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Psychoapologetics

Frank Cioffi, 2 June 1983

Philosophical Essays on Freud 
edited by Richard Wollheim and James Hopkins.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £25, November 1982, 9780521240765
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The Legend of Freud 
by Samuel Weber.
Minnesota, 179 pp., $25, December 1982, 0 8166 1128 9
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... That we are entering the shabby world of psychoanalytic apologetic becomes apparent from James Hopkins’s introduction, where the argument from resistance rears its fatuous head. Hopkins thinks we find it difficult to judge the claims of psychoanalysis on their merits because psychoanalysis is ‘concerned ...

Feel what it’s like

James Davidson: Pagans, Jews and Christians, 2 March 2000

A World Full of Gods: Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire 
by Keith Hopkins.
Weidenfeld, 402 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 297 81982 8
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... World Full of Gods is a book full of Christians and strange mental slides. Its author, Keith Hopkins, is a professor of ancient history at Cambridge. This is his first book written for a general readership and even without its fantastic materials and important subject its authorship would be enough to recommend it; the general readership will be ...

Starting up

Peter Clarke, 6 November 1986

The German Slump: Politics and Economics 1924-1936 
by Harold James.
Oxford, 469 pp., £30, March 1986, 0 19 821972 5
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The Making of Keynes’s General Theory 
by Richard Kahn.
Cambridge, 327 pp., £20, May 1984, 9780521253734
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Towards the Managed Economy: Keynes, the Treasury and the Fiscal Policy Debate of the 1930s 
by Roger Middleton.
Methuen, 244 pp., £25, September 1985, 0 416 35830 6
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Keynes and his Contemporaries 
edited by G.C. Harcourt.
Macmillan, 195 pp., £22.50, October 1985, 0 333 34687 4
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The Policy Consequences of John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Harold Wattel.
Macmillan, 157 pp., £29.50, April 1986, 0 333 41340 7
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... way the world thinks about economic problems’? The first set of issues is addressed by Harold James in his impressive study, The German Slump. In explaining an apparent economic recovery under the Nazis, following the bankruptcy of the Weimar regime, there is a plausible argument that ‘the right blocked Keynesianism, and were only prepared to ...

Half-Resurrection Man

Keith Hopkins, 19 June 1997

Paul: A Critical Life 
by Jerome Murphy O’Connor.
Oxford, 416 pp., £35, June 1996, 0 19 826749 5
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Paul: The Mind of the Apostle 
by A.N. Wilson.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 274 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 1 85619 542 2
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... show that Paul was the missionary appointed by the pillars of the Jerusalem Church (James, the brother of Jesus, Peter and John) to take the Christian message from Jerusalem to Rome, with his martyrdom omitted, perhaps to avoid depicting Rome’s opposition to early Christians. And then there is the Paul of the Aprocrypha, one ...

Against Consciousness

Richard Gregory, 24 January 1980

Pavlov 
by Jeffrey Gray.
Fontana, 140 pp., £1.25, September 1980, 9780006343042
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J.B. Watson: The Founder of Behaviourism 
by David Cohen.
Routledge, 297 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 7100 0054 5
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... based on the idea of ‘associative links’. These were discussed in various forms by Hume, both James Mill and his son John Stuart Mill, Bain, and most effectively by Hartley. As Jeffrey Gray points out, a major impact of Pavlov’s work was to bring experiments to bear on philosophical notions of mind, rather as the great physicists have, over a ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... most of the figures who recreated modern writing were gay, or Irish, or Jewish: Melville, Whitman, Hopkins, James, Yeats, Kafka, Woolf, Joyce, Stein, Beckett, Mann, Proust, Gide, Firbank, Lorca, Cocteau, Auden, Forster, Cavafy. But he would have been slightly unsettled, I think, by the thought of the gay element in this ...

Under the Sphinx

Alasdair Gray, 11 March 1993

Places of the Mind: The Life and Work of James Thomson (‘B.V.’) 
by Tom Leonard.
Cape, 407 pp., £25, February 1993, 9780224031189
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... This is the first full-length study of James Thomson’s life and work since Henry Salt’s in 1889. Thomson’s poem The City of Dreadful Night is known by name to many but has seldom been reprinted or discussed. Histories of literature say more about an earlier James Thomson (1700-48) who wrote The Seasons and ‘Rule Britannia’ and got into Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, though Johnson says his diction was ‘florid and luxuriant ...

Every one values Mr Pope

James Winn, 16 December 1993

Alexander Pope: A Critical Edition 
edited by Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 706 pp., £11.95, July 1993, 0 19 281346 3
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Essays on Pope 
by Pat Rogers.
Cambridge, 273 pp., £30, September 1993, 0 521 41869 0
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... there a single memorable aperçu in all his letters? The contrast with Gray, or Keats, or even Hopkins, is glaring.’ Ignoring Pope’s outsider status, a product of his Roman Catholic faith and his physical handicap, some self-proclaimed New Historicists have slandered him as an apologist for such establishment vices as colonialism, which he explicitly ...

