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Leur Pays

David Kennedy: Race, immigration and democracy in America, 22 February 2001

Making Americans: Immigration, Race and the Origins of the Diverse Democracy 
by Desmond King.
Harvard, 388 pp., £29.95, June 2000, 0 674 00088 9
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... and schools. It is the apparent similarity between the third and fourth waves that animates Desmond King’s Making Americans. Yet his deeply researched and closely reasoned book has ambitions well beyond its immediate subject. He isn’t much concerned with the motives or circumstances that prompted these people to migrate in the first ...

Short Cuts

Glen Newey: Murdoch, 28 July 2011

... is stuffed. It was barely noticed earlier this year when Northern & Shell, owned by the porn king Richard Desmond, pulled its funding from the PCC. As a result, the commission can’t deal with complaints against N&S titles, including the Express, Star and OK! magazine. Not that external regulation has worked ...

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, KingCharles 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 ...

Tough Guy

Ian Hamilton: Keith Douglas, 8 February 2001

Keith Douglas: The Letters 
edited by Desmond Graham.
Carcanet, 369 pp., £14.95, September 2000, 1 85754 477 3
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... pretensions in the ray cast by death’), and so did the labours of his assiduous biographer, Desmond Graham, who now brings us this thorough but often rather dull selection of Douglas’s letters. In 1974, the anniversary of Douglas’s death was marked far more lavishly than anyone could have easily predicted thirty years before: there was Graham’s ...

Not the man for it

John Bossy: The Death of Girolamo Savonarola, 20 April 2006

Scourge and Fire: Savonarola and Renaissance Italy 
by Lauro Martines.
Cape, 368 pp., £20, March 2006, 0 224 07252 8
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The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope 
by Desmond Seward.
Sutton, 320 pp., £20, March 2006, 0 7509 2981 2
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... overthrew the Medici in November 1494, which resulted from the arrival in the region of the French King Charles VIII with a large army and which was mounted by members of the Florentine political aristocracy: indeed, up to that time he had, as head of a convent which was a Medici foundation, naturally rather genuflected to the family. His main ...

The Kentish Hog

Adrian Desmond, 15 October 1987

The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. Vol. II: 1837-1843 
edited by Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith.
Cambridge, 603 pp., £30, March 1987, 0 521 25588 0
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The Works of Charles Darwin 
edited by Paul Barrett and R.B. Freeman.
Pickering & Chatto, 10 pp., £470, March 1987, 1 85196 002 3
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The Darwinian Heritage 
edited by David Kohn.
Princeton, 1138 pp., £67.90, February 1986, 0 691 08356 8
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Western Science in the Arab World: The Impact of Darwinism, 1860-1930 
by Adel Ziadat.
Macmillan, 162 pp., £27.50, October 1986, 0 333 41856 5
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Theories of Human Evolution: A Century of Debate 1844-1944 
by Peter Bowler.
Blackwell, 318 pp., £25, February 1987, 0 631 15264 4
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Controversy in Victorian Geology: The Cambrian-Silurian Dispute 
by James Secord.
Princeton, 363 pp., £33.10, October 1986, 0 691 08417 3
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Darwin’s Metaphor: Nature’s Place in Victorian Culture 
by Robert Young.
Cambridge, 341 pp., £30, October 1985, 0 521 31742 8
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... Peel, alongside British trade goods). Not for nothing did the Bishop of Oxford crown him the ‘King of Siluria’. But Murchison’s geological expansionism became more threatening. His Silurian began devouring Sedgwick’s Cambrian below, leading to a period of bitter recrimination. Sedgwick was constantly forced to fight a rearguard action, attempting to ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Tweeting at an Execution, 6 October 2011

... in 1991, of killing Mark MacPhail, a police officer working as a security guard at a Burger King near Savannah. MacPhail had tried to intervene during an assault in a car park and was shot dead. No gun was ever found, and there was no DNA evidence to tie the murder to Davis, but ballistic evidence suggested a link to a gun he’d used in another ...

