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Opus Operandi

Ciaran Carson, 27 May 1993

... Tomorrow will be calfskin parchment, then the limitation clauses and the codicils. II Jerome imagined Babel with its laminates and overlapping tongues And grooves, the secret theatre with its clamps and vices, pincers, tongs. It’s like an Ark or quinquereme he prised apart, to find the little oarsmen At their ...

Short Cuts

Jérôme Tubiana: In Tripoli, 4 June 2020

... Iarrived​ in Tripoli on 29 February during a lull in the bombardment of the city. The day before, no planes had been able to land: Khalifa Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) had fired fifty or sixty missiles at the airport. Haftar has been trying to seize the capital from forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) for more than a year ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: Editions de minuit, 14 January 2002

... There’s no question but that the Paris imprint which has for many years past brought out the likeliest new books, novels especially, is the Editions de Minuit. They’ve managed it by being hard to please editorially (as few publishers any longer are in an age of inexplicable hospitality to authorship), the Minuit never having looked to go beyond twenty books a year ...

Things I Said No To

Michael Wood: Italo Calvino, 17 April 2003

Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings 
by Italo Calvino.
Cape, 255 pp., £16.99, January 2003, 0 224 06132 1
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... flattens out the visible differences. If it wasn’t for the lion who traditionally accompanies St Jerome, Italo Calvino suggests in The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1973), you could hardly tell him from St Augustine. Both saints are often pictured as writers, and ‘a man at a desk resembles every other man at a desk.’ By ...

An English Vice

Bernard Bergonzi, 21 February 1985

The Turning Key: Autobiography and the Subjective Impulse since 1800 
by Jerome Hamilton Buckley.
Harvard, 191 pp., £12.75, April 1984, 0 674 91330 2
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The Art of Autobiography in 19th and 20th-Century England 
by A.O.J. Cockshut.
Yale, 222 pp., £10.95, September 1984, 0 300 03235 8
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... or Continental writers but without much discussion of the nature of autobiographical form. Jerome Hamilton Buckley and A.O.J. Cockshut take the discussion further, in complementary studies of developments since 1800. After a brief backward glance to St Augustine and 17th-century writers of spiritual self-examination ...

The Future of John Barth

Michael Irwin, 5 June 1980

Letters 
by John Barth.
Secker, 772 pp., £7.95, May 1980, 0 436 03674 6
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The Left-Handed Woman 
by Peter Handke, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Eyre Methuen, 94 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 413 45890 3
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Passion Play 
by Jerzy Kosinski.
Joseph, 271 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 7181 1913 4
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... missives from the same seven correspondents: Lady Amherst. Todd Andrews, Jacob Horner, A.B. Cook, Jerome Bray, Ambrose Mensch and the Author. The last-named ‘character’ is the ‘real’ John Barth, and Lady Amherst is a new invention; the other five are protagonists, or the proxies of protagonists, from earlier works ...

Fit for a Saint

Nicholas Penny, 6 April 1995

The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice 
by Peter Humfrey.
Yale, 382 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 300 05358 4
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Italian Altarpieces 1250-1550: Function and Design 
edited by Eve Borsook and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi.
Oxford, 296 pp., £45, September 1994, 0 19 817223 0
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... S. Giovanni Crisostomo we find one of Bellini’s greatest paintings, his late altarpiece of Saint Jerome between Saints Christopher and Louis of Toulouse, which is reproduced on the jacket of The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice. The book opens with a consideration of which elements in this painting were conditioned by its ...

The Everyday Business of Translation

George Steiner, 22 November 1979

The True Interpreter 
by Louis Kelly.
Blackwell, 282 pp., £15
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... produced in the evolution of the cosmos’ would now strike one as hyperbolic but plausible. St Jerome is again claiming his place as patron of letters. The sources of this change are various; and engage the entire current condition of literacy. With the sharp decline in western society of a direct knowledge of Greek and ...

The Miller’s Tale

J.B. Trapp, 4 November 1993

Erasmus: His Life, Work and Influence 
by Cornelis Augustijn, translated by J.C. Grayson.
Toronto, 239 pp., £16.25, February 1991, 0 8020 5864 7
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Erasmus: A Critical Biography 
by Léon-E. Halkin, translated by John Tonkin.
Blackwell, 360 pp., £45, December 1992, 0 631 16929 6
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Erasmus, Man of Letters: The Construction of Charisma in Print 
by Lisa Jardine.
Princeton, 278 pp., £19.95, June 1993, 0 691 05700 1
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... his way. He would take, he decided, only his New Testament and Paraphrases and his edition of St Jerome, his great mentor. That would be enough for heaven. He could have taken much more. By then, he had also further revised the Adages, his discursive encyclopedia of proverbs, the encapsulated wisdom of the ancients-applied ...

