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With a Titter of Wit

Colin Kidd: Wholly Ulsterised, 6 May 2021

Deniable Contact: Back-Channel Negotiation in Northern Ireland 
by Niall Ó Dochartaigh.
Oxford, 306 pp., £75, March, 978 0 19 289476 2
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... isn’t clear that British politicians appreciated these nuances, though some officials, including Michael Oatley, the MI6 man on the ground, certainly did. The principal IRA objective was an invitingly lowish hurdle, and should have been seen as such: ‘an acknowledgment of the right of the Irish people to determine their own future without interference from ...

Walking in high places

Michael Neve, 21 October 1982

The Ferment of Knowledge: Studies in the Historiography of 18th-Century Science 
edited by G.S. Rousseau and R.S. Porter.
Cambridge, 500 pp., £25, November 1980, 9780521225991
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Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin 
by Thomas McFarland.
Princeton, 432 pp., £24.60, February 1981, 0 691 06437 7
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Poetry realised in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Early 19th-Century Science 
by Trevor Levere.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £22.50, October 1981, 0 521 23920 6
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Coleridge 
by Richard Holmes.
Oxford, 102 pp., £1.25, March 1982, 0 19 287591 4
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Young Charles Lamb 1775-1802 
by Winifred Courtney.
Macmillan, 411 pp., £25, July 1982, 0 333 31534 0
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... here, because studies in Romanticism can take advantage of exactly the breakdown in traditional, Reynolds-like arrangements that ‘Romantic’ figures sought. Neutrality of tone, orthodox narrative, even biography, simply conceived – these will never find their object, when looking at, and estimating, Romantic questions. Take Keats. What would Keats have ...

The Forty Years’ Peace

Keith Kyle, 21 October 1993

The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications, Reconsiderations and Provocations 
by John Lewis Gaddis.
Oxford, 301 pp., £19.50, July 1992, 0 19 505201 3
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Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953-71 
by Douglas Brinkley.
Yale, 429 pp., £22, February 1993, 0 300 04773 8
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The Quest for Stability: Problems of West European Security 1918-1957 
edited by Rolf Ahmann, A.M. Birke and Michael Howard.
Oxford, 546 pp., £50, June 1993, 0 19 920503 5
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... in practice, and in any case an immense task of sorting, translating, and analysing lies ahead. Michael Howard, for instance, in a characteristically crisp introduction to The Quest for Stability, asks the basic question whether at the end of the Second World War Stalin actually aspired to global hegemony. This, he says, ‘we shall be able to tell only ...

Standing on the Wharf, Weeping

Greg Dening: Australia, 25 September 2003

The Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia 
by John Gascoigne.
Cambridge, 233 pp., £45, September 2002, 0 521 80343 8
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Looking for Blackfella’s Point: An Australian History of Place 
by Mark McKenna.
New South Wales, 268 pp., £14.50, August 2002, 0 86840 644 9
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Words for Country: Landscape and Language in Australia 
by Tim Bonyhady and Tom Griffiths.
New South Wales, 253 pp., £15.50, October 2001, 0 86840 628 7
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The Land Is a Map: Placenames of Indigenous Origin in Australia 
edited by Luise Hercus, Flavia Hodges and Jane Simpson.
Pandanus, 304 pp., AUS $39.95, October 2002, 1 74076 020 4
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... and does not want to go away, water is central to visions of the dry land. When the historian Michael Cathcart, then a student, asked a university research committee for a Land Rover to do ‘fieldwork’, he was asked by those who thought the vehicle should be used for more scientific purposes: ‘What are you collecting?’ ‘Adjectives,’ Cathcart ...

The view from the street

John Barrell, 7 April 1994

Hogarth. Vol. I: The ‘Modern Moral Subject’, 1697-1732 
by Ronald Paulson.
Lutterworth, 411 pp., £35, May 1992, 0 7188 2854 2
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... tradition of 18th-century theory, as produced by Shaftesbury, Jonathan Richardson and Sir Joshua Reynolds. He can also be argued to have challenged, more directly than anyone else, the supremacy of history painting in the hierarchy of genres adhered to by that official theory. He was always willing to turn his hand to history painting, in his version of the ...

Why Christ is playing with the Magdalene’s Hair

Nicholas Penny: Correggio, 2 July 1998

Correggio 
by David Ekserdjian.
Yale, 334 pp., £45, January 1997, 0 300 07299 6
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The ‘Divine’ Guido 
by Richard Spear.
Yale, 436 pp., £40, January 1997, 0 300 07035 7
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... with any taste for the visual arts could call it to mind. Northcote, who had been a pupil of Reynolds and remembered the conversation of Reynolds’s friends, reported that Garrick used to say of this picture ‘that the Saint resembled a satyr, and that the child was like a monkey’. But, Northcote added, ‘there is ...

