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Italy Stirs

Adrian Lyttelton, 22 June 1995

by Denis Mack Smith.
Yale, 302 pp., £19.95, April 1994, 0 300 05884 5
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Verdi: A Biography 
by Mary Jane Phillips-Matz.
Oxford, 941 pp., £30, October 1993, 0 19 313204 4
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The Real Traviata 
by Gaia Servadio.
Hodder, 290 pp., £20, October 1994, 9780340579480
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... he exerted over a younger generation of thinkers including Henry Sidgwick, Dicey and T.H. Green. Arnold Toynbee ended his lectures on the Industrial Revolution with a tribute to Mazzini as ‘the greatest teacher of our age’. Mazzini’s moral language and his insistence on the claims of community against competitive individualism seemed ...

C (for Crisis)

Eric Hobsbawm: The 1930s, 6 August 2009

The Morbid Age: Britain between the Wars 
by Richard Overy.
Allen Lane, 522 pp., £25, May 2009, 978 0 7139 9563 3
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... Philip Noel-Baker, George Orwell, Lord Arthur Ponsonby, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Arnold Toynbee, the Webbs, H.G. Wells or Leonard and Virginia Woolf? Unless clearly backed by an important publishing house or journal, as with Victor Gollancz or Kingsley Martin’s New Statesman, or an actual mass organisation like Lord Robert Cecil’s ...

The Superhuman Upgrade

Steven Shapin: The Book That Explains It All, 13 July 2017

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow 
by Yuval Noah Harari.
Vintage, 528 pp., £9.99, March 2017, 978 1 78470 393 6
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... the environmental ‘challenge and response’ theories of writers from Montesquieu and Malthus to Arnold Toynbee; the selection pressures identified by Social Darwinisms. The title of Herbert Butterfield’s The Whig Interpretation of History (1931) is today commonly used as shorthand to warn against histories that presume inevitable progress, but the ...

Parcelled Out

Ferdinand Mount: The League of Nations, 22 October 2015

The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire 
by Susan Pedersen.
Oxford, 571 pp., £22.99, June 2015, 978 0 19 957048 5
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... again in 1933. Nor were such imperialist hangovers confined to ex-governors. Intellectuals such as Arnold Toynbee and Margery Perham found it equally hard to imagine that Samoa and Papua New Guinea would ever be able to govern themselves. Yet Samoa was one of the few countries where a working structure of chiefly government had survived the colonial ...


John Bayley, 17 March 1988

End of a Journey: An Autobiographical Journal 1979-1981 
by Philip Toynbee.
Bloomsbury, 422 pp., £25, February 1988, 0 7475 0132 7
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... he usually pays for it by not being able to write naturally himself. It seems likely that Philip Toynbee would have given anything to be a real novelist and a real poet, but in his ‘experimental’ novels – Tea with Mrs Goodman and The Garden to the Sea – and in the gargantuan poem Pantaloon which occupied him for so many years, the words seem always ...

Good History

Christopher Hill, 5 March 1981

After the Reformation: Essays in Honour of J.H. Hexter 
edited by Barbara Malament.
Manchester, 363 pp., £17.95, December 1980, 0 7190 0805 0
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Puritans and Adventurers 
by T.H. Breen.
Oxford, 270 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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On History 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sarah Matthews.
Weidenfeld, 226 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 297 77880 3
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Sociology and History 
by Peter Burke.
Allen and Unwin, 116 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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... exceeds even that of the English. Alongside scores of French historians and a few Americans, Arnold Toynbee is the only English historian mentioned. Braudel’s main theme is stated in a lecture given in 1950 on ‘The Situation of History’: ‘Historians today are beginning to be aware of an entirely new history.’ It must be a total ...

Jesus Christie

Richard Wollheim, 3 October 1985

J.T. Christie: A Great Teacher 
by Donald Lindsay, Roger Young and Hugh Lloyd-Jones.
Plume, 211 pp., £12.50, September 1984, 0 947656 00 6
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... of poets. Bowle introduced us to Burckhardt and Tocqueville and his own gurus, Gerald Heard and Arnold Toynbee. Andrew wore thick blue tweeds and velvet or woollen ties with enormous knots. He took me when I was fourteen or fifteen to Group Theatre productions and then to dinner at small, steamy Soho restaurants of a kind that no longer exists. We ...


