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Attercliffe

Nicholas Spice, 17 May 1984

Present Times 
by David Storey.
Cape, 270 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 224 02188 5
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The Uses of Fiction: Essays on the Modern Novel in Honour of Arnold Kettle 
edited by Douglas Jefferson and Graham Martin.
Open University, 296 pp., £15, December 1982, 9780335101818
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The Hawthorn Goddess 
by Glyn Hughes.
Chatto, 232 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7011 2818 6
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... In the press box of the Morristown football ground ‘the stockily-built, the tousled-haired, the pugnaciously-featured Attercliffe’ – 47 years old, father of five, separated from his wife – takes notes on the Saturday afternoon match. One eye on the game below, he chats to his fellow journalists: ‘the pug-nosed, the pug-eared Morgan’, Davidson-Smith (‘overcoated’, ‘deerstalker-hatted’) and Freddie Fredericks, Frank Attercliffe’s aging and alcoholic mentor, and co-author with him of Pindar’s Weekend Round-up, a sports column on the Northern Post ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... its mark on Europe and America. An ancient city, a capital, with authors of all kinds, from Gavin Douglas to James Boswell to Annie S. Swan, Sir Compton Mackenzie and a thousand others: the subject is God’s own gift to the sifter of anecdotes and the historian of large-scale cultural change. Trevor Royle tackles it with affection and enthusiasm. Admirable ...

Hot Dogs

Malcolm Bull, 14 June 1990

Mine eyes have seen the glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America 
by Randall Balmer.
Oxford, 246 pp., $19.95, September 1989, 0 19 505117 3
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In God’s Country: Travels in the Bible Belt, USA 
by Douglas Kennedy.
Unwin Hyman, 240 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 04 440423 9
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The Divine Supermarket 
by Malise Ruthven.
Chatto, 336 pp., £14.95, August 1989, 0 7011 3151 9
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The Democratisation of American Christianity 
by Nathan Hatch.
Yale, 312 pp., £22.50, November 1989, 0 300 44470 2
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Religion and 20th-Century American Intellectual Life 
edited by Michael Lacey.
Cambridge/Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars, 214 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 521 37560 6
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New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America 
by Mary Farrell Bednarowski.
Indiana, 175 pp., $25, November 1989, 0 253 31137 3
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... be of serious social importance? Both Randall Balmer, a professor of history at Columbia, and Douglas Kennedy, an American writer resident in London, confronted this question on numerous occasions in their travels through the evangelical sub-culture of America. Their narratives abound with the exploits of Christian stunt women, Christian tee-shirt ...

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Adam Shatz: Mass Incarceration, 4 May 2017

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America 
by James Forman.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 306 pp., £21.98, April 2017, 978 0 374 18997 6
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... BDC disintegrated, but one of Hassan’s spiritual protégés, a local nationalist called Douglas Moore, took up his cause in the mid-1970s on the city council. Long controlled by racist Southern Democrats, DC won the right to elect its own mayor in 1973, when Congress passed the Home Rule Act; a year later, it elected a black mayor, Walter ...

No Accident

Zachary Leader: Gore Vidal’s Golden Age, 21 June 2001

The Golden Age: A Novel 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 467 pp., £17.99, October 2000, 0 316 85409 3
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... is reiterated rather than developed), the novel’s principal historical figures – Burr, Jefferson and Hamilton – are vividly imagined. Burr is the Vidal figure (in the later novels, it sometimes seems, everybody is the Vidal figure); Hamilton is motivated by a mixture of personal and psychological as well as political factors; and ...

The Road to Sligo

Tom Paulin, 17 May 1984

Poetry and Metamorphosis 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Cambridge, 97 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 521 24848 5
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Translations 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 120 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 19 211958 3
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Conversation with the Prince 
by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Anvil, 206 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 85646 079 6
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Passions and Impressions 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 396 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 571 12054 7
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An Empty Room 
by Leopold Staff, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £3.25, March 1983, 0 906427 52 5
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... concept of art’s relation to society? In these islands, the first translator of Virgil was Gavin Douglas, whose Eneados was completed in 1513. Although my Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Literature appropriates Douglas as the earliest translator of the classics ‘into English’, his version was of course written in ...

The Cruiser

Christopher Hitchens, 22 February 1996

On the Eve of the Millennium: The Future of Democracy through an Age of Unreason 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Free Press, 168 pp., £7.99, February 1996, 0 02 874094 7
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... the Declaration of Independence is the supremely sacred scripture of the American civil religion. Jefferson’s role as the man who wrote down the scripture is analogous to the role of the Prophet Muhammed taking down the Blessed Koran at the dictation of an angel of God ... The effect of the cult of ...

