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Diarmaid MacCulloch: Inside the KJB, 3 February 2011

The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1611 Text 
edited by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 1552 pp., £50, October 2010, 978 0 19 955760 8
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 
by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 354 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 19 955759 2
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The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today 
by David Norton.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 521 61688 1
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The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences 
edited by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones.
Cambridge, 364 pp., £25, December 2010, 978 0 521 76827 6
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language 
by David Crystal.
Oxford, 327 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 958585 4
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... The quatercentenary commemorative King JamesBible (KJB) sits on my desk as I write: a satisfying artefact in its chocolate livery enriched by opulently gilded top, tail and fore edges, with stout chocolate slipcase to match, impressive in its folio bulk, though not nearly as bulky as the originals of 1611, which needed a sturdy lectern to bear them, announcing their presence with a swagger equal to the most majestic of England’s medieval church buildings ...

Maxwell’s Equations

Nevill Mott, 19 November 1981

James Clerk Maxwell: A Biography 
by Ivan Tolstoy.
Canongate, 184 pp., £9.95, July 1981, 9780862410100
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... James Clerk Maxwell was born in 1831. He held chairs at Aberdeen and London and was the first head of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. He died at the early age of 48, leaving behind, as well as much other first-rate work in physics, something quite epoch-making, ‘Maxwell’s equations’, which predicted clearly that electromagnetic waves could exist, and that light was of this nature ...

A Better Life

Peter Campbell, 2 April 1981

Homes fit for Heroes 
by Mark Swenarton.
Heinemann, 216 pp., £14.50, February 1981, 0 435 32994 4
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The Shell Book of the Home in Britain 
by James Ayres.
Faber, 253 pp., £8.95, March 1981, 0 571 11625 6
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... an occupied interior, of a council house). The situation is not much better for earlier periods. James Ayres’s The Home in Britain can claim to be the first book on ‘Decoration, Design and Construction of Vernacular Interiors, 1500-1850’: this would be surprising if, on looking through the illustrations, it did not become clear how fragmentary the ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: James Gillray, 21 June 2001

... are just straight portraits – and good ones. This skill with likeness is one thing revealed by James Gillray: The Art of Caricature, at Tate Britain until 2 September – the inclusion of formal portraits of his victims by other hands makes it possible to see exactly how he tweaked appearance. Another is his ability as an engraver. There are passages of ...

At the Soane Museum

Peter Campbell: Joseph Gandy, 11 May 2006

... he entered into an ill-judged defence of his employer in the Guardian the architect James Spiller said to Soane: ‘I wish something could be done for Mr G. to take away his leisure for writing.’) His literary, like his graphic output was based on a wide knowledge of ancient architecture and contemporary writing on mythology and ...

At the Gagosian

Peter Campbell: James Turrell, 16 December 2010

... That kind of brain-generated seeing, which has no starting point in seen objects, is one source of James Turrell’s art. Another is the experience of space without reference points, as in a white-out when snow and mist remove all indication of near and far, or its converse – the absolute darkness of a blacked-out room. Indeed Turrell seems to find sources ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Van Dyck’s Portraits, 12 March 2009

... Gallery, painted around 1620 when he was just out of his teens, with the Metropolitan Museum’s James Stuart, Fourth Duke of Lennox, painted in 1633. The former is a small picture: you look at it close. Threads of white paint highlight the old man’s hair, beard, watering eye and damp lip. Paint and flesh exchange substance. The same is true of a picture ...

Poor Harold

C.H. Sisson, 3 December 1981

Harold Nicolson: A Biography. Vo. II: 1930-1968 
by James Lees-Milne.
Chatto, 403 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 7011 2602 7
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... the series gave me my first sight of the work of T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and I believe James Joyce, though I learn from the volume before me that Sir John Reith, reigning at the BBC, forbade Nicolson to mention Ulysses, then banned. Little encounters of that kind were to be expected in those days, and Nicolson seems not to have attempted to reason ...

The Thing

Alan Ryan, 9 October 1986

Whitehall: Tragedy and Farce 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 256 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 241 11835 2
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On the Record. Surveillance, Computers and Privacy: The Inside Story 
by Duncan Campbell and Steve Connor.
Joseph, 347 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 7181 2575 4
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... Ponting assaults the entire political and administrative apparatus, retail and in gross, while Campbell and Connor go for the army of snoopers and data-gatherers. What they share is a thought which would have shocked a previous generation of political commentators – the thought that the British Civil Service is absolutely not to be trusted, that the ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment, 5 April 2007

The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... In March 1776, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson visited Pembroke College, Oxford and called on the master, William Adams. According to Richard Sher, Boswell wrote in his journal how dismayed he had been to see in the master’s library a copy of the quarto edition of David Hume’s Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects of 1758, handsomely bound in morocco leather ...

All of Denmark was at his feet

John Sutherland, 12 May 1994

John Steinbeck: A Biography 
by Jay Parini.
Heinemann, 605 pp., £20, March 1994, 0 434 57492 9
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... does, somewhere between literary respectability and bestsellerdom: John O’Hara, Nelson Algren, James Jones, John Hersey. Parini declares in a fighting Afterword that answers to the Steinbeck question ‘spring to mind’. Clearly the answer which springs highest and most persistently is intellectual snobbery. Steinbeck’s low status is ascribed to the ...

Editor’s Story

Peter Campbell, 18 November 1982

Of This Our Time 
by Tom Hopkinson.
Hutchinson, 317 pp., £8.95, April 1982, 9780091478605
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... fired him. The disagreements were political. The issue which led to the final break was the story James Cameron and Bert Hardy brought back from Korea about the treatment of prisoners in the South. Hulton would not publish it. Picture Post was a model for a new kind of pictorial journalism. Television documentary and news programmes, where many of the ...

The Loneliness Thing

Peter Campbell, 5 February 1981

Nature and Culture 
by Barbara Novak.
Thames and Hudson, 323 pp., £16, August 1980, 0 500 01245 8
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Edward Hopper: The Complete Prints 
by Gail Levin.
Norton, 128 pp., £9.95, April 1980, 0 393 01275 1
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Edward Hopper as illustrator 
by Gail Levin.
Norton, 288 pp., £15.95, April 1980, 0 393 01243 3
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... streets that taper off into swamps or dump heaps’. These struggles to accommodate what Henry James called ‘our crude and silent past, our garish climate, our deafening present’ to European traditions resulted in a realist tradition which may turn out to be America’s greatest contribution to 19th and 20th-century painting. Professor Novak’s book ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gainsborough, 28 November 2002

... actual motion, and done with such light airy facility. Oh! it delighted me when I saw it,’ James Northcote, a pupil of Reynolds, said, having watched Gainsborough at work on Queen Charlotte’s drapery. But these accounts of his later practice are irrelevant to the pictures one turns to first: those crisp, bright, freshly coloured group portraits in ...

Reading the Signs

Peter Campbell: London Lettering, 12 December 2002

... The fire station owes the preservation of its lettering to the vigilance of a printing historian, James Mosley, and an architectural historian, Andrew Saint; and to the fact that the building is still a fire station. When the clothing store Simpson of Piccadilly became a Waterstone’s bookshop a more painful battle of badges took place. Inside, mounted on an ...

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