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Wall of Ice

Peter Thonemann: Pattison’s Scholarship, 7 February 2008

Intellect and Character in Victorian England: Mark Pattison and the Invention of the Don 
by H.S. Jones.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £50, June 2007, 978 0 521 87605 6
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... It was very unfair to those young men.’ John Henry Newman’s conversion to the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 shattered the intellectual credit of the Oxford Movement. The long struggle – first from the pulpit of the University Church of St Mary, later through the radical pages of Tracts for the Times – to state the case for the Apostolic authority of the Anglican church had ended, as the Movement’s critics had always predicted, in total surrender to Catholic dogma ...

Who Will Lose?

David Edgar, 25 September 2008

Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future 
by Newton Minow and Craig LaMay.
Chicago, 219 pp., £11.50, April 2008, 978 0 226 53041 3
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... fabled three-hour tussles between the Illinois senatorial candidates Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln in 1858 (which certainly did involve direct confrontation), all on the single subject of slavery. In the 1920s, the League of Women Voters sponsored a ten-month series of radio debates, not between presidential candidates but between ...

One Enchanted Evening

J. Robert Lennon: Chris Adrian, 17 November 2011

The Great Night 
by Chris Adrian.
Granta, 292 pp., £16.99, June 2011, 978 1 84708 186 5
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... cast of characters includes, among many invented figures, reimagined versions of both Whitman and Lincoln. Adrian is willing to try anything, or perhaps compelled to try everything. His prose vacillates between stark beauty, as in a description of a photo of dead soldiers (‘their clothes can barely contain them. They lie along a fence in various ...

President Gore

Inigo Thomas: Gore Vidal, 10 May 2007

Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir, 1964-2006 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 278 pp., £17.99, November 2006, 0 316 02727 8
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... expanding it the better to coerce others, these are Vidal’s favourite subjects. His versions of Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Emperor Julian are all more or less dictatorial. ‘How candid I am,’ Vidal’s Julian says. ‘I have never admitted to anyone that in my first encounter with Constantius, all that I could think about was how much I should like ...

Racist Litter

Randall Kennedy: The Lessons of Reconstruction, 30 July 2020

The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution 
by Eric Foner.
Norton, 288 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 0 393 65257 4
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... array of reforms undertaken between 1863 and 1877 to refashion a fractured nation.In 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves then resident in jurisdictions involved in the rebellion against the federal government. Until this point, Lincoln had gone out of his way to make clear that ...

Remembering the taeog

D.A.N. Jones, 30 August 1990

People of the Black Mountains. Vol. II: The Eggs of the Eagle 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 330 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3564 6
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In the Blue Light of African Dreams 
by Paul Watkins.
Heinemann, 282 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 09 174307 9
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Friedrich Harris: Shooting the hero 
by Philip Purser.
Quartet, 250 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 7043 2759 7
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The Journey Home 
by Dermot Bolger.
Viking, 294 pp., £13.99, June 1990, 0 670 83215 4
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Evenings at Mongini’s 
by Russell Lucas.
Heinemann, 262 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 434 43646 1
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... The Path of the King, tracing ancestral virtues and vices from a Viking prince to Abraham Lincoln, taking in the depravities of Titus Oates. Even before reading these quite gripping books, we were vaguely acquainted, through schools, comics and movies, with the periods and principalities commemorated, and we were pleased to see them so imaginatively ...

Smelling the Gospel

Patrick Collinson, 7 March 1991

London and the Reformation 
by Susan Brigden.
Oxford, 676 pp., £55, December 1989, 0 19 822774 4
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... of historians elsewhere. So it was that a recent monograph on the Reformation in the diocese of Lincoln was hailed as a means of short-circuiting this endeavour. For was not that vast area equivalent to Middle England, as it were the Kansas and the conscience of the nation, where, if anywhere, the lowest common denominator of changing religious sentiment ...

No Casket, No Flowers

Thomas Lynch: MacSwiggan’s Ashes, 20 April 2006

Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation in 19th-Century England 
by Brian Parsons.
Spire, 328 pp., £34.95, November 2005, 1 904965 04 0
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... go for ever undetected if corpses were cremated. Parsons quotes a sermon given by the Bishop of Lincoln in Westminster Abbey on 5 July 1874: Brethren, more than fourteen hundred years have now passed away, since the flames of funeral piles, which once blazed in all parts of the Roman Empire, have been extinguished by Christianity. And now it is proposed by ...