The Lie that Empire Tells Itself

Eric Foner: America’s bad wars, 19 May 2005

The Dominion of War: Empire and conflict in North America 1500-2000 
by Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton.
Atlantic, 520 pp., £19.99, July 2005, 1 903809 73 8
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... to remake the world in its own image. Our empire, however, was to be different from all others. Jefferson spoke of America as an ‘empire of liberty’. When the nation stepped onto the world stage as an imperial power in the Spanish-American War of 1898, President William McKinley insisted that ours was a ‘benevolent’ imperialism, that the conquest of ...

Bugger everyone

R.W. Johnson: The prime ministers 1945-2000, 19 October 2000

The Prime Minister: The Office and Its Holders since 1945 
by Peter Hennessy.
Allen Lane, 686 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 7139 9340 5
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... or the run on sterling had anything to do with the retreat from Suez. Hennessy did well to get Douglas-Home – many years later – to give the game away: What really turned the scale and made the Chancellor . . . so terribly anxious was the American action in putting the Sixth Fleet alongside us in the Mediterranean, for all the world to see, and ...

Yakety-Yak

Frank Cioffi, 8 May 1997

Lectures on Conversation: Vols I-II 
by Harvey Sacks, edited by Gail Jefferson.
Blackwell, 1520 pp., £35, January 1995, 1 55786 705 4
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... who was an insurance salesman but had once been at ‘acting school’ with Kirk Douglas. When asked ‘How come you didn’t make it?’ the insurance salesman replied that he had married and had ‘a coupla kids’, whereas ‘Kirk stuck it out.’ Sacks asks why Tony mentions that he was at the time a manager-trainee and comments: ‘The ...

The Great National Circus

Eric Foner: Punch-Ups in the Senate, 22 November 2018

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War 
by Joanne Freeman.
Farrar, Straus, 450 pp., £20.99, September 2018, 978 0 374 15477 6
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... Webster, as well as eloquent spokesmen on both sides of the slavery question, such as Stephen Douglas and William Seward. John Quincy Adams didn’t consider it beneath him to serve in the House after his term as president. Such men offer a sharp contrast to the smaller-than-life mediocrities who occupy seats today. But as Freeman points out, even ...

Ecclefechan and the Stars

Robert Crawford, 21 January 1988

The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect 
by George Davie.
Polygon, 283 pp., £17.95, September 1986, 0 948275 18 9
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... States. By the early 1760s, the Scotsman William Small was teaching Rhetoric and Belles Lettres to Jefferson at William and Mary. By 1768 John Witherspoon from the Laigh Kirk, Paisley, was basing his Princeton lectures on Blair’s Rhetoric. In 1781 Wither spoon coined the pejorative term ‘Americanism’, by analogy with ‘Scotticism’. Strong connections ...

Playboys of the GPO

Colm Tóibín, 18 April 1996

Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation 
by Declan Kiberd.
Cape, 719 pp., £20, November 1995, 0 224 04197 5
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... of the Aran Islands and the Blasket Islands in Ireland. The attempt by Yeats and Lady Gregory and Douglas Hyde to surround the Gaelic past with holiness had loud echoes in the efforts by Catalan architects and artists, from Gaudí to Miró, to establish the Romanesque tradition as quintessentially Catalan while the rest of Spain was Moorish. And the ...

Tousy-Mousy

Anne Barton: Mary Shelley, 8 February 2001

Mary Shelley 
by Miranda Seymour.
Murray, 665 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 7195 5711 9
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Mary Shelley in Her Times 
edited by Betty Bennett and Stuart Curran.
Johns Hopkins, 311 pp., £33, September 2000, 0 8018 6334 1
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Mary Shelley's Fictions 
edited by Michael Eberle-Sinatra.
Palgrave, 250 pp., £40, August 2000, 0 333 77106 0
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... me in his fine, strong arms’ etc), whereas sex with Shelley’s long-time friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg was quite revolting (‘He slobbered!’) Rather more soberly, Holmes in 1992 seems to have exorcised his own Shelleyan ghosts by writing a radio play about the last weeks at Casa Magni, that beach-house dangerously close to the sea at San Terenzo ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Establishment President, 13 May 2010

... the reversion, by the first Americans to call themselves Democrats, from the libertarian party of Jefferson to the party of territorial expansion and property rights under Andrew Jackson and Stephen Douglas; while the Whig party, once associated with John Adams, under the new name of Republicans extended the cause of ...

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