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Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms, 6 September 2007

... his accustomed style, praising the BBC Symphony Orchestra and its ‘new and very gifted conductor Colin Davis’. It was a brave and bravura performance, but it was his last appearance in public, and within two weeks he was dead. At his memorial service in Westminster Abbey, the whole of the nave was set aside for the Promenaders. In the Last Night of ...

Dictionaries

Randolph Quirk, 25 October 1979

Collins Dictionary of the English Language 
by P. Hanks, T.H. Long and L. Urdang.
Collins, 1690 pp., £7.95
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... in their suggestion of trendiness. Bob Dylan gets eight lines; Dylan Thomas four. George Solti, Colin Davis, Janet Baker and Joan Sutherland are all treated with tight-lipped and austere brevity as compared with Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. Even where relatively lavish space is given to unquestionably significant people, it is not so ...

In Scheherezade’s shoes

Colin Jones, 23 November 1989

Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in 16th-century France 
by Natalie Zemon Davis.
Polity, 217 pp., £22.50, March 1988, 0 7456 0531 1
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... Like good detective novels, the letters of remission which are the subject of Natalie Zemon Davis’s most recent book usually start with a corpse which requires to be explained. Other offences – tax riot, heresy, the defloration of a virgin – could be the occasion for the ‘pardon tales’ such letters contained, but the procedure was most often resorted to by someone who had been the cause of someone else’s death ...

Selflessness

Jonathan Rée, 8 May 1997

Proper Names 
by Emmanuel Levinas, translated by Michael Smith.
Athlone, 191 pp., £45, January 1997, 0 485 11466 6
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Levinas: An Introduction 
by Colin Davis.
Polity, 168 pp., £39.50, November 1996, 0 7456 1262 8
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Basic Philosophical Writings 
by Emmanuel Levinas, edited by Adriaan Peperzak, Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi.
Indiana, 201 pp., £29.50, November 1996, 0 253 21079 8
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... of Levinas began to appear, followed by a parade of student introductions, of which Colin Davis’s is the latest and one of the best. Poor Davis, though. He begins cheerfully enough by noting that ‘Levinas’s conception of ethics may cause some initial confusion among English-speaking ...

How long before Ofop steps in?

Patrick Carnegy, 16 March 2000

In House: Covent Garden, 50 Years of Opera and Ballet 
by John Tooley.
Faber, 318 pp., £25, November 1999, 9780571194155
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Never Mind the Moon: My Time at the Royal Opera House 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Bantam, 356 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 593 04355 3
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... Webster’s reign was the Georg Solti era (1961-71). Tooley presided over the rather lesser era of Colin Davis (1971-86). Things, indeed, began to fall apart when Davis’s partnerships with Peter Hall and Götz Friedrich broke down. Tooley dutifully chronicles the years from 1947 to 1988, but only comes alive in his ...

Knights of the King and Keys

Ian Aitken, 7 March 1991

A Dubious Codicil: An Autobiography by 
by Michael Wharton.
Chatto, 261 pp., £15.99, December 1990, 0 7011 3064 4
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The House the Berrys built 
by Duff Hart-Davis.
Hodder, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 3 405 92526 6
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Lords of Fleet Street: The Harmsworth Dynasty 
by Richard Bourne.
Unwin Hyman, 258 pp., £16.95, October 1990, 0 04 440450 6
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... Telegraph. This bizarre phenomenon is, in rather different ways, a central feature of Duff Hart Davis’s history of the Daily Telegraph under the Berry family, and of the second volume of Michael Wharton’s autobiography. Hart-Davis was a fairly junior member of the Telegraph’s staff for some years. As the author of ...

Diary

Eric Hobsbawm: My Days as a Jazz Critic, 27 May 2010

... British musicians who played and formed the only real public for ‘modern’ jazz before Miles Davis began to make his impact. Writing about jazz in the 1950s meant, basically, trying to understand or at least come to terms with bebop (even the passionate jazz-conservative Philip Larkin eventually felt he had to make a gesture in this direction), but I ...

Green Thoughts

Colin Ward, 19 January 1989

Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... in one’s attention and ends by sending one to sleep.’ And in his introduction Stanley Clinton Davis comments: ‘the pollution of the seas is not principally a scientific or an economic problem. It is a political problem.’ The late Barbara Ward tackled global green issues on the plane of international politics: the rate at which the rich nations ...

