George Watson

George Watson, a Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, is the author of The Lost Literature of Socialism (Lutterworth).

Latest by George Watson in Chronicles

Results: 22 Articles found.
  • October 1999

    Europe's Hollow Socialism

    With the victory of the Social Democrats in Germany, a year and more after Labour finally managed to win a British election, 11 of the 15 states in the European Union now have governments in the socialist tradition.

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  • January 1999

    Live Right, Think Left

    "Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy" is a famous phrase, and in January 1996, Harriet Harman, Labour spokesman for health in the British House of Commons, became an object of scorn on both sides of the House by sending her 11-year-old son to a school outside the public sector, chosen by entrance examination.

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  • March 1998

    A Future for Critical Theory?

    A questionnaire about future needs recently sent to a department of literature provoked at least one interesting reply: "We do not need a new post in Critical Theory. Theory is Old Hat."

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  • In Praise of Elites
    September 1997

    In Praise of Elites

    Being a lifelong elitist myself, I have long had a sneaking sympathy for a Trollope character, Sir Timothy Beeswax. In The Dune's Children (1880), Beeswax is a dignified old politician who lives not for power but, quite unashamedly, for the trappings of office. Parliament, he believed, was a club so eligible that any Englishman would want to belong to it.

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  • Conservatives and the Free Market
    April 1997

    Conservatives and the Free Market

    When everyone "hastens through by-paths to private profit," Samuel Johnson remarked confidently in 1756, "no great change can suddenly be made." So the market can be conservative in its effects.

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  • Don't Give Us India
    September 1996

    Don't Give Us India

    "Don't give us India," Samuel Johnson once told Boswell, when the talk was about how widely mankind differed in its view of chastity and polygamy. Montesquieu, he said, the great pioneer of anthropology, was in many wavs a fellow of genius.

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  • Coleridge and the Battle of Waterloo
    January 1996

    Coleridge and the Battle of Waterloo

    There is a story told about the late Roland Barthes. Once, in his Paris seminar on critical theory, a British visitor bravely remarked that something he had just said sounded rather like a point made by Coleridge in the Biographia Literaria. An embarrassed silence followed.

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  • The Fading of Feminism
    May 1995

    The Fading of Feminism

    Writing her column the other day in a London newspaper, a feminist confessed that the women's movement that started some 25 years ago had "spluttered to a halt." Many a middle-aged feminist nowadays will tell you the same thing.

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  • Alfred Rosenberg: The Triumph of Tedium
    February 1995

    Alfred Rosenberg: The Triumph of Tedium

    A few months after the outbreak of war, in January 1940, Nazi leaders held a merry meeting. They had plenty to be cheerful about. Poland had been crushed in a few weeks, and the new Soviet alliance had been "sealed in blood," as Stalin put it.

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  • July 1994

    The Crusade to Nowhere

    My last conversation with Edward Thompson, the Marxist historian, was at the gates of Durham Castle. That, on reflection, was how it should have been. There was always something slightly grand about him, as if a castle, or at least a country mansion, might be a natural place for him.

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  • May 1994

    The Fear of the Original

    The demands of life are endlessly self-contradictory. It is a supreme compliment in intellectual life, for example, to be called original; but it can be alarming to discover something—so alarming that people have been known to turn tail and run when they do.

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  • How Do You Know?
    July 1993

    How Do You Know?

    How much is actually known and not just supposed or imagined? A lot more, surely, than it is fashionable to think, at least in the world that moral and literary theorists seem to inhabit.

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  • October 1992

    Forgotten Voices: How Buchenwald Lived On

    When I visited Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, in 1988, in what turned out to be the last year of German partition, the Soviet Union's use of the camp for five years after World War II was hardly to be spoken of inside what, with memorable irony, was still called the German Democratic Republic.

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  • April 1992

    The Easter Rising and the IRA

    The president of the Irish Republic, Mary Robinson, stepped out for a brief ceremony, lasting less than half an hour, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1916, when a group of armed separatists seized the center of Dublin and declared independence from Britain at the height of the World War I.

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  • The Terror of the Obvious
    September 1991

    The Terror of the Obvious

    There is a painting on my wall that fascinates me. That is partly because it is beautiful, partly because of the story it tells. It is a large Dutch oil of 1658 by Hendrik van Vliet, better known for his church interiors, and it shows two men solemnly seated at a dark table lit only by a candle—the one speaking from a book under his left hand, the other about to reply.

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  • May 1991

    Dahrendorf and Burke, 1789 & 1989

    Just two centuries on, an echo of Edmund Burke and his most celebrated book has opportunely come out of Oxford.

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  • August 1990

    Conversation in Warsaw

    Several Nazi concentration camps, as I explained in a recent Chronicles article called "Buchenwald's Second Life" (July 1989), were used by the Soviet occupying authorities in East Germany for some five years after the war, and for their original purpose.

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  • April 1990

    The Ignorance of the Doctors

    Montaigne in his Essays called it ignorance doctorale (1.54). Four hundred years later an American journalist called it "educated incompetence." It means the sort of nonknowledge, or anti-knowledge, that can follow upon higher learning, especially when theorizing about politics, morality, and the arts.

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  • Buchenwald's Second Life
    July 1989

    Buchenwald's Second Life

    Even in an age of glasnost, hardly anyone troubles to recall that when the Soviet Union occupied East Germany in 1945 it kept two Nazi concentration camps in full use for nearly five years, till February 1950, and at their old task of death.

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  • The Cost of Revolution England & 1789
    June 1989

    The Cost of Revolution England & 1789

    The twin centenaries of the English and French revolutions are now upon us—1689 and 1789—and they seem fated to coincide with a moment when the word "revolution" has lost all its prestige and even much of its point.

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Results: 22 Articles found.