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8 October 1992
Handel’s ‘Messiah’: A Celebration 
by Richard Luckett.
Gollancz, 258 pp., £18.99, April 1992, 0 575 05286 4
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The Rise of Musical Classics in 18th-Century England: A Study in Canon, Ritual and Ideology 
by William Weber.
Oxford, 274 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 816287 1
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... a very short life – I suppose fifty years was the maximum. The question of how the performance of early music came about – in short, of how works were collected into a canon – is addressed by WilliamWeber in The Rise of Musical Classics in 18th-century England. Strictly, the classics did not rise: the notion was invented, as Weber notes. Public music in England (tabors, crumhorns and shawms ...

Gang of Four

Christopher Driver

22 December 1983
The String Quartet: A History 
by Paul Griffiths.
Thames and Hudson, 240 pp., £12, October 1983, 9780500013113
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Gyorgy Ligeti 
by Paul Griffiths.
Robson, 128 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 86051 240 1
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... step to pass from this reading of the quartet-writers’ genealogical tree before and after 1800 to an assumption that, without Haydn, no similar seedling would have taken root in soil so fertile. WilliamWeber in his Music and the Middle Class (1975) quotes two pertinent comments by different writers about Austrian society in the 1820s and 1830s:   To play is their pride, and in that consists ...

Anti-Magician

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Max Weber

27 August 2009
Max WeberA Biography 
by Joachim Radkau, translated by Patrick Camiller.
Polity, 683 pp., £25, January 2009, 978 0 7456 4147 8
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... More than most, Max Weber’s reputation reflects the aspirations of others. His wife, Marianne, did much to establish it in Germany, rapidly turning his articles and drafts into books and writing a biography. Liberal émigr ...

The Politics of Good Intentions

David Runciman: Blair’s Masochism

8 May 2003
... interests,’ he continued, ‘it is something, in so striking and significant a manner, for a great nation to have vindicated the higher principles of humanity.’ The Leader of the Opposition, William Gladstone, seconding Disraeli’s vote of thanks to the troops who had pulled off this masterly campaign, could only acquiesce. Unfortunately, however, Disraeli meant by the purity of his purpose ...
26 September 2019
... each other across the dispatch box in the House of Commons. The differences between these men go well beyond policy or ideology; they reach into more basic questions of human psychology and what Max Weber called the ‘vocation’ of politics. Corbyn, of course, never wanted to lead anything, let alone the country. It wasn’t until the age of 66, when it was ‘his turn’ to stand as the left-wing ...

Do you Floss?

Lawrence Lessig: The sharing economy

18 August 2005
The Success of Open Source 
by Steven Weber.
Harvard, 312 pp., £19.95, August 2004, 0 674 01292 5
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Democratising Innovation 
by Eric von Hippel.
MIT, 208 pp., £19.95, May 2005, 0 262 00274 4
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... books help us understand these sharing economies better. They’re the beginning of an important trend in social research that governments, and corporations, would be wise to keep track of. Steven Weber’s The Success of Open Source explores the economy that has produced the ‘open source’ and ‘free software’ movements. Eric von Hippel’s Democratising Innovation looks at an economy ...

The Old Question

W.G. Runciman

19 February 1987
The Sources of Social Power. Vol I: A History of Power from the Beginning to AD 1760 
by Michael Mann.
Cambridge, 549 pp., £37.50, July 1986, 0 521 30851 8
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... own damaging criticisms on major points. But it would have been perfectly plausible to claim that Mann succeeds in carrying a perceptible way forward the same intellectual enterprise to which Weber’s posthumous treatise is addressed. Although Mann’s treatment suffers from a number of serious and even crippling defects, they are not fatal: 541 pages on, despite some alarming bumps and ...

How to Write It

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: India after Independence

20 September 2007
India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy 
by Ramachandra Guha.
Macmillan, 900 pp., £25, April 2007, 978 0 230 01654 5
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The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence and India’s Future 
by Martha Nussbaum.
Belknap, 403 pp., £19.95, June 2007, 978 0 674 02482 3
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... It may seem perverse to begin an essay on India by invoking a historian of France: Eugen Weber, who died this year, a colleague of mine and a formidable presence at UCLA. He wrote a book in 1976 on how France became a proper nation by transforming ‘peasants into Frenchmen’. But the Weber...
22 January 1981
Presbyteries and Profits: Calvinism and the Development of Capitalism in Scotland 1506-1707 
by Gordon Marshall.
Oxford, 406 pp., £18, September 1980, 0 19 827246 4
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The Jacobite Risings in Britain, 1689-1746 
by Bruce Lenman.
Eyre Methuen, 300 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 413 39650 9
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... It is over seventy years since Max Weber put forward the thesis that the Protestant ethic was closely linked to the ethos of capitalism, a thesis which has inspired a long-standing debate among historians. In the cases held to support the ...

