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Stephen Smith: What’s become of Barings?, 23 March 1995

... keyboards, only more so. The equatorial air itself feels charged, on-line. It’s hot enough to fry an egg on a car bonnet, but you suspect that there are parts of downtown where the ambient microwaves could do the job while the egg-carton was still in the boot. Ubiquitous, sleek apartment blocks suggest North Korea finally in possession of concrete ...


Stephen Sedley: Judge Dredd, 7 June 2007

... Silva’s café, where the cook, Romano, does breakfasts a piacere and, for those who want them, fry-ups to die from. For all its fixed furniture and leatherette upholstery, the café, now in the family’s second generation, has weathered all the well-heeled competition which periodically moves into the street. Romano’s eyes lit up when I asked him last ...

Born to Lying

Theo Tait: Le Carré, 3 December 2015

John le Carré: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Bloomsbury, 652 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 2792 5
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... the public author: his successes, his reviews, his celebrity friendships (with Alec Guinness and Stephen Fry), his celebrity spats (with Salman Rushdie). There is little about his son from his second marriage, Nicholas (who writes as Nick Harkaway), and practically nothing about his relationships with his three sons from the first marriage. We’re told ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1996, 2 January 1997

... must have seemed bright, and when things did alter it was practically overnight. 10 February. When Stephen Fry took off last year I came in for one or two of the jobs he’d been contracted to do, notably a couple of voice-overs for children’s cartoons. Telephoned by the same company last week I agree to do another in a Posy Simmons animated film about ...


Theodore Zeldin, 26 October 1989

Pan Encyclopedia 
edited by Judith Hannam.
Pan, 608 pp., £8.99, August 1989, 9780330309202
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Longman Encyclopedia 
edited by Asa Briggs.
Longman, 1179 pp., £24.95, September 1989, 0 582 91620 8
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International Encyclopedia of Communications: Vols I-IV 
edited by Erik Barnouw.
Oxford, 1913 pp., £250, April 1989, 0 19 504994 2
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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives 
edited by Francis Robinson.
Cambridge, 520 pp., £30, September 1989, 0 521 33451 9
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Concise Encyclopedia of Islam 
by Cyril Glass.
Stacey International, 472 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 905743 52 0
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The World’s Religions 
by Ninian Smart.
Cambridge, 576 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 521 34005 5
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The New Physics 
edited by Paul Davies.
Cambridge, 516 pp., £30, March 1989, 0 521 30420 2
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The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopedia 
by H.R. Loyn.
Thames and Hudson, 352 pp., £24, May 1989, 0 500 25103 7
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China in World History 
by S.A.M. Adshead.
Macmillan, 432 pp., £35, June 1988, 0 333 43405 6
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... popular English vocabulary) live in a separate world in this country. It judges that Christopher Fry has a place in conversation, but not Roger Fry, nor Elizabeth Fry. The spy Fuchs has a substantial entry, but whereas the Macmillan Encyclopedia adds ‘his motives were ...

Why we have them I can’t think

Rosemary Hill: ‘Mrs Woolf and the Servants’, 16 August 2007

Mrs Woolf and the Servants: The Hidden Heart of Domestic Service 
by Alison Light.
Fig Tree, 376 pp., £20, August 2007, 978 0 670 86717 2
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... limit to what she can achieve’ as a writer, is more debatable. Born in 1882, the young Virginia Stephen grew up in a society in which service, either giving or receiving it, was the defining relationship of domestic life, particularly for women. By 1850, Light tells us, 80 per cent of servants were female and they were mostly answerable to the mistress of ...

No Clapping

Rosemary Hill: The Bloomsbury Memoir Club, 17 July 2014

The Bloomsbury Group Memoir Club 
by S.P. Rosenbaum, edited by James Haule.
Palgrave, 203 pp., £20, January 2014, 978 1 137 36035 9
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... the Second World War. The first and most enduring members were Molly and Desmond MacCarthy, Roger Fry, Maynard Keynes, Vanessa and Clive Bell, Duncan Grant, the Woolfs, Lytton Strachey and Forster. Mary Hutchinson and Sydney Waterlow were also invited but fell by the wayside. Even by Bloomsbury standards it was an exclusive set. The members were all related ...

