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Brave as hell

John Kerrigan, 21 June 1984

Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 09 156050 0
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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Modern Edition 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 36386 8
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... history of Shakespearean fiction is long and motley, like Feste’s coat. Arguably, it starts with Scott. Earlier tales about the Bard – his deer-poaching at Charlecote, the drinking bout at Bidford, holding horses at the theatre door – were fallacious rather than fictional. Starved of facts about the national poet, and eager to endorse the little that was ...

Diary

Andrew Saint: Goodbye to the Routemaster, 26 January 2006

... label the Routemaster an ‘icon’, a ‘classic’ that owes its chic to the styling of Douglas Scott, an industrial designer who also refashioned the Aga and the Rediffusion radio. That way, from a niche in the old-codgers’ corner of the heritage industry, the bus turns into an exhibit in the Design Museum. The truth is more edifying, if anyone out there ...

Foxy-Faced

John Bayley, 29 September 1988

Something to hold onto: Autobiographical Sketches 
by Richard Cobb.
Murray, 168 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4587 0
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... Frank Kermode’s lively little book History and Value, and I thought of him again while enjoying Richard Cobb’s Something to hold onto, whose title would itself have been greeted with fellow-feeling by Bagshaw. Anthony Powell’s character is fascinated by things for their own sake, an attitude not common among either believers or men of ...

At Tate Modern

Anne Wagner: Richard Tuttle , 6 November 2014

... It’s easy​ to see why Richard Tuttle’s work has a tendency to rile people – in particular people who insist on believing that sculpture, even if it no longer needs to be solid and substantial, should at least cling to material existence. From early on Tuttle seemed set on refusing such notions; his work came across as impromptu and elusive, a mirage of fragments, shadows and traces, portable, and hardly built to last ...

Female Bandits? What next!

Wendy Doniger: The incarnations of Robin Hood, 22 July 2004

Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography 
by Stephen Knight.
Cornell, 247 pp., £14.50, May 2003, 0 8014 3885 3
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... Many people firmly believe there was. We owe the widespread belief that Robin lived in the time of Richard I (1157-1199) to William Stukeley (1687-1765), an eccentric scholar of ancient British history who fabricated for him a crazy family pedigree going back to the Normans. Knight argues that the search for the historical Robin is as quixotic as the search ...

The Tarnished Age

Richard Mayne, 3 September 1981

David O. Selznick’s Hollywood 
by Ronald Haver.
Secker, 425 pp., £35, December 1980, 0 436 19128 8
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My Early life 
by Ronald Reagan and Richard Hubler.
Sidgwick, 316 pp., £7.95, April 1981, 0 283 98771 5
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Naming Names 
by Victor Navasky.
Viking, 482 pp., $15.95, October 1980, 0 670 50393 2
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... J. Parnell Thomas, later jailed, and Joseph McCarthy, together with such men as John E. Rankin and Richard M. Nixon, posed as crusaders, hounding writers, actors, directors, and ordinary citizens whose political opinions were their only crime. The ensuing black list infected Hollywood like dry rot. The whole affair now looks like a pestilence, collective ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns, 11 December 1997

Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... He discriminates between both periods and authors, drawing out the ‘passion for Heaven’ in Richard Baxter, the ‘clarity and assurance’ characteristic of Watts, Addison’s gentlemanliness, Charles Wesley’s ‘physicality’, Montgomery as ‘the greatest hymn-writer on the difficult subject of prayer’, the whisper and privacy in Keble’s ...

Great Palladium

James Epstein: Treason, 7 September 2000

Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793-96 
by John Barrell.
Oxford, 7377 pp., £70, March 2000, 0 19 811292 0
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... The prosecution was conducted by a team of eight barristers led by the Attorney General, Sir John Scott. The defence team of five barristers included Erskine. On hearing of the extraordinary length of Scott’s opening address, the former Lord Chancellor Thurlow declared: ‘Nine hours? Then there is no treason, by ...

