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The Whale Inside

Malcolm Bull: How to be a community, 1 January 2009

Bíos: Biopolitics and Philosophy 
by Roberto Esposito, translated by Timothy Campbell.
Minnesota, 230 pp., £14, April 2008, 978 0 8166 4990 7
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... No man is an island; unless, Donne might have added, he becomes a whale: ‘Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were.’ But even if the whole feels the loss of a part, the part may not feel the loss of the whole. It is what happens to the clod or the promontory that counts, and in his earlier poem about metempsychosis, ‘The Progress of the Soul’, Donne describes the soul entering a whale so vast that it is as if ‘seas from Afric’s body had severed/And torn the hopeful promontory’s head’ (the Cape of Good Hope), allowing it to swim off into the southern ocean ...

Bachelor Life

Peter Campbell, 28 January 1993

Delacroix 
by Timothy Wilson-Smith.
Constable, 253 pp., £16.95, October 1992, 0 09 471270 0
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... and political connections which were so distinctively of the French 19th century in character that Timothy Wilson-Smith’s biography leaves the British reader feeling around for something familiar to get a grip on. Perhaps one should first rid oneself of the idea that Delacroix’s Anglophilia is going to be any help, and assume that England, as much as ...

You Know Who You Are

Colin Kidd: About Last Year, 25 January 2018

Fall Out: A Year Of Political Mayhem 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 559 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 0 00 826438 3
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... May as a “captive” or “prisoner”’ of her former joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. Boris Johnson, letting off steam after a tough session at Number Ten with the chiefs of staff, alluded to Hill’s crusading work against people trafficking: ‘That’s modern slavery, right there.’ Under May the Blairite informality of ...

Problems

Peter Campbell, 1 October 1981

Early Disorder 
by Rebecca Josephs.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 186 pp., £5.50, September 1981, 0 571 12031 8
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A Star for the Latecomer 
by Bonnie Zindel.
Bodley Head, 186 pp., £3.95, March 1981, 0 370 30319 9
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Catherine loves 
by Timothy Ireland.
Bodley Head, 117 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 370 30292 3
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Jacob have I loved 
by Katherine Paterson.
Gollancz, 216 pp., £4.95, April 1981, 0 575 02961 7
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... How many books have I read? Two hundred, three hundred, five hundred …? I could compile a list. But what would it tell me? What I know? What I have forgotten? What I was? What I wanted to be? What my mother and father wanted and expected and expect me to be? Millions of Cats, Goodnight Moon, Caps for Sale, Where the wild things are, The Blue Fairy Book, The Red Fairy Book, The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book, Stuart Little, The Secret Garden, The Borrowers, The Little Prince, Member of the Wedding, Gigi, Lord of the Flies, Return of the Native … This is Willa, the 15-year-old narrator of Early Disorder, looking at her bookshelf and wondering if you are what you read ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Stanley Spencer, 19 April 2001

... out to make money in the 1930s. But also the nude double portraits of himself and Patricia Preece. Timothy Hyman’s catalogue essay (both his essay and Patrick Wright’s add a great deal to the exhibition’s success) is marked by an ability to sort out the seriously impressive and the absurd in Spencer’s work, without failing to see the absurdity of some ...

Short Cuts

Duncan Campbell: Courthouse Hotel, 20 May 2021

... trousers was remanded for reports.At last, the list-caller, Angela Georgiou, told the magistrate, Timothy Workman: ‘With sadness, I call your last case ever at Bow Street, sir.’ The honour fell to a 32-year-old Scot from Kirkcaldy, who had breached an Asbo (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) – he was found in possession of a bottle of red wine and some ...

Hot Fudge

Jane Campbell, 19 October 1995

Moo 
by Jane Smiley.
Flamingo, 414 pp., £15.99, May 1995, 9780002252355
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... detain the chairman in her bed when he should be going home to his family. Her sometime lover is Timothy Monahan, a charming, opportunistic English professor and novelist, for whom other people’s dinner-table reminiscences are details to be appropriated for his next novel. The dean of the college, Ivar Harstad, and his brother Nils are known as ‘the ...

The Thing

Alan Ryan, 9 October 1986

Whitehall: Tragedy and Farce 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 256 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 241 11835 2
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On the Record. Surveillance, Computers and Privacy: The Inside Story 
by Duncan Campbell and Steve Connor.
Joseph, 347 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 7181 2575 4
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... Ponting assaults the entire political and administrative apparatus, retail and in gross, while Campbell and Connor go for the army of snoopers and data-gatherers. What they share is a thought which would have shocked a previous generation of political commentators – the thought that the British Civil Service is absolutely not to be trusted, that the ...

