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Raiding Joyce

Denis Donoghue, 18 April 1985

James Joyce 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £20, November 1984, 9780521240147
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James Joyce and Sexuality 
by Richard Brown.
Cambridge, 216 pp., £19.50, March 1985, 0 521 24811 6
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Joyce’s Dislocutions: Essays on Reading as Translation 
by Fritz Senn, edited by John Paul Riquelme.
Johns Hopkins, 225 pp., £22.20, December 1984, 0 8018 3135 0
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Post-Structuralist Joyce: Essays from the French 
edited by Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer.
Cambridge, 162 pp., £20, January 1985, 9780521266369
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... but on Joyce’s work as a whole, he is vigorously interesting and helpful. The body-language of Richard Brown’s book is far more specific than Parrinder’s, but his assumptions are much the same. He has two aims in mind. ‘One tries to place Joyce’s work in the context of ideas in which he participated.’ The ideas in view are mainly connected ...

Diary

Philip Horne and Danny Karlin: Million Dollar Bashers, 22 June 1989

... a study of Dylan’s lyrics.1 Day was on a panel discussing Dylan’s purported sexism with Richard Brown (Leeds University, Joyce), Neil Corcoran (Sheffield University, modern poetry) and Kath Burlinson, who has just stopped being half of the cabaret act ‘The Wild Girls’ and has settled down to do a PhD in 19th-century women’s ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy, 2 January 2020

Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... and then their grey successors. We were so happy when those fresh-faced challengers, the Blair/Brown and Clinton/Gore double acts, showed them the door. People smarter than I was probably foresaw the compromises that would follow, but I doubt any of us fully anticipated our financialised, deregulated world – a world in which we now individually struggle ...

Spadework

John Brown, 18 November 1982

Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett 
by Richard Layman.
Junction, 285 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 86245 027 6
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... such a delay constitutes a small literary mystery, and in the preface to Shadow ManRichard Layman supplies a terse explanation. It appears that Lillian Hellman, Hammett’s closest friend from 1931 onwards, took steps soon after his death to acquire legal control of all the novelist’s copyrights (despite the terms of Hammett’s will), using ...

A Leg-Up for Oliver North

Richard Rorty, 20 October 1994

Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for America’s Future 
by Richard Bernstein.
Knopf, 367 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 41156 9
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... In his new book, Richard Bernstein – one of the best reporters at the New York Times – offers some detailed descriptions, and some solid criticisms, of a serious nuisance. Unfortunately, he then tries to inflate this nuisance into a dangerous monster. He offers a lot of useful information about what one segment of the American Left has been doing recently, and his analyses are very acute ...

The Conspiracists

Richard J. Evans: The Reichstag Fire, 8 May 2014

Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery 
by Benjamin Carter Hett.
Oxford, 413 pp., £18.09, February 2014, 978 0 19 932232 9
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... benefited, so the Nazis must have started it. Münzenberg and his team rapidly put together The Brown Book on the Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror, published in London in the same year. Aside from the numerous, undoubtedly genuine and often moving accounts of Nazi brutality by its victims, The Brown Book presented ninety ...

Sunflower

Peter Burke, 20 March 1986

Velazquez: Painter and Courtier 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 322 pp., £35, March 1986, 0 300 03466 0
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El Greco and his Patrons: Three Major Projects 
by Richard Mann.
Cambridge, 164 pp., £35, February 1986, 0 521 30392 3
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... the centre to the periphery. It is only in the last few years, thanks to scholars such as Jonathan Brown and some of his Spanish colleagues, such as Julian Gallego, that the art of 17th-century Spain is beginning to be seen again in its intellectual, social and political context. Jonathan Brown is the author of monographs on ...

The Greatest Geek

Richard Barnett: Nikola Tesla, 5 February 2015

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age 
by W. Bernard Carlson.
Princeton, 520 pp., £19.95, April 2015, 978 0 691 05776 7
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... After spending the harsh winter of 1885 digging ditches, Tesla met two men – Alfred Brown, a senior official in the Western Union telegraph company, and the lawyer Charles Peck – who helped him to become a major force in the War of the Currents. Impressed by his capability and charisma, Brown and Peck went ...

