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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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... as most of the books make it sound? Only German specialists can say, but little that they choose to tell us in English suggests that German scholarship is unearthing 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 ...

Heroes of Our Time

Karl Miller, 19 May 1988

The Monument 
by T. Behrens.
Cape, 258 pp., £11.95, May 1988, 0 224 02510 4
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The Passion of John Aspinall 
by Brian Masters.
Cape, 360 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 224 02353 5
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... Suicide was thought damnable in the Middle ages, and I expect there are those who will be brought to feel by the first of these books that the Middle Ages had a point. The Monument commemorates a young couple who lived together for 17 years in a solitude à deux and who then took their own lives – incompetently and lingeringly ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Michael Andrews, 9 August 2001

... Michael Andrews was born in 1928 and died in 1995. He didn’t produce many paintings (although the ones he made tended to be large). In the exhibition at Tate Britain until 17 October the full range of his work can be appreciated for the first time. Andrews followed a route which depersonalises the act of looking ...

Impervious to Draughts

Rosemary Hill: Das englische Haus, 22 May 2008

The English House 
by Hermann Muthesius, edited by Dennis Sharp, translated by Janet Seligman and Stewart Spencer.
Frances Lincoln, 699 pp., £125, June 2007, 978 0 7112 2688 3
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... is a sense of unease, bordering on panic, that goes beyond economics. An idea of home that is dear to the English middle class is, it seems, under threat. Hermann Muthesius, whose Das englische Haus first appeared just over a century ago and has now been translated in full for the first time, would have sympathised. For him too the English way of domestic life ...

Man on a Bicycle

Gillian Darley: Le Corbusier, 9 April 2009

Le Corbusier: A Life 
by Nicholas Fox Weber.
Knopf, 823 pp., $45, November 2008, 978 0 375 41043 7
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... Fox Weber’s biography, Le Corbusier was still justifying his work, his name and his fame to his mother, by then in her late nineties. As always, he was trying to gain her favour over his (only just) older brother, the gentle but troubled Albert, a musician. The letters add poignancy ...

Interesting Fellows

Walter Nash, 4 May 1989

The Book of Evidence 
by John Banville.
Secker, 220 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 436 03267 8
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Carn 
by Patrick McCabe.
Aidan Ellis, 252 pp., £11.50, March 1989, 0 85628 180 8
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The Tryst 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 168 pp., £10.99, April 1989, 0 571 15450 6
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Gerontius 
by James Hamilton-Paterson.
Macmillan, 264 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 333 45194 5
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... Take one housemaid, who interrupts you while you are making a ludicrously maladroit attempt to swaddle a stolen painting in brown paper. Fly into a sulk. Bundle the poor girl into your car, and when she protests, silence her with a hammer, noting, as you do so, that its impact on her skull is like hitting clay or hard putty ...

Cubist Slugs

Patrick Wright: The Art of Camouflage, 23 June 2005

DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature – Military – Culture 
DPM, 2 vols, 944 pp., £100, September 2004, 9780954340407Show More
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... looked at it and then cried out, yes it is we who made it, that is Cubism.’ Stein went on to suggest that the entire First World War had been an exercise in Cubism. Hailing Picasso as the first to register an epoch-making change in the ‘composition’ of the world, she concluded that a great convulsion had been ...

Fabian Figaro

Michael Holroyd, 3 December 1981

Shaw’s Music. Vol. I: 1876-1890 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 957 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30247 8
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Shaw’s Music. Vol. II: 1890-1893 
by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 985 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30249 4
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Shaw’s Music. Vol. III: 1893-1950 
by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 910 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30248 6
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Conducted Tour 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.50, November 1981, 0 224 01896 5
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... music criticism have been in most constant demand. It is therefore excellent news (except perhaps to second-hand book dealers) that the Bodley Head has now issued, in the same chunky format as the Collected Plays, these three volumes containing all Shaw’s writings on music. The hero of this enterprise is that doyen of Shaw scholars, Dan Laurence. Unlike the ...

Talking to the Radiator

Andrew Saint, 2 October 1997

Corbusier’s Formative Years 
by H. Allen Brooks.
Chicago, 506 pp., £51.95, June 1997, 0 226 07579 6
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... Did the fact that he came from Switzerland’s drabbest town have something to do with it? La Chaux-de-Fonds has little excuse. Lifted high in a bowl of the Jura, it is fringed by mountains and pines, in which Emeritus Professor Allen Brooks, musing from the tranquillity of retirement, revels at leisure. ‘Allow time to climb the road,’ he admonishes readers eager to tick off the Villa Fallet, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret’s first house, on the out-skirts of the community ...

British Chill

Anatol Lieven: What E.H.Carr Got Right, 24 August 2000

The Vices of Integrity: E.H.Carr 1892-1928 
by Jonathan Haslam.
Verso, 306 pp., £25, July 1999, 1 85984 733 1
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... Three years after E.H. Carr’s death in 1982, Mikhail Gorbachev began the process which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and Soviet Communism, a development which at first sight renders Carr’s life’s work not only irrelevant but absurd, based as it was on a profound admiration for Soviet achievements. The charge of having grossly misread the nature of the Soviet system is likely to dog him in death, just as in his lifetime he could never wholly shake off that of having advocated the appeasement of Nazi Germany ...

McNed

Gillian Darley: Lutyens, 17 April 2003

The Architect and His Wife: A Life of Edwin Lutyens 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 524 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7201 0
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Edwin Lutyens, Country Houses: From the Archives of ‘Country Life’ 
by Gavin Stamp.
Aurum, 192 pp., £35, May 2001, 1 85410 763 1
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Lutyens Abroad 
edited by Andrew Hopkins and Gavin Stamp.
British School at Rome, 260 pp., £34.95, March 2002, 0 904152 37 5
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... the false trail and the misleading, if jocular, aside. Born and educated in London, he preferred to dwell on his formative years in rural Surrey. Although trained in the architectural office of Ernest George and Harold Peto, the older of whom was an able vernacular revivalist and the younger a skilled landscape architect, he portrayed himself as a ...
The Dons 
by Noël Annan.
HarperCollins, 357 pp., £17.99, November 1999, 0 00 257074 2
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A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A.L.Rowse 
by Richard Ollard.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 7139 9353 7
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... in what he and his peers had achieved (from the decriminalisation of adult male homosexuality to public funding of the arts); and yet he was honest and wise enough to recognise the sad failure of the Britain they had ‘made’ and the emergence of a completely different set of political values and priorities under ...

Emily of Fire & Violence

Paul Keegan: Eliot’s Letters, 22 October 2020

... When​ T.S. Eliot asked John Hayward in February 1938 to act as his literary executor (‘in case some unexpected calamity cuts me down like a flower’), he told him to prevent publication of his literary remains – including ‘any letters at all of any intimacy to anybody ...

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