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Ian Campbell Ross: ‘provincial genius’, 23 October 2003

Hermsprong; or Man as He Is Not 
by Robert Bage, edited by Pamela Perkins.
Broadview, 387 pp., £8.99, March 2002, 1 55111 279 5
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... In the summer of 1797, William Godwin set out on a tour of the Midlands. He had hoped to visit, among others, Erasmus Darwin, but finding the naturalist away from home, Godwin asked Darwin’s wife for a letter of introduction to Robert Bage instead. To his surprise, Mary Darwin said she could not properly provide one since, though Bage was her husband’s ‘very particular friend’, she wasn’t sure she had ever set eyes on him ...

Where are those crowns?

John Foot: The Debre Libanos Massacre, 21 April 2022

Holy War: The Untold Story of Catholic Italy’s Crusade against the Ethiopian Orthodox Church 
by Ian Campbell.
Hurst, 449 pp., £30, November 2021, 978 1 78738 477 4
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... of them.’ Orders were also given to burn the buildings and bodies. The massacre is described by Ian Campbell in Holy War, in horrific detail. In order to hide the extent of the killing, most of the victims were taken from the monastery in trucks. They were shot, mainly with machine guns, and buried where they fell in mass graves. Those who refused to ...

Black Electricities

John Sutherland, 30 October 1997

The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Vol. XXV: January-December 1850 
edited by Clyde de L. Ryals and K.J. Fielding.
Duke, 364 pp., £52, September 1997, 0 8223 1986 1
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by Thomas Carlyle, edited by K.J. Fielding and Ian Campbell.
Oxford, 481 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 0 19 281748 5
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... his recall to current political debate, if only to induce a necessary modesty. K.J. Fielding and Ian Campbell, the British side of the joint Anglo-American team producing the letters, have taken time off to edit Carlyle’s Reminiscences. They have stripped away the varnish laid on by previous editors and reinserted what earlier prudence deleted. The ...

Mainly Puddling

Stefan Collini: Thomas Carlyle’s Excesses, 14 December 2023

The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle: Vol. 50, December 1875-February 1881 
edited by Ian Campbell.
Duke, 211 pp., $30, October 2022, 978 1 4780 2054 7
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... undertaking that even Carlyle might have thought displayed commendable industry and endurance (Ian Campbell, who provides this final volume with a graceful introduction, first joined the team in 1964). The unusual decision, taken at the outset, to combine Carlyle’s correspondence with that of his wife has paid off handsomely. As Rosemary Ashton ...

Shandying It

John Mullan: Sterne’s Foibles, 6 June 2002

Laurence Sterne: A Life 
by Ian Campbell Ross.
Oxford, 512 pp., £25, March 2001, 0 19 212235 5
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... kind of superiority to fashion, publicity, even print itself. Sterne affected no such loftiness. Ian Campbell Ross’s new biography provides an introductory cameo of Sterne’s triumph of self-marketing. He made himself available to his admirers, the measure and embodiment of his fictional imagination. After a week he was writing home to say he was ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... from Frances Sheridan, William Chaigneau and Thomas Amory to create a readership for these novels. Ian Campbell Ross’s superbly informative introduction to ‘Fiction to 1800’ creates a persuasive argument for a political relevance and a coherent tradition in the early Irish novel. Ross includes an excerpt from Tristram Shandy, less on the basis of ...

Memories of New Zealand

Peter Campbell, 1 December 2011

... eroded too, but into proper sea cliffs.) Nearly always the holidays were shared with my Uncle Ian and his family. I can’t remember at all what the adult sleeping arrangements were – I guess the living-room was given over to one couple. And there were tents too. Washing was done in enamel basins, filled with the precious rainwater that dwindled all ...

Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper, 18 May 2017

by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... various dashing and extant English aristocrats, including Andrew Parker Bowles. Rupert Campbell-Black, wealthy landowner, sometime world champion showjumper, sometime Tory MP and sports minister, exuder of brio, glamour and charisma, is an all-round amoral charmer and shit, immune to scandal and opinion, and the envy of lesser men. Tony ‘didn’t ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Norman Rockwell, 20 January 2011

... The souvenir volume that stands in for a catalogue for the Dulwich exhibition has a note by Ian A.C. Dejardin, director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.* It begins with a quotation – ‘Rockwell is terrific. It’s become too tedious to pretend he isn’t’ – and goes on: ‘So famously wrote the New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl in Art ...


Julian Girdham: Mansergh v. Arnold, 21 June 1984

... in one slogan or its antithesis. There’s nothing in between. Mansergh continues: ‘Duncan Campbell of the New Statesman, who critically exposes Britain’s nuclear policies and installations, was knocked off his bicycle and his papers ransacked.’ The paragraph spacing that follows this sentence leaves us a moment’s contemplation, before we reach ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gardens, 8 July 2004

... are the gardens made by artists: Ivon Hitchens’s six acres on Lavington Common near Petworth, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Sparta in the Pentland Hills, the garden Patrick Heron had in Cornwall and the garden Derek Jarman made on a shingle bank at Dungeness. Each makes different use of plants in landscape. Finlay’s intention was polemical and the ...

Tall, Slender, Straight and Intelligent

Philip Kitcher: Cloning and reprogenetics, 5 March 1998

Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead 
by Gina Kolata.
Allen Lane, 218 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 7139 9221 2
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Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World 
by Lee Silver.
Weidenfeld, 315 pp., £20, January 1998, 0 297 84135 1
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... contemporary biology should be able to follow her. Especially successful is her account of the way Ian Wilmut and his co-worker Keith Campbell managed to trick nuclei from differentiated cells into behaving like their embryonic counterparts. The biochemical constitution of a cell varies throughout the cycle, and there is a ...

Le Roi Jean Quinze

Stefan Collini: Roy Jenkins and Labour, 5 June 2014

Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, March 2014, 978 0 224 08750 6
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... that attached themselves to him. In choosing ‘a well-rounded life’ as his subtitle, John Campbell risks some obvious jibes about his increasingly portly subject, but he delivers on its promise. It is a persuasive, if at times indulgent, portrait of a life rich in satisfactions. At its heart were a long, close marriage and three children, to which ...


Peter Campbell, 5 December 1985

... have it when we read them in the Fifties, and it’s what makes song-writers sound like sages – Ian Dury has, appropriately, done a song to back the television credits for The Secret Diary. It is a quality which seems to be anti-authoritarian, but only because it notices how things have changed before the rules about what can be said, and assumptions about ...

Just what are those teeth for?

Ian Hamilton, 24 April 1997

... I have seen so far have tended to be Liberal Democrats: Charles Kennedy, Conrad Russell, Menzies Campbell. But then, it will be said, politicians such as these can well afford to be themselves. From the two interested parties, Kenneth Clarke is, of course, known to be attractively ‘robust’, not to say quarrelsome, but he is always in control. Supremely ...

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