A Welcome for Foreigners

Peter Burke, 7 November 1991

The Golden Age of Painting in Spain 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 330 pp., £39.95, January 1991, 0 300 04760 6
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Spanish Paintings of the 15th through 19th Centuries 
by Jonathan Brown and Richard Mann.
National Gallery of Art, Washington/Cambridge, 165 pp., £50, April 1991, 0 521 40107 0
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... and artists today, from Australia to Brazil. It also sums up the central argument of Jonathan Brown’s new book The Golden Age of Painting in Spain, which emphasises Spain’s cultural dependence on foreigners. The author claims that even in its so-called ‘Golden Age’, here defined as the period 1480-1700, Spain remained ‘on the periphery of ...

Signs of the Times

Mark Ford, 21 February 2008

... Today,’ wrote Thomas Carlyle As the brown and barge-laden Thames rolled past Cheyne Walk, ‘I am full of dyspepsia, but also Of hope.’ On the Today Show today a dyspeptic interviewer set brusquely about A hopeful minister, and I ingested, along with the dyspepsia And the hope, a story about a dubious collector Of Regency soft toys and Apache Bows, arrow-flints and tomahawks ...

Rough Wooing

Michael Brown: Flodden, 23 January 2014

Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 
by George Goodwin.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £20, July 2013, 978 0 297 86739 5
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... in defence of Tudor England are interesting, given their – sometimes exaggerated – support for Richard III against Henry VII in 1485 and the widespread support for the Pilgrimage of Grace, the massive northern revolt against Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1536: dislike of Scotland trumped dislike of the Tudors. The recent coverage of the ...

Before Wapping

Asa Briggs, 22 May 1986

Victorian News and Newspapers 
by Lucy Brown.
Oxford, 305 pp., £32.50, November 1985, 0 19 822624 1
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... News was allowed to make drawings of the buildings, the objects inside them, and the crowds. Lucy Brown does not choose this particular example of the demand for press publicity on the part of a Victorian organiser, but she gives many examples from the 1850s and later of the demand for it on the part of politicians, some of whom had to face similar protests ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Da Vinci Code’, 8 June 2006

The Da Vinci Code 
directed by Ron Howard.
May 2006
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... no one knew it. It’s the greatest cover-up in human history, to quote Ian McKellen quoting Dan Brown. During the Cannes screening of the film critics are said to have laughed when a crowd of bewigged ghosts shows up for Newton’s funeral in Westminster Abbey, forcing the live characters to elbow their way through the shades to continue their quest for the ...

What did it matter who I was?

Gaby Wood, 19 October 1995

The Blue Suit 
by Richard Rayner.
Picador, 216 pp., £9.99, July 1995, 0 330 33821 8
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The Liar’s Club 
by Mary Karr.
Picador, 317 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 330 33597 9
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... Richard Rayner’s The Blue Suit is a memoir, a work of non-fiction. In it his father dies several times: of cancer, in a car crash, missing presumed drowned and, finally, of a heart attack. He makes guest appearances in between, as a sick man in Scotland, as a diplomat in Australia, as a stepfather. These events all form part of a story, a sort of Arabian Nights of the confessional, in which Rayner admits his real life to his girlfriend (‘one confession veiling the next’), and the whole truth turns out to be a narration of the lies he has told ...

Men He Could Trust

Richard J. Evans: Hitler’s Stormtroopers, 22 February 2018

Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts 
by Daniel Siemens.
Yale, 459 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 300 19681 8
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... their sinister attacks by which Germany should be ‘awakened’. The human quality of this brown heap, in which the sons of the German bourgeoisie were trained in gangland methods, illustrated the desolate human decline of the German middle classes.Later historians called the SA a ‘criminal gang with a political accent’, and the ‘most degenerate ...

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