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Back to the futuh

Robert Irwin, 1 August 1996

The Middle East: 2000 Years of History from the Birth of Christianity to the Present Day 
by Bernard Lewis.
Weidenfeld, 433 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 297 81345 5
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... of Saladin’ has done the rounds and features in quite a number of popular illustrated books. In Anthony Bridge’s The Crusades the accompanying caption says: ‘This is thought to be a portrait of Saladin by an Egyptian artist of the Fatimid school, perhaps because the man portrayed appears to be blind in one eye, as was Saladin.’ Nice try, but there is ...

The Devilish God

David Wheatley: T.S. Eliot, 1 November 2001

Words Alone: The Poet T.S. Eliot 
by Denis Donoghue.
Yale, 326 pp., £17.95, January 2001, 0 300 08329 7
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Adam’s Curse: Reflections on Religion and Literature 
by Denis Donoghue.
Notre Dame, 178 pp., £21.50, May 2001, 0 268 02009 4
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... we can only speculate as to what continues to hold up publication of the second. Partisans of Anthony Julius’s 1995 study, T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form, will have reached their own conclusions. The anti-semitic charge was squatting awkwardly on Eliot’s reputation long before Julius’s book, but ...

Signs of spring

Anthony Grafton, 10 June 1993

The Portrayal of Love: Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ and Humanist Culture at the Time of Lorenzo the Magnificent 
by Charles Dempsey.
Princeton, 173 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 691 03207 6
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... had only ten months, and in which Aphrodite was clearly associated with April, Mercury with May. Julius Caesar’s reform of the calendar would have obscured these relationships, since it changed the relation of the calendar months to the seasons. In portraying them, accordingly, Botticelli showed formidable knowledge of history and antiquities. And in ...

Not Dead Yet

Anthony Grafton: Latin, 8 January 2015

Latin: Story of a World Language 
by Jürgen Leonhardt, translated by Kenneth Kronenberg.
Harvard, 352 pp., £22.95, November 2013, 978 0 674 05807 1
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... in Rome. I have heard them in the basement of Pompey’s theatre, singing about the career of Julius Caesar in Latin, to the tune of ‘My Darling Clementine’ – and seen them, on the Appian Way, reading Horace as he rails about the miseries of the journey to Brundisium. More than forty male students every year give up alcohol, drugs, tobacco and all ...

A Good Girl in Africa

D.A.N. Jones, 16 September 1982

Double Yoke 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Dgwugwu Afor, 163 pp., £3, September 1982, 0 9508177 0 8
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The Aerodrome 
by Rex Warner.
Bodley Head, 304 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 9780370309262
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AVery British Coup 
by Chris Mullin.
Hodder, 220 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 340 28586 9
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An Ice Cream War 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 370 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10868 3
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Tempting Fate 
by Michael Levey.
Hamish Hamilton, 220 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10801 2
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... school library, a book for girls like herself, not for brainless ninnies: it was Rex Warner’s Julius Caesar. The incident is recalled by Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome, another account of the clash between the messy, human values of the village and the deadly, idealistic standardisation imposed by the idea of progress, here represented by a dedicated Air ...


W.G. Runciman: Reflections on Tawney, 4 August 1988

... this either: as Beatrice Webb wrote in her diary after dining with the South African financier Sir Julius Wernher, ‘there might just as well have been a Goddess of Gold erected for overt worship.’ How well, then, does Tawney’s plea for equality stand up after fifty years? It has not been overtaken in the sense that his arguments have been more ...


Peter Burke, 15 October 1987

Patronage, Art and Society in Renaissance Italy 
edited by F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons.
Oxford/Humanities Research Centre, 331 pp., £35, June 1987, 0 19 821978 4
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Pienza: The Creation of a Renaissance City 
by Charles Mack.
Cornell, 250 pp., $43.95, June 1987, 9780801416996
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Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian and the Franciscans 
by Rona Goffen.
Yale, 285 pp., £30, July 1986, 0 300 03455 5
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Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance 
by Margaret King.
Princeton, 524 pp., £42.90, April 1986, 0 691 05465 7
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The Venetian Patriciate: Reality versus Myth 
by Donald Queller.
Illinois, 386 pp., $29.95, September 1986, 0 252 01144 9
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Tradesman and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250-c.1650 
by Richard MacKenney.
Croom Helm, 289 pp., £35, January 1987, 0 7099 1763 5
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Florence, Rome and the Origins of the Renaissance 
by George Holmes.
Oxford, 273 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 19 822576 8
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From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in 15th and 6th-Century Europe 
by Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £29.95, January 1987, 0 7156 2100 9
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Renaissance and Revolt: Essays in the Intellectual and Social History of Early Modern France 
by J.H.M. Salmon.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £30, June 1987, 0 521 32769 5
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... and artists, exemplified on a heroic scale by the clash between the irresistible force, Pope Julius II, and the immovable object, Michelangelo. In the case of social patronage, historians have concentrated on the reconstruction of networks of alliance between patrons and clients, and the calculation of the benefits to both sides. The Kent-Simons ...

