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Wasp in a Bottle

John Sturrock, 10 February 1994

Charles Sanders Peirce 
by Joseph Brent.
Indiana, 388 pp., £28.50, January 1993, 0 253 31267 1
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The Esssential Peirce: Vol. I 
edited by Nathan Houser and Christian Koesel.
Indiana, 399 pp., £17.99, November 1992, 0 253 20721 5
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... The extent to which Peirce failed in that most Jamesian of arts is the theme that haunts Joseph Brent’s melancholy biography, in which a lavishly endowed young man declines into a superior kind of wastrel, erratic and unliked in his personal life and barely employable as a professional scientist or academic philosopher. In his ...

Pious Girls and Swearing Fathers

Patricia Craig, 1 June 1989

English Children and their Magazines 1751-1945 
by Kirsten Drotner.
Yale, 272 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 300 04010 5
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Frank Richards: The Chap behind the Chums 
by Mary Cadogan.
Viking, 258 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 670 81946 8
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A History of Children’s Book Illustration 
by Joyce Irene Whalley and Tessa Rose Chester.
Murray/Victoria and Albert Museum, 268 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 7195 4584 6
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Manchester Polytechnic Library of Children’s Books 1840-1939: ‘From Morality to Adventure’ 
by W.H. Shercliff.
Bracken Books/Studio Editions, 203 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 901276 18 9
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Children’s Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors 
by Joseph Connolly.
Macdonald, 336 pp., £17.95, October 1988, 0 356 15741 5
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... the retarding effect of low-grade literature. On the credit side, we have the testimony of Joseph Connolly, book-dealer and author of Children’s Modern First Editions, who graduated from the Beano to the Times. The Beano (first issued in 1938) is among the papers noted by Kirsten Drotner but not examined in detail, possibly because characters along ...

Inside the Barrel

Brent Hayes Edwards: The French Slave Trade, 10 September 2009

Memoires des esclavages: la fondation d’un centre national pour la memoire des esclavages et de leurs abolitions 
by Edouard Glissant.
Gallimard, 192 pp., €14.90, May 2007, 978 2 07 078554 4
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The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade 
by Christopher Miller.
Duke, 571 pp., £20.99, March 2008, 978 0 8223 4151 2
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... chains being used against black Africans’. Miller finds damning evidence in the 1804 memoirs of Joseph Mosneron, a slave trader from Nantes. Mosneron attributes his education in ‘moral ideas’ to Rousseau, but doesn’t express any qualms about profiting from the trade. In one passage, Mosneron recounts that while waiting for a cargo of slaves to be ...

Staying in power

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 7 January 1988

Mrs Thatcher’s Revolution: The Ending of the Socialist Era 
by Peter Jenkins.
Cape, 411 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 224 02516 3
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De-Industrialisation and Foreign Trade 
by R.E. Rowthorn and J.R. Wells.
Cambridge, 422 pp., £40, November 1988, 0 521 26360 3
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... Few eyes could be seen to ‘light up at the sight of her’ on a Thursday morning, as Keith Joseph said his did – ‘while she’s hitting me about the head’, he added. She never relied on Cabinets again. (Then and since, she has suffered more defeats in Cabinet than any of her post-war predecessors.) By the autumn of 1981, she was also trailing ...

Report from Sirius B

Jeremy Harding: ‘Phantom Africa’, 22 March 2018

Phantom Africa 
by Michel Leiris, translated by Brent Hayes Edwards.
Seagull, 711 pp., £42, January 2017, 978 0 85742 377 1
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... His journal is now available in an elegant translation with notes and an introduction by Brent Hayes Edwards, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia. It is a magnificent book. Edwards has kept the apparatus of the key French editions, including Leiris’s own footnotes – many, as Edwards says, added by way of ‘curt ...

Poor Darwin

Harriet Ritvo, 26 July 1990

Charles Darwin: A New Biography 
by John Bowlby.
Hutchinson, 511 pp., £19.95, June 1990, 0 09 174229 3
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... is not to suggest that such attention to Darwin has been absent: a full-length biography, by Peter Brent, appeared in 1981, for example, although Bowlby nowhere refers to it.) By and large, the most interesting recent scholarly treatments of Darwin, like those of other 19th-century scientists, have embedded their personal experience in its social and cultural ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... to Kensal Rise where I am to do an evening to raise funds to help pay for a legal challenge to Brent Council’s plans to close Kensal Rise Library (and five others). Tim is pessimistic about their chances, libraries for him as much a haven in his childhood as they were for me, though he’s 30 years or so younger. The church is full, with Newsnight in ...

Protocols of Machismo

Corey Robin: In the Name of National Security, 19 May 2005

Arguing about War 
by Michael Walzer.
Yale, 208 pp., £16.99, July 2004, 0 300 10365 4
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Chain of Command 
by Seymour Hersh.
Penguin, 394 pp., £17.99, September 2004, 0 7139 9845 8
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Torture: A Collection 
edited by Sanford Levinson.
Oxford, 319 pp., £18.50, November 2004, 0 19 517289 2
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... not threatened by Iraq. And some of national security’s most accomplished practitioners, such as Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, as well as theoreticians like Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer, even claimed that a genuine consideration of US interests militated against the war. The mere fact that some politicians misused or abused the principle of ...

Who’s the real wolf?

Kevin Okoth: Black Marseille, 23 September 2021

Romance in Marseille 
by Claude McKay.
Penguin, 208 pp., £12.99, May 2020, 978 0 14 313422 0
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... relationship with Big Blonde, a broad-shouldered worker who looks like a ‘hero straight out of Joseph Conrad’. Big Blonde is something of an enigma around the Vieux Port: he spends his time working hard on the docks or courting Petit Frère, a sex worker ‘fascinating with his pale prettiness and challenging, deep, dark-ringed eyes and insolent ...

The Strange Death of Municipal England

Tom Crewe: Assault on Local Government, 15 December 2016

... the local library are first directed to Coventry. Even births, deaths and marriages are managed in Brent. This extraordinary renunciation of democratic control and accountability is justified on the basis of two assumptions: that the private sector can do the job more cheaply (often the case, at least on paper) and better (often not the case, which is why the ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq, 5 January 2006

... there were 120,000 Iraqi troops trained to take over the security of the country; I heard Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat from Delaware, say that the number was closer to 4000; I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘The fact of the matter is that there are 130,200 who have been trained and equipped. That’s a fact. The idea that that number’s wrong is just not ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby, 23 March 2006

... for the United States to take a more ‘even-handed role’ in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Senator Joseph Lieberman accused him of selling Israel down the river and said his statement was ‘irresponsible’. Virtually all the top Democrats in the House signed a letter criticising Dean’s remarks, and the Chicago Jewish Star reported that ‘anonymous ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... say he seemed numb. Two of the people on his floor mentioned to me by Hamid – Sheila, 84, and Joseph Daniels, an Indian air force veteran, 69 – didn’t make it to the stairs. Several people said they thought the firefighters had gone in to get them.Those coming from the 16th floor passed Sabah Abdullah, 72, and his wife, Khadija Khalloufi, who worked ...

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