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José Harris: On the Origin of Altruism, 12 March 2009

The Invention of Altruism: Making Moral Meanings in Victorian Britain 
by Thomas Dixon.
British Academy, 420 pp., £60, May 2008, 978 0 19 726426 3
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... himself compared Comte’s ideas on altruism to the ecstatic, self-sacrificing fervour of Thomas à Kempis). And, although by the turn of the century ‘altruism’ had been absorbed into sermons by Anglican bishops like Boyd Carpenter and Winnington-Ingram, and by the Congregationalist preacher Hugh Pryce Hughes, the precise cultural and imaginative ...

Tuesday Girl

Colin Burrow: Seraphick Love, 6 March 2003

Transformations of Love: The Friendship of John Evelyn and Margaret Godolphin 
by Frances Harris.
Oxford, 330 pp., £25, January 2003, 0 19 925257 2
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... out complex arrangements of the most exotic trees and plants. Like his Norfolk contemporary Sir Thomas Browne, he admired the fact that a tree could ‘generate its like without violation of Virginity’. But he was no Swampy or tree-hugger. His plans for giant plantations of trees had a military and industrial purpose: they were eventually to be felled to ...

Cough up

Thomas Keymer: Henry Fielding, 20 November 2008

Plays: Vol. II, 1731-34 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Thomas Lockwood.
Oxford, 865 pp., £150, October 2007, 978 0 19 925790 4
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‘The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon’, ‘Shamela’ and ‘Occasional Writings’ 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin, with Sheridan Baker and Hugh Amory.
Oxford, 804 pp., £150
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... nowhere more than in the comedies and farces of the 1730s, eight of which appear in this volume of Thomas Lockwood’s edition of Fielding’s drama. A third and final volume of plays is in preparation, and will complete the Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding – a heroic project, begun in the 1960s, which has now outlived all but three members of ...

I need money

Christian Lorentzen: Biden Tries Again, 10 September 2020

Yesterday’s Man: The Case against Joe Biden 
by Branko Marcetic.
Verso, 288 pp., £12.99, March 2020, 978 1 83976 028 0
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... was called outside the South) in Delaware in the 1970s, as his future running mate, Kamala Harris, pointed out in a primary debate (though it was later revealed that they were both in favour of the half-measure of voluntary busing). In 1977 he moved from the Senate’s banking committee to the judiciary committee, where he focused on crime ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... to be made, given that relations remained so close for so long? Presumably, we have Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, ‘revolutionary politician and president of the United States’) but not Dwight Eisenhower because the former was born in what was still a British colony, though the latter spent more time in this country and arguably had a greater ...

Alien Heat

Jonathan Gil Harris: ‘The Island Princess’, 17 March 2016

The Island Princess 
by John Fletcher, edited by Clare McManus.
Arden, 338 pp., £16.99, December 2012, 978 1 904271 53 6
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... After the Reformation, ‘maumet’ began to be used as a derogatory epithet for Catholic idols: Thomas Becon, for example, complains of ‘antichristian monsters’ who teach people ‘to run a Pilgrimage to this and that Idol, to paint this tabernacle, and to gild that maumet’. The Island Princess’s ‘maumet gods’ would have registered as an ...

Chevril

J.D.F. Jones: Novels on South Africa, 11 November 1999

Ladysmith 
by Giles Foden.
Faber, 366 pp., £9.99, September 1999, 0 571 19733 7
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Manly Pursuits 
by Ann Harries.
Bloomsbury, 340 pp., £15.99, March 1999, 0 7475 4293 7
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... whose guerrilla skills became a model for later insurgencies. Foden does not conceal his debt to Thomas Pakenham’s classic history, The Boer War (1979). A less skilful novelist might have been tempted to exaggerate the plight of Ladysmith, but Foden does not pretend that the town was ever at its last gasp, and agrees that it could have been held for ...

World’s End

John Sutherland, 1 October 1987

The Day of Creation 
by J.G. Ballard.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 575 04152 8
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The Playmaker 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 310 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 340 34154 8
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In the Skin of a Lion 
by Michael Ondaatje.
Secker, 244 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 436 34009 7
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The House of Hospitalities 
by Emma Tennant.
Viking, 184 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 670 81501 2
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... found. This latest work will enhance his reputation as a leading writer with no strings attached. Thomas Keneally’s The Playmaker is actually about the making of Australia and commemorates (the blurbist’s ‘celebrates’ is not the word) the bicentenary of the founding of the English colony in January 1788. It is the kind of subject that would ...