Sexual Politics

Michael Neve, 5 February 1981

Edward Carpenter, 1844-1929: Prophet of Human Fellowship 
by Chushichi Tsuzuki.
Cambridge, 237 pp., £15, November 1980, 0 521 23371 2
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... Broad Church network, and eventually to a fellowship in that college, newly relinquished by Leslie Stephen. In June 1870, he was ordained by the Bishop of Ely, and got to know F.D. Maurice, Professor of Moral Philosophy and proponent of Christian Socialism. Carpenter was also friendly with Henry Fawcett and the mathematician W.K. Clifford (not R.K., as Tsuzuki ...

Almighty Gould

Roy Porter, 23 April 1987

Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time 
by Stephen Jay Gould.
Harvard, 219 pp., £15.50, May 1987, 0 674 89198 8
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... seriously, and that is why it is especially pleasing that so distinguished a scientist as Stephen Jay Gould has chosen to take up the cudgels in the cause of demythologising the history of geological time. What makes his book so stimulating – apart from the fact that this volume is every bit as energetic, engaging and expert as the other half-dozen ...

Through the Trapdoor

Jeremy Harding: Walter Benjamin’s Last Day, 19 July 2007

The Narrow Foothold 
by Carina Birman.
Hearing Eye, 29 pp., £7, August 2006, 9781905082100
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... to escape through Spain. Both were in contact with the Emergency Rescue Committee set up by Varian Fry, an enigmatic, daring young American who saved the lives of many illustrious figures, including Chagall, Ernst and Arendt. Fittko and Birman don’t appear to have met in 1940. Fittko remained in Marseille long enough to realise that escape via the port was ...

The West dishes it out

Patrick Wormald, 24 February 1994

The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonisation and Cultural Change 950-1350 
by Robert Bartlett.
Allen Lane, 432 pp., £22.50, May 1993, 0 7139 9074 0
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... found in skulls from excavated Baltic battlefields; the family tree linking up the reforming Pope Stephen IX, the lower Lorraine dukes who founded the kingdom of Jerusalem, the redoubtable Countess Mathilda of Tuscany, and Count Eustace of Boulogne, who had some right to think that he might have been Edward the Confessor’s heir; there is much, much more of ...


Richard Lloyd Parry: Alex Garland, 15 October 1998

The Beach 
by Alex Garland.
Penguin, 439 pp., £5.99, June 1997, 0 14 025841 8
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The Tesseract 
by Alex Garland.
Viking, 215 pp., £9.99, September 1998, 0 670 87016 1
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... threads. The two young lovers first meet when Lito points out to Rosa another deformity, a fish fry with two tails attached to a single body. In the first section, Don Pepé’s driver remembers an act of extreme cruelty perpetrated by the mestizo’s father, who punished one of his plantation workers by forcing him to amputate his own hands. The book is ...

The Crowe is White

Hilary Mantel: Bloody Mary, 24 September 2009

Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 249 pp., £19.99, June 2009, 978 0 300 15216 6
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... them boldness, boosting a man with false courage so that ‘lyke a bedlem madman he feareth not to fry.’ The devil looks forward to taking eternal possession of the depraved soul as he burns: the condemned man ‘lepeth like a flounder out of the frying pan of temporal death into the perpetual and unquenchable fier of God’s justice’. Despite his careful ...


Melanie McFadyean: In the Wrong Crowd, 25 September 2014

... in before it’s too late but you can never be sure that’s going to happen.’ As well as small fry like Conteh, the law catches big fish like Gary Dobson and David Norris. Although neither of them was found guilty of carrying out the stabbing that killed Stephen Lawrence when they were finally tried in 2011, new ...

Cubist Slugs

Patrick Wright: The Art of Camouflage, 23 June 2005

DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature – Military – Culture 
DPM, 2 vols, 944 pp., £100, September 2004, 9780954340407Show More
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... to his discovery: ‘Wars are only a means of publicising the thing already accomplished.’ Stephen Kern has pointed out that the Cubist quality of camouflage was quite widely perceived during the war. The artist Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola, who was one of the forces behind France’s camouflage initiative, claimed to have used Cubist means to ...

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