Edward Said: My Encounter with Sartre, 1 June 2000

... important intellectual of the justice of their cause in the hope that he would turn into another Arnold Toynbee or Sean McBride. Few of these great eminences did. Sartre struck me as worth the effort simply because I could not forget his position on Algeria, which as a Frenchman must have been harder to hold than a position critical of Israel. I was ...

The Moral Solipsism of Global Ethics Inc

Alex de Waal: Human rights, democracy and Amnesty International, 23 August 2001

Like Water on Stone: The Story of Amnesty International 
by Jonathan Power.
Allen Lane, 332 pp., £12.99, May 2001, 0 7139 9319 7
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Future Positive: International Co-operation in the 21st Century 
by Michael Edwards.
Earthscan, 292 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 1 85383 740 7
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East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia 
by Daniel Bell.
Princeton, 369 pp., £12.50, May 2000, 0 691 00508 7
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... networks and the long-term strategy to keep a social movement alive and on track. Edwards quotes Arnold Toynbee: ‘Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: an ideal which takes the imagination by storm and an intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.’ What of the relations between ...


Neal Ascherson: Hugh Trevor-Roper, 19 August 2010

Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Weidenfeld, 598 pp., £25, July 2010, 978 0 297 85214 8
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... work, he could be pitilessly sarcastic, annihilating in his mockery. In his demolition of Arnold Toynbee, for example, Trevor-Roper accused the saintly old windbag of regarding himself as a Messiah complete with ‘the youthful Temptations; the missionary Journeys; the Miracles; the Revelations; the Agony’. Reviewing a biography of Sir William ...

In real sound stupidity the English are unrivalled

Stefan Collini: ‘Cosmo’ for Capitalists, 6 February 2020

Liberalism at Large: The World According to the ‘Economist’ 
by Alexander Zevin.
Verso, 538 pp., £25, November 2019, 978 1 78168 624 9
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... the wide-ranging intellectual heft it had hitherto lacked. His star signing was the historian Arnold Toynbee, who wrote a leading article and two or three notes practically every week between 1922 and 1939. But Layton also appointed younger figures, several of whom, such as Douglas Jay, a future Labour minister, and Graham Hutton, who had been a ...

The Great Mary

Dinah Birch, 13 September 1990

Mrs Humphry Ward: Eminent Victorian, Pre-Eminent Edwardian 
by John Sutherland.
Oxford, 432 pp., £16.99, August 1990, 0 19 818587 1
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... No Arnold can write a novel; if they could, I should have done it.’ That was Matthew Arnold’s reaction to his niece’s first significant attempt at fiction, Miss Bretherton, published in 1884. It can’t have been very encouraging. But Mary Ward was used to the magisterial arrogance of the Arnold men ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... club when he was still at Oxford. Anthony Sampson came from Drum magazine in South Africa. Philip Toynbee arrived after his father, the historian Arnold Toynbee, called to wonder if Astor could rescue his son from drink, depression and riotous behaviour. Colin Legum, expelled from his native South Africa, joined the ...


Ian Gilmour and David Gilmour, 7 February 1985

From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict 
by Joan Peters.
Joseph, 601 pp., £15, February 1985, 0 7181 2528 2
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... Arabs were not allowed to settle or even work on land owned by the Jewish National Fund: in 1931 Arnold Toynbee noted that ‘all the Palestinian land which is purchased by Jewish funds is becoming ... an exclusive preserve for the Jews.’ However, all this is trivial misrepresentation in comparison with the author’s basic error. The immigrant ...

Only Men in Mind

Susan Pedersen: R.H. Tawney, 21 August 2014

The Life of R.H. Tawney 
by Lawrence Goldman.
Bloomsbury, 411 pp., £65, September 2013, 978 1 78093 704 5
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... England’s governing elite. And that had consequences.Leaving Oxford in 1903, Tawney went to Toynbee Hall, the settlement house in East London, where Beveridge had taken the job of sub-warden. Like so many other morally serious and striving young Edwardians, he threw himself into social service, working for an organisation that sent poor children on ...

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