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Not Uniquely Incompetent

Edward Luttwak: Mussolini’s Unrealism, 21 May 2020

Mussolini’s War: Fascist Italy from Triumph to Collapse, 1935-43 
by John Gooch.
Allen Lane, 576 pp., £30, May, 978 0 241 18570 4
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... harbours and through torpedo nets. Another spectacular display of effective heroism, noted by John Gooch in Mussolini’s War, was the all-out charge of the Savoia Cavalleria, the Italian equivalent of the Life Guards, when 650 mounted men with sabres and pistols broke a Russian infantry regiment some 2000-strong at Izbushenski on 24 August ...

Not in My House

Mark Ford: Flannery O’Connor, 23 July 2009

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor 
by Brad Gooch.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 316 00066 6
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... and teaching at Iowa at the time, and became familiar with the ideas of Southern Agrarians such as John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate, whose wife, Caroline Gordon, would become an astute reader of drafts of O’Connor’s stories, and a staunch literary advocate. T.S. Eliot, the great hero of the New Critics, and of the Agrarians also, inevitably loomed large ...

Looking big

Asa Briggs, 12 March 1992

Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Engineering Knight-Errant 
by Adrian Vaughan.
Murray, 285 pp., £19.95, October 1991, 0 7195 4636 2
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... does the world at large.’ Brunel’s fame eclipsed that of his father. His close friend Daniel Gooch, whose memoirs and diary only became generally available after 1972, called him ‘the greatest of England’s engineers’. Vaughan, who has written many books on railways, does not question Brunel’s genius, yet he accuses Rolt of the same fault that ...

Up the Levellers

Paul Foot, 8 December 1994

The New Model Army in England, Ireland and Scotland, 1645-53 
by Ian Gentles.
Blackwell, 590 pp., £14.99, January 1994, 0 631 19347 2
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... were confined to a small circle. The few scholars who took the Levellers seriously – G.P. Gooch, say, or the American Theodore Pease – restricted themselves to short sections on the Putney Debates. In 1938, a new edition of the debates was published by A.S.P. Woodhouse, with a foreword by the radical Oxford don, A.D. Lindsay, who had stood in a ...

Pissing on Idiots

Colin Burrow: Extreme Editing, 6 October 2011

Richard Bentley: Poetry and Enlightenment 
by Kristine Louise Haugen.
Harvard, 333 pp., £29.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 05871 2
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... was surely unthinkable that the master of Trinity could have pulled the trigger. Or was it? Thomas Gooch, the Tory master of Caius, had in his capacity as vice-chancellor tried to strip Bentley of his degrees. Among all this brouhaha Bentley managed to establish a reputation as the most learned classical scholar in England. Early in his career, after a stint ...

Departure and Arrival Times

Sheldon Rothblatt, 18 August 1983

The History Men: The Historical Profession in England since the Renaissance 
by John Kenyon.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.50, March 1983, 0 297 78081 6
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... flow of Kenyon’s conversation. His book has some of the pleasant and useful qualities of G.P. Gooch’s History and Historians in the 19th Century. (Who now reads Gooch? He is not even conspicuous by his absence.) His trendy title, for which he has been taken to task by two reviewers, is apt. He is discussing men and at ...

Evil Man

Simon Schaffer: Joseph Priestley, 21 May 1998

The Enlightenment of Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1733 to 1773 
by Robert Schofield.
Pennsylvania State, 328 pp., £35.95, January 1998, 0 271 01662 0
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... Why do we hear so much of Dr Priestley?’ asked Dr Johnson rather sternly in the course of a chemistry lecture he attended in Salisbury. Joseph Priestley was the pre-eminent public intellectual of late 18th-century England. In theology and politics, chemistry and prophecy, this seemingly dour and absurdly productive Yorkshire visionary inspired intense admiration and loathing in roughly equal measure ...

Words as Amulets

Ange Mlinko: Barbara Guest’s Poems, 3 December 2009

The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest 
edited by Hadley Haden Guest.
Wesleyan, 525 pp., £33.95, July 2008, 978 0 8195 6860 1
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Women, the New York School and Other True Abstractions 
by Maggie Nelson.
Iowa, 288 pp., £38.50, December 2007, 978 1 58729 615 4
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... claimed, then Barbara Guest was a devout classicist. No American poet – with the exception of John Ashbery – so reverently extended early modernist aesthetics into the second half of the 20th century. As Guest put it in her essay ‘Radical Poetics and Conservative Poetry’, ‘everything we loved, emulated, was attached to the lyric modernism of ...

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