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Now to Stride into the Sunlight

Ian Jack: The Brexiters, 15 June 2017

What Next: How to Get the Best from Brexit 
by Daniel Hannan.
Head of Zeus, 298 pp., £9.99, November 2016, 978 1 78669 193 4
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The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign 
by Arron Banks.
Biteback, 354 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 78590 205 5
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All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 688 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 00 821517 0
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... adds to our losers’ despair. ‘After 43 years, we have pushed the door ajar,’ the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan writes dreamily. ‘A rectangle of light dazzles us and, as our eyes adjust, we see a summer meadow. Swallows swoop against the blue sky. We hear the gurgling of a little brook. Now to stride into the sunlight.’ This idyll comes early in ...

Outside the text

Marilyn Butler, 19 December 1985

The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory 
by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 352 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 811730 2
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The Politics of Language: 1791-1819 
by Olivia Smith.
Oxford, 269 pp., £19.50, December 1984, 0 19 812817 7
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... and powers served by the proliferation of hermeneutic techniques’. Jerome McGann and Olivia Smith are two good critics, both Americans publishing in England, who fall in with Mitchell’s injunction to ‘historicise’. Each regards a work of the past as both an individual literary performance and an event occurring in space and time. They think of ...

Bible Study in the Basement

Namara Smith: ‘Priestdaddy: A Memoir’, 13 July 2017

Priestdaddy: A Memoir 
by Patricia Lockwood.
Allen Lane, 333 pp., £14.99, May 2017, 978 1 84614 920 7
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... In​ 2012, Daniel Tosh, known for joking about dead babies and the Holocaust, was performing a stand-up routine about sexual assault when he was heckled by a woman in the audience. ‘Rape jokes are never funny,’ she called out. Tosh allegedly responded: ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?’ The exchange went viral, and the question of whether rape could ever be comic material and who had the right to joke about such things was debated on the internet for months ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... up residence in my garden in 1974, living there in a van until her death 15 years later. Maggie Smith played Miss Shepherd on the stage in 1999 and all being well will star in the film with Nicholas Hytner directing. To date I’ve written two drafts of the script and am halfway through a third.The house where the story happened, 23 Gloucester Crescent in ...

Homage to Mrs Brater

Rosemary Ashton, 7 August 1986

George Eliot 
by Gillian Beer.
Harvester, 272 pp., £16.95, May 1986, 0 7108 0506 3
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German Women in the 18th and 19th Centuries: A Social and Literary History 
edited by Ruth-Ellen Joeres and Mary Jo Maynes.
Indiana, 356 pp., $29.95, January 1986, 0 253 32578 1
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Red Jenny: A Life with Karl Marx 
by H.F. Peters.
Allen and Unwin, 182 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 04 928053 8
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Wives of Fame: Mary Livingstone, Jenny Marx, Emma Darwin 
by Edna Healey.
Sidgwick, 210 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 283 98552 6
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A Mid-Victorian Feminist: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon 
by Sheila Herstein.
Yale, 224 pp., £16.95, January 1986, 0 300 03317 6
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George Eliot and Blackmail 
by Alexander Welsh.
Harvard, 400 pp., £20.50, November 1985, 0 674 34872 9
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... life, gave her further lives to pursue.’ Both Beer and Welsh turn with pleasure (and relief?) to Daniel Deronda, talking of George Eliot’s achievement in that book of a stance ‘beyond gender’. Deronda is discussed as being influential in a ‘womanly’ way, acting as conscience and consciousness to Gwendolen in the way Dorothea does to Lydgate and ...

Where am I?

Greg Dening, 31 October 1996

Far-Fetched Facts: The Literature of Travel and the Idea of the South Seas 
by Neil Rennie.
Oxford, 330 pp., £35, November 1995, 0 19 811975 5
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... Rennie’s Far-Fetched Facts. It takes him down awell-worn and, as he seesit, narrow path. Bernard Smith showed the way in two magnificent books, European Vision and the South Pacific, 1768-1850 (1960) and Imagining the Pacific (1992) – from some oversight they do not appear in Rennie’s bibliography. Smith demonstrated ...

A Girl’s Best Friend

Thomas Jones: Tobias Hill, 21 August 2003

The Cryptographer 
by Tobias Hill.
Faber, 263 pp., £12, August 2003, 0 571 21836 9
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... Katharine’s narrative is the third-person, past-tense story of two Jewish brothers, Salman and Daniel Levy, who emigrated from Baghdad to London in the 1830s, taking with them some of the stones from the Three Brethren, which had been broken up in India decades before. Salman, like Katharine, has a love of stones, an obsession that eclipses all else. The ...

