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Fit only to be a greengrocer

E.S. Turner, 23 September 1993

Rider Haggard and the Lost Empire 
by Tom Pocock.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £20, August 1993, 0 297 81308 0
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... a week out of the national climb-down? Rider Haggard’s career has already attracted biographers. Tom Pocock, while never losing sight of the man as literary phenomenon, concentrates on his half-forgotten role as visionary of Empire. Here is the man who saw in the Zulus the makings of English gentlemen (which was more than could be said for the ...

Journos de nos jours

Anthony Howard, 8 March 1990

Alan Moorehead 
by Tom Pocock.
Bodley Head, 311 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 370 31261 9
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Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir 
by Carl Bernstein.
Macmillan, 254 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 333 52135 8
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Downstart 
by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... age of the war correspondent as buccaneer. Although he was not at all his way inclined, it was Tom Driberg who described him (perhaps unguardedly) as ‘a trim, slight figure, dark and jaunty, with steady eyes, a scornful passionate lip and a certain ruthless charm’. Interestingly, his appeal was not universal, even among newspapermen. When he worked ...

Great Encounters

Patrick O’Brian, 11 January 1990

The Price of Admiralty 
by John Keegan.
Hutchinson, 292 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 09 173771 0
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... written about by great numbers of very well qualified people, from Clarke and McArthur in 1809 to Tom Pocock in 1988: this imposing mass of books, together with the place of Nelson and of the battle in the English tradition, have caused John Keegan to approach the subject with awe, and awe alas has led to a stilted, almost official kind of writing. For ...

White Peril

E.S. Turner: H. Rider Haggard, 20 September 2001

Diary of an African Journey (1914) 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Hurst, 345 pp., £20, August 2001, 1 85065 468 9
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... did not live to see the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps and Greenmantle go out and govern Canada. Tom Pocock gave a good account of his career in Rider Haggard and the Lost Empire (reviewed here 23 September 1993). The Diary of an African Journey tells how, in 1914, Haggard accompanied the Dominions Royal Commission on the second stage of its ...
Western Political Thought in the Face of the Future 
by John Dunn.
Cambridge, 120 pp., £8.50
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... been answered in recent decades by a series of dazzling academic performances: Plamenatz, Berlin, Pocock, Shklar, Wolin, Schaar, and more recently Kelly, Taylor, Ryan, Skinner and Simonds. It is a mark of John Dunn’s distinction that this is the company in which he belongs. But in one crucial way he has outstripped his peers. For he has begun to show ...

At the Fairground

Tom Nairn, 20 March 1997

Republics, Nations and Tribes 
by Martin Thom.
Verso, 359 pp., £45, July 1995, 1 85984 020 5
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... Nations and Tribes is an easy intellectual stroll. Dominated recently by the writings of J.G.A. Pocock, the history of Early Modern ideas is notoriously a zone of intricate and ambiguous exploration: the borderland of the modern age, a shadow-time entre loup et chien where nothing was in its own estimation the way it now appears to us. This book raises the ...

Coy Mistress Uncovered

David Norbrook, 19 May 1988

Dragons Teeth: Literature in the English Revolution 
by Michael Wilding.
Oxford, 288 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 19 812881 9
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Apocalyptic Marvell: The Second Coming in 17th-Century Poetry 
by Margarita Stocker.
Harvester, 381 pp., £32.50, February 1986, 0 7108 0934 4
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The Politics of Mirth: Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Marvell, and the Defence of Old Holiday Pastimes 
by Leah Marcus.
Chicago, 319 pp., £23.25, March 1987, 0 226 50451 4
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Milton: A Study in Ideology and Form 
by Christopher Kendrick.
Methuen, 240 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 416 01251 5
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... show where republicanism ended up; Aubrey himself disliked this tactic, and felt that the poem ‘Tom May’s Death’ came down too hard on its victim. This injustice may not disprove Marvell’s authorship of that controversial text, but subsequent critics have been too ready to take such glib dismissals of the republicans at face value. As can be seen in ...

Public Works

David Norbrook, 5 June 1986

The Faber Book of Political Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 481 pp., £17.50, May 1986, 0 571 13947 7
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... permeated English literary criticism and education like a syrupy drug ... ’ Yes, this is Tom Paulin speaking. Readers of the London Review will remember the review of a collection of essays on Geoffrey Hill in which he bitterly attacked the conservatism of English poetry and criticism. Indignant correspondents retorted that Paulin’s literary ...

Upper and Lower Cases

Tom Nairn, 24 August 1995

A Union for Empire: Political Thought and the Union of 1707 
edited by John Robertson.
Cambridge, 368 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 521 43113 1
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The Autonomy of Modern Scotland 
by Lindsay Paterson.
Edinburgh, 218 pp., £30, September 1994, 0 7486 0525 8
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... chapters are concerned with the operations of that wily English rogue Daniel Defoe, and John Pocock delivers a thoughtful contribution on the relationship of the Union to the American Revolution. But the book’s two key items are Robertson’s own articles, particularly the second, ‘An Elusive Sovereignty’, in which he traces the course of the ...

Tolerant Repression

Blair Worden, 10 May 1990

Thomas Starkey and the Commonweal 
by Tom Mayer.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £32.50, April 1989, 0 521 36104 4
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Politics and Literature in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 317 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 631 13566 9
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The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Portraits at the Court of Henry VIII 
by Retha Warnicke.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 521 37000 0
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English Travellers Abroad 1604-1667 
by John Stoye.
Yale, 448 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 300 04180 2
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... the age of Harrington and Nevile and Milton and Algernon Sidney – but less so in the 16th. John Pocock, the masterly expositor of the tradition, barely mentions Starkey. The Dialogue was not published until the 19th century. Was it known after its author’s death? Gordon Zeeveld argued, in Foundations of Tudor Policy, that the Marian theorist John Ponet ...

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