Our Slaves Are Black

Nicholas Guyatt: Theories of Slavery, 4 October 2007

Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World 
by David Brion Davis.
Oxford, 440 pp., £17.99, May 2006, 0 19 514073 7
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The Trader, the Owner, the Slave 
by James Walvin.
Cape, 297 pp., £17.99, March 2007, 978 0 224 06144 5
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The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000 
by Colin Kidd.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £16.99, September 2006, 0 521 79324 6
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The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview 
by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese.
Cambridge, 828 pp., £18.99, December 2005, 0 521 85065 7
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... in Britain and America coincide with an intensification of racial thinking? David Brion Davis’s Inhuman Bondage throws light on the process by which slavery became exclusively black. There were many European precedents for white slavery, not only in the classical period but in the trading networks of the late medieval Mediterranean. The ...

Successive Applications of Sticking-Plaster

Andrew Saint: The urban history of Britain, 1 November 2001

The Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Vol. III: 1840-1950 
edited by Martin Daunton.
Cambridge, 944 pp., £90, January 2001, 0 521 41707 4
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... National Insurance ‘virtually bypassed local government’ from its commencement in 1911, John Davis remarks in his chapter on central government and the towns. In this way, equity jilted devolution. Central expenditure on social services rose more than fourfold between 1918 and 1921 – a rise made possible by the ‘more buoyant central tax ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Miami Vice’, 17 August 2006

Miami Vice 
directed by Michael Mann.
August 2006
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... an effect enhanced by guest appearances from Phil Collins, Willie Nelson, Little Richard, Miles Davis and many others. But the other, complementary theory of the series’ origin names a news story about vice cops using repossessed goods as a glossy cover for their assumed criminal characters. This is why Don Johnson drives a Ferrari and has two fancy ...

A Joke Too Far

Colin Burrow: My Favourite Elizabethan, 22 August 2002

Sir John Harington and the Book as Gift 
by Jason Scott-Warren.
Oxford, 273 pp., £45, August 2001, 0 19 924445 6
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... accounts of the role of gift-giving within early modern culture, such as those by Natalie Zemon Davis and by the father of gift theory, Marcel Mauss. Scott-Warren looks in detail at the settings within which Harington wrote, dedicated and donated his books, and finds each act of giving to be a precisely motivated cultural performance, which urges a point of ...

You Know Who You Are

Colin Kidd: About Last Year, 25 January 2018

Fall Out: A Year Of Political Mayhem 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 559 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 0 00 826438 3
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... with Brussels and the EU 27, reporting back directly not to his own secretary of state, David Davis, but to the prime minister? The magnitude of Brexit is daunting enough, but, within the realm of what was manageable, did the May government marshal its counsellors as effectively as it could have done? Cameron’s European advisers had deliberately hammed ...

Even If You Have to Starve

Ian Penman: Mod v. Trad, 29 August 2013

Mod: A Very British Style 
by Richard Weight.
Bodley Head, 478 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 0 224 07391 2
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... In a lovely 1963 piece on Miles Davis, Kenneth Tynan quoted Cocteau to illuminate the art of his ‘discreet, elliptical’ subject: Davis was one of those 20th-century artists who had found ‘a simple way of saying very complicated things’. Jump to 1966 and the meatier, beatier sound of a UK Top 20 hit, the Who’s ‘Substitute’, a vexed, stuttering anti-manifesto, with its self-accusatory boast: ‘The simple things you see are all complicated!’ You couldn’t find two more different musical cries: Davis’s liquid tone is hurt, steely, recessive, where Townshend’s is upfront, impatient, hectoring ...

SH @ same time

Andrew Cockburn: Rumsfeld, 31 March 2011

Known and Unknown: A Memoir 
by Donald Rumsfeld.
Sentinel, 815 pp., £25, February 2011, 978 1 59523 067 6
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... after American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon differs in detail from that of Aubrey Davis, the security guard who accompanied him to the site. It may be unfair to demand detailed and accurate recall of those moments when he and Davis marched along the smoke-filled Pentagon corridors on their way to the crash ...

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