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Impossible Desires

Adam Smyth: Death of the Book, 7 March 2024

Bibliophobia: The End and the Beginning of the Book 
by Brian Cummings.
Oxford, 562 pp., £37.99, February 2022, 978 0 19 284731 7
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... of peaks and troughs. It seems to turn inwards and outwards at the same time. At the heart of Brian Cummings’s Bibliophobia is a sense of the book as a ‘liminal object’, by which Cummings means that the book is both vessel and object, something that carries and something that is: ‘a transaction between ...

Mumpsimus, Sumpsimus

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Common Prayer, 24 May 2012

Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559 and 1662 
edited by Brian Cummings.
Oxford, 830 pp., £16.99, September 2011, 978 0 19 920717 6
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... editions still appeared in the 20th century. (I myself was partly responsible for one of them.) Brian Cummings’s version has a certain memorial quality, partly because it answers so many questions about the book and partly thanks to the classic splendour of the OUP production, but it is unlikely to be the last. Thomas Cranmer and his fellow ...

Against Self-Criticism

Adam Phillips, 5 March 2015

... one’s mind one might be speaking all sorts of other minds, some recognisable, some not. Hamlet, Brian Cummings writes in Mortal Thoughts, ‘far from speaking his mind, confronts us with a fragmentary repository of alternative selves’. If conscience can be caught – like a fish, like a criminal – it might be part of that fragmentary repository of ...

On the Pitch

Ben Walker, 18 June 2020

... where a similar initiative has been hijacked by fans sending joke suggestions. A cardboard Dominic Cummings was seen watching a recent Australian rugby league match.) Since this was the only game in town, broadcast companies around the world took notice. The Belarusian Football Association secured rights deals with networks in ten countries, including ...

Ruthless and Truthless

Ferdinand Mount: Rotten Government, 6 May 2021

The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism 
by Peter Oborne.
Simon and Schuster, 192 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 1 3985 0100 3
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Political Advice: Past, Present and Future 
edited by Colin Kidd and Jacqueline Rose.
I.B. Tauris, 240 pp., £21.99, February 2021, 978 1 83860 120 1
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... given similar powers as Blair’s chief of staff. Johnson would give the same powers to Dominic Cummings. Within two years of taking power, New Labour had sacked or moved on 17 of the 19 information chiefs in Whitehall. Cummings’s treatment of press officers and Downing Street staffers was if anything more brutal. Blair ...

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