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Gentlemen Travellers

D.A.N. Jones, 15 September 1983

George Borrow: Eccentric 
by Michael Collie.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £19.50, November 1982, 0 521 24615 6
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A World of his Own: The Double Life of George Borrow 
by David Williams.
Oxford, 178 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 19 211762 9
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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East 
by Alexander Kinglake and Jan Morris.
Oxford, 279 pp., £2.95, November 1982, 0 19 281361 7
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by Alexander Kinglake and Jonathan Raban.
Century, 226 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 7126 0031 0
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... The cool, courteous Alexander Kinglake and the hot, contentious George Borrow are two of the best-liked and most influential travel writers of the 19th century. They were contemporaries for much of their long lives (Borrow died in 1881, aged 78, Kinglake in 1891, aged 82) but play very different roles in the 20th-century imagination ...


D.A.N. Jones: In Baghdad , 5 July 1984

... killed them all; another ugly tale about Caracalla is that he dug up, not far away, the grave of Alexander the Great (whom he much admired), found the body in good condition and broke off Alexander’s nose as a souvenir. It happens that I have written a play about Caracalla’s behaviour in North Britain, so I decided ...


Tobias Jones: On Chess, 5 June 1997

... They have no support from the state.’ Since the crown passed from the exiled Russian aristocrat, Alexander Alekhine, in 1946, only the iconic Bobby Fischer has wrested it from Russia. Chess is now practised by ominously boring people (like me) who recall classic encounters from centuries ago (Russell’s favourite is the so-called Pearl of Wijk aan Zee, a ...


Adam Mars-Jones: Paul Theroux, 25 January 2018

Mother Land 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 241 14498 5
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... and surly and spiteful’, and an eater of prunes because of ‘bowel worries’) from a review Alexander Theroux wrote of My Other Life. In Mother Land the casus belli is Jay’s telling their mother but not Floyd of his liaison with Melissa. In life it was perhaps the unflattering portrait of Anthony Burgess in My Other Life that riled ...

Naughty Children

Christopher Turner: Freud’s Free Clinics, 6 October 2005

Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice 1918-38 
by Elizabeth Ann Danto.
Columbia, 348 pp., £19.50, May 2005, 0 231 13180 1
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... of so long a contact with the hard surface,’ the analyst Richard Sterba recalled. In 1926 Ernest Jones set up a clinic on two floors of a town house in West London, with funding from an American industrialist, and Ferenczi initiated another a few years later in Budapest. ‘Eventually,’ Danto writes, ‘other psychoanalytic societies followed with ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis, 11 September 2008

... offers the poet and thinker. It is a representation that has more in common with the head of Alexander the Great on a coin, with Queen Elizabeth in any number of portraits, or Queen Victoria in the statues that stand on plinths in squares and parks all over her erstwhile empire than with a portrait like Sargent’s of Henry James, which encourages you to ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns, 11 December 1997

Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... King Wenceslas’ (by J.M. Neale), followed by ‘Once in royal David’s city’ (Mrs Alexander); ‘All things bright and beautiful’ (also Mrs Alexander) is less familiar than it used to be, but was once possibly the best known of all. The most famous American poem of the Victorian age is ‘Away in a ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... which is based on that radio programme, and stars Keira Knightley as the feminist historian Sally Alexander. It’s positioned – as Pride (2014) was to Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in the 1980s, and Made in Dagenham (2010) was to the Ford sewing machinists’ strike of 1968 – to allow viewers some minutes of unchallenging celebration that ...

Left with a Can Opener

Thomas Jones: Homer in Bijelo Polje, 7 October 2021

Hearing Homer’s Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry 
by Robert Kanigel.
Knopf, 320 pp., £28.95, April, 978 0 525 52094 8
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... King Alexander ​of Yugoslavia was assassinated in Marseille on 9 October 1934, alongside Louis Barthou, the French foreign minister. When the news reached Dubrovnik, the bells rang ‘all morning long’ according to a ten-year-old American girl staying in the city. ‘Everybody spoke in an undertone except the roosters and my brother ...

Prodigious Powers

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 21 January 1982

The Greeks and their Heritages 
by Arnold Toynbee.
Oxford, 334 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 19 215256 4
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... of independence: Toynbee casts a disapproving eye on the attempts of Rhegas Pheraios and Prince Alexander Ypsilantes. Skipping over the events which led to the establishment of a Greek kingdom, he moves from 1821 to 1921. Toynbee once more castigates the Greeks for having clung to ‘the Great Idea’: the hope of the reestablishment of something like the ...

Eminent Athenians

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 1 October 1981

The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain 
by Frank Turner.
Yale, 461 pp., £18.90, April 1981, 0 300 02480 0
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... was treated as a document of its own time only after the appearance of the first volume of Sir Alexander Grant’s commentary in 1857. Turner interestingly remarks that Grant’s questionable treatment of the concept of energeia seems to have influenced Pater, notably in the famous declaration that success in life involves burning with a hard, gemlike ...


Christopher Hitchens: Keywords, 13 September 1990

... but Insane’ was Ian Gilmour’s heading for his Spectator review of Michael Foot and Mervyn Jones, whose Suez book Guilty Men 1956 is still one of the best accounts of the collusion. The Spectator has often made trouble for the Tory leadership, with Iain Macleod’s bean-spiller on ‘The Magic Circle’ being the benchmark example until recently. Since ...


Christopher Hitchens: On the Original Non-Event , 20 April 1995

... her right. Perhaps she didn’t feel she had been well seated. Never mind; I was able to introduce Alexander Hitchens to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, both of whom were very nice to him, as was Jessica Lange and as were Uma Thurman and Oprah Winfrey. His only autograph refusal came from Jane Fonda. I was impressed by how many people didn’t go ...

Favourably Arranged

Claire Hall: Horoscopy, 20 May 2021

A Scheme of Heaven: Astrology and the Birth of Science 
by Alexander Boxer.
Profile, 336 pp., £12.99, January, 978 1 78125 964 1
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... generating large quantities of precise data for the astrologer to interpret.In A Scheme of Heaven, Alexander Boxer links ancient and medieval astrology not to modern newspaper horoscopes, but to data science. The task of astrologers was to draw patterns and narratives out of seemingly incomprehensible details: Boxer calls them the ‘quants and data scientists ...

Rich and Poor in the Ancient World

Fergus Millar, 17 June 1982

... after the war when he was a mature student at University College, London under the great A. H. M. Jones. Jones’s Athenian Democracy (1960) remains the best analysis (and defence) of that historic institution. De Ste Croix’s own Origins of the Peloponnesian War would have prepared us for the breadth of learning, the eye ...

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