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Peter Clarke, 23 June 1994

Thinking the Unthinkable: Think-Tanks and the Economic Counter-Revolution, 1931-83 
by Richard Cockett.
HarperCollins, 390 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 00 223672 9
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... of the Keynesian consensus at Upminster in June 1974 was followed three months later by his Preston speech, which brought ‘monetarism’ into the centre of political debate. The embarrassment of the leader of the Conservative Party was shortlived since a new leader was soon found who was not embarrassed at all. Cockett’s account reaches its climax ...

Moments

Marilyn Butler, 2 September 1982

The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. I: Medieval Literature Part One: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition, Vol. II: The Age of Shakespeare, Vol. III: From Donne to Marvell, Vol. IV: From Dryden to Johnson 
edited by Boris Ford.
Penguin, 647 pp., £2.95, March 1982, 0 14 022264 2
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Medieval Writers and their Work: Middle English Literature and its Background 
by J.A. Burrow.
Oxford, 148 pp., £9.95, May 1982, 0 19 289122 7
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Contemporary Writers Series: Saul Bellow, Joe Orton, John Fowles, Kurt Vonnegut, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Pynchon 
by Malcolm Bradbury, C.W.E. Bigsby, Peter Conradi, Jerome Klinkowitz and Blake Morrison.
Methuen, 110 pp., £1.95, May 1982, 0 416 31650 6
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... Romantic primitivism he shares with Burke, Coleridge, Cobbett and Dickens, the wish of Barrie’s Peter Pan that our lives could be simple and protected, like children’s, and that society had never had to grow up. But Leavis is genuinely powerful on morals, on relationships, especially domestic ones, between lovers or within the family. His insistence that ...

Wounding Nonsenses

E.S. Turner, 6 February 1997

The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Hodder, 531 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 340 63804 4
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... on how a French-speaking Dakar sentry would challenge a stranger. At one point, in her role as Mrs Peter Rodd, she writes to her absentee husband to dissuade him from suing Waugh for libel, telling him that this is the lowest way of making money. Waugh, of course, has no scruples about picking up libel damages, looking on the Daily Express as a milch ...

What does a chicken know of bombs?

David Thomson: A Key to Brando, 5 December 2019

The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando 
by William J. Mann.
HarperCollins, 718 pp., £22, November 2019, 978 0 06 242764 9
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... a dozen biographies of Brando, or memoirs that depend on his presence. The weightiest of these is Peter Manso’s, published in 1994, when Brando still had ten years to live. (Mann hurries through those last years out of kindness as much as weariness. The killing of Drollet, the imprisonment of Christian and Cheyenne’s subsequent suicide left Brando a ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington, 30 November 2006

State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... signs off on dockets ensuring the swift arrival of tomorrow’s new orders. This is reminiscent of Preston Sturges’s The Great McGinty, a movie about a good-looking puppet installed as mayor of an American city by thugs too ugly and too thuggish to appear in public themselves. ‘To us,’ you can almost hear Adelman cry at that dinner party – to the ...
From Author to Reader: A Social Study of Books 
by Peter Mann.
Routledge, 189 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9089 7
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David Copperfield 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 781 pp., £40, March 1981, 0 19 812492 9
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Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Margaret Cardwell.
Oxford, 923 pp., £45, December 1982, 0 19 812488 0
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Books and their Readers in 18th-Century England 
edited by Isabel Rivers.
Leicester University Press, 267 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7185 1189 1
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Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century 
by Ian Norrie.
Bell and Hyman, 253 pp., £12.95, October 1982, 0 7135 1341 1
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Reading Relations 
by Bernard Sharratt.
Harvester, 350 pp., £18.95, February 1982, 0 7108 0059 2
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... make his own tools before he can achieve anything. This, presumably, is the primitive need which Peter Mann’s From Author to Reader is intended to supply. Mann’s perspective is severely sociological, and his aim to lay a groundwork of conceptual starting-points. From Author to Reader has a superficially theoretic aspect: but it aspires to ...

