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Refuge of the Aristocracy

Paul Smith: The British Empire, 21 June 2001

Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 264 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 7139 9506 8
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... and peoples that it ruled conformed to a single pattern. Instead, Cannadine looks for the binding thread in the way the British conceived of the Empire as a social structure. To his fundamental question, ‘what did the British Empire look like?’, he answers that it looked like home; that is, that the British strove to understand, and hence to order ...

Happy Knack

Ian Sansom: Betjeman, 20 February 2003

John Betjeman: New Fame, New Love 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 736 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 7195 5002 5
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... in the local paper and half a dozen glasses raised in tribute. His relationship with his son, Paul, does seem to have been a little strained, but then again, is there a father-son relationship that isn’t? I mean – seriously – Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Betjeman apparently enjoyed teasing Paul as a child ...

Plenty of Puff

Charles West: Charlemagne, 19 December 2019

King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne 
by Janet Nelson.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £30, July 2019, 978 0 7139 9243 4
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... dynasty in a coup, Charlemagne could claim many famous ancestors. A contemporary writer, Paul the Deacon, recounted an anecdote about a man he identified as Charlemagne’s great-great-great grandfather, the seventh-century bishop Arnulf of Metz, who was said to have found a ring he had thrown into a river inside a fish served up to him at dinner, a ...

Big Books

Adam Mars-Jones, 8 November 2018

... Midsummer’s Day 1968 in northern Germany, and follows four main characters: Daniel Pagenstecher, Paul and Wilma Jocobi, and their daughter, Franziska. The narrative, which partly concerns the translation of Edgar Allan Poe, is overlaid with Pagenstecher’s wide-ranging exegesis. Wherever my reading eye touched down on the book’s curiously laid-out ...


David Trotter, 14 September 1989

The Rainbow 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 672 pp., £55, March 1989, 0 521 22869 7
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D.H. Lawrence in the Modern World 
edited by Peter Preston and Peter Hoare.
Macmillan, 221 pp., £29.50, May 1989, 0 333 45269 0
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D.H. Lawrence and the Phallic Imagination: Essays on Sexual Identity and Feminist Misreading 
by Peter Balbert.
Macmillan, 190 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 333 43964 3
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... discredit Lawrence’s advocacy of sexual polarity. Balbert catches them quoting out of context: Paul Morel’s patronising view of the suffrage movement is not Lawrence’s, but part of a dialogue with Clara Dawes which will eventually reveal Clara’s emotional failure; Miriam Leivers’s polemic against sexual inequality reveals her lack of ‘healthy ...

Parliamentary Sovereignty

Betty Kemp, 22 December 1983

The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Vol. II: Party, Parliament and the American Crisis, 1766-1774 
edited by Paul Langford.
Oxford, 508 pp., £40, April 1981, 0 19 822416 8
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Vol. V: India: Madras and Bengal, 1774-1785 
edited by P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 667 pp., £55, July 1983, 0 19 822417 6
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The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Constitutional Code, Vol. I 
edited by F. Rosen and J.H. Burns.
Oxford, 612 pp., £48, April 1983, 9780198226086
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The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Deontology, together with a Table of the Springs of Action and Article on Utilitarianism 
edited by Amnon Goldworth.
Oxford, 394 pp., £38, July 1983, 0 19 822609 8
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The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Chrestomathia 
edited by M.J. Smith and W.H. Burston.
Oxford, 451 pp., £40, November 1983, 0 19 822610 1
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Bentham and Bureaucracy 
by L.J. Hume.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £22.50, September 1981, 0 521 23542 1
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Jeremy Bentham and Representative Democracy: A Study of the Constitutional Code 
by Frederick Rosen.
Oxford, 255 pp., £19.50, May 1983, 9780198226567
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by Ross Harrison.
Routledge, 286 pp., £14.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9526 0
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... being an enemy. These were the upholders of the doctrine of natural law, a universal moral code, binding on everyone and therefore of course on Parliament. Many men who were by no means radical insisted, with Chatham, that the acceptance of parliamentary sovereignty did not entail the sacrifice of natural law. Blackstone, who had defined parliamentary ...

Founding Moments

Stuart Macintyre, 11 March 1993

The Oxford History of Australia. Vol. II, 1770-1860: Possessions 
by Jan Kociumbas.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 19 554610 5
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The Rule of Law in a Penal Colony: Law and Power in Early New South Wales 
by David Neal.
Cambridge, 266 pp., £30, March 1992, 9780521372640
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Waterloo Creek: The Australia Day Massacre of 1838, George Gipps and the British Conquest of New South Wales 
by Roger Milliss.
McPhee Gribble, 965 pp., February 1992, 0 86914 156 2
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Living in a New Country: History, Travelling and Language 
by Paul Carter.
Faber, 214 pp., £14.99, July 1992, 0 571 16329 7
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... encounters in New South Wales during the late 1830s, is the signal failure of the rule of law. Paul Carter’s essays offer a far-reaching re-evaluation of the processes of cultural transference triggered by the act of migration. The most familiar of the books in form and scope is that of Kociumbas, whose brief was to write the first post-Aboriginal volume ...

