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Foremost Economist

Rosalind Mitchison, 25 October 1979

Population Malthus 
by Patricia James.
Routledge, 524 pp., £17.50
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... out forty years ago: that there was much more to Malthus than Malthusianism. Some years ago Patricia James did much to give humanity to the image of Malthus by publishing his travel diaries. He came alive, particularly on his Norwegian journey of 1799, being overcharged for horse hire, tactfully refusing to eat dirty Lapp food, inquiring always ...

According to A.N. Wilson

Patricia Beer, 3 December 1992

Jesus 
by A.N. Wilson.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 269 pp., £15, September 1992, 1 85619 114 1
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... cidevant, and this is bound to affect some of his arguments. A good example is his use of St James, whom he identifies as the brother of Jesus, to distinguish him from the disciples who were also called James. His theory is that the mysterious man who joined the band as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day ...

Dancing in Her Doc Martens

Lorna Scott Fox, 18 September 1997

Monsieur Shoushana’s Lemon Trees 
by Patricia Duncker.
Serpent’s Tail, 197 pp., £9.99, August 1997, 1 85242 572 5
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... Dares to be intellectual,’ breathed the Guardian’s review of Patricia Duncker’s first novel, Hallucinating Foucault. But co-opting the defenceless Michel Foucault into a romanticised fantasy about the Reader does not guarantee a novel’s intellectuality. The story of the timid Cambridge student who falls in love with the subject of his thesis – French writer Paul Michel, a malign blend of Dany Cohn-Bendit and Guy Hocquenghem – and carries him off from an asylum, struck me above all as daring to be improbable ...

Renaissance

Patricia Craig, 2 March 1989

Fictions of the Irish Literary Revival: A Changling Art 
by John Wilson Foster.
Gill and Macmillan, 407 pp., £30, November 1987, 0 8156 2374 7
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... was an odd pig and I do not think that his like will be there again’) comes the irreverent James Stephens – irreverent, as Foster says, towards revival high-mindedness and po-faced antiquarianism. Stephens’s work is characterised by an inspired frivolity, and even when it comes chock-full of gods and fairies, the author’s bent for social ...

Back to the Ironing-Board

Theo Tait: Weber and Norman, 15 April 1999

The Music Lesson 
by Katharine Weber.
Phoenix House, 161 pp., £12.99, January 1999, 1 86159 118 7
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The Museum Guard 
by Howard Norman.
Picador, 310 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780330370097
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... of the other side of Dutch art – its preoccupation with death, obsession, loss of proportion. Patricia Dolan, the narrator of Weber’s ‘literary thriller’, is a middle-aged Irish-American art historian. Her Irish cousin Mickey is a Republican activist. They fall in love. She helps him to steal, and demand a ransom for, a Vermeer belonging to the ...

Open that window, Miss Menzies

Patricia Craig, 7 August 1986

A Taste for Death 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 454 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13799 7
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A Dark-Adapted Eye 
by Barbara Vine.
Viking, 300 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 670 80976 4
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Dead Men’s Morris 
by Gladys Mitchell.
Joseph, 247 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 7181 2553 3
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Laurels are poison 
by Gladys Mitchell.
Hogarth, 237 pp., £2.95, June 1986, 0 7012 1010 9
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Dido and Pa 
by Joan Aiken.
Cape, 251 pp., £7.95, June 1986, 0 224 02364 0
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... The epigraphs of P.D. James (now that she has taken to using them) are important. ‘There’s this to say for blood and breath,’ runs the latest one, from A.E. Housman: ‘They give a man a taste for death.’ Are we being directed to hold in mind those other lines of Housman’s? Oh like enough ’tis blood, my dear, For when the knife has slit The throat across from ear to ear ’Twill bleed because of it ...

Great Fun

John Bayley, 22 January 1987

Gossip 
by Patricia Meyer Spacks.
Chicago, 287 pp., £9.25, November 1986, 0 226 76844 9
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The Bonus of Laughter 
by Alan Pryce-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 241 11903 0
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... of an intelligent and informal analysis of the concept, chiefly in its relation to literature, Patricia Spacks remarks on the absence of adolescent pregnancy in China, and connects it with the compulsory retirement, under the Communist regime, of men at 55 and women at 50. There is thus a vast reserve of voluntary spies whose socially acceptable – indeed ...

Libel on the Human Race

Steven Shapin: Malthus, 5 June 2014

Malthus: The Life and Legacies of an Untimely Prophet 
by Robert Mayhew.
Harvard, 284 pp., £20, April 2014, 978 0 674 72871 4
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... and family, he married his first cousin once removed, and then quickly fathered three children. Patricia James, the author of the still definitive biography Population Malthus (1979), speculates that Malthus’s domestic situation stamped itself on his demographic imagination – though many similarly placed younger sons among professional men at the ...

