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Diary

Clive James, 21 October 1982

... fight For all those gritty doctrines he has spoken On that day when they have to be renounced And Arthur Scargill’s strike bid must be trounced. But Arthur’s rhetoric is like his hair. Though spurious, transparent and bombastic, It’s legal and has some right to be there. The threat it poses to the state is drastic But ...

Shall we tell the children?

Paul Seabright, 3 July 1986

Melanie Klein: Her World and her Work 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Hodder, 516 pp., £19.95, June 1986, 0 340 25751 2
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Bloomsbury/Freud: The Letters of James and Alix Strachey 1924-1925 
edited by Perry Meisel and Walter Kendrick.
Chatto, 360 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 7011 3051 2
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... had been evinced by several of its members, including Nina Searl, Ella Sharpe, Susan Isaacs, Donald Winnicott and Barbara Low). Ernest Jones, the President and later Freud’s biographer, was enthusiastic (‘absolutely heart-and-soul whole-hogging pro-Melanie’, according to James Strachey). In July 1925 Klein visited London to give a course of ...

If you don’t swing, don’t ring

Christopher Turner: Playboy Mansions, 21 April 2016

Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics 
by Beatriz Preciado.
Zone, 303 pp., £20.95, October 2014, 978 1 935408 48 2
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Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny 
by Holly Madison.
Dey Street, 334 pp., £16.99, July 2015, 978 0 06 237210 9
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... cartoons, he published (or rather, mostly republished) work by John Steinbeck, Norman Mailer, Arthur Conan Doyle, Margaret Atwood, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, Saul Bellow, P.G. Wodehouse, Anne Sexton and John Updike. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was first serialised in the magazine. ‘I only read it for the articles,’ joked subscribers, of which ...

Home Stretch

John Sutherland: David Storey, 17 September 1998

A Serious Man 
by David Storey.
Cape, 359 pp., £16.99, June 1998, 9780224051583
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Saville 
by David Storey.
Vintage, 555 pp., £6.99, June 1998, 0 09 927408 6
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... His life as a professional is over. Football chews up its workforce faster even than the pits. But Arthur doesn’t take it lying down: no longer a sportsman but still a man. Storey adapted his original novel for Lindsay Anderson, who directed the film, but he curtailed the ending. On the printed page, after Machin’s legs have ‘betrayed’ him on the ...

An Enemy Within

Paul Foot, 23 April 1987

Molehunt: The Full Story of the Soviet Mole in MI5 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 297 79150 8
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... with the demise of the Labour Government, the Communist culprits were hunted down. Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to Russia in 1951; Kim Philby was finally exposed in 1963; Anthony Blunt in 1979. The first three took refuge in Russia. Blunt died in disgrace, deserted both by the Leftist friends of his youth and by the Royal Family and his colleagues in ...

Defensive, Not Aggressive

Andrew Cockburn: Khrushchev’s Cuban Gambit, 9 September 2021

The Silent Guns of Two Octobers: Kennedy and Khrushchev Play the Double Game 
by Theodore Voorhees.
Michigan, 384 pp., £27.95, September, 978 0 472 03871 8
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Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis 
by Serhii Plokhy.
Allen Lane, 464 pp., £25, April, 978 0 241 45473 2
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... his own role as a voice of reason, was buttressed by hagiographers of the Kennedy court, notably Arthur Schlesinger, the president’s special aide, and Ted Sorensen, his main speechwriter. Graham Allison’s 1972 study of the affair, Essence of Decision, largely sourced from those accounts, attained the status of holy writ in international relations ...

Defoe or the Devil

Pat Rogers, 2 March 1989

The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe 
by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Yale, 210 pp., £20, February 1988, 0 300 04119 5
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The ‘Tatler’: Vols I-III 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 590 pp., £60, July 1987, 0 19 818614 2
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The ‘Spectator’: Vols I-V 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 512 pp., £55, October 1987, 9780198186106
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... obscure even to make it to the Dunciad, can be plausibly associated with several pamphlets, whilst Arthur Maynwaring is emerging from the shadows as a regular antagonist with the major authors of his day. Even where no such individual can be nailed for the disputed attribution, it is an advance if one can produce evidence equal or superior to that which has ...

