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Globalisation before Globalisation

Philippe Marlière: The Paris Commune, 2 July 2015

Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune of 1871 
by John Merriman.
Yale, 324 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 300 17452 6
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Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune 
by Kristin Ross.
Verso, 148 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 1 78168 839 7
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... Others describe it as one among many manifestations of French republicanism. The Yale historian John Merriman’s new book concentrates on the chain of events that created the Commune, and the main players behind its formation. He opens with a description of Paris in 1870: its western side a playground for the rich, the east an overpopulated slum. The ...

Eric’s Hurt

David Craig, 7 March 1985

Eric Linklater: A Critical Biography 
by Michael Parnell.
Murray, 376 pp., £16, October 1984, 0 7195 4109 3
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... German editions of his novels because his Berlin publisher barred a Jewish translator for Magnus Merriman in 1935. He travelled far and wide throughout his long life, he drank plenty of whisky and good wine, he spent thousands of hours fishing for trout and salmon in peaceful Northern waters, and he was lavishly praised by Priestley, Harold Nicolson, Hugh ...

Viscount Lisle at Calais

G.R. Elton, 16 July 1981

The Lisle Letters 
edited by Muriel St Clare Byrne.
Chicago, 744 pp., £125, June 1981, 0 226 08801 4
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... significantly, she was created marquess in her own right. Much time is taken up with fighting R.B. Merriman, who in 1902 had the influential temerity to call Lisle a person of no account: but Merriman no longer has any influence – and his verdict on Lisle may not have been so crassly mistaken as Miss Byrne maintains. Some ...

Into the Net

Neal Ascherson: Records of the Spanish Civil War, 15 December 2016

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39 
by Adam Hochschild.
Macmillan, 438 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 1 5098 1054 3
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¡No Pasarán! Writings from the Spanish Civil War 
edited by Pete Ayrton.
Serpent’s Tail, 393 pp., £20, April 2016, 978 1 84668 997 0
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The Last Days of the Spanish Republic 
by Paul Preston.
William Collins, 390 pp., £25, February 2016, 978 0 00 816340 2
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A Distant Heartbeat: A War, a Disappearance and a Family’s Secrets 
by Eunice Lipton.
New Mexico, 165 pp., £18.50, April 2016, 978 0 8263 5658 1
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... had the social and intellectual distinctionof some famous Brigadiers from elsewhere: Julian Bell, John Cornford or André Malraux. But their motives for fighting were large – larger than Spain. As one old volunteer told Hochschild, ‘For us it wasn’t Franco … it was always Hitler.’ Before the populations of the democracies woke up to what was at ...

Not Biographable

Patrick Collinson: The Faithful Thomas Cromwell, 29 November 2007

Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII’s Most Notorious Minister 
by Robert Hutchinson.
Weidenfeld, 360 pp., £20, February 2007, 978 0 297 84642 0
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... an act of ‘privatisation’. Surely it was, or ought to have been, the reverse?) R.B. Merriman’s Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell (1902) was rather more generous: ‘I cannot agree … with those who have represented Cromwell as a purely selfish political adventurer, the subservient instrument of a wicked master, bent only on his own ...

Sad Century

David Parrott: The 17th-Century Crisis, 5 March 2015

Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the 17th Century 
by Geoffrey Parker.
Yale, 871 pp., £16.99, August 2014, 978 0 300 20863 4
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... events, but nonetheless noted the phenomenon of so many ‘contemporaneous revolutions’, as R.B. Merriman called them in his comparative study of 1938. The view that these natural and human catastrophes reached a climax around the mid-century implied that there was some improvement after that. It was logical therefore to speak of the mid-century as a ...

Ireland’s Invisibilities

Owen Dudley Edwards, 15 May 1980

Ireland in the Age of Imperialism and Revolution 1760-1801 
by R.B. McDowell.
Oxford, 740 pp., £28, December 1979, 9780198224808
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... from the belatedly respectful capitalisation of ‘Board’) in the ensuing footnote; John Fitzgibbon, Earl of Clare, is variously Clared and Fitzgibboned all over pages 602-3 with maximum confusion for readers who do not know he was both; and, as Bertie Wooster would say, so the long day wore on, so to speak. Occasionally the text is in flat ...

On holiday with Leonardo

Nicholas Penny, 21 December 1989

The New Museology 
edited by Peter Vergo.
Reaktion, 230 pp., £23, September 1989, 0 948462 04 3
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The Romantic Interior: The British Collector at Home 1750-1850 
by Clive Wainwright.
Yale, 314 pp., £35, November 1989, 0 300 04225 6
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Journal of the History of Collections, No 1 
edited by Oliver Impey and Arthur MacGregor.
Oxford, 230 pp., £23, June 1989, 0 00 954665 0
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... in helpful information available in labels, gallery guides and leaflets. Another contributor, Nick Merriman, does offer real facts – or rather figures. He notes that people who have never visited museums feel that there are too many words to read. One is surprised that they were permitted (or could be bothered) to fill in this part of a questionnaire, but ...

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