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At the Barbican

Liz Jobey: Strange and Familiar , 2 June 2016

... the years visiting photographers have only reinforced the national stereotypes: the nanny, the butler, the toff, the man in the bowler hat, the black-faced miner, the snot-nosed child, the woman in rollers and a headscarf, the brass band, the council estate, the corner shop, each one as emblematic as the Union Jack and the London bus. The German-born ...

Perpetual Sunshine

David Cannadine, 2 July 1981

The Gentleman’s Country House and its Plan, 1835-1914 
by Jill Franklin.
Routledge, 279 pp., £15.95, February 1981, 0 7100 0622 5
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... the gunroom and the conservatory. And below stairs there was a parallel proliferation, as the butler came to preside over a pantry, a strongroom, a lamp room, a brushing room, a brewhouse and a coalhouse, the housekeeper supervised the stillroom and the laundry, and the cook controlled the kitchen, the scullery and the larders. The climax of this ...

Jane Austen’s Latest

Marilyn Butler, 21 May 1981

Jane Austen’s ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ 
edited by Brian Southam.
Oxford, 150 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 19 812637 9
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... as to maximise its literary importance. All Southam’s principal deductions are supported by Lord David Cecil, in a foreword written with that critic’s customary charm, his inimitable blend of middlebrow thoughts in upper-class tones. Though he cavils gently at Jane Austen’s taste for Grandison (‘I cannot help sympathising a little with Miss Andrews in ...

Grounds for Despair

John Dunn, 17 September 1981

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory 
by Alasdair MacIntyre.
Duckworth, 252 pp., £24, July 1981, 0 7156 0933 5
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... Peacock is partly mocking Edmund Burke’s famous rhapsody over Marie Antoinette, as Marilyn Butler points out in her recent Peacock Displayed, but his heart is evidently with Anthelia. There is nonetheless some force to Mrs Pinmoney’s reply. What makes Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue such an exciting book is the intensity with which he feels the ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann, 7 January 1999

John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... family home of Fieldhead on the Thames. It is an autumn or winter evening after tea, for James the butler has been in to draw the blinds and close the curtains, and my father is reading under a green-shaded lamp. He has said a good deal already – the little boy who wants to be like his father, the sheltered child who doesn’t need to know the time or even ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... Memorial published in 1950, where Christopher Hussey, in his 600-page biography, and A. S. G. Butler, in his three volumes of plans, plates and commentary, acclaimed our Ned as ‘the greatest artist in building whom Britain has produced’. Lutyens’s star was already in eclipse when this multi-tomed tomb was being constructed. In 1931, he had ...

Queen Croesus

David Cannadine, 13 February 1992

Royal Fortune: Tax, Money and the Monarchy 
by Phillip Hall.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1133 0
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... Civil List of the present queen was being negotiated, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, R.A. Butler, blandly announced in the Commons that she was ‘naturally’ free of tax. And so successful had the monarchy been in concealing these recent changes in its tax status, that there was no one who could gainsay him: it was simply taken for granted that ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories, 24 January 2013

The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... promptly finished off by the Suez fiasco of 1956. The next decade witnessed efforts to prevent Rab Butler – variously chancellor of the exchequer, home secretary, foreign secretary, party chairman and deputy prime minister, but also a ‘man of Munich’, i.e. an appeaser, and, possibly worse, a non-Etonian intellectual – succeeding to the Tory ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... how carefully Lawrence refuses to recognise virtue in anyone but himself’), and his sponsor David Pryce-Jones now finds F.R. Leavis much the same, so it may be legitimate to cite the famous excoriation of Bloomsbury that was voiced by Lawrence and amplified by Leavis: ‘they talked endlessly, but endlessly – and never, never a good thing said. They ...

More or Less Gay-Specific

David Halperin, 23 May 1996

by Leo Bersani.
Harvard, 208 pp., £15.95, April 1995, 0 674 40619 2
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... as well as answered in detail – by the very theorists whom Bersani criticises. Thus, Judith Butler, one of his prime targets, wondered as early as 1989 whether it isn’t ‘politically ... crucial to insist on lesbian and gay identities precisely because they are threatened with erasure and obliteration from homophobic quarters?’ Isn’t my ...

Action and Suffering

Marilyn Butler, 16 April 1981

Ideas and the Novel 
by Mary McCarthy.
Weidenfeld, 121 pp., £4.95, February 1981, 9780297778967
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... but it would be more accurate to describe him as the ‘evil genius’ of his brother-in-law David Séchard, printer, inventor, mere technician and thus true man of the 19th century, who pays dearly for being over-impressed by Lucien’s intellectuality. ‘His fatal, innocent error is to suppose that Lucien’s lofty gift is superior to his modst ...

Keeping up with Jane Austen

Marilyn Butler, 6 May 1982

An Unsuitable Attachment 
by Barbara Pym.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £6.95, February 1982, 0 333 32654 7
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... Certainly they have so far been more gallant and vociferous than women in championing her. Lord David Cecil, John Bayley and Philip Larkin have paid her tribute as a superb observer of comic detail, and as the delineator of a world, the Anglican parish, which has a Betjemanesque charm. The article which can perhaps claim to have ‘discovered’ her, by ...

Wordsworth and the Well-Hidden Corpse

Marilyn Butler, 6 August 1992

The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... whose recent work is shown to supports hers are Marc Shell, Kurt Heinzelman, Jerome Christensen, David Simpson, Heather Glen, Paul Magnuson, Lucy Newlyn, Raimonda Modiano and Alan Liu. Titles which reflect their common interests include Heinzelman’s The Economics of Literature and Modiano’s ‘The Ethics of Gift Exchange and Literary Ownership’. To ...

Priapus Knight

Marilyn Butler, 18 March 1982

The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751-1824 
edited by Michael Clarke and Nicholas Penny.
Manchester, 189 pp., £30, February 1982, 0 7190 0871 9
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... the ‘principles and practice’ of the leading painter of the French Revolution, Jacques-Louis David, as he was of Repton and Brown. In discussions of painting Knight professed himself a colourist. He disliked the contemporary fashions for heroic subjects, statuesque figures, the rigidities of planar composition and line, while he praised painters like ...

Advised by experts

David Worswick, 21 December 1989

The Economic Section, 1939-1961: A Study in Economic Advising 
by Alec Cairncross and Nita Watts.
Routledge, 372 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 03173 7
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The Robert Hall Diaries. Vol. I: 1947-1953 
edited by Alec Cairncross.
Unwin Hyman, 400 pp., £40, May 1989, 9780044452737
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... is coincidence that of the three Chancellors who appear in this volume – Cripps, Gaitskell and Butler – it was Gaitskell, himself a professional economist, with whom Hall found it hardest to establish rapport. The system described here is one of ministers as laymen advised by experts. How the system works when ministers already know, or think they ...

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