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A Pride of Footnotes

Robert M. Adams, 17 November 1983

The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Vol. VII: ‘Biographia Literaria’ 
edited by James Engell and Walter Jackson Bate.
Routledge/Princeton, 306 pp., £50, May 1983, 0 691 09874 3
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... will not be able to understand this material, and should not try. Across a striking hiatus in MS, we are then led to a vigorous magnification of the imagination as the supreme element of poetry, and an energetic defence of Wordsworth’s poetry which begins with a recitation of its faults. Interspersed with these arguments are comic accounts of the ...

Miserable Creatures

C.H. Sisson, 2 August 1984

The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... The fourth volume of the Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy opens with a recommendation for Mr Harry Pouncy, ‘Lecturer and Entertainer’, of Dorchester, apparently with a view to his extending his fascinations to a wider public. There follows a note to Desmond MacCarthy suggesting – surely with the firm touch of a provincial or a Victorian survivor – that it would be better if the New Quarterly were called instead the Quarterly Herald or Quarterly Clarion, ‘or some such ...

Out of this World

David Armitage, 16 November 1995

Utopia 
by Thomas More, edited by George Logan, Robert M. Adams and Clarence Miller.
Cambridge, 290 pp., £55, February 1995, 0 521 40318 9
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Utopias of the British Enlightenment 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Cambridge, 305 pp., £35, July 1994, 0 521 43084 4
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... we also need to be reminded that Utopia was only the book’s subtitle. ‘I am sending you my “Nowhere”, which is nowhere well written,’ More wrote teasingly to Erasmus in September 1516, and the enclosed manuscript, when it appeared in print three months later, bore the title, ‘On the Best State of the Commonwealth, and of the New ...

Dr Küng’s Fiasco

Alasdair MacIntyre, 5 February 1981

Does God exist? 
by Hans Küng, translated by Edward Quinn.
Collins, 839 pp., £12, November 1980, 0 00 215147 2
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... deepest support, ultimate goal, its primal source, primal meaning, primal value, are laid open to me as soon as I lay myself open ... The last and first reality, God, is thus seen more or less as the guarantor of the rationality of human reason.’ Without belief in God, that is, to trust in reason would be unreasonable. A first problem with these contentions ...

Utopia in Texas

Glen Newey: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, 19 January 2017

Utopia 
by Thomas More, edited by George M. Logan, translated by Robert M. Adams.
Cambridge, 141 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 1 107 56873 0
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Utopia 
by Thomas More, translated by Gilbert Burnet.
Verso, 216 pp., £8.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 760 8
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... pasting of late. During the last century, he was canonised in one way or another by R.W. Chambers, Robert Bolt and the Catholic church. By contrast the More of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is a historically more credible heretic-burner bent on martyrdom. More’s self-flagellation and habitual wearing of a hair shirt now look less like the pure tokens of virtue ...

Whistle-Blowers

Frank Honigsbaum, 4 October 1984

Roche versus Adams 
by Stanley Adams.
Cape, 236 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 9780224021807
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Prescriptions for Death: The Drugging of the Third World 
by Milton Silverman, Philip Lee and Mia Lydecker.
California, 186 pp., £13.55, November 1982, 0 520 04721 4
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The Pharmaceutical Industry and Dependency in the Third World 
by Gary Gereffi.
Princeton, 291 pp., £21.60, November 1983, 0 691 07645 6
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Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry 
by John Braithwaite.
Routledge, 440 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 7102 0049 8
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... when considering these four books, all of which show the industry in dire need of reform. Stanley Adams is an Oxford graduate of Maltese descent who, following sudden imprisonment, lost his wife, his earning power and nearly all his material possessions. He now lives on supplementary benefit in a small London flat, with the rent paid by the Borough of ...

Portrait of a Failure

Daniel Aaron, 25 January 1990

Henry Adams 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 504 pp., £19.95, November 1989, 9780674387355
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The Letters of Henry AdamsVols I-VI 
edited by J.C Levenson, Ernest Samuels, Charles Vandersee and Viola Hopkins-Winner.
Harvard, 2016 pp., £100.75, July 1990, 0 674 52685 6
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... Henry Adams is a rare bird in American letters: rich, autonomous, and socially unassailable; descendant of Presidents, secure within the genteel Establishment, yet holding himself aloof from it; historian of his country, toward which he felt a proprietary concern; and, by his own reckoning, ‘a failure in politics and literature, in society and in solitude, in hatred and in love ...

