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How to End a Dynasty

Michael Kulikowski: Rehabilitating Nero, 19 March 2020

Nero: Emperor and Court 
by John Drinkwater.
Cambridge, 483 pp., £32.99, January 2019, 978 1 108 47264 7
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... its lack of actual independence tolerable. There was only one problem: if Augustus wasn’t king (John Drinkwater translates princeps, the evasive, multivalent honorific used by and of Augustus, as ‘boss’), how was power to be transferred when he died? Much care was taken to fudge the answer. With a suitable show of reluctance, Tiberius allowed the ...

‘Come, my friend,’ said Smirnoff

Joanna Kavenna: The radical twenties, 1 April 1999

The Radical Twenties: Aspects of Writing, Politics and Culture 
by John Lucas.
Five Leaves, 263 pp., £11.99, January 1997, 0 907123 17 1
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... Edward Marsh stubbornly published best-selling poetry collections, featuring Walter de la Mare, John Drinkwater, Harold Monro, Rupert Brooke, Wilfrid Blunt, nervously commemorating a threatened pastoral. Other writers, more diffident or isolated, threw in their lot with entropy: Charlotte Mew’s poetry of the early Twenties is littered with speakers ...

Royal Americans

D.A.N. Jones, 4 October 1984

Lincoln 
by Gore Vidal.
Heinemann, 657 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 434 83077 1
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Stars and Bars 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 255 pp., £8.50, September 1984, 0 241 11343 1
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... know that Lincoln has four more years to live before he is shot by Herold’s friend, John Wilkes Booth, the most notorious of all those Americans who have sought to win fame by killing heroes and idols. In this urgent manner, blending the legendary and the humdrum, Gore Vidal introduces his story, like a 20th-century version of a Greek tragedy ...

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