What mattered to Erasmus

James McConica, 2 March 1989

Erasmus’s Annotations on the New Testament. The Gospels: Facsimile of the final Latin text with all earlier variants 
edited by Anne Reeve.
Duckworth, 284 pp., £35, March 1986, 9780715619902
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Erasmus’s Annotations on the New Testament: From Philologist to Theologian 
by Erika Rummel.
Toronto, 234 pp., £24.50, January 1987, 0 8020 5683 0
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A New Rabelais Bibliography: Editions of Rabelais before 1626 
by Stephen Rawles and M.A. Screech.
Droz, 691 pp.
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The Library of Robert Burton 
by Nicholas Kiessling.
Oxford Bibliographic Society, 433 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 901420 42 5
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... New Testament, a study which no doubt began during his initial editorial work on the letters of St Jerome. His quest for the ‘very face’ of Jesus in the Greek text was spurred on by his discovery of Valla’s annotations in 1504, as it was disciplined and enriched by his autodidactic efforts on the epistles of St ...

Why edit socially?

Marilyn Butler, 20 October 1994

Lord Byron: The Complete Poetical Works, Vol. VII 
edited by Byron.
Oxford, 445 pp., £52.50, March 1993, 0 19 812328 0
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The New Oxford Book of Romantic Period Verse 
edited by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 832 pp., £25, April 1993, 0 19 214158 9
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... Jerome McGann’s seven-volume edition of Byron’s Poems has concluded with a magnificent index compiled by Carol Pearson. As columns to browse in, these are in the same league as the DNB or OED. Old Romantic hands might be tempted to look up ‘Rousseau’ or ‘Wordsworth’, but to test this edition with the name of another established writer would be to show you didn’t know what McGann stands for ...

Umbah-Umbah

Jerome McGann, 22 June 1989

Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century 
by Greil Marcus.
Secker, 496 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 0 436 27338 1
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... Around 529 BC the armies of the Persian Empire tried to conquer a mysterious and reclusive people who lived somewhere to the east of the Caspian Sea – to this day we do not know exactly where. The Persians acted simply because of Cyrus the Great’s overweening ambition. As it turned out, Cyrus’s armies were defeated and he was killed in the battle ...

Language Writing

Jerome McGann, 15 October 1987

In the American Tree: Language, Poetry, Realism 
by Ron Silliman.
National Poetry Foundation, 628 pp., $34.50, June 1986, 0 915032 33 3
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‘Language’ Poetries: An Anthology 
by Douglas Messerli.
New Directions, 184 pp., $19.95, March 1987, 0 8112 1006 5
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... In 1918, the intensity of Yeats’s fascination with the young American phenomenon Ezra Pound had cooled enough for Jack Butler Yeats to supply his son with some smouldering paternal wisdom: The poets loved of Ezra Pound are tired of Beauty, since they have met it so often ... I am tired of Beauty my wife, says the poet, but here is that enchanting mistress Ugliness ...

Ezra Pound and Evil

Jerome McGann, 7 July 1988

The Genealogy of Demons: Anti-Semitism, Fascism and the Myths of Ezra Pound 
by Robert Casillo.
Northwestern, 463 pp., $34.95, April 1988, 0 8101 0710 4
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A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Faber, 1005 pp., £20, May 1988, 0 571 14786 0
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... No English-speaking poet of this century has been the subject of as much biographical scrutiny as Ezra Pound. As in the case of Byron, Pound’s literary works and his personal life were deeply entwined from the first, and this condition of his poetry’s existence raises – as Byron’s work has always raised – serious problems for our ordinary understanding of what poems do and how they are to be read ...

Theory of Texts

Jerome McGann, 18 February 1988

Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts: The Panizzi Lectures 1985 
by D.F. McKenzie.
British Library, 80 pp., £10, December 1986, 0 7123 0085 6
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... A quiet yet profound change has been taking place in literary studies during the past ten years or so. Initially it was obscured by the successes and celebrities of Deconstruction, where idealist hermeneutics – this century’s dominant textual and interpretative program – led its own tradition into a theoretical impasse. The more recently touted ‘return to history’ has also obscured the nature of this change – obscured it because the so-called new historicism (I give the name un-capitalised) comprises a variety of historicisms, some new and some not, some idealist and some otherwise ...

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