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Do your homework

David Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May, 16 March 2017

Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... and paternal grandmothers were in service and one of her great-grandfathers was a butler. As Rosa Prince writes, perhaps unnecessarily, Cameron’s ancestors ‘were more likely to employ maids than to work as servants’.May went to a series of local schools, both state and private (the private school, St Juliana’s, charged fees of £25 a ...

Irish Adventurers

Janet Adam Smith, 25 June 1992

The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot: France 1801-3 and Russia 1805-7 
edited by Elizabeth Mavor.
Weidenfeld, 187 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 297 81223 8
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... Later, in the Appenines, there was a night of real horror, as if they had walked into a Salvator Rosa picture: bandits lurked round their squalid inn, they slept on the floor under their greatcoats, and had to make a dawn escape. This was not romantic. At Florence they met the Countess of Albany, widow of Prince Charles ...

I am not a world improver

Christopher Turner: Building Seagram, 6 February 2014

Building Seagram 
by Phyllis Lambert.
Yale, 306 pp., £45, January 2013, 978 0 300 16767 2
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Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography 
by Franz Schulze and Edward Windhorst.
Chicago, 493 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 0 226 15145 8
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... said. ‘It wasn’t that she knew anything about buildings, but it was like having the crown prince present.’ But Lambert wasn’t the sort of person happy just to supervise. When a model needed to be built, she offered to help: the offer was rejected but she stayed late anyway to watch it being finished. When Mies drew her attention to the excellence ...

Perfect Bliss and Perfect Despair

Errol Trzebinski, 3 June 1982

Letters from Africa 1914-1931 
by Isak Dinesen, edited by Frans Lasson, translated by Anne Born.
Weidenfeld, 474 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 9780297780007
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... freedom from convention. He farmed, traded with the Masai and became a white hunter, taking the Prince of Wales out twice on safari. Karen Blixen writes to her mother that ‘he has a magical effect on me; never have I ever known such a feeling of happiness as I have in his company, it is as if I get light and air after having been confined in a room.’ He ...

Yoked together

Frank Kermode, 22 September 1994

History: The Home Movie 
by Craig Raine.
Penguin, 335 pp., £9.99, September 1994, 0 14 024240 6
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... Sea dacha, date 1905, where the Pasternaks, children of the painter Leonid and his Jewish wife Rosa, are at play. Boris makes his first appearance. The 1905 Revolution is in progress offstage. The painter’s palette is compared to a latrine, turds of fresh pigment fresh from their bolsters, and the painter himself wipes his hands on a newspaper, thus ...


Tobias Jones: Postwar history in Italy, 8 March 2001

... comic opera than military operation, actually took place three months after his disappearance. Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, the organiser of the coup, is one of the most controversial figures in recent Italian history. During the Second World War, he commanded the infamous Decima Mas, the body of assault troops responsible for raids on the British fleet ...

No Beast More Refined

James Davidson: How Good Was Nureyev?, 29 November 2007

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life 
by Julie Kavanagh.
Fig Tree, 787 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 905490 15 8
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... respected … resented … rude and too self-regarding’. Nureyev’s sister, Rosa, and best friend, Tamara Zakrzhevskaya, tried to see what was going on through a slightly open door, until someone saw them and ‘kicked’ the door closed. Rosa had already provided a statement about Rudolf’s character ...

English Proust

Christopher Prendergast, 8 July 1993

In Search of Lost Time 
by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright.
Chatto, £15, November 1992, 0 7011 3992 7
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... speech on the subject of ice-cream: ‘Those mountains of ice at the Ritz sometimes suggest Monte Rosa, and indeed, if it’s a lemon ice, I don’t object to its not having a monumental shape, it being irregular, abrupt, like one of Elstir’s mountains ...’ Try as the narrator might to distinguish Albertine’s ludicrous speech from the use of figures in ...

The Suitcase: Part Three

Frances Stonor Saunders, 10 September 2020

... their favourite places, hiking in the Carpathians and staying for some days at the summer villa of Prince Stirbei in Braşov.In the middle of the holiday, Joe’s friend and colleague Vlad Eker is ‘purged’ from his job at Steaua by the ‘Red’ trade union as a ‘lackey of capitalism’. His bosses, who include Joe, continue to pay his salary ‘sub ...

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