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David Bromwich: Alexander Hamilton’s Worst Idea, 24 October 2019

... subtext was supplied last February, in the congressional testimony by Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen: ‘Have you ever seen Mr Trump personally threaten people with physical harm?’ ‘No: he would use others.’ ‘He would hire other people to do that?’ ‘I’m not sure he had to hire them, they were already working there. Everybody’s job at ...

Clothes were everything to me

Lisa Cohen: Bill Cunningham, 25 October 2018

Fashion Climbing: A New York Life 
by Bill Cunningham.
Chatto, 256 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 1 78474 281 2
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... younger, who in the mid-1960s in London brought Cunningham to dinner with the photographer David Montgomery, and Montgomery who gave him the first camera he started using seriously. (Cunningham is a key figure in the new documentary on Lopez, Ramos and their crowd, Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco; it was his last interview, and the film is ...

Rioting

Paul Rock, 17 September 1981

... as contingent and changing. It is portrayed as permanent, sovereign and irreducible. As Stan Cohen, in his book Folk Devils and Moral Panics, has observed of a number of current explanations of delinquency, ‘a single and one-directional historical trend is picked out – commercialisation, repression, bourgeoisification, destruction of ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... Magritte, Dubuffet, Michaux, Bellmer, Klapheck. Britons: Bacon, Hamilton, Paolozzi, Blake, Harold Cohen, Riley, Caulfield, Gilbert and George. Kasmin’s Americans included Newman, Reinhardt, Stella, Noland, Louis, Frankenthaler, Olitski, Poons; his Britons, Caro, Tucker, Latham, Hill, Hockney, Richard Smith, Bernard ...

Agh, Agh, Yah, Boo

David Wheatley: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 4 December 2014

Midway: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Stephen Bann, 1964-69 
edited by Stephen Bann.
Wilmington Square, 426 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 905524 34 1
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... only exhausted but somehow furious at all such people’. Anathemas were pronounced. Harold Cohen was ‘never to be mentioned again. He is an ignorant person’, Donald Davie was a ‘wretch’, and R.B. Kitaj ‘one of the very worst painters of the century’. When words were insufficient, Finlay’s indignation broke out in truncated sound poems ...

Mend and Extend

Jonathan Rée: Ernst Cassirer’s Curiosity, 18 November 2021

The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms 
by Ernst Cassirer, translated by Steve G. Lofts.
Routledge, 1412 pp., £150, September 2020, 978 1 138 90725 6
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... literary company. Between the lines, you glimpse a lovable character bursting with curiosity: a David Attenborough of the cultural world, taking pleasure in every manifestation of symbolic activity from the humblest to the most magnificent. (He even embraced some snarky barbs directed at him by Heidegger and his students.) This congenial impression is ...

Inhumane, Intolerant, Unclean

Ian Gilmour, 31 October 1996

A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
by Karen Armstrong.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £20, July 1996, 0 00 255522 0
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years 
by Israel Shahak.
Pluto, 118 pp., £11.99, April 1994, 9780745308180
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City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present 
edited by Nitza Rosovsky.
Harvard, 562 pp., £25.50, April 1996, 0 674 13190 8
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Jerusalem in the 20th Century 
by Martin Gilbert.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 7011 3070 9
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 
by Norman Finkelstein.
Verso, 230 pp., £39.95, December 1995, 1 85984 940 7
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To Rule Jerusalem 
by Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht.
Cambridge, 554 pp., £29.95, June 1996, 0 521 44046 7
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... its inhabitants have frequently been massacred. Round about 1000 BC, the city was captured by King David. Assuming that he existed – and there is no archaeological or other evidence for him, or for Solomon, Moses or Joshua, outside the Bible, the relevant books of which were written hundreds of years after the events they purport to describe – ...