Leave me my illusions

Nicholas Penny: Antiquarianism, 29 July 2021

Time’s Witness: History in the Age of Romanticism 
by Rosemary Hill.
Allen Lane, 390 pp., £25, June, 978 1 84614 312 0
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... between them and their often disparate specialities have never previously been explored. Walter Scott and Victor Hugo feature among the less familiar scholars, and some painters, including Bonnington and Delacroix, make brief appearances. As these names suggest, Hill has much to tell us about Anglo-French relations, present as well as past.We learn, for ...

A History of Disappointment

Jackson Lears: Obama’s Parents, 5 January 2012

The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father 
by Sally Jacobs.
Public Affairs, 336 pp., £20, July 2011, 978 1 58648 793 5
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A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother 
by Janny Scott.
Riverhead, 384 pp., £18.99, May 2011, 978 1 59448 797 2
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... near Seattle. Stanley Ann was self-sufficient and wilful. Her sympathetic biographer, Janny Scott, pictures her dreaming of escape from provincial boredom as she pored over stacks of National Geographic magazines. She hated the jock culture of her high school and took refuge in the proto-bohemian set of wise-ass boys who drank espresso, watched Satyajit ...

Lucky Boy

Kevin Kopelson, 3 April 1997

Shine 
directed by Scott Hicks.
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Shine: The Screenplay 
by Jan Sardi.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £7.99, January 1997, 0 7475 3173 0
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The Book of David 
by Beverley Eley.
HarperCollins, 285 pp., £8.99, March 1997, 0 207 19105 0
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Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott 
by Gillian Helfgott, with Alissa Tanskaya.
Penguin, 337 pp., £6.99, January 1997, 0 14 026546 5
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... similar equalities for purposes of telephonic seduction, Tristan-esque trip-taking.’ Now comes Scott Hicks’s Shine, an equally arty but commercially viable biopic about a man – David Helfgott (played by Geoffrey Rush, Noah Taylor and Alex Rafalowicz) – who is abnormally inarticulate. Helfgott’s very first words are: ‘Kissed them all, I kissed ...

Vertiginous

Nicholas Penny, 12 December 1996

Grands Décors français 1650-1800 
by Bruno Pons.
Faton, 439 pp., £130, June 1995, 2 87844 023 4
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The Rococo Interior 
by Katie Scott.
Yale, 342 pp., £39.95, November 1995, 0 300 04582 4
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Chardin 
by Marianne Roland Michel, translated by Eithne McCarthy.
Thames and Hudson, 293 pp., £60, March 1996, 0 500 09259 1
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... De Troy’s famous painting, The Reading from Molière illustrated on the dust-jacket of Katie Scott’s study of the rococo interior, seems to epitomise an ideal of polite but informal and mixed society which is still current. However, those who feel at ease with rococo furniture today do so because it is old and familiar. Originally it seemed novel and ...

Here come the judges

Conor Gearty: The constitution, 4 June 1998

This Time: Our Constitutional Revolution 
by Anthony Barnett.
Vintage, 371 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 09 926858 2
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The Voice of the People: A Constitution for Tomorrow 
by Robert Alexander.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £17.99, September 1997, 0 297 84109 2
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The Making and Remaking of the British Constitution 
by Lord Nolan and Stephen Sedley.
Blackstone, 142 pp., £19.95, November 1997, 1 85431 704 0
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... the automatic imposition of draconian bail conditions on striking miners. Even the now saintly Richard Scott, scourge of late Toryism, was unable to resist the invention of a new common law tort so as to be able to attack the members of a union intent only on exercising what they believed were their civil liberties. It was not statute which compelled ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... or other changed. The inquiry into the Matrix Churchill affair by the lively and loquacious Richard Scott, a famously bicycling judge, played its part. The new willingness of the judges to be interviewed also helped, even though the interviews were invariably conducted with a deference that had long been withdrawn from ordinary politicians. The ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney, 14 October 1999

‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... Most loyal and protective of Gurney’s many friends, Marion Scott wrote after one of her regular visits to the asylum: ‘Ivor is so heart-breakingly sane in his insanity.’ Letters, reported conversation, music, poems all attest to the fact. He was trained and already admired as a composer before enlistment; in the trenches poetry had occupied him more and more and, when he returned afterwards to music, the poetry continued ...

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