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Donald Davie

21 March 1991
The Oxford Book of Essays 
edited by John Gross.
Oxford, 680 pp., £17.95, February 1991, 0 19 214185 6
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... Perhaps after all some things never change. More than fifty years ago I chose as a prize from Barnsley Grammar School a book called The 100 Best English Essays, edited by the Earl of Birkenhead. (And who was he, I now wonder.) This book was very important in my education, not just for style but for substance too; and I reproach myself for having, not many years ago, let it go out of my ...
14 September 1989
Churchill: 1874-1922 
by Frederick Earl​ of Birkenhead, edited by Sir John Colville.
Harrap, 552 pp., £19.95, August 1989, 0 245 54779 7
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... Churchill died in 1968 when only the first two of these had been published. The Trustees of the Chartwell Papers then invited Martin Gilbert to complete this multi-volume work, and the second Earl of Birkenhead to complement it with a one-volume Life. While Martin Gilbert and his team were at work Lord Birkenhead was to be the only other person given access to the Chartwell Papers: his book ...

Lord Bounder

David Cannadine

19 January 1984
F.E. Smith, First Earl​ of Birkenhead 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 918 pp., November 1983, 0 224 01596 6
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... Chancellors have rivalled the renown and repute of Campbell’s greatest hits: W.S. Gilbert’s rich comic creation in Iolanthe, a susceptible insomniac who married a fairy; and F.E. Smith, first Earl of Birkenhead, whose appointment to the Woolsack was denounced by the Morning Post as ‘carrying a joke too far’. FE’s life was shamelessly, successfully and simultaneously devoted to self ...


A.J.P. Taylor: Books are getting too long

1 December 1983
... moment had arrived when I could get on with some other writing or even read a book for pleasure. I rejoiced too soon. What awaits me today? A book of virtually nine hundred pages on F.E. Smith, first Earl of Birkenhead, by John Campbell, has appeared on my desk this morning. John Campbell has written first-rate biographies. I even have a vague recollection that F.E. Smith, Lord Birkenhead, was once a ...
18 December 1980
John Betjeman’s Collected Poems 
compiled by the Earl​ of Birkenhead.
Murray, 427 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 7195 3632 4
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Church Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 63 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 7195 3797 5
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... In Anthony Burgess’s latest novel, Earthly Powers, there is a parody of a Betjeman poem. Thus kneeling at the altar rail We ate the word’s white papery wafer. Here, so I thought, desire must fail, My chastity be never safer. But then I saw your tongue protrude To catch the wisp of angel’s food. In a brilliant piece of word play the angel food cake of the children’s tea-party becomes the Host ...

Persons Aggrieved

Stephen Sedley

22 May 1997
... of the game laws to outlaw spring guns and mantraps by penalising the landowners or the gamekeepers who set them – in contrast to the Scottish judiciary, who in 1827 upheld the conviction of the Earl of Home’s gamekeeper for murder by the setting of a spring gun, refusing to look at a contrary opinion of the English Attorney-General. Indeed, on more than one occasion in the past, the judges ...

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