Tod aus Luft

Steven Shapin: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber

26 January 2006
Between Genius and Genocide: The Tragedy of Fritz Haber, Father of Chemical Warfare 
by Daniel Charles.
Cape, 313 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 224 06444 4
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... nitrates from saltpetre deposits in the deserts of Chile. But by the end of the 19th century, it was looking as if both of these sources would soon be exhausted. In 1898, the English chemist William Crookes sounded a Malthusian alarm: the world’s population, he said, would very soon outstrip its food supply. This was a global crisis in the making, but, Crookes warned, it was especially acute ...
1 July 1982
Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World 
by Elizabeth Young-Bruehl.
Yale, 563 pp., £12.95, May 1982, 0 300 02660 9
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Hannah Arendt and the Search for a New Political Philosophy 
by Bhikhu Parekh.
Macmillan, 198 pp., £20, October 1981, 0 333 30474 8
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... heart attack in 1974 while delivering the Gifford Lectures at Aberdeen (she had to send out a research student to find out what her invitation referred to, and accepted it only when she learned that William James had been there before her, with his Varieties of Religious Experience). The lectures were subsequently put together, after her death in 1975, by Mary McCarthy, as The Life of the Mind. The ...
21 January 1988
The Culture of Capitalism 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 254 pp., £19.50, August 1987, 0 631 13626 6
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... casus belli in the war of Macfarlane versus Lawrence Stone, R.H. Tawney, Rodney Hilton, George Homans, Christopher Hill, C.H. Wilson, C.B. Macpherson (and long-dead greats such as Tocqueville, Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Tonnies) is his answer to the question of why fully-fledged industrial capitalism first took off in England. This has usually been thought to be the same question as ‘how did England ...

Secret Purposes

P.N. Furbank

19 September 1985
Defoe and the Idea of Fiction: 1713-1719 
by Geoffrey Sill.
Associated University Presses, 190 pp., £16.95, April 1984, 0 87413 227 4
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The Elusive Daniel Defoe 
by Laura Curtis.
Vision, 216 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 85478 435 7
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Dofoe’s Fiction 
by Ian Bell.
Croom Helm, 201 pp., £17.95, March 1985, 0 7099 3294 4
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Realism, Myth and History in Defoe’s Fiction 
by Maximillian Novak.
Nebraska, 181 pp., £21.55, July 1983, 0 8032 3307 8
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... has all of its intellectual impact and verve. The trouble is, I now find myself wanting to quarrel with almost every sentence in it. The problem is perhaps epitomised by Watt’s dependence on Max Weber, who, I increasingly think, had quite a genius for getting things wrong. Watt, speaking of Crusoe’s methodical book-keeping, quotes Weber on ‘profit-and-loss book-keeping’ being ‘the ...

Lost in the Woods

Nicholas Penny: Victorian fairy painting

1 January 1998
Victorian Fairy Painting 
edited by Jane Martineau.
Merrell, 200 pp., £25, November 1997, 1 85894 043 5
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... Huskisson’s Come unto These Yellow Sands are among the most exquisite and sensuous in British art, combining the vitality of Fuseli’s libidinous acrobats with the pearly translucence and sheen of William Etty’s bottom-heavy models. Mid-19th-century paintings of fairies are also distinguished by a disregard for orthodox spatial organisation and by a compositional intricacy which is often ...

Middle American

Edmund Leach

7 March 1985
Margaret Mead: A Life 
by Jane Howard.
Harvill, 527 pp., £12.95, October 1984, 0 00 272515 0
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With a Daughter’s Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson 
by Mary Catherine Bateson.
Morrow, 242 pp., $15.95, July 1984, 0 688 03962 6
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... to Bateson’s ‘ill-fated master’s thesis’ which ‘nobody seemed to care about’. At pages 171-2, 184, 201-2 it is implied that in 1935 Fortune and Bateson were in competition for a ‘William Wyse Studentship, a Cambridge University research grant’, which was awarded to Bateson. Also at page 172 we learn that ‘in 1947 Fortune returned to Cambridge University as a lecturer at Wolfson ...

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