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Kiss Count

John Campbell, 19 April 1984

Speak for yourself: A Mass-Observation Anthology 1937-1949 
edited by Angus Calder and Dorothy Sheridan.
Cape, 272 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 224 02102 8
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Voices: 1870-1914 
by Peter Vansittart.
Cape, 292 pp., £9.95, April 1984, 0 224 02103 6
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... The spectacle of members of the upper class setting out solemnly and in a spirit of scientific research to study the lower classes in their natural habitat is a peculiarly Thirties phenomenon. Earlier social investigators, like the Webbs, had quarried their material at second hand from mountains of blue books, reports and statistical abstracts. Young men from the public schools, like Clement Attlee, had gone to live and work among the poor, but to help rather than to observe ...

Sam, Caroline, Janet, Stella, Len, Helen and Bob

Susan Pedersen: Mass Observation, 21 September 2017

Seven Lives from Mass Observation: Britain in the Late 20th Century 
by James Hinton.
Oxford, 207 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 19 878713 6
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... been a passive beneficiary of this burgeoning interest: the choices of its directors (especially Dorothy Sheridan, who began work at the archive in 1974) have done much to shape how we view MO’s significance. Mass Observation did its work in the period leading up to, during, and after the Second World War – an era when social democratic values had ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell, 1 April 2004

... promoted from drama critic to editor, though with the politician and dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan managing the paper’s political department. This arrangement lasted for two years, until Sheridan, with whom Taylor, by his own account, was especially intimate, decided to position the Post further to the left, and ...


Ronald Bryden, 10 December 1987

The Life of Kenneth Tynan 
by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 407 pp., £16.95, September 1987, 9780297790822
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... imagery to be scathing, as well. Alan Badel’s Romeo brought to his mind a restless marmoset, Dorothy Tutin’s Ophelia ‘a mouse on the rack’ and Claire Bloom’s Jessica in an Old Vic Merchant of Venice, gazing adoringly but disconcertingly into Lorenzo’s eyes, ‘a sea-lion awaiting a fish’. He almost resented actors such as Gielgud, whose ...


Michael Neve, 3 September 1981

The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas de Quincey 
by Grevel Lindop.
Dent, 433 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 460 04358 7
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... near the cottage he was renting, and this was too much for the pastoral fastidiousness of Dorothy Wordsworth. She never really forgave him: the Wordsworths had a deeply possessive attitude towards their landscape, of which many fell foul. Worse was to follow. The daughter whom de Quincey loved, Catherine, died, to join the gallery of lost women which ...


Ferdinand Mount: Staffing the Raj, 7 September 2017

Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India 
by Shashi Tharoor.
Hurst, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 808 8
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The Making of India: The Untold Story of British Enterprise 
by Kartar Lalvani.
Bloomsbury, 433 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 1 4729 2482 7
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India Conquered: Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire 
by Jon Wilson.
Simon & Schuster, 564 pp., £12.99, August 2017, 978 1 4711 0126 7
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... abolished after the Mutiny. Nothing exceeds the raw passion of the denunciations by Burke and Sheridan and, it is often forgotten, by Adam Smith too, on the greed and duplicity of the nabobs in general, and Warren Hastings in particular. As a young man, Lytton Strachey admired Hastings and wrote a long thesis on him, while dismissing Burke as ‘an ...

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