Van Diemonians

Inga Clendinnen: Convict Culture in Tasmania, 4 December 2008

Van Diemen’s Land: A History 
by James Boyce.
Black, 388 pp., £20.75, February 2008, 978 1 86395 413 6
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... decade of settlement, with Collins dead, opinions and divisions hardened. The one-time highwayman Michael Howe, who called himself the ‘lieutenant governor of the woods’, had carved out a fiefdom through his control of access to the grasslands, in covert league with leading men in the colony and with a tough squad of convict bushmen to back him. He also ...

How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending, 20 February 2020

Conclusions 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
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... undistracted by ambition. Boorman may be the most inspired and wayward of English directors since Michael Powell.Not that Powell would have attempted Point Blank. Not that anyone in 1967 had reason to think that a young Englishman raised on the leafy edges of south London (Carshalton, and later Shepperton) would know how to go to Los Angeles (and San ...

Old Stragers

Pat Rogers, 7 May 1981

The Garrick Stage: Theatres and Audience in the 18th Century 
by Allardyce Nicoll.
Manchester, 192 pp., £14.50, April 1980, 0 7190 0768 2
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The Kemble Era: John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons and the London Stage 
by Linda Kelly.
Bodley Head, 221 pp., £8.50, April 1980, 0 370 10466 8
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Early English Stages 1300 to 1660: Vol. 3: Plays and their Makers to 1576 
by Glynne Wickham.
Routledge, 357 pp., £14.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0218 1
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... her brother, with his poor singing voice, ‘murdering’ Grétry – the word is the Irish tenor Michael Kelly’s – and we witness a number of total theatrical flops, which have always provided good copy for the annalist. Of course, it is all very much in the anecdotal line. Is it any the worse for that? Ms Kelly is not writing for a specialist ...

Dream Ticket

Peter Shore, 6 October 1983

The Diary of Hugh Gaitskell 1945-1956 
by Philip Williams.
Cape, 720 pp., £25, September 1983, 0 224 01911 2
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... defendant and Gaitskell as Treasury prosecutor. No one who has served in a Cabinet (including Mr Michael Heseltine today) would fail to recognise the reality of the problem and, given the political sensitivity of the National Health Service in the Labour Party (or of defence in the Conservative Party), its explosive potential. Bevan first fought a successful ...

Crotchet Castles

Peter Campbell, 6 December 1984

William Kent 
by Michael Wilson.
Routledge, 276 pp., £30, July 1984, 0 7100 9983 5
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James Gibbs 
by Terry Friedman.
Yale, 362 pp., £40, November 1984, 0 300 03172 6
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Sir John Soane, Architect 
by Dorothy Stroud.
Faber, 300 pp., £32, May 1984, 9780571130504
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The Later Paintings and Drawings of John Constable 
by Graham Reynolds.
Yale, 880 pp., £140, October 1984, 0 300 03151 3
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... architecture at the Royal Academy, on the post-professional side. The careers Dorothy Stroud and Michael Wilson describe in their new biographies of Soane and Kent illustrate the division. James Gibbs had a more complete architectural education – in Rome – than any of his British contemporaries. He was a Catholic, and his career suffered because of ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... subject comes up all over the place. Even in élite platoons some sections are better than others. Michael Howard (‘Churchill and the First World War’), F.H. Hinsley (... and the Use of Special Intelligence), R.V. Jones, the happy beam-hunter of 1940 and premier intelligencer thereafter (... and Science), Norman Rose (and Zionism) and Roy Jenkins (the ...

Who was David Peterley?

Michael Holroyd, 15 November 1984

... of them, or of this book, anywhere. They do not appear in the biography of Arthur Machen by Aidan Reynolds and William Charlton, though Peterley Harvest has some vivid pages on Machen. From this biography, published three years after Peterley Harvest, the facts of Peterley’s narrative may be verified. There was, for example, a dinner held in Machen’s ...

1662

D.A.N. Jones, 5 April 1984

Old Catholics and Anglicans: 1931-1981 
edited by Gordon Huelin.
Oxford, 177 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 19 920129 3
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Anglican Essays 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 141 pp., £6.95, April 1983, 0 85635 456 2
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The Song of Roland 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 135 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 9780856354212
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The Regrets 
by Joachim du Bellay, translated by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 147 pp., £4.50, January 1984, 0 85635 471 6
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... to read ‘any’ of Baxter’s books, since ‘they are all good’; the doctor also admitted to Reynolds that in his own conversation he often used a ploy that Baxter used in his sermons, always to say one thing that was above the capacity of his audience – ‘and this I did that they might be kept humble!’ Baxter put difficult things even into his ...

Bringing Down Chunks of the Ceiling

Andy Beckett: Manchester, England: The Story of the Pop Cult City by Dave Haslam, 17 February 2000

Manchester, England: The Story of the Pop Cult City 
by Dave Haslam.
Fourth Estate, 319 pp., £12.99, September 1999, 1 84115 145 9
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... and all-connecting to pause and magnify. He cites all the other clever British pop authorities – Michael Bracewell, Jon Savage, Simon Reynolds – while replicating their tendency to jump frustratingly between subjects and stiffen up their sentences with jargon. Haslam’s footnotes, interestingly, are much more relaxed ...

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