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Sir Jim

Reyner Banham, 22 May 1980

Memoirs of an Unjust Fella: An Autobiography 
by J.M. Richards.
Weidenfeld, 279 pp., £10, March 1980, 9780297777670
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... knew who the Times architectural correspondent was; those who knew that evasive figure to be J.M. Richards would be interested to learn where he lived; and those who knew Richards personally would groan: ‘Typical Jim. Up all night working on an obit.’ The anonymity of a Times byline – ‘Our Architectural ...

Lola did the driving

Inigo Thomas: Pevsner’s Suffolk, 5 May 2016

Suffolk: East, The Buildings of England 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 677 pp., £35, April 2015, 978 0 300 19654 2
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... result is an uncommonly impressive group of industrial buildings, and a prime example of what J.M. Richards of the Architectural Review called ‘the functional tradition’ … The works closed in 1965 and the large malthouse was converted to a Concert Hall for the Aldeburgh festival by Derek Sugden of Arup Associates, 1966-67. As a conversion it was a model ...

A Useless Body

David Craig: The Highland Clearances, 18 May 2017

Set Adrift upon the World: The Sutherland Clearances 
by James Hunter.
Birlinn, 572 pp., £14.99, September 2016, 978 1 78027 354 9
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... is unmistakable, especially when compared with other historians such as the dispassionate Eric Richards, author of A History of the Highland Clearances (1985), and J.M. Bumsted, who wrote in The People’s Clearance (1982) that Highlanders ‘largely lacked … the ability of fluent self-expression’. Hunter is careful to present the evidence for all he ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... tale’s crackpot complexity.’ In other words, the age of the bestseller had arrived. If we jump forward a few years, to 2 September 1914, we encounter another tableau of literary life that is, in its way, no less striking than our Grub Street Cleopatra on her barge. As a junior member of the Cabinet with intellectual leanings, Charles Masterman had ...

Taking the hint

David Craig, 5 January 1989

The King’s Jaunt: George IV in Scotland, 1822 
by John Prebble.
Collins, 399 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 00 215404 8
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... give evidence for each splash and stroke. One excellent academic historian of the Clearances, Eric Richards, has credited Prebble with ‘a sound knowledge of important and frequently neglected sources’. He then objects to ‘leaps of the imagination – he invests elusive and obscure people with emotions, thoughts and feelings for which he possesses little ...

Under-the-Table-Talk

Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters, 19 March 2015

Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... overseeing rehearsals at the Royal Court, he sends love to the children and his respects to Miss Richards, Barbara’s housekeeper in Purley. He signs off: ‘Forgive all my sadness and foolishness and try and find some happiness somewhere.’ In the summer of 1959 he tries to establish some ground rules: ‘The only alternative is between calling it a day ...

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