Marseille, 1940-43

Neal Ascherson, 18 July 2013

... anti-fascist celebrities: Heinrich and Golo Mann, Hannah Arendt, Anna Seghers, Simone Weil, Arthur Koestler, Victor Serge, Walter Benjamin, Franz Werfel and his wife Alma Mahler, Lion Feuchtwanger, Konrad Heiden (Hitler’s first truthful biographer), Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Moïse Kisling, the young Claude Lévi-Strauss … A band of ...

Darwinian Soup

W.G. Runciman: The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore, 10 June 1999

The Meme Machine 
by Susan Blackmore.
Oxford, 264 pp., £18.99, March 1999, 0 19 850365 2
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... in greater depth and detail than had been possible for Darwin himself, the American psychologist Donald Campbell and others began to develop the notion that cultural evolution (including the emergence of such things as theories of cultural evolution) is also driven by a competitive process of variation and selection. Campbell called his Presidential Address ...

Mae West and the British Raj

Wendy Doniger: Dinosaur Icons, 18 February 1999

The Last Dinosaur Book: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon 
by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 321 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 226 53204 6
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... political history, fiction (the ‘lost worlds’ of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Bur roughs and Arthur Conan Doyle), film, advertising, depth psychology and art (paintings in art museums and museums of science, cartoons and comics). The scholarship is successfully air-brushed by an elegant Post-Modern presentation. Mitchell, who teaches English and art at ...

Going on the air

Philip French, 2 May 1985

Orwell: The War Broadcasts 
edited by W.J. West.
Duckworth/BBC, 304 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 7156 1916 0
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... gaol has ever boasted to visitors that his notorious dungeons were chosen as the setting for Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. But for over thirty years successive generations of BBC producers escorting guests through the labyrinthine corridors of Broadcasting House past doors bearing inscrutably coded designations have cheerfully informed them that ...

Beauty + Terror

Kevin Kopelson: Robert Mapplethorpe, 30 June 2016

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive 
by Frances Terpak and Michelle Brunnick.
Getty Research Institute, 240 pp., £32.50, March 2016, 978 1 60606 470 2
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Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs 
by Paul Martineau and Britt Salvesen.
Getty Museum, 340 pp., £40, March 2016, 978 1 60606 469 6
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... that anyone else – certainly not such virulent homophobes as Senator Jesse Helms or Reverend Donald Wildmon, who couldn’t consciously allow themselves to see Mapplethorpe’s images as anything other than outrageous pornography – reacted to the photographs in the way Mapplethorpe hoped they would, at least not back in the late 1970s through to the ...

When judges sleep

Stephen Sedley, 10 June 1993

In the Highest Degree Odious: Detention without Trial in Wartime Britain 
by A.W.B. Simpson.
Oxford, 453 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 825775 9
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... Cannibalism and the Common Law was that it went much wider than the one earlier book on the case, Donald McCormick’s Blood on the Sea, trawling in great social and nautical circles and retrieving wonderful things. Simpson’s new book on wartime internment in Great Britain does the same, with the deliberate result that the historic case which internment ...

It makes yer head go

David Craig: James Kelman and Gordon Legge, 18 February 1999

The Good Times 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 246 pp., £14.99, July 1998, 0 436 41215 2
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Near Neighbours 
by Gordon Legge.
Cape, 218 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05120 2
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... green paper, if I remember, and featured strip cartoons of Laurel and Hardy, Flanagan and Allen, Arthur Askey, and Old Mother Riley the female impersonator.) I support this project, and I want it to be carried out skilfully, not clumsily. (‘Comic Cuts’ is an amazingly inventive account of a marathon drunken conversation, almost wholly in direct ...

No Meat and Potatoes – Definitely No Chocolate

James Fletcher: Haydn studies, 8 February 2001

Haydn Studies 
edited by Dean Sutcliffe.
Cambridge, 343 pp., £47.50, October 1998, 0 521 58052 8
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... see whether Spitzer will actually come up with anything that wouldn’t have been noticed by, say, Donald Tovey. I think he does, even if it only turns out to be a new way of thinking about an old enigma. The agenda, not only in this essay but in half the contributions to the book, is a wish to rehabilitate Haydn’s lesser known works, particularly those in ...

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