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All hail the microbe

Lavinia Greenlaw: Things Pile Up, 18 June 2020

Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils 
by David Farrier.
Fourth Estate, 307 pp., £16.99, March, 978 0 00 828634 7
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... In​ Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, David Farrier reaches into the past in order to envisage the deep future. This can only ever be an extrapolation of the present – our knowledge, experience, language and ideas – but Farrier is relaxed about this. His focus is on the way life has been recorded in the substance of the world, the ways we can trace human impact and the ways we, in turn, might be traced in time to come ...

He ate peas with a knife

John Sutherland: Douglas Jerrold, 3 April 2003

Douglas Jerrold: 1803-57 
by Michael Slater.
Duckworth, 340 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 7156 2824 0
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... and Thackeray were pall-bearers at Jerrold’s funeral and, according to their contemporary David Masson, ‘the three do form a triad so that it is hardly possible to discuss the merits of any one of them without referring to the other two.’ Posterity has found it very possible. And, richly informative as Slater’s biography is (he has been at it ...

Irish Adventurers

Janet Adam Smith, 25 June 1992

The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot: France 1801-3 and Russia 1805-7 
edited by Elizabeth Mavor.
Weidenfeld, 187 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 297 81223 8
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... more manacled by the observances of etiquette.’ On less grand occasions they met the painter David, an Englishman who had befriended Charlotte Corday at her trial, and Charles James Fox – ‘rather lourd and maladroit’. With the help of a young American, Margaret and Katherine visited Tom Paine, ‘up half a dozen flights of stairs, in a remote part ...

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