Figures in Rooms, Rooms with Figures

Peter Campbell: Bonnard, 19 March 1998

Bonnard 
by Timothy Hyman.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £7.95, February 1998, 0 500 20310 5
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Bonnard 
by Sarah Whitfield and John Elderfield.
Tate Gallery, 272 pp., £35, June 1998, 1 85437 243 2
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... was 16) and secretive – only when they finally married in 1925 did he find out her real name. Timothy Hyman quotes descriptions of her: ‘a touchy elf’, ‘muse and gaoler’, ‘an uneasy tormenting sprite’, a person with a ‘persecution complex’ who didn’t want other painters visiting Bonnard to ‘steal his tricks’. She had a ‘weirdly ...

Brief Shining Moments

Christopher Hitchens: Donkey Business in the White House, 19 February 1998

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 746 pp., $30, February 1998, 0 684 80819 6
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-64 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 416 pp., September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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The Dark Side of Camelot 
by Seymour Hersh.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £8.99, February 1998, 9780006530770
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Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson , Bobby Kennedy and the Feud that Defined a Decade 
by Jeff Shesol.
Norton, 591 pp., £23.50, January 1998, 9780393040784
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The Year the Dream Died 
by Jules Witcover.
Warner, 512 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 446 51849 2
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Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon and the Crimes of Camelot 
by Jerry Zeifman.
Thunder's Mouth, 262 pp., $24.95, November 1996, 9781560251286
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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Howard, 740 pp., £23.50, September 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection 
edited by David Barrett.
Texas A & M, 906 pp., $94, June 1997, 0 89096 741 5
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Taking Charge: The Johnson Whitehouse Tapes 1963-64 
edited by Michael Beschloss.
Simon and Schuster, 624 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 684 80407 7
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Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes 
edited by Stanley Kutler.
Free Press, 675 pp., $30, November 1997, 0 684 84127 4
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The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957-63 
by Philip Nash.
North Carolina, 231 pp., £34.70, October 1997, 0 8078 4647 3
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... required of him. He forgot to confide in Arthur Schlesinger, but Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, in their authoritative ‘One Hell of a Gamble’, also state plainly that ‘the Kennedy Administration had expected Castro to die before he could rally support for destroying the invasion.’ The ‘expect’ bit did not depend on the advice of ...

How frightened should we be?

John Lloyd, 10 February 1994

Russia 2010 
by Daniel Yergin and Thane Gustafson.
Random House, 302 pp., $32, October 1993, 0 679 42995 6
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What About the workers: Workers and the Transition to Capitalism in Russia 
by Simon Clarke.
Verso, 248 pp., £34.95, September 1993, 0 86091 650 2
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After the Soviet Union: From Empire to Nation 
edited by Timothy Colton and Robert Levgold.
Norton, 208 pp., $24.95, November 1992, 0 393 03420 8
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... The system, ‘totalitarianism harnessed to the task of economic growth’, as Robert Campbell described it twenty-five years ago, was considered something of a success around the world until the late Seventies – mainly because of its ability to reconstruct the economy after the war, on the basis of an industrial machine that was already in ...

Quashed Quotatoes

Michael Wood: Finnegans Wake, 16 December 2010

Finnegans Wake 
by James Joyce, edited by Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon.
Houyhnhnm, 493 pp., £250, March 2010, 978 0 9547710 1 0
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Joyce’s Disciples Disciplined 
edited by Tim Conley.
University College Dublin, 185 pp., £42.50, May 2010, 978 1 906359 46 1
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... figure from the nursery rhyme, not the philosopher of Through the Looking-Glass) or Timothy Finnegan’s, the labourer who slipped from a ladder and died; and whether the result is scrambled eggs or resurrection. Finnegan wakes from his death at the sound of the word ‘whisky’, but he is soon put to sleep again. Things can certainly go either ...

Tantrums

C.K. Stead, 22 February 1996

Letters of Claire Clairmont, Charles Clairmont and Fanny Imlay Godwin 
edited by Marion Kingston Stocking.
Johns Hopkins, 704 pp., £45, May 1995, 0 8018 4633 1
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... plausibly, that Elena Adelaide was the child of Shelley and an Englishwoman, Adelaide Constance Campbell. This is very probably the hard fact behind the romantic and soft-focus tale Shelley told both Medwin and Byron about an English noblewoman, an admirer of his work, who fell in love with him and followed him around Europe. In Shelley’s version, which ...

Pull off my head

Patricia Lockwood: What a Bear Wants, 12 August 2021

Bear 
by Marian Engel.
Daunt, 176 pp., £9.99, April, 978 1 911547 94 5
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... is a chained-up bear: half-size, scraggly and dull in the eyes, kept alive on dog food. Homer Campbell, who runs the general store upriver and sells limp carrots to the locals, tells Lou there has always been one on the estate. As keeper of the house, as investigator of its long line of owners, it will also be her duty to care for this ...

What are we allowed to say?

David Bromwich, 22 September 2016

... of thousands), surveillance promotes safety for the sake of community. They are believers in what Timothy Garton Ash calls ‘a connected world’.Garton Ash is a classical liberal with hopes for the attainment of a culture of international tolerance and freedom. His book Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World has a good deal to say in passing ...

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