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Fallacies

Peter Laslett, 19 February 1987

Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County 1649-1699 
by Roger Thompson.
Massachusetts, 252 pp., £28.50, October 1986, 0 87023 516 8
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Breasts, Bottles and Babies: A History of Infant Feeding 
by Valerie Fildes.
Edinburgh, 462 pp., £19.75, August 1986, 0 85224 462 2
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... sexuality and American puritanism, survives this artless evidential exposition. In his conclusion, Roger Thompson does well to quote the judgment of the man who knew the New England mind best of all, Perry Miller. ‘If we take puritan culture as a whole we shall find, let us say, that about 90 per cent of intellectual life, scientific ...

All Too Firmly Planted

Bernard Bailyn, 10 November 1994

Mobility and Migration: East Anglian Founders of New England, 1629-1640 
by Roger Thompson.
Massachusetts, 305 pp., £39.50, April 1994, 0 87023 893 0
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Adapting to a New World: English Society in the 17th-century Chesapeake 
by James Horn.
North Carolina, 461 pp., $65, September 1994, 0 8078 2137 3
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... books are technical studies, both propose or imply broad visions of 17th-ccntury Anglo-America. Roger Thompson, who teaches at East Anglia, has spent years – it must have been decades – studying the genealogies of 2138 East Anglians among the 14,000-21,000 emigrants in the Puritan-led Great Migration to New England of 1630 to 1640. His genealogical ...

Out of a job in Aberdeen

Roger Penrose, 26 September 1991

The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell 
edited by P.M. Harman.
Cambridge, 748 pp., £125, November 1990, 0 521 25625 9
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... world of physicists was later to reach such a pinnacle. His slightly older contemporary William Thompson (later Lord Kelvin) was even more precocious than Maxwell, matriculating at the University of Glasgow at the astonishing age of ten and becoming a professor there at a mere 22. Thompson’s scientific standing among ...

The Partisan Coffee House

Nicholas Faith, 1 June 2017

... madeleine. Looking at the exhibits, above all the splendidly atmospheric photographs by Roger Mayne, made me realise that the coffee house was by no means the unalloyed disaster I – as someone deeply involved in the project – have always assumed. It lasted only four years and financial disaster was narrowly averted after it closed in 1962, but ...

Fellow Freaks

Sam Thompson: Wells Tower, 9 July 2009

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned 
by Wells Tower.
Granta, 238 pp., £10.99, April 2009, 978 1 84708 048 6
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... Energies’, who carries a lifetime’s resentment of his charismatic, self-centred father, Roger. Burt spent his childhood with a crush on his young stepmother, Lucy, and cherished a vague belief that, around his 16th birthday, he would somehow inherit her, perhaps along with his father’s Mustang fastback. But ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England, 20 December 2012

The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... of the land – the ‘landscape’ – must overlap with more workmanlike uses of it. Ian Thompson’s history of the Lake District is grounded almost exclusively in the aesthetic. ‘Since the Lake District is an imaginative construction,’ he argues, ‘it has no real boundaries, physical or historical.’ So he is thinking of it as a region ...

Counter-Factuals

Linda Colley, 1 November 1984

The Origins of Anglo-American Radicalism 
edited by Margaret Jacob and James Jacob.
Allen and Unwin, 333 pp., £18.50, February 1984, 0 04 909015 1
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Insurrection: The British Experience 1795-1803 
by Roger Wells.
Alan Sutton, 312 pp., £16, May 1983, 9780862990190
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Radicalism and Freethought in 19th-Century Britain 
by Joel Wiener.
Greenwood, 285 pp., $29.95, March 1983, 0 313 23532 5
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For King, Constitution and Country: The English Loyalists and the French Revolution 
by Robert Dozier.
Kentucky, 213 pp., £20.90, February 1984, 9780813114903
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... political activists from Tom Paine to Friedrich Engels and historians from Elie Halévy to Edward Thompson have hailed 18th and 19th-century Britain as just the place for a revolution. For superficially – though only superficially – the conditions seem to have been almost ideal. From the Glorious Revolution in 1688 to Waterloo in 1815, Britain faced a ...

