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In Praise of Middle Government

Ian Gilmour, 12 July 1990

Liberalisms. Essays in Political Philosophy 
by John Gray.
Routledge, 273 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 415 00744 5
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The Voice of Liberal Learning: Michael Oakeshott on Education 
edited by Timothy Fuller.
Yale, 169 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04344 9
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The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott 
by Paul Franco.
Yale, 277 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04686 3
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by Ted Honderich.
Hamish Hamilton, 255 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12999 0
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... The collapse of the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the dire condition of the Soviet Union have left Socialism almost irredeemably discredited. Understandably, the recent Labour policy document tactfully avoided the subject. Such reticence is of course nothing new. Unlike Continental parties, even the old ILP kept ‘Socialist’ out of its title to avoid offending the workers; and the Labour election programme of 1929, largely drafted by Tawney, did not mention the word ‘socialism ...

Chemical Common Sense

Miroslav Holub, 4 July 1996

The Same and Not the Same 
by Roald Hoffmann.
Columbia, 294 pp., $34.95, September 1995, 0 231 10138 4
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... more are in the New Age style or promoting New Age ideology. There are also essays by Proust and Timothy Leary and some Freudian texts. Between them, these dominate the list and are the most visible volumes of non-fiction in the windows of every bookseller. Newspapers carry only an occasional article on popular subjects such as a new comet or an old virus ...
Rationalism in Politics, and Other Essays 
by Michael Oakeshott, edited by Timothy Fuller.
Liberty, 556 pp., $24, October 1991, 0 86597 094 7
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... A few months alter the fall of Margaret Thatcher, the most original thinker of post-war Conservatism died. Perhaps partly because of the commotion caused by the change of national leadership, the passing of Michael Oakeshott did not attract much public notice. Even the Spectator, which might have been expected to mark the event with a full salute, ignored it for half a year, before carrying a curiously distracted piece by its editor, reporting strange losses in the philosopher’s papers, without so much as mentioning his political ideas ...


Pat Rogers, 6 November 1986

Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in 18th-Century Imagery 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 139 pp., £29.50, May 1986, 0 19 817371 7
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Augustan Studies: Essays in honour of Irvin Ehrenpreis 
edited by Douglas Lane Patey and Timothy Keegan.
University of Delaware Press, 270 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 9780874132724
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The 18th Century: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1700-1789 
by James Sambrook.
Longman, 290 pp., £15.95, April 1986, 0 582 49306 4
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... divinity.’ Equally, his discussion of the familiar contest between tragic and comic muses makes fuller sense of the celebrated picture of Garrick, caught on the horns of an agreeably pressing dilemma. It will be apparent from the quotations that the team of translators who worked on this essay has managed to produce a style that is not only good English in ...

Back to the Wall

Nicholas Penny, 21 September 1995

In Perfect Harmony: Picture and Frame 1850-1920 
edited by Eva Mendgen.
Reaktion, 278 pp., £45, May 1995, 90 400 9729 1
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... the catalogue of the Metropolitan’s exhibition of Italian Renaissance frames is dedicated, or Timothy Newbery, who is one of its co-authors. Dealers have also mounted small scholarly exhibitions in both London and Paris. The most splendid of all recent books on frames, La Cornice italiana: dal Rinascimento al Neo Classico (Electa, 1992), which reproduces ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle, 2 November 2000

Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... for stated reasons, and a comprehensive textual commentary is supplied. The annotation is much fuller than that in the World’s Classics edition which is its only rival. In the face of all this it seems ungracious to grumble at Carlyle’s Dryasdust editors or to poke fun at the triumph of computerisation in producing a new edition of this supremely ...

A History of Disappointment

Jackson Lears: Obama’s Parents, 5 January 2012

The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father 
by Sally Jacobs.
Public Affairs, 336 pp., £20, July 2011, 978 1 58648 793 5
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A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother 
by Janny Scott.
Riverhead, 384 pp., £18.99, May 2011, 978 1 59448 797 2
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... so swiftly. From the moment he announced his staff and cabinet appointments (Rahm Emanuel, Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates et al) it was clear that Obama meant to play by the same Washington rules that created the policy disasters he inherited from George W. Bush. Obama had retreated into politics as usual. He never ...

Impossible Wishes

Michael Wood: Thomas Mann, 6 February 2003

The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann 
edited by Ritchie Robertson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £45.50, November 2001, 9780521653107
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Hermann Kurzke, translated by Leslie Willson.
Allen Lane, 582 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 7139 9500 9
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... the characterisation in the major novels.’ In the same volume there is a fierce essay by Timothy Buck on the insufficiencies of Helen Lowe-Porter’s translations of Mann’s writing, and even of the recent versions of Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain by John Woods. The failings are apparently mostly lexical and syntactical: ‘Knopf have once ...

Lace the air with LSD

Mike Jay: Brain Warfare, 4 February 2021

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control 
by Stephen Kinzer.
Henry Holt, 384 pp., £11.99, November 2020, 978 1 250 76262 7
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... fiction and espionage. Kinzer retells many of Marks’s stories, but organises them around the fuller, though still partial, biographical picture of Gottlieb that has emerged since his death in 1999. The result is a bustling narrative that sets MK-Ultra in its institutional framework of federal government, the military and the intelligence ...

My Year of Reading Lemmishly

Jonathan Lethem, 10 February 2022

... The book manages to anticipate or pre-empt, among others, Donna Haraway, Richard Dawkins, Timothy Morton and whole shelves of cyberpunk fiction and object-oriented ontology. Lem should have been recognised as a great futurologist, though the book’s density and dry wit would never have sold like Buckminster ...


Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... The audience is very responsive, and it’s the only occasion in my experience that the lesson (Timothy West and Ecclesiastes) is given a round of applause. The best speech, regrettably, is David Frost’s, the best anecdote that Ned, questioned about the young man he had brought with him to supper, said: ‘If pressed, I would have to say he’s a Spanish ...

After Kemal

Perry Anderson, 25 September 2008

... as such has gained much praise both in Europe and in Turkey’. Its findings can be imagined. A fuller handbook is offered by the Federal Trust’s volume The EU and Turkey: A Glittering Prize or a Millstone? (2005). No rewards for guessing the answer, but as one glowing prospectus follows another, with a decorous sprinkling of ifs and buts, more candid ...

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