Migne and Moody

Graham Robb, 4 August 1994

God’s Plagiarist: Being an Account of the Fabulous Industry and Irregular Commerce of the Abbé Migne 
by R. Howard Bloch.
Chicago, 162 pp., £19.95, June 1994, 0 226 05970 7
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... night’ (I Thessalonians 5.2). In 19th-century France, it came in the shape of the abbé Jacques-Paul Migne. Between 1840 and 1870, with the help of several hundred poorly-paid workers and the latest in steam-powered printing, Migne undid the effects of the French Revolution, reversed the Reformation, created ‘the two most beautiful historical monuments to ...

Condy’s Fluid

P.N. Furbank, 25 October 1990

A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bodley Head, 514 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 370 30451 9
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Killing in Verse and Prose, and Other Essays 
by Paul Fussell.
Bellew, 294 pp., £9.95, October 1990, 0 947792 55 4
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... lovely ‘Friendly are meadows’, Then the all-universal and wide decree shall fail Of world’s binding, and earth’s dust apart be loosed. These preoccupations with loss – loss of a countryside to the motor-car, the tractor and the speculative builder; a ‘finer type’ of Englishman losing out to the profiteer and the townee – seem to be pre-war ...

Further to Fall

Owen Bennett-Jones, 21 August 1997

Switzerland Unwrapped: Exposing the Myths 
by Mitya New.
Tauris, 210 pp., £18.95, June 1997, 1 86064 300 0
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Blood Money 
by Tom Bower.
Macmillan, 387 pp., £16.99, March 1997, 0 333 71517 9
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... as many as twenty different issues a year. Some of these plebiscites – all of which are legally binding – decide fundamental matters like whether the country should have an army. Others concern matters of importance to a local community such as whether a new school should be built or a road improved. Occasionally the votes throw up radical results. In ...

A Waistcoat soaked in Tears

Douglas Johnson, 27 June 1991

The Noble Savage: Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1754-1762 
by Maurice Cranston.
Allen Lane, 399 pp., £20, February 1991, 0 7139 9051 1
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Writings of Rousseau. Vol I: Rousseau: Judge of Jean-Jacques. Dialogues. 
translated by Judith Bush, edited and translated by Christopher Kelly and Roger Masters.
University Press of New England, 277 pp., $40, March 1990, 0 87451 495 9
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... was also the unbalanced and paranoid Rousseau whose writings about himself must be disregarded: Paul de Man has suggested that modern critics have fulfilled Rousseau’s fantasies about persecution. There were, in fact, many of his contemporaries who also wished him harm, such as Grimm, Voltaire, Diderot, d’Holbach and various former associates. Rousseau ...

A Dingy Start to the Day

Frank Kermode, 10 September 1992

Kingsley Amis: Modern Novelist 
by Dale Salwak.
Harvester, 302 pp., £24.99, April 1992, 0 7450 1096 2
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London Calling: V.S. Naipaul, Postcolonial Mandarin 
by Rob Nixon.
Oxford, 229 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 19 506717 7
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... and Selwyn Cudjoe, a professor of Black Studies, produced in 1988 a long book called V.S. Nai-paul: A Materialist Reading, which describes Naipaul as ‘an apologist for the imperial world order’, as scornful of Caribbean cultural values and even, in his response to his native Trinidad, ‘psychotic’. He adds that Naipaul is so interested in himself ...


E.S. Turner, 23 February 1995

Edward Lear: A Biography 
by Peter Levi.
Macmillan, 362 pp., £20, January 1995, 0 333 58804 5
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... book – ‘a joyous interpretation’ – in the Daily Telegraph. In the Sunday Telegraph Paul Johnson asked the ‘why, oh why’ question: why another life of Lear? He seemed stumped for an answer. Levi says his book springs in part from an under-researched lecture on Lear he gave as Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Lear did not, as many ...

Kind Words for Strathpeffer

Rosalind Mitchison, 24 May 1990

The British Isles: A History of Four Nations 
by Hugh Kearney.
Cambridge, 236 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 521 33420 9
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Cromartie: Highland Life 1650-1914 
by Eric Richards and Monica Clough.
518 pp., £29.50, August 1989, 0 08 037732 7
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Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788 
by Paul Kléber Monod.
Cambridge, 408 pp., £30, November 1989, 0 521 33534 5
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... lives differently could be wielded only with restraint. The Cromartie estate was made by binding together three very distinct units or baronies acquired by the first Earl, lawyer, politician and courtier, whose career bridged the revolution of 1688. He was reputed – and there is no reason to disagree with the repute – thoroughly corrupt. He left ...


Hilary Gaskin: From Nuremberg to the Gulf, 25 April 1991

... journeys, some profoundly painful memories. And for the people who shared this experience it is a binding force. On the second day of the reunion, the former courtroom photographer Ray D’Addario showed some old newsreel footage, which was silent, of the trials in progress, and all over the darkened room you could hear a low chorus of murmurs and whispers as ...

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