If my sister’s arches fall

Laura Jacobs: Agnes de Mille, 6 October 2016

Dance to the Piper 
by Agnes de Mille.
NYRB, 368 pp., £11.99, February 2016, 978 1 59017 908 6
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... would marry their exploratory sensibilities. All these artists were struggling, in the words of Lincoln Kirstein, who co-founded the New York City Ballet, ‘to impose a native meaning on a recalcitrant alien dance tradition’. Agnes de Mille too broke through in the 1940s, with a ballet called Rodeo in 1942, its score commissioned from Copland. The ...

23153.8; 19897.7; 15635

Adam Smyth: The Stationers’ Company, 27 August 2015

The Stationers’ Company and The Printers of London: 1501-57 
by Peter Blayney.
Cambridge, 2 vols, 1238 pp., £150, November 2013, 978 1 107 03501 0
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... feeble: in 1509 they were conspicuous for not being among the 48 companies which took part in Henry VII’s funeral procession. By the 1530s, though, things were perking up, at least if we take the seating plan for a lord mayor’s feast as a marker of prominence in the City: four stationers shared a table with a mix of ...

The Corrupt Bargain

Eric Foner: Democracy? No thanks, 21 May 2020

Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? 
by Alexander Keyssar.
Harvard, 544 pp., £28.95, May, 978 0 674 66015 1
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Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College 
by Jesse Wegman.
St Martin’s Press, 304 pp., $24.50, March, 978 1 250 22197 1
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... who had come second to Andrew Jackson in both the popular and electoral votes, struck a deal with Henry Clay, who came fourth, giving Adams a majority of the House votes. Adams then named Clay his secretary of state. What Jackson’s supporters called the ‘corrupt bargain’ was precisely the kind of political manoeuvring the framers had hoped to ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: ‘Salt and Silver’, 21 May 2015

... Louis Daguerre announced his ability to ‘seize the light’, a claim soon rephrased by William Henry Fox Talbot as the art of ‘fixing a shadow’. As for 1865, it’s the year that marks, along with much else, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the end of the American Civil War, and the inauguration of ...

Bow. Wow

James Wolcott: Gore Vidal, 3 February 2000

Gore Vidal 
by Fred Kaplan.
Bloomsbury, 850 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 7475 4671 1
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... biography of Gore Vidal. Kaplan, a professor of English in New York whose taxidermies include Henry James, Dickens and Carlyle (they hardly get deader than Carlyle), understands that it’s much easier to get the paperwork done if you don’t have the living-breathing item second-guessing you at every turn or trying to use you as a ventriloquist’s ...

Through Trychay’s Eyes

Patrick Collinson: Reformation and rebellion, 25 April 2002

The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 232 pp., £16.95, August 2001, 0 300 09185 0
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... long term less than a total success. Margaret Bowker’s The Henrician Reformation: The Diocese of Lincoln under John Longland 1521-47 (1981) swung the debate like Middle America in a Presidential election, since this large swathe of rural England, extending from the Humber to the Thames, appeared to contain very little precocious Protestantism; while Susan ...

Beltz’s Beaux

D.A.N. Jones, 3 March 1983

Marienbad 
by Sholom Aleichem, translated by Aliza Shevrin.
Weidenfeld, 222 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 297 78200 2
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A Coin in Nine Hands 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Dori Katz.
Aidan Ellis, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 85628 123 9
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Entry into Jerusalem 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 172 pp., £7.50, January 1983, 0 09 150950 5
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People Who Knock on the Door 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 306 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 434 33521 5
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A Visit from the Footbinder 
by Emily Prager.
Chatto, 174 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 7011 2675 2
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Dusklands 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 125 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 9780436102967
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... her impressionist style. Her impression of screen-drama, when it was fairly new, is as fresh as Henry Green’s, in Living. An Italian girl watches a film in which the star, Algenib, is kissed by Lord Southsea in a smart uniform – and remembers that her own first lover was not English and wore no uniform, and how ashamed she was when she revealed the ...

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