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Napoleon was wrong

Ian Gilmour, 24 June 1993

Capitalism, Culture and Decline in Britain 1750-1990 
by W.D. Rubinstein.
Routledge, 182 pp., £25, April 1993, 0 415 03718 2
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British Multinational Banking 
by Geoffrey Jones.
Oxford, 511 pp., £48, March 1993, 0 19 820273 3
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Going for Broke: How Banking Mismanagement in the Eighties Lost Thousands of Billions of Pounds 
by Russell Taylor.
Simon and Schuster, 384 pp., £17.50, April 1993, 0 671 71128 8
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... dichotomy between industry, on the one hand, and finance and commerce, on the other. As Geoffrey Jones points out in his clear, sober and authoritative history of British multinational banking, the strength of those banks in the 19th century rested on British economic and political pre-eminence. Their core market was British business, whose ...

Merry Wife of Windsor

Patricia Beer, 16 October 1980

The Duchess of Windsor 
by Diana Mosley.
Sidgwick, 219 pp., £8.95, June 1980, 9780283986284
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... has been blamed principally for silliness, which is commonly supposed not to be a moral quality. Geoffrey Bocca’s She might have been Queen (1955), for instance, bears out the title by recording the long series of fatal mistakes made by the King/Duke at the time of the Abdication; it reads like a nightmare school report to the effect that Windsor could ...

The Concept of ‘Cat Face’

Paul Taylor: Machine Learning, 11 August 2016

... successfully sued for breach of privacy.) About the same time Netflix launched its competition, Geoffrey Hinton, one of a dwindling number of researchers still working on neural networks, realised that if the lower levels of a neural network could be programmed using autoencoders, then the bottom of a deep neural network could learn a feature space that the ...

Rigging the Death Rate

Paul Taylor, 11 April 2013

... bullied, starved and robbed by nurses. Robinson ordered an independent inquiry, to be chaired by Geoffrey Howe, then a QC. One nurse, who carried a stick with which to threaten patients, was said to have bathed his patients by ordering them to strip in the hospital yard and turning a hose of cold water onto them. Howe found evidence to corroborate many of ...

Mr Straight and Mr Good

Paul Foot: Gordon Brown, 19 February 1998

Gordon Brown: The Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 358 pp., £17.99, February 1998, 0 684 81954 6
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... great allies of New Labour. Brown’s chief man in the Treasury is his friend and generous host Geoffrey Robinson, whose enormous wealth is stashed away in a tax haven. One millionaire in the Government is not enough. As soon as New Labour was elected, its ministers scurried into the City to seek out millionaires to conduct the Government’s ...

Ailments of the Tongue

Barbara Newman: Medieval Grammar, 22 March 2012

Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric: Language Arts and Literary Theory, AD 300-1475 
edited by Rita Copeland and Ineke Sluiter.
Oxford, 972 pp., £35, May 2012, 978 0 19 965378 2
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... of essays on 12th-century Latin, The Tongue of the Fathers (1998), David Townsend and Andrew Taylor confirmed Ong’s insight. Latin discourse, they wrote, ‘endlessly replicates tradition. It upholds a monological and orthodox consensus … To enter into this language is, par excellence, to enter into patriarchy. Medieval Latin, in short, is the Tongue ...

Stop It and Act

Tim Parks: Pavese’s Road to Suicide, 11 February 2010

This Business of Living: Diaries 1935-50 
by Cesare Pavese, translated by A.E. Murch.
Transaction, 350 pp., £24.50, March 2009, 978 1 4128 1019 7
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... who died in 1989. The new English edition, by contrast, has only a brief introduction by John Taylor, adapted from pages in his Into the Heart of European Poetry and largely given over to Pavese’s verse, with much praise for Geoffrey Brock’s indeed excellent translation of it. At no point does ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... a few feet along from the ex-archbishop of Canterbury. Still, at least he’s not the dreadful Geoffrey Fisher who when I was young was for years synonymous with the office. R. has insisted that I keep sitting down for most of the service, which I do, the proceedings quite slow and choral and upstanding, the only time I feel I have to get to my feet, out ...


John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare, 6 February 1986

... our knowledge of Shakespeare’s Sonnets by elaborating new work on manuscript miscellanies, Gary Taylor had every reason to think himself on a winning streak when he opened Rawlinson Poet MS 160. The fact that the poem is bad may be an embarrassment. Robin Robbins’s attack on arguments for its authorship based on parallels may be – is – convincing. But ...

Scholarship and its Affiliations

Wendy Steiner, 30 March 1989

... after his exposure, but despite rancorous arguments and the dramatic resignation of A.J.P. Taylor, their proceedings did not lead to publications, conferences, lectures, or any of the other manifestations of a scholarly cause célèbre. One has only to compare the recent furore over Martin Heidegger and Paul de Man to see how slight the impact of the ...


Jeremy Treglown, 6 August 1992

Writers on World War Two: An Anthology 
edited by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 752 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3912 9
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Legacies and Ambiguities: Post-war Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan 
edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer.
Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins, 323 pp., $35, February 1992, 0 943875 30 7
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... war they’ve just fought. It must have been a scholarly version of this syndrome that led A.J.P. Taylor to pronounce, as late as 1965, that ‘the Second World War, unlike the First, produced no distinctive literature. There were no war poets during the war, and no war novels or memoirs after it.’ You still sometimes hear this argument. One reason is that ...

Why Do the Tories Always Have the Luck?

Peter Clarke, 23 February 1995

Conservative Century: The Conservative Party since 1900 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball.
Oxford, 842 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 19 820238 5
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... another essay, on policy-making (this in collaboration with John Barnes). Kevin Theakston and Geoffrey Fry, in another collaborative survey, bring their expertise on the Civil Service to bear, notably on the way in which Whitehall was ‘de-privileged’ under Thatcher. Keith Middlemas, an authority on the corporate institutions with which the ...

Even When It’s a Big Fat Lie

Alex Abramovich: ‘Country Music’, 8 October 2020

Country Music 
directed by Ken Burns.
PBS, eight episodes
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... and Leon Litwack, were scathing, but, for the most part, the book’s tone was measured; Burns and Geoffrey Ward, who had written the film’s script, contributed replies. But a funny thing happened as Burns made more documentaries: instead of making more of the views of historians, he shunted them to the sidelines. For all its faults, The Civil War featured ...
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... be a forgery and can thus be ignored. A file of documents on Kincora is then sent on to Teddy Taylor, the right-wing Tory MP who had shown great interest in the case. Taylor places this file in a locked cupboard in a locked office under a 24-hour-a-day police guard. It is nonetheless stolen, producing a furious ...


W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... than later? 15 July 1997. To St Paul’s for the memorial service for Lord Chief Justice Peter Taylor. The first and best address is given by Humphrey Potts, a lifelong friend of Peter’s from their time together at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle and now himself Hon. Mr Justice Potts of the Queen’s Bench Division. It’s not long after Derry ...

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