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In place of fairies

Simon Schaffer, 2 December 1982

Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic 
by Daniel O’Keefe.
Martin Robertson, 581 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 85520 486 9
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Scienze, Credenze Occulti, Livelli di Cultura 
edited by Paola Zambelli.
Leo Olschki, 562 pp., April 1982, 88 222 3069 8
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... constitutions, as did the Americans in 1787.’ We pass over in silence the links between Thomas Jefferson and the Illuminati. Indeed, magic was often seen as a problem of law and social control long before it came to be treated as a special form of psychic experience. The great Jacobean lawyer John Selden advocated the death penalty for anyone who ‘should ...

Public Works

David Norbrook, 5 June 1986

The Faber Book of Political Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 481 pp., £17.50, May 1986, 0 571 13947 7
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... against the corrupting effects of commerce motivated one strand of republican thought down to Jefferson and beyond. It took T.S. Eliot to remind the forgetful English of the full benefits of monarchy. Paulin quotes in his introduction Eliot’s sinister comment that ‘any large number of free-thinking Jews’ is ‘undesirable’. He might have added ...

A Ripple of the Polonaise

Perry Anderson: Work of the Nineties, 25 November 1999

History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the Nineties 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Allen Lane, 441 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7139 9323 5
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... for a long time privileged zones – the terrains of St John Philby and Robert Byron, of Norman Douglas and Patrick Leigh-Fermor, of R.W.Seton-Watson and Rebecca West. Sorties farther afield – like Peter Fleming’s expeditions to the Gobi or Matto Grosso – were fewer. Paradoxically, the vast expanse of the Empire itself was not fertile soil for this ...

Festival of Punishment

Thomas Laqueur: On Death Row, 5 October 2000

Proximity to Death 
by William McFeely.
Norton, 206 pp., £17.95, January 2000, 0 393 04819 5
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Death Row: The Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment 
edited by Bonnie Bobit.
Bobit, 311 pp., $24.95, September 1999, 0 9624857 6 4
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... than the crime itself . . . and adds a second defilement to the first’. Justice William Douglas came close. He saw Furman’s conviction as invalid because it was ‘pregnant with discrimination’ and because, more generally, a sort of moral evolution had brought society to a point where the death penalty – like branding, torture and public ...

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