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Frocks and Shocks

Hilary Mantel: Jane Boleyn, 24 April 2008

Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford 
by Julia Fox.
Phoenix, 398 pp., £9.99, March 2008, 978 0 7538 2386 6
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... landowner. Her father was Henry, Lord Morley, the scholarly translator of Petrarch and Plutarch. David Starkey begins an essay on Lord Morley by wondering whether we should class him like Prufrock as an ‘attendant lord’: ‘one that will do/To swell a progress, start a scene or two,/Advise the prince.’ Lord Morley never did become a royal ...

The History Boy

Alan Bennett: Exam-taking, 3 June 2004

... never far away and there’s a persistently jeering note perhaps bred by the habit of contention. David Starkey sneers, too, but I feel this is more cosmetic. None of this posing, though, is altogether new. A.J.P. Taylor was its original exponent, certainly on television, and was every bit as pleased with himself as the new breed of history boys. Still ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... meetings were hugely popular during their visits to Britain in the 1870s and 1880s, leading David Bebbington to make the startling claim that ‘Moody and Sankey probably represent the chief cultural influence of the United States on Britain during the 19th century.’ Of course, if one really took seriously the criterion about having ‘in some way ...

Like a Mosquito

Mattathias Schwartz: Drones, 4 July 2013

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield 
by Jeremy Scahill.
Serpent’s Tail, 642 pp., £15.99, May 2013, 978 1 84668 850 8
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... Journalism) to more than 90 per cent of all the deaths in drone strikes (the ex-military officers David Kilcullen and Andrew McDonald Exum). In March 2012, the New York Times reported that all military-age males, armed or unarmed, are considered to be combatants unless there is posthumous evidence proving otherwise; the Obama administration recently disputed ...

Philosophical Vinegar, Marvellous Salt

Malcolm Gaskill: Alchemical Pursuits, 15 July 2021

The Experimental Fire: Inventing English Alchemy, 1300-1700 
by Jennifer M. Rampling.
Chicago, 408 pp., £28, December 2020, 978 0 226 71070 9
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... on a stock image developed over centuries, by painters especially. Brueghel in the 16th century, David Teniers in the 17th, and Joseph Wright in the 18th, all painted grimy scenes of reclusion and penury, with hints of mad obsession and radiant wonder. Cornelis Pietersz Bega’s alchemist, from 1663, adds pathos to the mix: were it not for the delicately ...

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