One word says to its mate

Claire Harman: W.S. Graham, 4 October 2001

The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Snow and Margaret Snow.
Carcanet, 401 pp., £12.95, November 1999, 1 85754 445 5
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... His career began auspiciously in the early 1940s with the enthusiastic support of his hero Dylan Thomas, but the surrealism of his early collections, such as Cage without Grievance and 2ND Poems, seemed to mark him out as an oddity who could easily be ignored. The White Threshold in 1949 and The Nightfishing in 1955 made a conscious break with his earliest ...

Diary

Sean Wilsey: Going Slow, 17 July 2008

... eat only in non-chains, never hurry, spend a day in San Antonio meeting a man I’ll call Don Harris, for whom Michael might design a house, write songs to perform at an open mike in Nashville. Charlie would ride in the bed of the truck, and we would have the cab. I tied his long leash to the truck’s roll bar, so he’d know not to jump out. Michael ...

Darling Clem

Paul Addison, 17 April 1986

Clement Attlee 
by Trevor Burridge.
Cape, 401 pp., £20, January 1986, 0 224 02318 7
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The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940-1945 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape in association with the London School of Economics, 913 pp., £40, February 1986, 9780224020657
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Loyalists and Loners 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 315 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 00 217583 5
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... before the public. Attlee was officially recognised as a great man with the publication of Kenneth Harris’s biography in 1982. Harris enlarged Attlee’s stature in two different respects. It had always been suspected that Attlee, though something of a dark horse, was a wholly sane and balanced human being of absolute ...

Browning Versions

Barbara Everett, 4 August 1983

Robert Browning: A Life within Life 
by Donald Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 334 pp., £12.95, August 1982, 0 297 78092 1
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The Elusive Self in the Poetry of Robert Browning 
by Constance Hassett.
Ohio, 186 pp., £17, December 1982, 0 8214 0629 9
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The Complete Works of Robert Browning. Vol. V 
edited by Roma King.
Ohio, 395 pp., £29.75, July 1981, 9780821402207
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The Poetical Works of Robert Browning: Vol. I 
edited by Ian Jack and Margaret Smith.
Oxford, 543 pp., £45, April 1983, 0 19 811893 7
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Robert Browning: The Poems 
edited by John Pettigrew and Thomas Collins.
Yale/Penguin, 1191 pp., £26, January 1982, 0 300 02675 7
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Robert Browning: ‘The Ring and the Book’ 
edited by Richard Altick.
Yale/Penguin, 707 pp., £21, May 1981, 0 300 02677 3
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... his spouse to a dazed friend with ‘That’s My First Wife Up There, and This Is the Present Mrs Harris.’ The first Mrs Harris seems to be crouched on all fours on the top of a very high (glazed) bookcase, just behind the second Mrs Harris. This image has found an appreciative audience ...

From Adam to Aarsleff

Roy Harris, 19 August 1982

From Locke to Saussure: Essays on the Study of Language and Intellectual History 
by Hans Aarsleff.
Athlone, 422 pp., £18, May 1982, 9780485300017
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... figures such as Leibniz and Wordsworth, as well as more obscure ones like Destutt de Tracy and Thomas Sprat, historian of the Royal Society. In each case Aarsleff never fails to say something interesting or to bring out some nuance in the part they played as contributors to the thread of history he is trying to follow through. Probably the most intriguing ...

Policing the Police

Fredrick Harris: The Black Panthers, 20 June 2013

Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party 
by Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin.
California, 539 pp., £24.95, January 2013, 978 0 520 27185 2
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... the use of handguns and rifles to curb gun violence in black and brown neighbourhoods, Clarence Thomas appropriated the rhetoric of black self-defence to uphold the right of American citizens to ‘keep and bear arms’. Thomas’s concurring opinion stated that white supremacist groups spread terror among blacks and ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Miami Vice’, 17 August 2006

Miami Vice 
directed by Michael Mann.
August 2006
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... is arresting in the above scene is a New York detective, Rico Tubbs, played by Philip Michael Thomas, and about to become Crockett’s partner. He’s after the same drug lord as Crockett is, so that in the previous encounter to set up a supposed deal, three out of the four players were undercover agents. Generally in this series there are so many agents ...

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