
by George Grote, edited by J.M. Mitchell and M.O.B. Caspari.
Routledge, 978 pp., £60, September 2000, 0 415 22369 5
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... of the strengths and failings popularly associated with Victoria’s reign. In that, he resembles Thomas Arnold, a year his junior: the first of Strachey’s ‘eminent Victorians’, he actually died less than five years into the Queen’s reign. But whereas Arnold was a liberal Anglican of passionate faith, Grote’s spiritual home is among the ...

Ravishing Atrocities

Patrick Maynard, 7 January 1988

Realism, Writing, Disfiguration: On Thomas Eakins and Stephen Crane 
by Michael Fried.
Chicago, 215 pp., £23.95, April 1987, 0 226 26210 3
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Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology 
by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 226 pp., £7.25, October 1987, 0 226 53229 1
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... impossible, hence painful, to look away from’. Just such a conflict, lying behind the realism of Thomas Eakins’s large portrait The Gross Clinic, forms the main topic of the first of the two essays which constitute Realism, Writing, Disfiguration. The picture was presented at Philadelphia in 1876, the year of the second Impressionist exhibition, which ...

No Trousers

Claude Rawson, 20 December 1990

The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Vol. VIII: The French Revolution 1790-1794 
edited by L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, March 1990, 0 19 822422 2
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Reflections on the Revolution in France 
by Edmund Burke, edited by J.G.A. Pocock.
Hackett, 236 pp., $5.95, January 1987, 0 87220 020 5
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APhilosophical Enquiry 
by Edmund Burke, edited by Adam Phillips.
Oxford, 173 pp., £4.95, June 1990, 0 19 281807 4
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... that ‘revolutions, or the calamities of kings have not formerly been odious to Mr Burke.’ Thomas Jefferson, who had been an eye-witness in Paris as Burke had not, declared that ‘the Revolution in France does not astonish me so much as the revolution of Mr Burke.’ Supporters of the Revolution like Paine and the Baron (‘Anacharsis’) Cloots had ...

Culture Wars

W.J.T. Mitchell, 23 April 1992

... and races were staged with unprecedented intensity in such media ‘events’ as the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, and the David Duke campaign. Conspiracy theories detailed the infiltration of American higher education by ‘politically correct’ militants, and lamented the takeover of the art world by feminists, homosexuals and ethnic ...

Comedy is murder

Thomas Powers: Joseph Heller, 8 March 2012

Just One Catch: The Passionate Life of Joseph Heller 
by Tracy Daugherty.
Robson, 548 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 1 84954 172 5
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Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller was Dad and Life was a Catch-22 
by Erica Heller.
Vintage, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2011, 978 0 09 957008 0
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... magazine pieces about one-book authors, a cautionary roster of the silent that included Margaret Mitchell, J.D. Salinger, Harper Lee and Ralph Ellison. Heller’s history reflected theirs – the dreams of youth and years of literary apprenticeship, a period of obsessed scribbling, enthusiasm from a publisher, a ripple of applause from the fraternity of ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: Peace in Our Lunchtime, 6 October 1994

... lunchtime when the IRA used an outsider to deliver explosives to a fish shop on the Shankill. Thomas Begley, who blew up 11 people including himself, had seldom ventured from his Nationalist neighbourhood in his 23 years. And he probably wouldn’t have got as far as he did if he hadn’t been smocked and gloved to look like someone who was in his element ...

The Biggest Rockets

Alex Ross: Gustav Mahler, 24 August 2000

Gustav Mahler. Vol. III. Vienna: Triumph and Disillusion (1904 to 1907) 
by Henry-Louis de La Grange.
Oxford, 1024 pp., £35, February 1999, 9780193151604
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The Mahler Companion 
edited by Donald Mitchell and Andrew Nicholson.
Oxford, 652 pp., £50, May 1999, 0 19 816376 2
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... Tenth also showed up at various times. The First and the Ninth came back at season’s end, while Thomas Hampson sang the complete Mahler songs. Each of the major works, then, was performed at least once, and it wasn’t even an anniversary year. Beethoven’s little things, by contrast, received, by my count, seven performances – by the Philharmonic and by ...

Glaswegians

Andrew O’Hagan, 11 May 1995

... other streets bordering the Gallowgate. One of those arrested along with the Campbells was James Mitchell, a 29-year-old known Republican who had been seen early in the afternoon of the shooting, using the telephone at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Buchanan Street. The taxi company of Messrs Wylie & Lochead received a telephone call from ...

Licence to kill

Paul Foot, 10 February 1994

Spider’s Web: Bush, Saddam, Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit 
by Alan Friedman.
Faber, 455 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 17002 1
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The Unlikely Spy 
by Paul Henderson.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1597 2
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... what became known as Supergun. At once they prosecuted the people they thought responsible: Peter Mitchell, managing director of the firm Walter Somers, which made the barrel, and a Bristol engineer, Chris Cowley, who had worked on the Supergun project in Iraq. The massive steel structures they had seized at Teesport provided Customs officers with the most ...

Fire the press secretary

Jerry Fodor, 28 April 2011

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind 
by Robert Kurzban.
Princeton, 274 pp., £19.95, January 2011, 978 0 691 14674 4
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... the works of a number of iconic figures of the time and in several different fields: one thinks of Thomas Kuhn, Norwood Hanson and Paul Feyerabend in philosophy and of the New Look psychology of Jerome Bruner and Mitchell Ash. The art historian Erwin Panofsky made much of it, and the popular press swallowed it whole. The ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... on the margin, is far from being a stranger to mainstream anthologies, while Basil Bunting, Dylan Thomas, Edwin Morgan, R.S. Thomas, Iain Crichton Smith, Thom Gunn, Hugh MacDiarmid and Norman MacCaig are unassailably part of our consciousness of the poetic landscape. Auden and MacNeice, too, though the omission in both ...

Drugs, anyone?

Seamus Perry: George Meredith, 18 June 2015

Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads 
by George Meredith, edited by Criscillia Benford and Rebecca Mitchell.
Yale, 390 pp., £40, April 2015, 978 0 300 17317 8
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... Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads is the awkwardly titled text that Rebecca Mitchell and Criscillia Benford have edited in handsome style. ‘Modern Love’ is a sort of dark sister-piece to the sunshine of ‘Love in a Valley’, and not at all what his contemporaries admired in him; as this edition demonstrates, the reviewers were ...

The Moronic Inferno

Martin Amis, 1 April 1982

The Dean’s December 
by Saul Bellow.
Secker, 312 pp., £7.95, March 1982, 0 436 03952 4
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... to his reality-level, his responsiveness to the accidental humour and freakish poetry of life. Thomas Pynchon uses names like Oedipa Maas and Pig Bodine (where the effect is slangy, jivey, cartoonish); at the other end of the scale, John Braine offers us Tom Metfield, Jack Royston, Jane Framsby (can these people really exist, in our minds or anywhere ...

To Be Worth Forty Shillings

Jonah Miller: Early Modern Inequality, 2 February 2017

Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status and the Social Order in Early Modern England 
by Alexandra Shepard.
Oxford, 357 pp., £65, February 2015, 978 0 19 960079 3
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... while less visible property could be discovered by asking ‘divers the neighbours of the said Thomas Grene what the said Thomas Grene is worth’. The system of circulating credit generated its own information about property. The witness who said John Tanner couldn’t ‘levye xx s’ claimed to know that because he ...

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