We came, we saw, he died

Jackson Lears: Clinton’s Creed, 5 February 2015

Hard Choices 
by Hillary Clinton.
Simon and Schuster, 635 pp., £20, June 2014, 978 1 4711 3150 9
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HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton 
by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.
Hutchinson, 440 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 0 09 195448 2
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... by creating alliances with high-tech entrepreneurs. The crucial figure in this project was Jared Cohen, a Condoleezza Rice protégé who served as a senior adviser in both the Rice and Clinton State Departments. Cohen’s chief achievement was to promote the power of social media in the Iranian elections of June ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott, 23 May 2019

White 
by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... tough keeping track of all the debutantes promenading into print and creating a stir: Donna Tartt, David Leavitt, Mary Gaitskill, Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, Nancy Lemann, Susan Minot, Mary Robison, Anderson Ferrell – a cast of dozens. Many of those rookies trained at the literary dojo of the author, editor, creative writing teacher and guru-mentor-mindgamer ...

Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

... than sixty galleries, at a cost of $450 million. Roughly half of this great sum came from the late David Rockefeller, longtime chairman of the board (his mother, Abby, was a co-founder of the museum), and the other half from just four people: the hedge fund billionaires Leon Black, Kenneth Griffin and Steven Cohen, and the ...

After Mubarak

Adam Shatz, 17 February 2011

... Israel’s fears of Egyptian democracy were instantly echoed by its supporters in the US. David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy worried that ‘what starts as a Berlin revolution of 1989 morphs into a Tehran revolution of 1979.’ Israel would then find itself with a Hizbullah-led government to the north, Hamas to the west ...

Separation Anxiety

David Hollinger: God and Politics, 24 January 2008

The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West 
by Mark Lilla.
Knopf, 334 pp., $26, September 2007, 978 1 4000 4367 5
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... This emphasis meant the pushing aside of scripture, the historical particularities of which David Friedrich Strauss and countless others were just then demonstrating. Romantic conceptions of the self and wissenschaftliche approaches to the Bible combined to produce a liberal theology according to which the Bible was a cultural document rather than a ...

Speaking Azza

Martin Jay: Where are you coming from?, 28 November 2002

Situatedness; Or, Why We Keep Saying Where We’re Coming From 
by David Simpson.
Duke, 290 pp., £14.50, March 2002, 0 8223 2839 9
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... As a colleague of David Simpson at the University of California and a friend graciously thanked in his acknowledgments, can I pretend to have the disinterestedness necessary to write an objective review of his book? Or, as a reviewer opening with a confession of this sort – what in the lingo of our day is called a ‘full disclosure’ – have I then somehow neutralised my personal stake in such a way that I can offer my opinion as unbiased? Can such reflexivity work to undo the debilitating effects of situatedness? These are the kinds of question that agonise Simpson, who has written Situatedness in the hope of stemming the tide of what he calls, following Andrew Sullivan, ‘azza’ declarations – ‘as a colleague of David Simpson’; ‘as a white, middle-class male’ – in the age of identity politics ...

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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... Chinese beauty and the ‘little Jew’ (these really are Linklater’s words) called Isadora Cohen who plays the violin in theatre orchestras, the Republican Presidential candidate called Mr Boomer and the bootlegging ex-boxer called Slummock ... For the reading public in the Thirties (and since), such writing must have come as an exhilarating parade of ...

What do you know about Chekhov?

Keith Kyle, 19 December 1985

Aquarium 
by Viktor Suvorov, translated by David Floyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 249 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 241 11545 0
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Breaking with Moscow 
by Arkady Shevchenko.
Cape, 278 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 224 02804 9
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Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917 
by Stephen Cohen.
Oxford, 222 pp., £15, May 1985, 0 19 503468 6
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Rise and Fall 
by Milovan Djilas.
Macmillan, 424 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 333 39791 6
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Tito’s Flawed Legacy: Yugoslavia and the West 1939-1984 
by Nora Beloff.
Gollancz, 287 pp., £12.95, July 1985, 0 575 03668 0
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... are sealed off from the many intractable problems of everyday Soviet life, which, Stephen Cohen maintains in his interesting volume of essays, put one in mind of a Third World state rather than a modern super-power. ‘My father lives in the skies,’ Gromyko’s daughter once told Shevchenko. ‘For twenty-five years he has not set foot on the ...

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