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Sire of the Poor

Linda Colley, 17 March 1988

Victorian Values and 20th-Century Condescension 
by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
Centre for Policy Studies, 15 pp., £2.20, August 1987, 1 870265 10 6
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Peel and the Victorians 
by Donald Read.
Blackwell, 330 pp., £27.50, August 1987, 0 631 15725 5
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Suicide in Victorian and Edwardian England 
by Olive Anderson.
Oxford, 475 pp., £40, July 1987, 9780198201014
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... national and impressionistic history there is a political rather than a scholarly imperative. Peregrine Worsthorne made this clear when he argued recently for a new version of Britain’s past: an ambitious but strictly selective saga of ‘how the nation come to govern itself in a particular way and according to particular ideas of right and ...

Heart of Darkness

Christopher Hitchens, 28 June 1990

Not Many Dead: Journal of a Year in Fleet Street 
by Nicholas Garland.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 0 09 174449 0
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A Slight Case of Libel: Meacher v. Trelford and Others 
by Alan Watkins.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7156 2334 6
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... pointless.’ And Oliver Pritchett tells Alexander Chancellor a middling good yarn (‘Perry’ is Peregrine Worsthorne): He said he’d just seen the most sinister man he’d ever clapped eyes on moving towards Perry’s office and was terribly afraid that the man’s intention was to murder poor Perry. He was troubled enough by the aspect of this ...

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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... dissolution of Empire after the Second World War, Cannadine asserts, taking up a famous article by Peregrine Worsthorne in Foreign Affairs, eroded the prestige and diminished the resources of the whole hierarchical and monarchical system. The howdah and its trappings looked silly when the elephant had absconded. But hierarchy and the deference which ...

What’s the big idea?

Jonathan Parry: The Origins of Our Decline, 30 November 2017

The Age of Decadence: Britain 1880 to 1914 
by Simon Heffer.
Random House, 912 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 84794 742 0
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... One would certainly get this view from reading Heffer’s equivalents of a few decades ago – Peregrine Worsthorne, Henry Fairlie, Frank Johnson. Perhaps Heffer once took this line too. But at some point in his life he discovered Carlyle, whose biography he wrote, and he now seems determined to write history in the Carlylean vein.* There should ...

Siding with Rushdie

Christopher Hitchens, 26 October 1989

The Rushdie File 
edited by Lisa Appignanesi and Sara Maitland.
Fourth Estate/ICA, 268 pp., £5.95, July 1989, 0 947795 84 7
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CounterBlasts No 4: Sacred Cows 
by Fay Weldon.
Chatto, 43 pp., £2.99, July 1989, 0 7011 3556 5
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Salman Rushdie and the Third World: Myths of the Nation 
by Timothy Brennan.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, September 1989, 0 333 49020 7
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... that wrong apposition for which the extreme conservatives are hoping. Why do you think that Peregrine Worsthorne, Paul Johnson and Auberon Waugh are, pro tem, in favour of the mosque against secular, brown activists of the Rushdie type? It is depressing to notice how much of the commentary in this matter depends on the unstated false antithesis ...

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