Human Nature

Stuart Hampshire, 25 October 1979

Beast and Man 
by Mary Midgley.
Harvester, 396 pp., £7.50
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... philosophy of human nature. The founding father was Konrad Lorenz, who followed the vastly popular King Solomon’s Ring with the immensely influential On Aggression. Then came The Naked Ape (Desmond Morris) and The Territorial Imperative (Robert Ardrey), which made the idea of aggression in defence of territory a household ...

Grail Trail

C.H. Roberts, 4 March 1982

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail 
by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.
Cape, 445 pp., £8.95, January 1982, 0 224 01735 7
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The Foreigner: A Search for the First-Century Jesus 
by Desmond Stewart.
Hamish Hamilton, 181 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 241 10686 9
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Satan: The Early Christian Tradition 
by Jeffrey Burton Russell.
Cornell, 258 pp., £14, November 1981, 0 8014 1267 6
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... genealogies (still not published). There were references to Dagobert II, the Merovingian king, to Sion, and to treasure said to be Merovingian. The consequences of the discovery were odd. Saunière was sent to Paris with the two documents, and came into contact with some leading figures in the literary and artistic world, all of whom were interested ...

The School of English

Hilary Mantel: ‘The School of English’: A Story, 7 May 2015

... scent lying heavy on the air. It was hard to think a man slept in this room. She looked at the king-sized expanse of the bed. It was covered by a light quilt, off-white, a sepia pattern faint against it, a paisley swirl in vegetable dye. It looked as if it had been washed many times, beaten on stones by a woman standing in a stream. But this was not ...

Diary

Stephen Spender: Towards a Kind of Neo-Paganism, 21 April 1983

... dead except for Empson and myself) and was delighted at how well we all got on together. ‘King of the Cats’ (to use Yeats’s phrase about himself), to whom we all paid homage, was Basil Bunting, now in his eighties, who wrote his masterpiece, Briggflatts, at the age of 65 on returning to the North of England, after many years of adventurous Middle ...

Miserable Creatures

C.H. Sisson, 2 August 1984

The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... with a view to his extending his fascinations to a wider public. There follows a note to Desmond MacCarthy suggesting – surely with the firm touch of a provincial or a Victorian survivor – that it would be better if the New Quarterly were called instead the Quarterly Herald or Quarterly Clarion, ‘or some such’. The first of these letters ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... the talent for comedy revealed in her letters. Staying in Rye with Alec Vidler, former dean of King’s College, Cambridge, who was helping her with research for The Knox Brothers, she described the house party to her daughter: a trendy cleric, his dull wife, a long-skirted daughter, going up to read English at Hertford, who evidently hadn’t wanted to ...

Are we there yet?

Seamus Perry: Tennyson, 20 January 2011

The Major Works 
by Alfred Tennyson, edited by Adam Roberts.
Oxford, 626 pp., £10.99, August 2009, 978 0 19 957276 2
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... poets he must have known that he was asking for trouble. Trouble duly came in the shape of Sir Desmond MacCarthy, who doggedly stood up in the Sunday Times for the quality of Tennyson’s mind, deplored Auden’s account of the great man as ‘very patronising’, then sought to out-patronise him in turn: ‘It reads as if Mr Auden had been feeling while ...

Done for the State

John Guy: The House of York, 2 April 2020

The Brothers York: An English Tragedy 
by Thomas Penn.
Penguin, 688 pp., £12.99, April, 978 0 7181 9728 5
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Richard III: The Self-Made King 
by Michael Hicks.
Yale, 388 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 0 300 21429 1
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... a blizzard on Palm Sunday, he took the throne from the weak, ineffectual Henry VI and was crowned King Edward IV.Usurpers were plentiful in the 15th century. Edward’s claim was by lineal descent from Edward III, and was a strong one if you ignored the deposition of Richard II in 1399. In the mid-1450s, Richard, Duke of York, Edward’s father and ...

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