Endearingness

Donald Davie, 21 March 1991

The Oxford Book of Essays 
edited by John Gross.
Oxford, 680 pp., £17.95, February 1991, 0 19 214185 6
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... otherwise appealing arabesques. The object is not to display Joseph Addison’s sensibility. Sir Roger de Coverley is a charming fiction, but the charm serves an ulterior end. The Whig Addison says in effect, when presenting the Tory squire Sir Roger: ‘Charming, isn’t he? But would you trust him with ...

Sexual Politics

Michael Neve, 5 February 1981

Edward Carpenter, 1844-1929: Prophet of Human Fellowship 
by Chushichi Tsuzuki.
Cambridge, 237 pp., £15, November 1980, 0 521 23371 2
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... Peculiar alliances are struck over this dislike, most notably between Taylor himself and E.P. Thompson. The two men united in their pronouncements as to the emptiness of Carpenter’s ‘individualism’, the weedy, private-income vegetarianism that he embodied, the hopeless blend of mysticism and retreatism that took the place of politics. The now ...

Diary

E.P. Thompson: On the NHS, 7 May 1987

... bought a latchkey myself. I was browsing in a bookshop the other day and came across a book by one Roger Scruton about Thinkers of the New Left. It included biographical notes on these Thinkers, of whom I turned out to be one. To my excitement, I found myself described as a man of ‘considerable wealth’. This was welcome news, and I must write to this ...

Make me work if you can

T.H. Breen, 18 February 1988

Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718-1775 
by Roger Ekirch.
Oxford, 277 pp., £25, November 1987, 0 19 820092 7
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... become servants, who freely chose to come to America in the hope of improving their lives. But, as Roger Ekirch now explains in his splendid new book, a very large number of migrants did not want to leave 18th-century Britain at all. These were the convicts. Historians once thought that no more than thirty thousand felons were transported to the New ...

Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops, 5 June 2014

Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... whom one has been in open conflict.’ In an essay published in the New Statesman in 1978, E.P. Thompson took a different view, imagining Pincher as ‘a kind of official urinal in which, side by side, high officials of MI5 and MI6, sea lords, permanent under-secretaries, Lord George-Brown, chiefs of the air staff, nuclear scientists, Lord Wigg and ...

Yawning and Screaming

John Bayley, 5 February 1987

Jane Austen 
by Tony Tanner.
Macmillan, 291 pp., £20, November 1986, 0 333 32317 3
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... is there to be made use of, and everyone makes use of it in his own way. Christopher Hill and E.P. Thompson invent alternative Englands where radical social experiments were nipped in the bud by the entrenched forces of reaction, while T.S. Eliot’s successors imagine devout cavaliers preserving a unified sensibility in economic and spiritual matters. Apart ...

How stupid people are

John Sturrock: Flaubert, 7 September 2006

Bouvard and Pecuchet 
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
Dalkey Archive, 328 pp., £8.99, January 2006, 1 56478 393 6
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Flaubert: A Life 
by Frederick Brown.
Heinemann, 629 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 434 00769 2
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... and several more besides. In August 1873, writing to one of his favourite correspondents, Edma Roger des Genettes, he claimed that since the previous September he had read and made notes on 194 titles, and his final estimate was that he had consulted some 1500 in all – a research curriculum the like of which can seldom if ever have crossed the mind of ...

When Neil Kinnock was in his pram

Paul Addison, 5 April 1984

Labour in Power 1945-1951 
by Kenneth Morgan.
Oxford, 546 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 19 215865 1
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... bomb? But for blank incomprehension of the Attlee years, your Sloane Ranger with a smattering of Roger Scruton must be hard to beat. There is a liberal academic’s mission impossible. Why didn’t the Free World use its nuclear monopoly to roll back the Russians from Eastern Europe? Well now ... If anyone in these sectarian times can still convey a true ...

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