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Martin Jay, 10 June 1993

Notes to Liteature: Vols I-II 
by Theodor Adorno, edited by Rolf Tiedemann, translated by Shierry Weber.
Columbia, 284 pp., $35, June 1992, 9780231069120
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... theoretical approach to its subject. The title, suggested by Adorno’s friend and publisher Peter Suhrkamp, evokes a musical analogy in which a supportive accompaniment rather than conceptual domination of its subjects is the goal. Appropriately, the collection’s opening piece is a spirited defence of ‘The Essay as Form’ against the traditional ...

End of the Century

John Sutherland, 13 October 1988

Worlds Apart 
by David Holbrook.
Hale, 205 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 9780709033639
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Story of My Life 
by Jay McInerney.
Bloomsbury, 188 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 7475 0180 7
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Forgotten Life 
by Brian Aldiss.
Gollancz, 284 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 575 04369 5
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Incline Our hearts 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 241 12256 2
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... It would be interesting to place Jay McInerney and David Holbrook as neighbours at E.M. Forster’s imaginary table. Both novelists are fascinated by decadence – that much they have in common. But their diagnoses and anatomies of the decadent condition are quite different; worlds apart, to use Holbrook’s dominant image ...

Riot, Revolt, Revolution

Mike Jay: The Despards, 18 July 2019

Red Round Globe Hot Burning: A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons and Culture, of Love and Terror, of Race and Class and of Kate and Ned Despard 
by Peter Linebaugh.
California, 408 pp., £27, March 2019, 978 0 520 29946 7
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... struggle for political reform. Despard’s cause was illuminated from a new direction by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker in The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (2000), which devoted a chapter to his formative adventures in the Caribbean and Central America together with his wife ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Little England, 24 May 2001

... to the discovery that the list of the BWMA’s honorary members – there’s Jilly Cooper, Peter Hitchens, Norris McWhirter, mad Patrick Moore – includes the name of the universally adored J.K. Rowling OBE. Is this not taking the antique Englishness of Harry Potter just a little too far? But then I remember that the ‘feasts’ served up at Hogwarts ...

Paradise Syndrome

Sukhdev Sandhu: Hanif Kureishi, 18 May 2000

Midnight All Day 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 224 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 0 571 19456 7
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... fashion. We were thought to take after our fathers, who venerated Magnus Magnusson and Peter Jay, anybody who looked like the besuited officials that a century of colonial education had taught them to defer to. On Friday nights, when many teenagers were out necking bottles of cheap cider or haggling for lovebites in discos, we would be at home ...

The crime was the disease

Mike Jay: ‘Mad-Doctors in the Dock’, 15 June 2017

Mad-Doctors in the Dock: Defending the Diagnosis, 1760-1913 
by Joel Peter Eigen.
Johns Hopkins, 206 pp., £29.50, September 2016, 978 1 4214 2048 6
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... A diagnosis​ of mental illness has many meanings, not all of them clearly stated. It confines itself to the language of the clinic but its reach extends far beyond it. It confers many, often hard-won, legal rights to employment, treatment, educational support and state benefits; equally it can remove your children from you, oblige you to undergo treatment against your will or take away your liberty ...

Laid Down by Ranke

Peter Ghosh: Defending history, 15 October 1998

In Defence of History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Granta, 320 pp., £8.99, October 1998, 1 86207 068 7
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... a professor; the rise of the serious study of historiography; and the set of changes which Martin Jay has called ‘the linguistic turn’ in historical method – the shift not simply towards a greater preoccupation with language, but also towards ‘literature’ (in its broadest sense), and so towards culture. The ‘linguistic turn’ was not simply an ...

Boy Gang

Peter Prince, 19 January 1984

Minor Characters 
by Joyce Johnson.
Collins, 262 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 00 272511 8
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Neurotica: The Authentic Voice of the Beat Generation 1948-1951 
edited by Jay Landesman and G. Legman.
Jay Landesman, 535 pp., £19.95, July 1981, 0 905150 26 0
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Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac 
by Gerald Nicosia.
Grove, 767 pp., £14.95, October 1983, 0 394 52270 2
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... Joyce Johnson was Jack Kerouac’s lover during a brief but crucial period in his career. She met him on a blind date fixed up by Allen Ginsberg in January 1957, nine months before the publication of his second novel. Outside a small circle of avant-garde writers and artists and drinking buddies, Kerouac then had few admirers. In 1950, under the name John Kerouac, he had published The Town and the City, a lengthy, rather formal account of his childhood and youth, heavily influenced by Thomas Wolfe ...

