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He’s Humbert, I’m Dolores

Emily Witt, 21 May 2020

My Dark Vanessa 
by Kate Elizabeth Russell.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £12.99, March, 978 0 00 834224 1
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... of the zeitgeist and sold it in 2018 for more than a million dollars. The blurbs from people like Gillian Flynn and Stephen King (‘stunning’, ‘gripping’, ‘brilliant’) led me to believe I was sitting down to a thriller, but there are no unexpected plot twists here. In a disclaimer, Russell says any similarities with her own upbringing – she grew ...

We must think!

Jenny Turner: Hannah Arendt’s Islands, 4 November 2021

Hannah Arendt 
by Samantha Rose Hill.
Reaktion, 232 pp., £11.99, August 2021, 978 1 78914 379 9
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... the worst:expect the best:andtake what comes‘Not a Hannah Arendt quote! :/’ Samantha Rose Hill, then the assistant director of the Hannah Arendt Centre at Bard College in New York State, tweeted back, across the hours and the Atlantic Ocean. ‘I know! ’Twas sweet gift,’ Stonebridge replied, then added: ‘We should make our own.’‘One ...


J.G.A. Pocock: Maori, 8 September 2011

Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921 
by Judith Binney.
Bridget Williams, 670 pp., £50, May 2009, 978 1 877242 44 1
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Stories without End: Essays, 1975-2010 
by Judith Binney.
Bridget Williams, 424 pp., £30, May 2010, 978 1 877242 47 2
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... but she also began thinking about the nature of histories themselves. Binney and the photographer Gillian Chaplin, her collaborator on the book Mihaia: The Prophet Rua Kenana and His Community at Maungapohatu (1979), had a cache of photographs dating from a police assault on Rua’s community in 1916, which they took to the Tuhoe townships in the Urewera ...

Bantu in the Bathroom

Jacqueline Rose, 19 November 2015

... replies with a smirk on his face: ‘You don’t want guns? What kind of Afrikaner are you?’ As Gillian Slovo put it in a lecture at the LSE in May, the guns that supported and opposed apartheid are still too present in South Africa today. Pistorius was fearful of crime, but then no white South African, indeed no South African, can avoid being fearful of ...


Frank Kermode, 3 February 1983

Gissing: A Life in Books 
by John Halperin.
Oxford, 426 pp., £18.50, September 1982, 0 19 812677 8
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George Gissing: Critical Essays 
edited by Jean-Pierre Michaux.
Vision/Barnes and Noble, 214 pp., £11.95, March 1981, 0 85478 404 7
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... egotist and the most refined sybarite I know’; and there are sybarites who prefer nails to rose-leaves. He had a particular hatred for the middle ground between rich and poor – the mortgaged suburban house with its poky over-furnished parlour. It is a sentiment common among those who are bred in the more refined but still insecure stretch of ...
... to apartheid, most against the Government, most hated by the regime – meant that the Party rose like yeast to a commanding position within the Congress movement. But the same context also meant that the Party reached this dominant position with a leadership recruited in the years between (roughly) 1938 and 1955, the high period of Stalinism. That ...

What was it that drove him?

David Runciman: Gordon Brown, 4 January 2018

My Life, Our Times 
by Gordon Brown.
Bodley Head, 512 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 1 84792 497 1
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... moment during the campaign that he was caught on mic disparaging a voter in Rochdale called Gillian Duffy who had pressed him on the question of immigration, he admits: ‘I made the mistake of describing Mrs Duffy as a “sort of bigoted woman”. It was a remark born of frustration that the next day’s media coverage would not be about our policing ...

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