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Rubbing Up

Michael Church, 7 June 1984

Growing Up 
by Russell Baker.
Sidgwick, 278 pp., £9.95, February 1984, 0 283 99056 2
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Scouse Mouse, or I never got over it: An Autobiography 
by George Melly.
Weidenfeld, 208 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 297 78277 0
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The Haunted Mind 
by Hallam Tennyson.
Deutsch, 238 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 233 97618 3
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... for their mothers’ repressed artistic ambitions: the early histories of George Melly and Russell Baker run strikingly in parallel. Their books reveal an even more striking coincidence of form. Melly chooses, in his closing paragraph, to play affectionately along with his mother’s happy delusion that she is fifty years back in the past and the ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On the Original Non-Event , 20 April 1995

... Shoot Horses Don’t They?), the numbed partners drag their way across the floor one more time. Russell Baker once wrote a brilliant column about these gruesome proceedings, which summarised for him the participation of the press in events that are staged only for the press’s benefit. There are several other pseudo-spectacles which evoke or produce ...

Beltz’s Beaux

D.A.N. Jones, 3 March 1983

Marienbad 
by Sholom Aleichem, translated by Aliza Shevrin.
Weidenfeld, 222 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 297 78200 2
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A Coin in Nine Hands 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Dori Katz.
Aidan Ellis, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 85628 123 9
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Entry into Jerusalem 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 172 pp., £7.50, January 1983, 0 09 150950 5
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People Who Knock on the Door 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 306 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 434 33521 5
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A Visit from the Footbinder 
by Emily Prager.
Chatto, 174 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 7011 2675 2
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Dusklands 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 125 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 9780436102967
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... York socialite, struggling to a party, her tension relieved by the arrival of a famous journalist, Russell Baker, over whom she gushes. Miss Prager thanks Mr Baker for letting her put him in her story; and she also thanks the novelist, Jerzy Kosinski, for not objecting to his presence in her tale, ‘The Alumnae ...

From Papa in Heaven

Russell Davies, 3 September 1981

Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters 1917-1961 
edited by Carlos Baker.
Granada, 948 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 246 11576 9
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... not need the telescopic sight as we all have that here anyway. Did you read my letters? Carlos Baker has put them out, a Selection he calls it. On page 867 you will see where it says ‘Carlos Baker really baffles me.’ Well that is understateing it, Pos. A man must really hate you to put out a Life like he did, then ...

Teacher

John Passmore, 4 September 1986

Australian Realism: The Systematic Philosophy of John Anderson 
by A.J. Baker.
Cambridge, 150 pp., £20, April 1986, 0 521 32051 8
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... Opposite the title-page of Mr Baker’s skeletonised but substantially accurate account of John Anderson’s philosophy there stand two epigraphs. They are both from Heraclitus or, more precisely, from Burnet’s translation of that enigmatic philosopher. The first of them is ontological: ‘The world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures kindling and measures going out ...

Samuel’s Slave

Caroline Moorehead, 15 May 1980

Lover on the Nile 
by Richard Hall.
Collins, 254 pp., £7.95, February 1980, 9780002164719
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Nellie: Letters from Africa 
by Elspeth Huxley.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 297 77706 8
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Black Country Girl in Red China 
by Esther Cheo Ying.
Hutchinson, 191 pp., £5.95, January 1980, 9780091390808
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... or astonished, they carry away. Lovers on the Nile is Richard Hall’s account of Samuel Baker’s voyage in search of the Mountains of the Moon with his young companion Florence. It is not so much a biography as the story of a seven-year travelling honeymoon. In fact, the book flows at an easy pace, but only once the lovers are embarked upon their ...

Knife, Stone, Paper

Stephen Sedley: Law Lords, 1 July 2021

English Law under Two Elizabeths: The Late Tudor Legal World and the Present 
by John Baker.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £22.99, January, 978 1 108 94732 9
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The Constitutional Balance 
by John Laws.
Hart, 144 pp., £30, January, 978 1 5099 3545 1
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... for no recognised reason.In his recent Hamlyn lectures, now amplified and annotated, John Baker, the doyen of historians of English law, set out to compare the laws and legal systems of two reigns separated by four centuries and linked ostensibly by nothing more than the name of the incumbent monarch. But the comparison is more than a convenient ...

JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 April 1981

Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... wife. But when she showed her displeasure he promised to reform. In Portraits from Memory Bertrand Russell tells of his impression that nothing in Conrad’s demeanour in any way suggested the sea. ‘He was an aristocratic Polish gentleman to his fingertips. His feeling for the sea, and for England, was one of romantic love – love from a certain ...

Only Sentences

Ray Monk, 31 October 1996

Wittgenstein’s Place in 20th-Century Analytic Philosophy 
by P.M.S. Hacker.
Blackwell, 368 pp., £50, October 1996, 0 631 20098 3
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Wittgenstein: Mind and Will, Vol. IV of an Analytical Commentary on the ‘Philosophical Investigations’ 
by P.M.S. Hacker.
Blackwell, 742 pp., £90, August 1996, 0 631 18739 1
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... of their subject and a common belief that the method of analysis they had learned from Frege, Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein constituted a great advance over previous ways of doing philosophy and over the techniques of their Continental rivals. Nowhere is this confidence better epitomised than in the notorious paper delivered by Ryle at the conference on ...

The Sacred Sofa

E.S. Turner, 11 December 1997

The House of Lords: From Saxon Wargods to a Modern Senate 
by John Wells.
Hodder, 298 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 340 64928 3
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... be thought the highest qualification of all. This is the story, strictly for grown-ups, of ‘the Russell baby case’, which shocked the nation into passing a law to limit the reporting of evidence in divorce cases. As this book reminds us, Tony Blair raised a loud laugh against the Lords by summarising the vicissitudes of a latter-day noble creation. The ...

Finishing Touches

Susannah Clapp, 20 December 1984

Charlotte Mew and her Friends 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, July 1984, 0 00 217008 6
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The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield. Vol. I: 1903-17 
edited by Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott.
Oxford, 376 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 19 812613 1
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... 1928 Charlotte Mew killed herself by drinking a bottle of disinfectant in a nursing-home near Baker Street. She left behind her a volume of poems, a number of uncollected essays and short stories, and instructions that after her death her main artery should be severed: she had thought a lot about being buried alive. Local newspapers reported the ...

Across the Tellyverse

Jenny Turner: Daleks v. Cybermen, 22 June 2006

Doctor Who 
BBC1Show More
Doctor Who: A Critical Reading of the Series 
by Kim Newman.
BFI, 138 pp., £12, December 2005, 1 84457 090 8
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... from William Hartnell (1963-66) to Patrick Troughton (1966-69), to Jon Pertwee (1970-74), to Tom Baker (1974-82). Baker is the one everyone remembers, for demographic reasons and because he did it longest, but also because he did it best, animating a Doctor who, as Newman says, ‘thought and felt too fast for any other ...

Merely a Warning that a Noun is Coming

Bee Wilson: The ‘Littlehampton Libels’, 8 February 2018

The Littlehampton Libels: A Miscarriage of Justice and a Mystery about Words in 1920s England 
by Christopher Hilliard.
Oxford, 256 pp., £30, June 2017, 978 0 19 879965 8
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... from her or any others of my family of nine children.’ Rose Gooding, Bill Gooding and Ruth Russell. Edith Swan, a 30-year-old laundress from the seaside town of Littlehampton in Sussex, was accused of sending a letter to a sanitary inspector called Charles Gardner that contained words of ‘an indecent, obscene and grossly offensive character’. The ...

At the Barbican

Peter Campbell: Alvar Aalto, 22 March 2007

... there. The light and weather I remember from the novel fill out my thoughts about the building. Baker House, the sinuous redbrick dormitory building Aalto designed for MIT in 1946-49, was criticised at the time: Henry Russell Hitchcock and Arthur Drexler’s Postwar Buildings in the USA comments on its ‘complicated and ...

The Ramsey Effect

Kieran Setiya, 18 February 2021

Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers 
by Cheryl Misak.
Oxford, 500 pp., £25, February 2020, 978 0 19 875535 7
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... can express such truths. In 1911, Frege sent Wittgenstein to Cambridge to work with Bertrand Russell. Together with the less technically minded G.E. Moore, they would be seen as the architects of ‘analytic philosophy’.That phrase creates some difficulties, partly as a result of the fractious conflict that developed between analytic and Continental ...

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