Love, Loss and Family Advantage

Rosalind Mitchison, 1 September 1983

Family Forms in Historic Europe 
edited by Richard Wall.
Cambridge, 606 pp., £37.50, March 1983, 0 521 24547 8
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Servants in Husbandry in Early Modern England 
by Ann Kussmaul.
Cambridge, 245 pp., £22, December 1981, 0 521 23566 9
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The Subversive Family: An Alternative History of Love and Marriage 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Cape, 282 pp., £9.50, July 1982, 0 224 01999 6
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... this group of studies lies an important earlier collection, the work published in 1972, edited by Peter Laslett and Richard Wall, as Household and Family in Past Time. This book established the remarkable constancy of average household size in England since the 16th century, despite people’s mobility, with a norm of a little under five persons until the low ...

Gobsmacked

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 16 July 1998

Lyric Wonder: Rhetoric and Wit in Renaissance English Poetry 
by James Biester.
Cornell, 226 pp., £31.50, May 1997, 0 8014 3313 4
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Reason Diminished: Shakespeare and the Marvellous 
by Peter Platt.
Nebraska, 271 pp., £42.75, January 1998, 0 8032 3714 6
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Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder 
by T.G. Bishop.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £32.50, January 1996, 0 521 55086 6
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The Genius of Shakespeare 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 386 pp., £20, September 1997, 0 330 35317 9
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... there in these millennial times ought not to surprise us. This batch of studies finds, in the USA, Peter Plan and T.G. Bishop combing the plays for miracles and James Biester finding the key to Renaissance courtly poetry in its strategies for eliciting astonishment. Back home, Jonathan Bate is gobsmacked by the sheer Genius of Shakespeare. It’s perhaps as ...

Say thank you

Clive James: Witty Words in Pretty Mouths, 23 May 2002

Fast-Talking Dames 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 365 pp., £19.95, June 2001, 0 300 08815 9
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... the preservation of Hollywood’s greatest period of achievement. Hollywood itself never was, and Peter Bogdanovich’s originality as a curator lay in his awareness that it never would be. (Until the prospect of sales to television saved the day, Hollywood’s instinctive homage to a great original film was not only to remake it, but to burn its ...

No Surrender

Tom Shippey: Vikings, 22 July 2010

The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings 
by Robert Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £30, November 2009, 978 0 7139 9788 0
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... while swords and skulls were shuffled into the background. See the title of the late Peter Foote’s The Viking Achievement (1970). Ferguson, though long based in Norway, was a pupil of Foote’s and although he early on declares an interest in restoring ‘the violence to the Viking Age’, his training still shows, notably at the end of Chapter ...

Diary

Chris Mullin: The Birmingham Bombers, 21 February 2019

... Having obtained his initial results, he should have taken the samples back to his laboratory in Preston and fed them into a mass spectrometer, which gives a much more accurate result. Instead, Skuse told the West Midlands detectives he was certain at least two of the suspects had recently been in contact with nitroglycerine. From that moment, their fate was ...

All This Love Business

Jean McNicol: Vanessa and Julian Bell, 24 January 2013

Julian Bell: From Bloomsbury to the Spanish Civil War 
by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams.
Stanford, 314 pp., £38.95, 0 8047 7413 7
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... but it was still unnerving to have one’s private life put on display. A year earlier Peter Stansky and William Abrahams had published Journey to the Frontier, a joint Life of Julian Bell and John Cornford, who died in Spain a few months before Bell. It is the product of a more decorous school of biography: they didn’t seek out ...

Comrades in Monetarism

John Lloyd, 28 May 1992

... Institute of the Market with backing from the neo-liberal Institute of Economic Affairs in London; Peter Aven, who had worked for some time in Vienna; Boris Feodorov, who had recently taken up a job with the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Many of these men knew each other well: Kagalovsky, an inveterate networker, arranged ...

Everybody’s Friend

D.A.N. Jones, 15 July 1982

William Cobbett: The Poor Man’s Friend 
by George Spater.
Cambridge, 318 pp., £15, March 1982, 0 521 22216 8
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... The Poor Man’s Friend came out in 1826, at twopence a part, addressed to the Working Classes of Preston (where Cobbett had stood for election). He presented himself as a public friend to the lower ranks and the working classes. He instructed the rankers in the most friendly, familiar way (most of his published books are instruction manuals), almost as if he ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... was part-nationalised in 1975 – and several banks have been as good as nationalised this year. Peter Mandelson recently said that the £2.3 billion in loan guarantees he unlocked for the car industry were no ‘bail-out’, being intended to promote its ‘greening’, but this was just a fancy way of getting access to £1.3 billion from the European ...

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