Hating

Patrice Higonnet, 14 November 1996

Benjamin Franklin and his Enemies 
by Robert Middlekauf.
California, 276 pp., £19.95, March 1996, 0 520 20268 6
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... on the muzak and the mailing of America. It is no small relief, therefore, to be reminded by Robert Middlekauf, a leading historian of the American Enlightenment, that Franklin was in fact a complicated and charming man with the will heartily to dislike any number of people who stood in his way. People like William Penn, for example, the absentee ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment, 5 April 2007

The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... Boswell and Samuel Johnson visited Pembroke College, Oxford and called on the master, William Adams. According to Richard Sher, Boswell wrote in his journal how dismayed he had been to see in the master’s library a copy of the quarto edition of David Hume’s Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects of 1758, handsomely bound in morocco leather. Boswell ...

Pound’s Friends

Donald Davie, 23 May 1985

Pound’s Cantos 
by Peter Makin.
Allen and Unwin, 349 pp., £20, March 1985, 0 04 811001 9
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To Write Paradise: Style and Error in Pound’s Cantos 
by Christine Froula.
Yale, 208 pp., £18.50, February 1985, 0 300 02512 2
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Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing 
by Peter Nicholls.
Macmillan, 263 pp., £25, September 1984, 0 333 36159 8
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... line – nowhere to better purpose than on Canto 36, the translation of Cavalcanti’s ‘Donna mi prega’, where his elucidation of the psychology and metaphysics of Albertus Magnus is so far as I know unprecedented, and awesomely illuminating. Moreover, having to decide with each batch of cantos those that he will concentrate on, he honourably steers ...

Rigging and Bending

Simon Adams: James VI & I, 9 October 2003

The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I 
by Alan Stewart.
Chatto, 438 pp., £20, February 2003, 0 7011 6984 2
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... homosexuality as given, but writes as though it did not become open until the appearance of Robert Kerr in 1607. Twenty years ago Roger Lockyer initiated a serious reappraisal of the homosexual ambience at James’s Court in his biography of Buckingham. One would have expected a fuller discussion of this important subject from the author of Close ...

Extraordinarily Graceful Exits from Power

Nicholas Guyatt: George Washington’s Reticence, 17 November 2005

His Excellency George Washington 
by Joseph J. Ellis.
Faber, 320 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 571 21212 3
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... to the members of his cabinet. (‘Pablo’ for the hapless Paul O’Neill; ‘Z-Man’ for Robert Zoellick.) George Washington, on the other hand, was so aloof that even his contemporaries tried to make light of the fact. According to one story, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Alexander Hamilton dared his fellow delegate ...

Jigsaw Mummies

Tom Shippey: Pagan Britain, 6 November 2014

Pagan Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 480 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 19771 6
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The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria 
by Max Adams.
Head of Zeus, 450 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 1 78185 418 1
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... statuettes with exaggerated breasts and hips, seemed to support the notion. D.H. Lawrence, Robert Graves and Rudyard Kipling all picked up the idea, so that by the early 20th century, Mircea Eliade commented: ‘A “search for the Mother” had become a major component of the “unconscious nostalgias of the Western intellectual”.’ The only such ...

Round the (Next) Bend

Simon Adams: Sir Walter Ralegh, 6 July 2000

The Letters of Sir Walter Raleigh 
edited by Agnes Latham and Joyce Youings.
Exeter, 403 pp., £45, July 1999, 0 85989 527 0
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... Country than anyone else alive. Elsewhere her touch is not as sure as it might be. Describing Sir Robert Kerr (anglicised to Carr), James I’s favourite, who obtained Ralegh’s estate, as ‘a penniless Scotsman from Roxburghshire’ does not tell us a great deal and it misses the irony that Kerr was no more and no less than the Scottish equivalent of an ...

Marching Orders

Ronan Bennett: The new future of Northern Ireland, 30 July 1998

... Unionism together, but he had no illusions about the task confronting him. ‘It is one thing for Mr Macmillan to talk of a wind of change blowing on another continent,’ he said, ‘but a very different matter when you have to initiate the change yourself and try to drag behind you a reactionary and reluctant party which has been in power since ...

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