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King Cling

Julian Bell: Kings and Collectors, 5 April 2018

Charles I: King and Collector 
Royal Academy, London, until 15 April 2018Show More
Charles II: Art and Power 
Queen’s Gallery/London, until 13 May 2018Show More
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... Perched​ on one platform, King Charles I; perched on another, the Dutch painter Daniel Mytens; lowered in between them, a canvas some two feet taller than the king, who was reportedly of small stature. If, as an inscription on the finished portrait insists, the likeness was painted ad vivum, then this might have been the way to do it ...

Browning and Modernism

Donald Davie, 10 October 1991

The Poems of Browning. Vol. I: 1826-1840 
edited by John Woolford and Daniel Karlin.
Longman, 797 pp., £60, April 1991, 0 582 48100 7
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The Poems of Browning. Vol. II: 1841-1846 
edited by John Woolford and Daniel Karlin .
Longman, 581 pp., £50, April 1991, 9780582063990
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... Anthology, where Pound explicitly pays his dues by way of the parenthetical epigraph: ‘(King Charles)’. But in this case Pound’s adaptation is so inferior that there’s no point quoting anything but the Browning original. This is a deeper and more troubling poem than ‘Kentish Sir Byng’, because it articulates the all but suicidal ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: King Charles the Martyr, 21 February 2019

... fond of bogus erudition – the Brexit white paper was, he said, ‘the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Philip II at Le Goulet in 1200’ – and he must have enjoyed expressing his hope that it would ‘not be necessary for Her Majesty’s stay at Sandringham to be interrupted by her in person having to prorogue Parliament’. Speaking the ...

Up the Levellers

Paul Foot, 8 December 1994

The New Model Army in England, Ireland and Scotland, 1645-53 
by Ian Gentles.
Blackwell, 590 pp., £14.99, January 1994, 0 631 19347 2
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... instance, on the scaffold at Westminster 14 months later, on a cold January morning in 1649 when King Charles had his head cut off. Clarke carefully bound his record of the Putney Debates with all his other voluminous notes, and left them to his son George. George, a solid Restoration Tory, was also a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He quarrelled ...

Love’s Labours

Valerie Pearl, 8 November 1979

King Charles II 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 524 pp., £8.95
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... Antonia Fraser describes her book as ‘a labour of love’. Given her somewhat romantic view of Charles II’s many affairs of the heart and her warm sympathy for the King, it is a doubly apt admission. The book is much more, however, than an account written around the royal harem. It is a portrait drawn from the ...

Plenty of Puff

Charles West: Charlemagne, 19 December 2019

King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne 
by Janet Nelson.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £30, July 2019, 978 0 7139 9243 4
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... When​ Charlemagne, king of the Franks, planned the division of his empire between his sons in 806, he allotted Aquitaine, Gascony, Provence and half of Burgundy to one son; Lombardy, Bavaria and southern Swabia to another; to the eldest, northern France, the other half of Burgundy, northern Swabia, Thuringia, Saxony and Frisia ...

The King and I

Alan Bennett, 30 January 1992

... historical characters got a tick if they were on the side of liberty (Cromwell, Chatham), a cross (Charles I, James II) if they held up the march of progress. Because he went in for active royalty and made some attempt to govern on his own account rather than leaving it to the Whig aristocracy, George III had been written up as a villain and a clumsy ...

G&Ts on the Veranda

Francis Gooding: The Science of Man, 4 March 2021

The Reinvention of Humanity: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Remade Race, Sex and Gender 
by Charles King.
Vintage, 431 pp., £10.99, November 2020, 978 1 78470 586 2
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... was, however, one grand exception. Franz Boas, whose achievements are set out in Charles King’s The Reinvention of Humanity, recast the foundations of American anthropology. Against the prevailing political and intellectual orthodoxy, Boas and his students insisted that the basic unity of humankind was beyond dispute, and that within ...

Oxblood

James Lasdun, 24 February 1994

... I stare outside. Impossible to sleep, think, work; Into my mind a memory comes: Another oak, the King Charles oak That stood in our garden at home; Survivor of summer lightning and winter storms, The humps on its thick trunk bulging Like muscles under the weight of its limbs. One year half the buds withered Before they’d opened. The rest stayed sickly ...

How to Be Tudor

Hilary Mantel: Can a King Have Friends?, 17 March 2016

Charles Brandon: Henry VIII’s Closest Friend 
by Steven Gunn.
Amberley, 304 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4456 4184 3
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... was ‘used by Henry and Anne, back in the day’, while others like to believe it was where the king spent ‘one of his many honeymoons’. Guests praise ‘a brilliant, authentic experience of castle life’ and the ease of finding the place, ‘especially if you use a GPS’, but some claim a lack of attention to their particular pleasures: ‘there is ...

Diary

Suzy Hansen: In Istanbul, 7 May 2015

... when it comes to Beyoglu. In 1939, ‘while new government offices were rising in Ankara,’ Charles King writes in Midnight at Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul, ‘the Turkish government organised an international design competition to solicit proposals for solving the problem of Istanbul’s future development.’* The winner was Henri ...

Every inch a king

Antonia Fraser, 16 October 1980

Great Harry 
by Carolly Erickson.
Dent, 428 pp., £8.50, July 1980, 0 460 04366 8
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... In 1968, Professor Scarisbrick’s great work dramatically revised our thinking about the bloat King. Three years later appeared Lacey Baldwin Smith’s rich and racy study of the King’s character, taken from the viewpoint of old age and subtitled ‘The Mask of Royalty’: here Tudor history and modern psychology made ...

Diary

Hilary Gaskin: From Nuremberg to the Gulf, 25 April 1991

... Their names were Walter Brudno, Smith Brookhart, Nick Doman, Benjamin Ferencz, Whitney Harris, Charles Horsky, Henry King, Daniel Margolies and Walter Rockler, and they had all been prosecuting lawyers at the Nuremberg Trial and Subsequent Proceedings in 1945-9. Their audience was just as extraordinary: over a hundred ...

Things the King Liked to Hear

Blair Worden: Donne and Milton’s Prose, 19 June 2014

Sermons of John Donne Vol. III: Sermons Preached at the Court of Charles
edited by David Colclough.
Oxford, 521 pp., £125, November 2013, 978 0 19 956548 1
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Complete Works of John Milton Vol. VI: Vernacular Regicide and Republican Writings 
edited by N.H. Keeble and Nicholas McDowell.
Oxford, 811 pp., £125, December 2013, 978 0 19 921805 9
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... and who turned to the church only as the next best thing. It seems to have been at the behest of King James I, who valued the theological learning in which Donne was proficient, that he opted for ordination. Certainly the decision was in keeping with the spirit of a royal entourage where scholarly divinity mingled easily with worldly complaisance. He landed ...

Worrying Wives

Helen King: The Invention of Sparta, 7 August 2003

Spartan Women 
by Sarah Pomeroy.
Oxford, 198 pp., £45, July 2002, 0 19 513066 9
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... as prototypes of the liberated woman. An idyllic image of Spartan liberation can be found in Charles Seltman’s Women in Antiquity (1956): ‘At no time in the world’s history can women have been so contented, so healthy and so happy as they were in ancient Sparta.’ He added that they lacked only two things: a vote and a wardrobe. In the ...

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