Praise Yah

Eliot Weinberger: The Psalms, 24 January 2008

The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary 
by Robert Alter.
Norton, 518 pp., £22, October 2007, 978 0 393 06226 7
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... of the shadow of death; make a joyful noise; go from strength to strength . . . The 1611 King James Authorised Version of the Book of Psalms – and of course of the entire Bible – is so deep in the English language that we no longer know when we are repeating its phrases. Inextricable from the beliefs and practices of its faithful for four hundred ...

Interdisciplinarity

Dinah Birch, 27 June 1991

The Desire of My Eyes: A Life of John Ruskin 
by Wolfgang Kemp, translated by Jan Van Huerck.
HarperCollins, 526 pp., £20, March 1991, 0 00 215166 9
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... And then, of course, there are the literature specialists, who know that the development of Hopkins, Pater, Proust, and many others, cannot be understood without some reference to Ruskin. These assorted academics have all come up with their own versions of what is most significant in Ruskin’s multitudinous output, and most of them are ignorant of what ...

Who gets to trip?

Mike Jay: Psychedelics, 27 September 2018

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics 
by Michael Pollan.
Allen Lane, 465 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 0 241 29422 2
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Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds 
by Lauren Slater.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £20, February 2018, 978 0 316 37064 6
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... of mental illness or drug use. The first psilocybin trial, led by Roland Griffiths at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, recruited its subjects via small ads in the local Baltimore and Washington press under the heading ‘Interested in the Spiritual Life?’ This is a very different cohort from mental health service user groups and ...

Tropical Storms

Blake Morrison, 6 September 1984

Poems of Science 
edited by John Heath-Stubbs and Phillips Salman.
Penguin, 328 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 0 14 042317 6
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The Kingfisher 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, April 1984, 0 571 13269 3
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The Ice Factory 
by Philip Gross.
Faber, 62 pp., £3.95, June 1984, 0 571 13217 0
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Venus and the Rain 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Oxford, 57 pp., £4.50, June 1984, 0 19 211962 1
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Saying hello at the station 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 48 pp., £2.95, June 1984, 0 7011 2788 0
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Dreaming Frankenstein and Collected Poems 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 159 pp., £2.95, May 1984, 0 904919 80 3
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News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of West Indian-British Poetry 
edited by James Berry.
Chatto, 212 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 9780701127978
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Human Rites: Selected Poems 1970-1982 
by E.A. Markham.
Anvil, 127 pp., £7.95, May 1984, 0 85646 112 1
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Midsummer 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 79 pp., £3.95, July 1984, 0 571 13180 8
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... poems it’s a different matter. ‘Above Tooey Mountain’, for example, interweaves letters from Hopkins, James Joyce’s mother and Sir James Melville with the poet’s own experience of motherhood: the pay-off is too much like an Ian Hamilton poem (arms damp with flowers ‘from ...

Winner’s History

Howard Erskine-Hill, 20 August 1981

Some Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution 
by Christopher Hill.
Weidenfeld, 100 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 297 77780 7
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The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714 
by Christopher Hill.
Nelson, 296 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 0 17 712002 9
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... the novel, we should recall that the Anglican Church was widely Calvinist under Elizabeth and James. Cervantes’ Don Quixote, not so far as I know the consequence of a revolution, echoes on into 18th-century fiction, while the great European picaresque novel with its powerfully developed religious strain was, in the hands of the Spaniard Aleman and the ...

Embarrassed

Graham Hough, 7 October 1982

Thomas Hardy: A Biography 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 637 pp., £15, June 1982, 0 19 211725 4
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. III: 1902-1908 
edited by Richard Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 367 pp., £19.50, July 1982, 0 19 812620 4
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The Neglected Hardy: Thomas Hardy’s Lesser Novels 
by Richard Taylor.
Macmillan, 202 pp., £17.50, May 1982, 0 333 31051 9
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Good Little Thomas Hardy 
by C.H. Salter.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £15, August 1982, 0 333 29387 8
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Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form 
by Penny Boumelha.
Harvester, 178 pp., £18.95, April 1982, 0 7108 0018 5
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Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy 
by Arlene Jackson.
Macmillan, 151 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 333 32303 3
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... in a very different spirit. The offensive title of this book is taken from a letter of Henry James. What right had James to patronise Hardy, and why should Salter think it worth repeating? Salter’s aim is admittedly to cut Hardy down to size – he thinks the reputation exaggerated, particularly that of the man of ...

Too Many Alibis

James Wood: Geoffrey Hill, 1 July 1999

Canaan 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 76 pp., £7.99, September 1996, 0 14 058786 1
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The Truth of Love: A Poem 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 82 pp., £8.99, January 1997, 0 14 058910 4
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... want to finish his lines in this cracked glaze. This is the poet, at his best a true heir of Hopkins, once capable of lustre – ‘Where fish at dawn ignite the powdery lake’ (‘To the (Supposed) Patron’) – and immediacy: ‘The lamps grew plump with oily reliable light’. His beautiful poem, ‘An Apology for the Revival of Christian ...

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