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Citizen Hobbes

Noel Malcolm, 18 October 1984

De Cive: The Latin Version 
by Thomas Hobbes, edited by Howard Warrender.
Oxford, 336 pp., £35, March 1984, 0 19 824385 5
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De Cive: The English Version 
by Thomas Hobbes, edited by Howard Warrender.
Oxford, 300 pp., £35, March 1984, 0 19 824623 4
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... Hobbes studies are booming. The production of books and articles on Hobbes and everything (Hobbes and Laughter; Hobbes and the American Constitution; Hobbes and Vico, or Dryden, or Hegel ...) has reached record levels. Yet the essential scholarly machinery on which one might expect such a thriving industry to depend is in fact jerry-built and creaking with age: the standard edition of Hobbes’s works was published nearly a hundred and fifty years ago, and suffers from incompleteness, unreliable transcriptions and an often arbitrary choice of copy-texts ...

Good to Think With

Helen Pfeifer, 4 June 2020

Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought 1450-1750 
by Noel Malcolm.
Oxford, 512 pp., £25, May 2019, 978 0 19 883013 9
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... of sources for Campanella’s idiosyncratic vision, from Plato to Thomas More. What no one before Noel Malcolm noticed – although it would be unmistakable to any student of the early modern Middle East – is the extent to which the city of the sun was modelled on the Ottoman Empire.From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, as ...

What is a Bosnian?

John Fine, 28 April 1994

Bosnia: A Short History 
by Noel Malcolm.
Macmillan, 340 pp., £17.50, March 1994, 0 333 61677 4
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... so that the present conflict is simply the latest of these ethnic wars. This picture is false, as Noel Malcolm’s new history of Bosnia helps to show. The Bosnians have been a distinct people since at least the tenth century. In the Middle Ages, theirs was a no-man’s-land between the eastern and western worlds of Constantinople and Rome. Because of ...
The Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes: Vols I-II 
edited by Thomas Hobbes and Noel Malcolm.
Oxford, 592 pp., £60, September 1994, 0 19 824065 1
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... of Leviathan in 1651) were when dealing with Hobbes, who was assumed to be an atheist. (Malcolm thinks this assumption was false, but Hobbes’s close friend Sorbière seems to have shared the common view, judging by his paraphrase of Lucretius in his letter of 1645.) Oldenburg was writing to Hobbes about applied mathematics, but, like so many ...

Modernity’s Bodyguard

Phil Withington: Hobbes, 3 January 2013

by Thomas Hobbes, edited by Noel Malcolm.
Oxford, 1832 pp., £195, May 2012, 978 0 19 960262 9
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... in that bar in Cambridge, or that this Oxford edition of Leviathan has been so eagerly awaited. Noel Malcolm’s magnificent feat of scholarship, which presents the English (1651) and Latin (1668) versions of Leviathan side by side, does not disappoint. Malcolm presents us with three volumes. The introduction, a ...

There’s a porpoise close behind us

Michael Dobson, 13 November 1997

The Origins of English Nonsense 
by Noel Malcolm.
HarperCollins, 329 pp., £18, May 1997, 0 00 255827 0
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... could, or even should, a history of nonsense make sense? This is one of the questions raised by Noel Malcolm’s study of English nonsense verse – a book which is itself, appropriately, an apparent sport in a career otherwise devoted to Hobbes’s letters and the geopolitics of the Balkans. Perhaps only an author raised on Leviathan and hardened by ...

A thick fog covers the Plain of Blackbirds

Julian Evans: Kosovo, 13 May 1999

Trois Chants Funébres pour le Kosovo 
by Ismail Kadare, translated by Jusuf Vrioni.
Fayard, 119 pp., frs 6.90, April 1998, 2 213 60180 1
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... surrendered without a fight; and that Gjakova had been completely sacked. Both passages come from Noel Malcolm’s Kosovo: A Short History. The first describes the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from territories taken over by Serbia in 1877 and 1878; the second the conquest of Kosovo by the Serbian Army 34 years later. In 1912, Kosovo was still under ...