Enemies of All Mankind

Stephen Sedley: Pirates, 24 June 2010

The Treatment of Prisoners under International Law 
by Nigel Rodley, with Matt Pollard.
Oxford, 697 pp., £85, August 2009, 978 0 19 921507 2
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The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 295 pp., £21.95, November 2009, 978 1 890951 94 8
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The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates 
by Peter Leeson.
Princeton, 271 pp., £16.95, May 2009, 978 0 691 13747 6
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... piracy by a judge and jury and sentenced according to law. Although he knows of the Gordon case, Daniel Heller-Roazen appears not to understand all this. Since his chair at Princeton is in comparative literature, this would be unsurprising if his book were what for much of its length it appears to be: an elegantly composed and widely researched survey of the ...

The Excommunicant

Richard Popkin: Spinoza v. the Synagogue, 15 October 1998

The God of Spinoza: A Philosophical Study 
by Richard Mason.
Cambridge, 272 pp., £35, May 1997, 0 521 58162 1
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Spinoza, Liberalism and the Question of Jewish Identity 
by Steven Smith.
Yale, 270 pp., £21, June 1997, 0 300 06680 5
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... his critique of existing religions and his justification for complete religious toleration. Steven Smith starts from Spinoza’s role as the first secular Jew (after his excommunication), and the way it is reflected both in his critique of religion, especially Judaism, and in his political theory. In both books, the excommunication of 1656 is the turning ...

Do squid feel pain?

Peter Godfrey-Smith, 4 February 2016

Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts 
by Stanislas Dehaene.
Penguin, 336 pp., £11, December 2014, 978 0 14 312626 3
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... also liked to call qualia ‘raw feels’. Raw as opposed to cooked? The concept was a mess, as Daniel Dennett and others were witheringly effective in pointing out. But the notion of qualia, seen as separate from the idea of consciousness, did have one good feature: it naturally accommodated the idea that there might be a kind of feeling present in an ...

An American Genius

Patrick Parrinder, 21 November 1991

The Runaway Soul 
by Harold Brodkey.
Cape, 835 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 224 03001 9
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... account of a love affair between two Harvard students with the antiseptically Wasp names of Elgin Smith and Caroline Hedges. Brodkey means to suggest the discrepancy between his characters’ sexual appetites and then emotional needs, but the story suffers from the fact that he feels obliged to break off the narrative each time they start undressing. He has ...

Minute Particulars

David Allen, 6 February 1986

New Images of the Natural in France: A study in European Cultural History 1750-1800 
by D.G. Charlton.
Cambridge, 254 pp., £25, December 1984, 0 521 24940 6
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Voyage into Substance: Art, Science, Nature and the Illustrated Travel Account 1760-1840 
by Barbara Maria Stafford.
MIT, 645 pp., £39.95, July 1984, 0 262 19223 3
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... less overwhelmingly a visual one, it also offers the easier way in. Following in the footsteps of Daniel Mornet, over seventy years ago, it surveys afresh the new sentiment de la nature that arose in the later 18th century. Because this preceded the major movement that has come to be identified as Romanticism, it has tended to be seen as a mere prelude to ...

At Piano Nobile

Eleanor Birne: Jean Cooke, 18 April 2019

... wrote to describe the work of Bratby and others – Derrick Greaves, Edward Middleditch, Jack Smith – who were busy painting chip fryers, dustbins, toilets. The Kitchen Sink realists were soon famous in a time of Angry Young Men; a decade later Bratby painted Paul McCartney. But Cooke wanted to paint too, and Bratby didn’t like it: couldn’t she just ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... Scott, Philip Sidney, Horace Walpole ... twenty, plus the recognised fathers of the novel ... Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Tobias Smollett and Lawrence [sic] Sterne; generosity indeed to double the number!’ A list so nakedly daft obviates detailed scrutiny. It may be worth asking how Lever (born 1806) contrived to predate Jane ...

Who’s in charge?

Chalmers Johnson: The Addiction to Secrecy, 6 February 2003

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers 
by Daniel Ellsberg.
Viking, 498 pp., $29.95, October 2002, 0 670 03030 9
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... The subject of Daniel Ellsberg’s memoir is the decadence of American democracy. The conditions he began fighting in 1969 are much worse today and far more dangerous to many more people. Yet central casting could not have produced a more perfect foil for the American imperial Presidency than Ellsberg. An infantry lieutenant in the Marine Corps with genuine battle experience in Vietnam, a PhD in economics from Harvard, and a defence intellectual employed by the Rand Corporation of Santa Monica, with the highest security clearances, Ellsberg is as good as the American system can produce in the way of a male citizen working in the foreign policy apparatus ...

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