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John Passmore, 4 September 1986

Australian Realism: The Systematic Philosophy of John Anderson 
by A.J. Baker.
Cambridge, 150 pp., £20, April 1986, 0 521 32051 8
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... Opposite the title-page of Mr Baker’s skeletonised but substantially accurate account of John Anderson’s philosophy there stand two epigraphs. They are both from Heraclitus or, more precisely, from Burnet’s translation of that enigmatic philosopher. The first of them is ontological: ‘The world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures kindling and measures going out ...

Great Good Places of the Mind

John Passmore, 6 March 1980

Utopian Thought in the Western World 
by Frank Manuel.
Blackwell, 896 pp., £19.50, November 1979, 9780631123613
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... For a quarter of a century, Professor and Mrs Manuel have explored the highways and byways of Utopianism. Their task is now completed, their painstaking research encapsulated in a single monumental volume. Nothing less than ‘monumental’ will suffice to describe it: half a million words, at a rough estimate. Tighter editing would have excised an occasional sentence as repetitious or otiose ...

School for Love

Onora O’Neill, 21 May 1981

The Philosophy of Teaching 
by John Passmore.
Duckworth, 159 pp., £18, July 1980, 0 7156 1031 7
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... Nobody could be more aware than Professor Passmore of the hazards of writing on the philosophy of teaching. He notes disarmingly that ‘the chance of writing even a reasonably good book on any branch of the philosophy of education is statistically very low indeed. It is terribly difficult to write in a manner which is neither philosophy for philosophy’s sake with an occasional example from teaching, nor just a series of commonplace banalities ...

Dun and Gum

Nicholas Jose: Murray Bail, 16 July 1998

by Murray Bail.
Harvill, 264 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 1 86046 494 7
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... which he found feathering the ‘uncomfortable nest’ of another recluse, the Sydney painter John Passmore: ‘curb your magnanimity and be more of an artist.’ The ugly face of Holden’s Performance gets in the way of a more seductive writerly presence that now unfolds, years later, in Eucalyptus. This sweet-talking book sidesteps many hurdles by ...

The Great Mary

Dinah Birch, 13 September 1990

Mrs Humphry Ward: Eminent Victorian, Pre-Eminent Edwardian 
by John Sutherland.
Oxford, 432 pp., £16.99, August 1990, 0 19 818587 1
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... an eating insecurity, a covetous desire to earn acceptance and approval from those in authority. John Sutherland points to this paradox as the driving force behind Mary Ward’s extraordinary career. He isn’t inclined to condone the various obstinacies that made ‘The Great Mary’ (Pound’s term) so scorned among the writers who followed her. Her moral ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland, 11 July 1991

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... The George Eliot entry does not mention her brother Isaac, Charles Bray, Charles Hennell or John Chapman. Lewes gets just eight words (‘a married man unable to divorce his wife’). Sartre similarly gets no more than a dismissive sentence in the de Beauvoir entry. Beauvoir’s book on her mother’s death is cited, but not Adieux, her farewell to ...

Pull off my head

Patricia Lockwood: What a Bear Wants, 12 August 2021

by Marian Engel.
Daunt, 176 pp., £9.99, April, 978 1 911547 94 5
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... lures the animal inside. In the library, as the bear dozes beside her, she picks up an edition of John Richardson’s Wacousta (1832), often called the first Canadian novel, and then reaches for the next book on the shelf: an 1858 memoir by Edward John Trelawny who ‘burned Shelley’s body and saved the heart’, who ...

Every single one matters

Elaine Showalter and English Showalter: The first black female novelist?, 18 August 2005

In Search of Hannah Crafts: Critical Essays on ‘The Bondwoman’s Narrative’ 
edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr and Hollis Robbins.
Basic Books, 458 pp., £17.50, January 2005, 0 465 02708 3
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... was the story of a woman’s life as a house slave on the North Carolina plantation of John Hill Wheeler, her escape to New Jersey in 1857, and her composition of an autobiographical fiction incorporating ‘elements of the many sentimental sagas she had evidently borrowed from Mr Wheeler’s shelf’. Although ‘replete with the heavy-handed ...

Less than Perfectly Submissive

Susan Pedersen: No Votes, Thank You, 20 March 2008

Women against the Vote: Female Anti-Suffragism in Britain 
by Julia Bush.
Oxford, 340 pp., £35, October 2007, 978 0 19 924877 3
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... of suffragism, and in 1909 Mrs Humphry Ward lost a suffrage debate to Mrs Fawcett at her own Passmore Edwards Settlement by a humiliating 235 votes to 74. Old agreements to remain uncommitted broke down, with the NUWW moving towards formal support for the cause and vibrant suffrage organisations in both the Liberal and Conservative parties. The ...

The Limits of Humanism

Mary Midgley, 7 June 1984

The Case for Animal Rights 
by Tom Regan.
Routledge, 425 pp., £17.95, January 1984, 0 7102 0150 8
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Rights, Killing and Suffering: Moral Vegetarianism and Applied Ethics 
by R.G. Frey.
Blackwell, 256 pp., £17.50, September 1983, 0 631 12684 8
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... real, and not necessarily especially ‘moderate’, if that is taken to mean weak. For instance, John Passmore’s Man’s Responsibility for Nature puts forward a spread of alternatives, all of which call for quite drastic action. But it is moderate in that it always gives its reasons, treats opponents honestly and respectfully, strongly objects to ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London, 19 June 2008

... in its exposure of the coming land-piracy that it seemed prophetic. It was efficiently directed by John MacKenzie, but the meat of the thing is in Barrie Keeffe’s script, his intimacy with tired ground that is about to be invaded, overwhelmed, rewritten. The advent of Margaret Thatcher was announced, as MacKenzie’s crime fable makes clear, by a slippery ...

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