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Global Morality Play

Helen Pfeifer: Selimgate, 1 July 2021

God’s Shadow: The Ottoman Sultan Who Shaped the Modern World 
by Alan Mikhail.
Faber, 479 pp., £10.99, June, 978 0 571 33194 9
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... to Manila. From a miniature of Selim I by Nakkaş Osman (c.1580). This is the story that Alan Mikhail, a professor of history at Yale, recounts in God’s Shadow. While the history of global competition isn’t new – to scholars at least – Mikhail places the Ottomans and their fellow Muslims at its ...

Ten Days that Shook Me

Alan Bennett, 15 September 1988

... table with the Soviet writers on the other, the most eye-catching of them the playwright Mikhail Shatrov, a stocky middle-aged man with a pallor so striking Sue Townsend insists it owes something to Max Factor. Shatrov is seemingly contemptuous of these proceedings; he arrives late, ostentatiously reads a newspaper during the speeches and from time ...

Dastardly Poltroons

Jonathan Fenby: Madame Chiang Kai-shek, 21 October 2010

The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China 
by Hannah Pakula.
Weidenfeld, 787 pp., £25, January 2010, 978 0 297 85975 8
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... Chiang obfuscated and his generals refused to present their war plans, the British chief of staff, Alan Brooke, thought her ‘the leading spirit of the two’, while adding: ‘I would not trust her very far.’ Roosevelt, determined to reach an understanding with Stalin at the Big Three summit in Tehran immediately after the Cairo conference, had invited ...

Is the Soviet Union over?

John Lloyd, 27 September 1990

Moving the Mountain: Inside the Perestroika Revolution 
by Abel Aganbegyan, translated by Helen Szamuely.
Bantam, 248 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 593 01818 4
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Gorbachev’s Struggle for Economic Reform: The Soviet Reform Process 
by Anders Aslund.
Pinter, 219 pp., £35, May 1989, 0 86187 008 5
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... many who believe that the last chance has gone, who no longer have any faith in perestroika, or in Mikhail Gorbachev, or indeed in the continuing existence of the Soviet Union. A great number of those who, for the past five and a half years, have been Gorbachev’s closest supporters are turning away from him. Some are going over to Boris Yeltsin, attracted by ...


David Norbrook, 18 July 1985

Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... containment is found in the comedies. An important influence on recent sociological criticism is Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of ‘carnivalesque’ discourse: but Dollimore’s essay on Measure for Measure (PS) is designed to pre-empt a Bakhtinian reading, insisting that the low-life elements do not ultimately subvert the defence of princely ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... and Congreve, Goethe and Nestroy, Machiavelli and Hobbes, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy, Mikhail Sholokhov and T.E. Lawrence, Baudelaire and Rimbaud, F.R. and Q.D. Leavis, Elizabeth Bowen and Virginia Woolf – this is just a small sampling. Basically, he read his way through the Marylebone public library. He periodically put this marathon on hold to ...

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