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Freebooter

Maurice Keen: The diabolical Sir John Hawkwood, 5 May 2005

Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Faber, 366 pp., £17.99, November 2004, 9780571219087
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... social problems of the period. The confused fighting in the Hundred Years War between England and France offered adventurers eager for gain a fine apprenticeship in fighting and plundering, and spread freebooter companies across much of the French kingdom, reducing rich provinces to economic ruin in the course of the 1340s, 1350s and 1360s. Italy offered even ...

Who’s best?

Douglas Johnson, 27 September 1990

The Rise and Fall of Anti-Americanism: A Century of French Perception 
edited by Denis Lacorne, Jacques Rupnik and Marie-France Toinet, translated by Gerald Turner.
Macmillan, 258 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 333 49025 8
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... But he is disconcerted by what he experiences. No one in Stanford has the slightest interest in France, or in Europe. He watches old American films on television and reflects that nothing has changed since they were made. He has unfortunate experiences with young Americans who are not slow to abandon their initial good manners, who become aggressive in a ...

On the rise

J.M. Roberts, 16 September 1982

Choiseul. Vol. 1: Father and Son 1719-1754 
by Rohan Butler.
Oxford, 1133 pp., £48, January 1981, 0 19 822509 1
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... was a Lorrainer, who, after entering the service of the French King, first as an army officer (he rose to be a general) and then as ambassador at Rome and Vienna, eventually went back to Versailles to become Minister for Foreign Affairs. During the 1760s he held other portfolios, engineered the Family Compact of the Bourbon courts, which was intended to ...

The Oral Tradition

Bill Manhire, 25 June 2009

... this dark caesura in my head. At night we heard it make lament. It summoned the battlefields of France, and killing fields in Africa and Spain, the topless and the falling towers, and armies marching over damp terrain, and suicidal men who flew from shore to shore, who could not think in metaphor, and I believe we wept full sore. We turned to books and ...

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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... accelerated as faith in the promises of utopianism has declined. The very idea that utopias, those rose-tinted cities stranded outside time, might have a history is itself a recent discovery, and has largely sprung from assessments of More’s Utopia, the work that revived the ancient genre of the ideal commonwealth for the modern world. More’s work ...
Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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Wagner: Race and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... all this about the bewildering richness of Wagner’s legacy with an eye on Paul Lawrence Rose’s Wagner: Race and Revolution, a book whose single-minded – albeit forceful and historically well-informed – account of the Wagner phenomenon renders the man and his operas pretty much as violent, revolutionary anti-semitism. Reading ...

Signora Zabaggy

Michael Rose, 2 August 1984

All Visitors Ashore 
by C.K. Stead.
Harvill, 150 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 00 271009 9
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A Trick of the Light 
by Sebastian Faulks.
Bodley Head, 204 pp., £7.95, July 1984, 0 370 30589 2
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Dividing Lines 
by Victor Sage.
Chatto, 166 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 7011 2811 9
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... wondered how the soldiers must have felt when they returned after years in the slaughterhouse of France. What a refuge this damp, ugly outline must have promised them. This time, he too felt like a refugee: the victim of an emotional war who had been sent away to convalesce. Here are the seeds of the reader’s problem: Wyn Douglas, disciplined, committed ...

Diary

Tobias Jones: The politics of football, 7 May 1998

... which begin next month will be different. On 10 June, Scotland will play Brazil at the Stade de France in the opening game. For the first time in eight years, English supporters, too, will be able to admire, or rail at, their team on the most important international stage. The media and advertising bonanza will last for more than four weeks. The final ...

Prussian Officers

William Doyle, 23 January 1986

Frederick the Great: A Military Life 
by Christopher Duffy.
Routledge, 407 pp., £17.95, September 1985, 0 7100 9649 6
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Society, Government and the Enlightenment: The Experiences of 18th-Century France and Prussia 
by C.B.A. Behrens.
Thames and Hudson, 248 pp., £16, August 1985, 0 500 25090 1
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Religious Toleration and Social Change in Hamburg 1529-1819 
by Joachim Whaley.
Cambridge, 248 pp., £25, August 1985, 0 521 26189 9
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... a new and unfamiliar Prussia bursting with unsuspected colour and vitality. The history of France or our own country has been transformed since the war by the researches of social, economic and cultural historians; and even though the dividends of this work are perhaps now diminishing, and historians returning to more traditional questions, the look of ...

A Nice Place on the Riviera

Allen Curnow, 22 February 2001

... out. Local health officialdom rules La signora è malata. Not welcome this side of the frontier. France is not far: why don’t I try cousin Connie Beauchamp? Nice place they say they’ve got in Menton. She and inseparable Jinnie Fullerton. This horrible cough! Kind souls. Perhaps their prayers will work with a few more Hail Marys thrown in. Connie or ...

Manila Manifesto

James Fenton, 18 May 1989

... Ativan gang In Alabang By the Superhighway, South. ‘For seven days and seven nights Your voice rose o’er the fray And you would tremble had you heard The things I heard you say.’ *** I saw Emily Dickinson in a vision, and asked if it was merely by coincidence that so much of her poetry could be sung to the tune of ‘The Yellow ...

A Very Smart Bedint

Frank Kermode: Harold Nicolson, 17 March 2005

Harold Nicolson 
by Norman Rose.
Cape, 383 pp., £20, February 2005, 0 224 06218 2
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... thought so well of Lord Eustace that she proposed him as a candidate for the vacant job of king of France. Nicolson acknowledged his own inferiority to Percy, though since Percy was so superior this did not make Nicolson very inferior; and in later years he sometimes fancied himself as a possible viceroy of India. Some People, on a second reading, seemed less ...

Porter for Leader

Jenny Diski, 8 December 1994

London: A Social History 
by Roy Porter.
Hamish Hamilton, 429 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 241 12944 3
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A City Full of People: Men and Women of London, 1650-1750 
by Peter Earle.
Methuen, 321 pp., £25, April 1994, 9780413681706
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... Rose was my next-door-neighbour-but-one when I lived in the furthermost reaches of Camden – three steps and one foot off the pavement and I was alienated in Islington. Rose was in her eighties and her husband had just died. I popped round to have a cup of tea and found her sitting in her darkened front room as glum as an old wife and new widow might be expected to be ...

The Wrong Head

Mike Jay: Am I Napoleon?, 21 May 2015

The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon: Towards a Political History of Madness 
by Laure Murat, translated by Deke Dusinberre.
Chicago, 288 pp., £31.50, October 2014, 978 0 226 02573 5
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... of the Eternal Father, in order to relieve that assembly of its functions and to give new laws to France’. Others were its victims: men who had suffered ‘reversals of fortune’ and become deranged through fear of requisitions, state persecution and the guillotine. Many, women particularly, were no more than bystanders who had been stressed beyond ...

His Friends Were Appalled

Deborah Friedell: Dickens, 5 January 2012

The Life of Charles Dickens 
by John Forster.
Cambridge, 1480 pp., £70, December 2011, 978 1 108 03934 5
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Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist 
by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst.
Harvard, 389 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 0 674 05003 7
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Charles Dickens: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 527 pp., £30, October 2011, 978 0 670 91767 9
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... matter how apparently unyielding, seems to have gone unmarshalled. Dickens made several trips to France in the early 1860s, and though ‘there is no proof that it was Nelly who took Dickens to France the summer of 1862, or that the reason for her being in France was that she was ...

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