What do we mean by it?

J.G.A. Pocock, 7 January 1993

The Cambridge History of Political Thought: 1450-1700 
edited by J.H. Burns and Mark Goldie.
Cambridge, 798 pp., £60, August 1991, 0 521 24716 0
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... In the next two chapters – ‘Grotius and Selden’ (Richard Tuck) and ‘Hobbes and Spinoza’ (Noel Malcolm) – we see these demands being met by theorists operating for the most part in Netherlands and English political contexts which are depicted in sufficient detail to let us understand the movement out of them into a sphere of cosmopolitan ...

The other side have got one

Ian Gilmour: Lady Thatcher’s Latest, 6 June 2002

Ideologies of Conservatism: Conservative Political Ideas in the 20th Century 
by E.H.H. Green.
Oxford, 309 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 19 820593 7
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Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 486 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 00 710752 8
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... her record is impressive and where she has wisely relied on the best of the Balkans commentators, Noel Malcolm. ‘Throughout my political life I have usually sought to avoid compromise,’ the former Prime Minister characteristically says, ‘because it more often than not turns out to involve an abdication of principle.’ One does not have to wonder ...


Lynne Mastnak: Kosovo, 16 July 1998

... and beatings have become routine. In the face of this, Albanians are now engaged in what Noel Malcolm calls ‘the politics of as if’.* Exiled within their own country, they began in the early Nineties to create a parallel state. In a secret referendum held in 1991, 87 per cent of the voters agreed to declare Kosovo a sovereign and independent ...


Keith Thomas: Working Methods, 10 June 2010

... excerpt was entered in the book under a single heading, it could not be moved around thereafter. Noel Malcolm has described the system invented by the country clergyman Thomas Harrison, who explained it to Charles I during a two-hour conversation in 1638. It involved writing excerpts on small pieces of paper, which were then stuck onto hooks attached to ...

Not Much Tolerance, Not Much Water

Lynne Mastnak: The last nine months in Kosovo, 30 March 2000

... extremists will go on trying to drive out Serbs to create facts on the ground,’ the historian Noel Malcolm argues. Other Western officials believe the deliberate ambiguity of UN Resolution 1244 does not preclude independence and that any attempt to tamper with it would push the Russians and Chinese into a veto when it comes up for renewal. ‘Once we ...

Valet of the Dolls

Andrew O’Hagan: Sinatra, 24 July 2003

Mr S.: The Last Word on Frank Sinatra 
by George Jacobs and William Stadiem.
Sidgwick, 261 pp., £16.99, June 2003, 0 283 07370 5
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... day. Here he is describing one of his boss’s difficulties: Mia had a big white cat named Malcolm that she adored. She was always talking sign language to the cat, who was deaf. Mia’s obsession with Malcolm was bad enough, but the sign language really got on Frank’s nerves. He didn’t mind cats in general, but ...

Rising above it

Russell Davies, 2 December 1982

The Noel Coward Diaries 
edited by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 698 pp., £15, September 1982, 0 297 78142 1
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... Montez and Dudley Moore. Kim Novak and Ivor Novello are neighbours, but then so are Mozart and Malcolm Muggeridge, and the French sandwich of Arletty and Yvonne Arnaud contains Anthony Armstrong-Jones. The name of Neville Chamberlain seems to set off a nervous chain-reaction of theatricality, for he is noisily succeeded by Gower Champion, Coco ...

The Breakaway

Perry Anderson: Goodbye Europe, 21 January 2021

... the foremost modern theorist of sovereignty, are at different ends of the political spectrum: Noel Malcolm of All Souls, editor of Leviathan for Oxford, on the right; Richard Tuck of Harvard, author of the finest contextualisation of Hobbes’s thought, on the left. Differing in outlook in so many ways, their convergence on Brexit is all the more ...

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