Don’t fight sober

Mike Jay, 5 January 2017

Shooting Up: A History of Drugs in Warfare 
by Łukasz Kamieński.
Hurst, 381 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 1 84904 551 3
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Blitzed: Drugs In Nazi Germany 
by Norman Ohler.
Allen Lane, 360 pp., £20, October 2016, 978 0 241 25699 2
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... of Pervitin in the Blitzkrieg; he cites and quotes the work of historians such as Werner Pieper, Peter Steinkamp and Karl-Heinz Frieser. Blitzed adds some new and valuable archival detail but Ohler’s most original contribution is stylistic: he puts Pervitin at the centre of the narrative and the way he talks about it draws on the sensibilities of today’s ...

‘I’m not signing’

Mike Jay: Franco Basaglia, 8 September 2016

The Man Who Closed the Asylums: Franco Basaglia and the Revolution in Mental Health Care 
by John Foot.
Verso, 404 pp., £20, August 2015, 978 1 78168 926 4
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... Hall). Although there have been some nuanced treatments of Basaglia’s work (for example, in Peter Sedgwick’s Psycho Politics), the perception of him in British psychiatry was predominantly formed by hostile assessments that emerged in the 1980s as part of the backlash against ‘antipsychiatry’, particularly Martin Roth and Jerome Kroll’s The ...

Shifting Sands

Peter Lipton: How nature works, 3 September 1998

How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organised Criticality 
by Per Bak.
Oxford, 212 pp., £18.99, June 1997, 0 19 850164 1
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... place. It is supposed to characterise earthquakes, the ‘punctuated equilibrium’ that Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldridge claim for biological evolution, stock prices, neural activity, and the movement of cars on the M25. In 1987, along with Chao Tang and Kurt Wiesenfeld, Bak published a technical account of self-organised criticality which, he ...

Who’d call dat livin’?

Ian Glynn: Ageing, 3 January 2002

The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Ageing 
by S. Jay Olshansky and Bruce A. Carnes.
Norton, 254 pp., £19.95, August 2001, 0 393 04836 5
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... to strip, but the charming detail from Giacomo Jaquerio’s painting that adorns the jacket of Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes’s book suggests that this is the convention.) Immortality is not synonymous with eternal youth, however, and Olshansky and Carnes remind us of one of the less well-known stories in Gulliver’s Travels. It involves a tiny minority ...

Under Rhodes

Amia Srinivasan: Rhodes Must Fall, 31 March 2016

... isolated incident. Two years ago a group of students at St Hugh’s put on blackface to illustrate Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘Niggas in Paris’ as part of a ‘song titles’-themed bop. Only 3.9 per cent of Oxford’s professors have a Black and Minority Ethnic background; even at Cambridge the figure is 6.4 per cent. Undergraduates can still complete a ...

Qui êtes-vous, Sir Moses?

C.R. Whittaker, 6 March 1986

Ancient History: Evidence and Models 
by M.I. Finley.
Chatto, 131 pp., £12.95, September 1985, 0 7011 3003 2
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... his natural allies we have to understand something of Finley’s background. Whether or not Martin Jay is correct in The Dialectical Imagination in crediting the Frankfurt Institut für Sozialforschung with such an influential part in the revitalisation of Marxism in the Thirties and Forties through the development of what they called Critical Theory (so named ...

Tinkering

John Maynard Smith, 17 September 1981

The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History 
by Stephen Jay Gould.
Norton, 343 pp., £6.95, April 1981, 0 393 01380 4
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... J.B.S. Haldane’s unique mixture of militant rationalism and paradoxical intelligence. Peter Medawar would be a duller writer if he didn’t hate all pompous writing, and all philosophy except Popper’s. Gould’s idiosyncracies are a passion for the quirks of history, and a conviction that a man’s science is part of his humanity, and not ...

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