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Spooky

Terry Eagleton, 7 July 1994

The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats. Vol. III: 1901-1904 
edited by John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard.
Oxford, 781 pp., £35, May 1994, 0 19 812683 2
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Modern Irish Literature: Sources and Founders 
by Vivian Mercier.
Oxford, 381 pp., £30, April 1994, 0 19 812074 5
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... in the knowledge that they were a bunch of dopeheads and deadlegs. Just as the theatre of Bertolt Brecht was made possible by the existence of a mass socialist movement, so Yeats’s poetic enterprise was enabled by the tide of revolutionary nationalism in Ireland, of which he was the self-appointed mythologer. Whatever his doubts about the ...

For the hell of it

Terry Eagleton: Norberto Bobbio, 22 February 2001

In Praise of Meekness: Essays on Ethics and Politics 
by Norberto Bobbio, translated by Teresa Chataway.
Polity, 186 pp., £50, October 2000, 0 7456 2309 3
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... He or she is not a sign of that future, but of how much it takes to achieve it. As a poem by Bertolt Brecht comments: ‘Oh we who tried to lay the ground for friendship/ Could not ourselves be friendly.’ Similarly, the monk or religious celibate is no image of heaven, just a dramatic signifier of how much, in an unjust world, will have to be ...

Franklin D, listen to me

J. Hoberman: Popular (Front) Songs, 17 September 1998

Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs and the American Left, 1926-53 
edited by Ronald Cohen and Dave Samuelson.
Bear Family Records, DM 390, June 1996
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... Earl Robinson and Aaron Copland. The Collective took its cue from the militant anthems of Bertolt Brecht and Hans Eisler, composing American versions of 12-tone protest songs: ‘The Strange Funeral at Braddock’ gives the full Modernist treatment to Mike Gold’s meditation on the accidental death of a Czech immigrant worker in the steel mills ...

Thunder in the Mountains

J. Hoberman: Orson Welles, 6 September 2007

Orson Welles: Hello Americans 
by Simon Callow.
Vintage, 507 pp., £8.99, May 2007, 978 0 09 946261 3
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What Ever Happened to Orson Welles? A Portrait of an Independent Career 
by Joseph McBride.
Kentucky, 344 pp., $29.95, October 2006, 0 8131 2410 7
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... the World in 80 Days. Only a handful of tepid Cole Porter songs remain of this gigantic flop, but Bertolt Brecht called it ‘the greatest thing I have seen in American theatre’. (He and Charles Laughton hoped in vain that Welles would direct their 1947 production of Galileo.) By the mid-1940s, Welles regarded Hollywood as a place where he made money ...

Canetti’s Later Work

J.P. Stern, 3 July 1986

The Conscience of Words 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Deutsch, 166 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 9780233979007
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The Human Province 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Deutsch, 281 pp., £9.85, October 1985, 0 233 97837 2
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... of the Third Reich, the defeat of European humanism, the Second World War and its aftermath. Even Bertolt Brecht, little given to public self-doubt or literary self-deprecation, questions (in the most famous of the Svendborg Poems of 1939) any man’s right to equanimity in an age when A conversation about trees is almost a crime Because it implies ...

His Own Sort of Outsider

Philip Clark: Tippett’s Knack, 16 July 2020

Michael Tippett: The Biography 
by Oliver Soden.
Weidenfeld, 750 pp., £25, April 2019, 978 1 4746 0602 8
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... He also took part in a concert in celebration of the Austrian composer Hanns Eisler, an ally of Bertolt Brecht, whose music had been outlawed by the Nazis. But throughout this period of political commitment his own music slowed to a trickle.There was an apparent incompatibility between Tippett’s advocacy of violent insurrection, on the one hand, and ...

A Fragment of Ibykos Translated Six Ways

Anne Carson, 8 November 2012

... not truly, if I would, if I could, [it] justifies my one whole lunatic escape. [fr. 286 as Bertolt Brecht’s FBI file #100-67077] At a cocktail party attended by known Communists, on the one hand, the subject being suitably paraphrased as Mr & Mrs Bert Brecht, where ten years of exile have left their ...

Diary

J.P. Stern: This great wall has fallen down, 7 December 1989

... the knowledge and experience of their daily lives: the knowledge and the experience that (to quote Brecht) ‘the measures taken’ to secure the workers’ paradise did not work. In the face of endless indoctrination to the contrary, people conceived the uncertain hope that social justice and the benefits of the welfare state can be separated from the ...

I Could Sleep with All of Them

Colm Tóibín: The Mann Family, 6 November 2008

In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story 
by Andrea Weiss.
Chicago, 302 pp., £14.50, May 2008, 978 0 226 88672 5
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... Papa, that the son of a genius is never a genius himself. Therefore, you can’t be a genius!’ Bertolt Brecht wrote: ‘The whole world knows Klaus Mann, the son of Thomas Mann. By the way, who is Thomas Mann?’ When The Magic Mountain appeared in 1924, Thomas Mann wrote in his son’s copy: ‘To my respected colleague – his promising ...

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