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At the Movies

Michael Wood: Carlos Saura, 16 June 2011

... and story. But it is more than that. It is what the images and the story are not quite saying. Paul Julian Smith, in a subtle essay accompanying the Criterion Collection DVD of the film, reminds us that it was shot as Franco was dying, and that the Spanish people then ‘looked back in fear and forward with ...

Constitutional Fantasy

Jan-Werner Müller: Verhofstadt’s Vision, 1 June 2017

Europe’s Last Chance: Why the European States Must Form a More Perfect Union 
by Guy Verhofstadt.
Basic, 304 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 0 465 09685 5
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... achieved can be credited to national leaders, namely, Merkel and Hollande. Verhofstadt thinks such Franco-German leadership only reinforces the blindness that Paul-Henri Spaak (another Belgian), one of the founders of European integration, long ago observed. There are only two kinds of state in Europe, Spaak said: small ...

V.G. Kiernan writes about the Marx sisters

V.G. Kiernan, 16 September 1982

The Daughters of Karl Marx: Family Correspondence 1866-98 
edited by Olga Meier, translated by Faith Evans.
Deutsch, 342 pp., £14.95, June 1982, 0 233 97337 0
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... letters could not fail to supply welcome sidelights on the history of their times. During the Franco-Prussian War Laura and Paul Lafargue reported to Marx from Paris a curious atmosphere of unreality. ‘The beauties of the Boulevards are impatiently awaiting the invaders’; the workers seemed apathetic, and several ...

Mallarmé gets a life

Barbara Johnson, 18 August 1994

Mallarmé: A Throw of the Dice 
by Gordon Millan.
Secker, 389 pp., £16.99, March 1994, 9780436270963
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... work by Charles Mauron, Jean-Pierre Richard, Robert Greer Cohn, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Leo Bersani, Malcolm Bowie and others. It might seem surprising, therefore, not to find a single full-length biography published between Henri Mondor’s 1941 Vie de Mallarmé and Gordon Millan’s Mallarmé: A Throw of the Dice. Millan notes in his ...

In Praise of Power

Alexander Nagel: Bernini the Ruthless, 3 January 2013

Bernini: His Life and His Rome 
by Franco Mormando.
Chicago, 429 pp., £22.50, December 2011, 978 0 226 53852 5
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... Self Portrait’ (1635) Franco Mormando has a lot to tell us about Gian Lorenzo Bernini and the Rome of his day, but one lasting lesson is that just about everyone who knew him hated him. The harshest criticism came from his mother, who in 1638 wrote an exasperated letter to Pope Urban VIII’s nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini ...

Staying Alive in the Ruins

Richard J. Evans: Plato to Nato, 22 April 2021

Ruin and Renewal: Civilising Europe after World War Two 
by Paul Betts.
Profile, 536 pp., £25, November 2020, 978 1 78816 109 1
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... chunks of Ancient Greek from memory.In his original and engrossing book, the Oxford historian Paul Betts, an American who experienced ‘Western Civ’ at first hand, perhaps underplays the classical origins of the idea. ‘Civilisation’ in the classical tradition already incorporated many of its contemporary meanings, from advanced technology and ...

Berlinguer’s Legacy

Paul Ginsborg, 4 October 1984

... about the historic compromise. One of Berlinguer’s closest advisers at this time was Franco Rodano, whose own peculiar combination of Catholicism and Stalinism fuelled the attempt to reach agreement at the leadership level, in the expectation that decisions would then be transmitted downwards to the base of the two great mass organisations of ...


Paul Henley: The EU, 14 January 2002

... all in vain. Although the film was shown in many parts of Europe, including on the EU-supported Franco-German channel Arte, it was never shown on BBC2. Along with most of the other films in the series, it was quietly secreted away on BBC Knowledge, where it was safe from the eyes of the TV reviewers who might otherwise have generated some debate about the ...

Dashing for Freedom

Paul Foot, 12 December 1996

Full Disclosure 
by Andrew Neil.
Macmillan, 481 pp., £20, October 1996, 0 333 64682 7
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... which stands out most in the memory of his fellow feasters: a lunch, in a private room at the Due Franco restaurant in Islington, the highlight of which was the entry of a nervous, near-naked strip-o-gram lady who sat on Neil’s knee and slowly removed his shirt and vest. While everyone else hovered on the edge of death by embarrassment, Neil, according to ...

The Hooks of her Gipsy Dresses

Nicholas Penny, 1 September 1988

Picasso: Creator and Destroyer 
by Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington.
Weidenfeld, 559 pp., £16, June 1988, 0 02 977935 9
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... glamour (it bursts forth from the dust jacket)? If so, they are in respectable company. Paul Johnson (described in this paper some years ago by Lord Blake as the greatest living British journalist) has declared in the Spectator that he found the book ‘morbidly compulsive from start to finish’. It starts in a world that is now very ...


David Abulafia, 31 October 1996

The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th-Century Spain 
by Benzion Netanyahu.
Random House, 1384 pp., $50, August 1995, 0 679 41065 1
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... Bishop of Burgos, for example, born a Jew and converted as a child with his father, the famous Paul of Burgos; or, with variations, by Juan de Torquemada, uncle of the inquisitor, who came from what was quite probably a converso family. No one would seriously question the commitment to Christianity of this generation of converso Church leaders, nor that of ...

On (Not) Saying What You Mean

Colm Tóibín, 30 November 1995

... were bought any time anyone from the family went to Dublin. My sister became addicted to Jean-Paul Sartre. I remember a book called Words which began ‘I loathe my childhood’; this was an astonishing idea in Enniscorthy at that time. Not long afterwards another sister decided to build a house. There were no architects in Enniscorthy, but lots of ...

Paralysed by the Absence of Danger

Jeremy Harding: Spain, 1937, 24 September 2009

Letters from Barcelona: An American Woman in Revolution and Civil War 
edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn.
Palgrave, 209 pp., £50, February 2009, 978 0 230 52739 3
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War Is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War 
by James Neugass.
New Press, 314 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 59558 427 4
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We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War 
by Paul Preston.
Constable, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 1 84529 946 0
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... earlier in the year and decided on a honeymoon in Europe. In Catalonia, a matter of weeks after Franco’s military uprising against the Second Spanish Republic, they settled happily into a political climate of intrigue and rivalry among the variegated species of anti-Fascists who failed, in the end, to hold the pass: bourgeois democrats and left ...

Shakespeare’s Sister

Elaine Showalter, 25 April 1991

Kate Chopin: A Life of the Author of ‘The Awakening’ 
by Emily Toth.
Century, 528 pp., £20, March 1991, 0 7126 4621 3
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... Heart, she studied writing and embroidery, and discovered French and English novels: Ivanhoe, Paul et Virginie, Corinne. In 1870, she married a Louisiana cotton factor, Oscar Chopin, and set out for a grand honeymoon tour of Europe. But the Franco-Prussian War cramped the Chopins’ style; they left Paris as the city ...

On the Sofa

Yohann Koshy: ‘Small Axe’, 7 January 2021

... who rejects his parents’ faith in quiet diligence and joins a black power group. In Franco Rosso’s Babylon (1980), a father can’t wait to kick his dreadlocked interloper of a son out of the house. Steve McQueen’s film series Small Axe, broadcast on the BBC in November and December, complicates and enriches this schema. In the third ...

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