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No Longer Merely the Man Who Ate His Boots

Thomas Jones: The Northwest Passage, 27 May 2010

Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage 
by Glyn Williams.
Allen Lane, 440 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 84614 138 6
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Franklin: Tragic Hero of Polar Navigation 
by Andrew Lambert.
Faber, 428 pp., £20, July 2009, 978 0 571 23160 7
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... ancestors, the new maps that could only be made by sending men beyond the edges of the old maps. Glyn Williams’s Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage is an engrossing account of four centuries of exploration, as expedition after expedition tried to negotiate a course through the vast, multitudinous, close-set and ice-locked ...

Dreamland

Jonathan Lamb: 18th-century seafaring, 20 March 2003

Voyages of Delusion: The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age of Reason 
by Glyn Williams.
HarperCollins, 467 pp., £8.99, March 2003, 0 00 653213 6
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Voyage to Desolation Island 
by Jean-Paul Kauffmann, translated by Patricia Clancy.
Harvill, 177 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 1 86046 926 4
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... Why enlightened and rational people should have entertained such improbabilities is a question Glyn Williams asks with increasing wonder in his account of the five principal eras of Northwest navigations. He finds no simple answer. Obsession, greed, fame, public spirit, ambition, curiosity, even revenge play parts in the narrative, whose constant ...

Here Be Fog

J.H. Elliott: Mapping the American West, 23 February 2012

The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-63 
by Paul Mapp.
North Carolina, 455 pp., £44.50, February 2011, 978 0 8078 3395 7
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... North America. In a book published in 2002, Voyages of Delusion, the British historian Glyn Williams wrote of the ‘paradox’ that the Age of Reason should have witnessed a revival of hopes for the discovery of the Northwest Passage, and provided a vivid account of the desperate attempts made during the century to find a navigable route ...

Dark Spaces

Dinah Birch, 28 September 1989

People of the Black Mountains: The Beginning 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 361 pp., £13.95, September 1989, 0 7011 2845 3
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The Politics of Modernism 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 208 pp., £24, August 1989, 0 86091 241 8
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A Natural Curiosity 
by Margaret Drabble.
Viking, 309 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 670 82837 8
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... records. People of the Black Mountains is in part an attempted answer to a question which occupied Williams throughout his creative life. How is history made? ‘Actual stories are told by both winners and losers. Yet what becomes history is a selection by the winners. This is trustingly read back into earlier times.’ Questioning this trust, ...

Jihad

James Wood, 5 August 1993

TheNew Poetry 
edited by Michael Hulse, David Kennedy and David Morley.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £25, May 1993, 1 85224 244 2
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Who Whispered Near Me 
by Killarney Clary.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1993, 1 85224 149 7
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Sunset Grill 
by Anne Rouse.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, March 1993, 1 85224 219 1
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Half Moon Bay 
by Paul Mills.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, February 1993, 9781857540000
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Shoah 
by Harry Smart.
Faber, 74 pp., £5.99, April 1993, 0 571 16793 4
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The Autonomous Region 
by Kathleen Jamie.
Bloodaxe, 79 pp., £7.95, March 1993, 9781852241735
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Collected Poems 
by F.T. Prince.
Carcanet, 319 pp., £25, March 1993, 1 85754 030 1
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Stirring Stuff 
by Selwyn Pritchard.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 145 pp., £8.99, April 1993, 9781856193085
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News from the Brighton Front 
by Nicki Jackowska.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 86 pp., £7.99, April 1993, 1 85619 306 3
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Translations from the Natural World 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 67 pp., £6.95, March 1993, 1 85754 005 0
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... insists on an immense, primal separation: it is what allows them to say, for instance, that Glyn Maxwell’s gifts go beyond ‘the merely literary’. But then language itself, on the editors’ account, is a poor thing. Ian McMillan’s work is praised for treating language ‘with a healthy Post-Modern disrespect’; ...

Modern Wales

Rosalind Mitchison, 19 November 1981

Rebirth of a Nation: Wales 1880-1980 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 463 pp., £15, March 1981, 0 19 821736 6
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... This is Volume VI of the new history of Wales, under the general editorship of Professor Glanmor Williams. It presents general history as general history ought to be – which means that though the main emphasis lies on the changing world of politics, this is related closely to the basic economy and to alterations in the values of the society, particularly in religion, literature and national sentiment ...

God’s Iceberg

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 4 December 1986

The ‘ Titanic’: The Full Story of a Tragedy 
by Michael Davie.
Bodley Head, 244 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 9780370307640
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The IT Girls: Elinor Glyn and Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon 
by Meredith Etherington-Smith and Jeremy Pilcher.
Hamish Hamilton, 258 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11950 2
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... Duff Gordon, a fashionable dress designer, whose life, together with that of her sister Elinor Glyn, is told in the second of these books, was on her way to New York with her husband, a Scotch baronet, and her secretary. She heard people running along the deck outside her cabin, and though they seemed to be talking about an iceberg, ‘they were laughing ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... and, more often than not, dull. Sir Mortimer Wheeler probably started the rot and then there was Glyn Daniel and his bow ties and today it’s Tony Robinson capering about professing huge excitement because of the uncovering of the (entirely predictable) foundations of a Benedictine priory at Coventry. His enthusiasm is anything but infectious and almost ...

Confronting Defeat

Perry Anderson: Hobsbawm’s Histories, 17 October 2002

... of the postwar boom in the OECD zone by Anglo-American economists of the Left – Andrew Glyn, David Gordon and others – and totalised a phase of world history under it. The notion, as always and as he himself concedes, is a retrospective one: treasure discovered after the event. It is amid the rubble of the Landslide that what preceded it appear ...

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