Seeing the light

Patricia Beer, 16 July 1981

Part of a Journey: An Autobiographical Journal 1977-1979 
by Philip Toynbee.
Collins, 398 pp., £9.95, April 1981, 0 00 211696 0
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... only one incident where his literary judgment was overcome by his moral enthusiasm: the case of James Kirkup’s poem about Jesus which he publicly defended against the charge of blasphemy. The poem may or may not be blasphemous – I myself would say it is not – but it is such an indefensibly bad poem qua poem that it must have gone against his grain to ...

Angela and the Beast

Patricia Craig, 5 December 1985

Black Venus 
by Angela Carter.
Chatto, 121 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7011 3964 1
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Come unto these yellow sands 
by Angela Carter.
Bloodaxe, 158 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 906427 66 5
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Mainland 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 285 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 241 11643 0
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The Accidental Tourist 
by Anne Tyler.
Chatto, 355 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2986 7
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Arrows of Longing 
by Virginia Moriconi.
Duckworth, 252 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 9780715620694
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... Their behaviour at the dinner table is unengaging. This literary girl, very strangely, blames James Joyce among the others for giving her a false perspective on the Irish. Has she actually read him? Or did she seriously believe the country had stuck in 1904? A lot of issues are raised in this novel, and then allowed to drift away: for instance, when it ...

Separate Development

Patricia Craig, 10 December 1987

The Female Form 
by Rosalind Miles.
Routledge, 227 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 7102 1008 6
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Feminism and Poetry 
by Jan Montefiore.
Pandora, 210 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 86358 162 5
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Nostalgia and Sexual Difference 
by Janice Doane and Devon Hodges.
Methuen, 169 pp., £20, June 1987, 9780416015317
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Reading Woman 
by Mary Jacobus.
Methuen, 316 pp., £8.95, November 1987, 0 416 92460 3
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The New Feminist Criticism 
edited by Elaine Showalter.
Virago, 403 pp., £11.95, March 1986, 0 86068 722 8
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Reviewing the Reviews 
Journeyman, 104 pp., £4.50, June 1987, 1 85172 007 3Show More
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... out that Dorothy Richardson’s experiments with prose style had something in common with those of James Joyce; you don’t, however, catch anyone applauding Joyce for having written out of the abyss of masculine consciousness, though it might have been said of him with equal pertinence. Most of the studies under review here are concerned to see justice done ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Ezra Pound in Italy, 23 October 2008

... had a look around Metato and reported that he found nothing much. But he commended a piece by Patricia Hutchins, written for the Southern Review in the 1960s. She liked to put writers in their place – Ezra Pound’s Kensington and James Joyce’s Dublin – and in Metato quickly found a priest who gave her a vivid ...

Dream on

Alexander Nehamas, 17 July 1997

Dinner with Persephone 
by Patricia Storace.
Granta, 398 pp., £17.99, February 1997, 1 86207 033 4
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... centuries earlier – uncontaminated by later, particularly foreign, intrusions. ‘The Romans,’ James Davidson wrote recently in these pages, ‘were so thorough in forestalling the possibility of any actual heroics that might disturb the Roman peace that the dream-world of discourse was the only space left to the Greeks for great deeds’ (LRB, 23 ...

Here in Canada

D.A.N. Jones, 21 March 1985

The Engineer of Human Souls 
by Josef Skvorecky, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 571 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 9780701129316
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The Governess 
by Patricia Angadi.
Gollancz, 181 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 575 03485 8
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The Anderson Question 
by Bel Mooney.
Hamish Hamilton, 185 pp., £8.95, March 1985, 9780241114568
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The Centre of the Universe is 18 Baedekerstrasse 
by Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy.
Hamish Hamilton, 199 pp., £8.95, March 1985, 0 241 11492 6
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... her to read H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories in much the same way he recommends students to try a James Bond novel. All the same, H.P. Lovecraft – with his fatuous ghoulishness, revived and found modish in the 1970s – brings his influence to bear on the seventh chapter. The female students are cute and dinky, with their bright-coloured, tasteless food and ...

Wakey Wakey

Susan Eilenberg, 19 October 1995

Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind 
by Patricia Meyer Spacks.
Chicago, 290 pp., £19.99, January 1995, 0 226 76853 8
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... enabled novelists and other practitioners of culture to persist and thrive in the face of what Patricia Meyer Spacks calls ‘psychic entropy’. One of the oddities of Boredom is that, having amassed evidence of its subject’s profundity and pervasiveness (what could be more profound or more pervasive than entropy?), the book remains at bottom ...

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