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The market taketh away

Paul Foot, 3 July 1997

Number One Millbank: The Financial Downfall of the Church of England 
by Terry Lovell.
HarperCollins, 263 pp., £15.99, June 1997, 0 00 627866 3
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... very soon started to show signs of the malaise it was set up to cure. One man, Charles Knight Murray, assumed great power over the Church estates, but forgot to tell the Commissioners that he was a director of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and an eager speculator in railway shares. To pay for his prodigious share purchases, he intercepted and ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Everybody loves the OED, 20 April 1989

... the typography, which looks good, though a keen eye might miss some of the beauties of hot metal.Murray’s system of registering pronunciation has been replaced by the International Phonetic Alphabet. Foreign alphabets, except Greek, are now transliterated. These and other changes are explained in the scrupulous Introduction. Altogether the number of words ...

Necrophiliac Striptease

Thomas Jones: Mummies, 6 February 2014

The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 321 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 19 969871 4
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... absorbed into the general collection, and they weren’t having that, so the coffin was sold to William Randolph Hearst for £72. Ingram by this time was long dead. On a hunting trip in Somaliland with Lady Meux’s husband in 1888, he was, as Kipling relayed to Haggard, gored and trampled to death by an elephant he’d wounded but failed to kill when he ...

Enisled

John Sutherland: Matthew Arnold, 19 March 1998

A Gift Imprisoned: The Poetic Life of Matthew Arnold 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £17.99, March 1998, 0 7475 3671 6
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... Park Honan’s in 1981 (with its provocative identification of ‘Marguerite’) and Nicholas Murray’s two years ago (with its no-nonsense put-down of Honan’s Marguerite thesis). Threading a way through this crowd of card-carrying Arnoldians might have seemed rather daunting. As he tells us in his Preface, Ian Hamilton ‘several years ago ... had the ...

Little Mania

Ian Gilmour: The disgraceful Lady Caroline Lamb, 19 May 2005

Lady Caroline Lamb 
by Paul Douglass.
Palgrave, 354 pp., £16.99, December 2004, 1 4039 6605 2
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... role, she carried everything to extremes, her egotism above all. When she was 15, she decided that William Lamb was the man for her, and she duly got him; but not until 1805, when his prospects were changed by his becoming the Melbourne heir on the death of his elder brother, did he feel able to propose to her, a development which pleased the families of ...

When the pistol goes off

Peter Clarke, 17 August 1989

Arnold Toynbee: A Life 
by William McNeill.
Oxford, 346 pp., £16.95, July 1989, 0 19 505863 1
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... which marginalised his major project in the eyes of his own profession. As his new biographer, William McNeill, candidly declares, ‘a principal purpose of this book is to try to establish a better balance between the popular adulation on the one hand and the professional hostility on the other that closed in on Toynbee after the mid-Fifties, obscuring ...

Protection Rackets

Alexander Murray: Gang Culture in the Middle Ages, 30 April 2009

The Crisis of the 12th Century: Power, Lordship and the Origins of European Government 
by Thomas Bisson.
Princeton, 677 pp., £23.95, November 2008, 978 0 691 13708 7
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... dated to between 1066 and 1100, and more to the anarchy after 1135. Looking back on the 1140s, William of Malmesbury would write that ‘castles multiplied throughout England, each defending its own space, or indeed, to say it more truthfully, plundering it.’ Henry II Plantagenet made his first act in England the destruction of all the castles he could ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires, 31 March 2005

Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... decision, but other alterations were advised by his informal editorial panel, his publisher John Murray and the odd couple of John Sparrow and Tom Driberg. Sparrow was a grammarian pedant, ‘a great which-hunter’, as Murray put it, while Driberg watched the tenses and any surfeit of sentiment like a hawk. ‘If that’s ...

Short Cuts

Duncan Campbell: Courthouse Hotel, 20 May 2021

... long tradition in Britain. Thomas Grant, in his book about the Old Bailey, Court Number One (John Murray, £10.99), gives special credit to Rebecca West, who wrote about treason and spy cases from the 1940s to the 1960s, and Sybille Bedford, whose account of the trial of Dr Bodkin Adams in 1957 is ‘generally regarded as the finest single volume account of a ...

Malvolio’s Story

Marilyn Butler, 8 February 1996

Dirt and Deity: A Life of Robert Burns 
by Ian McIntyre.
HarperCollins, 461 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 00 215964 3
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... For Scotland, there has been work of major significance in the past decade by, for example, William Donaldson, Murray Pittock, Robert Crawford and Andrew Noble. More general studies of emergent nationalism must be relevant to Burns. For while he may not have been a consistent Jacobite or even what in British terms ...

Brown v. Salmond

Colin Kidd: The Scottish Elections, 26 April 2007

... connections, Bute was decried as the new Highland adventurer. It did not help that another Scot, William Murray, Lord Mansfield, who was dogged by the smear that he was intent on importing Scots Romanist principles into the English common law, had become lord chief justice in 1756. Might Bute and his Scotch cronies find no better use for Magna ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont, 21 July 1983

Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... I believe that it would. I base this on my experience of writing about two such Puritans, William Prynne and Richard Baxter. In the process of writing these studies I changed my mind about ‘the Puritan Revolution’. In an important new book, Charles I and the Popish Plot, Caroline Hibbard has tackled the origins of the Civil War by documenting the ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley, 11 July 2002

Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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The Cat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... Twentieth-century Huxleys have received less biography than one might have expected. Nicholas Murray usefully fills a gap between Sybille Bedford’s thirty-year-old life of Aldous and the awaited definitive biography by David Bradshaw. With the passing of time, Murray can tell us things prohibited to his predecessor by discretion and the libel laws ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... had nothing to do with Mars, everything to do with home, the place where Craig Raine (like Murray or Dunn) feels richest. Surely Martianism comes from the ‘Ithaca’ section of Ulysses, the quintessence of home seen from abroad. Home can be a bit smug, though; and sometimes constricting. The poetic celebrants of home at the moment tend not to be ...

Out of Bounds

Ian Gilmour: Why Wordsworth sold a lot less than Byron, 20 January 2005

The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period 
by William St Clair.
Cambridge, 765 pp., £90, July 2004, 9780521810067
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... of which British poets should be honoured by inclusion in the book. Such behaviour, as William St Clair amply demonstrates in his magnificent, original and compelling study, was characteristic of the London publishers. His book stretches far wider than its title suggests. He has a mass of new and fascinating things to say about the centuries that ...

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