Mantegna’s Classical World

Charles Hope, 19 June 1980

The ‘Triumphs of Caesar’ by Andrea Mantegna in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Hampton Court 
by Andrew Martindale.
Harvey Miller, 342 pp., £38, October 1979, 9780905203164
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... certainly have been shown the nine canvases by Andrea Mantegna illustrating the Gallic triumph of Julius Caesar, which then as now were usually called the Triumphs of Caesar. But it is unlikely that anyone in Mantua would have told her that these pictures were primarily of historical interest, or that they were aesthetically inferior to the more recent work ...


E.S. Turner, 3 July 1986

Augustus Hare: Victorian Gentleman 
by Malcolm Barnes.
Allen and Unwin, 240 pp., £20, May 1986, 9780049201002
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Midway on the Waves 
by James Lees-Milne.
Faber, 248 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 571 13723 7
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... she performed in the rectory at Herstmonceux (the castle had once been in the family), and Uncle Julius, the rector, was on hand to horsewhip the boy as required. Then two more aunts arrived to ensure that Augustus was not mollycoddled. With Maria’s weak compliance, Aunt Esther, described by him as ‘the Inquisition in person’, deprived him of all ...

Bonté Gracieuse!

Mary Beard: Astérix Redux, 21 February 2002

Asterix and the Actress 
by Albert Uderzo, translated by Anthea Bell.
Orion, 48 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7528 4657 4
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... among these early ancestors is Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls in a notable rebellion against Julius Caesar in the late 50s BC. Vercingetorix is written up in Caesar’s own self-serving account of the Gallic War as a traitor and Gallic nationalist, who was resoundingly outmanoeuvred by Roman tactics at the Battle of Alesia; he surrendered to Caesar and ...


Barry Schwabsky: Who is Menzel?, 17 April 2003

Menzel’s Realism: Art and Embodiment in 19th-Century Berlin 
by Michael Fried.
Yale, 313 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 300 09219 9
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... of which his contemporary heroes – the painters I’ve mentioned, or the English sculptor Anthony Caro – were the exponents, Fried seemed set to search out the background to this progressive history. But it’s hardly surprising that, once in the academy, Fried imbibed a different view of history, one that is properly historicist in the sense that ...

Useful Only for Scrap Paper

Charles Hope: Michelangelo’s Drawings, 8 February 2018

Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer 
Metropolitan Museum, New York, until 12 February 2018Show More
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... the completion of the Sistine ceiling in 1512. The first of these was the huge tomb of Pope Julius II, who had commissioned the ceiling. Another was the design for the façade of the Florentine church of San Lorenzo, and the third was the Medici mausoleum in the new sacristy of this church. These three projects have two things in common: they all ...

Stainless Splendour

Stefan Collini: How innocent was Stephen Spender?, 22 July 2004

Stephen Spender: The Authorised Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Viking, 627 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 670 88303 4
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... cites a somewhat severe review in the TLS, still in those days anonymous, as being by Anthony Thwaite; interestingly, this is one of the very few items whose authorship is not identified in the recently compiled online index of TLS contributors, presumably because its author did not give permission.) The truth, though a painful one for ...

Brief Encounters

Andrew O’Hagan: Gielgud and Redgrave, 5 August 2004

Gielgud's Letters 
edited by Richard Mangan.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £20, March 2004, 0 297 82989 0
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Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave 
by Alan Strachan.
Weidenfeld, 484 pp., £25, April 2004, 0 297 60764 2
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... gloves more often than not had to fend for themselves. Gielgud was never out of work, unlike his Julius Caesar co-star the late Marlon Brando, who made a fabulous cult of his non-appearance on stage, and whose indolence and contempt for the business causes Gielgud to look like a worker bee, making regular honey at no great expense to the spirit. Brando ...

Glimpsed in the Glare

Michael Neill: Shakespeare in 1606, 17 December 2015

1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 423 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 0 571 23578 0
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... detail takes the place of the speculatively personal. If 1599 – when Shakespeare wrote Henry V, Julius Caesar and As You Like It, as well as beginning Hamlet – was ‘the most decisive year of his career, one in which he redefined himself and his theatre’, that transformation could be understood only in relation to the year’s turbulent politics: the ...

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