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Performing Art

Rosalind Krauss: The Sanctification of Rebecca Horn, 12 November 1998

Rebecca Horn: The Glance of Infinity 
edited by Carl Haenlein.
Scalo, 400 pp., £47.50, January 1997, 3 931141 66 7
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... have been added. But this does not (apparently) preclude the necessity to rehearse in glossy, full-page technicolour the whole career, from its beginnings in the early Seventies – Horn’s performances with bodily prostheses strapped to her own or her performers’ heads, arms, fingers, breasts – through the feature-length films of the late Seventies and ...

With What Joy We Write of the New Russian Government

Ferdinand Mount: Arthur Ransome, 24 September 2009

The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Roland Chambers.
Faber, 390 pp., £20, August 2009, 978 0 571 22261 2
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... posthumously in 1976. It is Ransome who leads off Caute’s parade of useful idiots on the first page of his first chapter. Chambers tells essentially the same story as Brogan, though his emphasis is different. The bulk of his pages concentrate on Ransome’s adventures in Russia and the Baltic, with his career as a children’s writer tacked on, rather ...

On Video

Peter Campbell: The Art of the Digital File, 11 September 2003

... how you find them among the Rothkos – another magnet for contemplatives. Around the corner are Bruce Nauman’s assembled screens – a pair with talking heads, another with jumping clowns, a whole group with actors playing and replaying a domestic argument – and Paul McCarthy’s Rocky, in which, gloved up, the artist hits himself. In Shaman-Girl’s ...

Heritage

Gabriele Annan, 6 March 1997

The Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stan ford White Family 
by Suzannah Lessard.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £18.99, March 1997, 0 297 81940 2
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... and tastes. In her straining after the essence of things, she reminds one of David Malouf and of Bruce Chatwin (who married into her clan). I don’t mean that she copies them: she is too committed, too intense for that; an element of what an American reviewer called ‘self-administered therapy’ convinces one that she is too seriously involved to be ...

Ponting bites back

Tam Dalyell, 4 April 1985

The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the ‘Belgrano’ Affair 
by Clive Ponting.
Sphere, 214 pp., £2.50, March 1985, 0 7221 6944 2
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... and doubtless for his own good reasons Mr Ponting felt that he should steer clear of me. As Bruce Laughland, his counsel, and Jonathan Caplan, the deputy counsel, were to reiterate in court, they were counsel for Mr Ponting and not Mr Dalyell. There were differences. For example, before the trial Mr Ponting said he did not share my contention that the ...

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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... 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 in the country of ...

Lore and Ordure

Terence Hawkes: Jonson and digestion, 21 May 1998

The Fury of Men’s Gullets: Ben Jonson and the Digestive Canal 
by Bruce Thomas Boehrer.
Pennsylvania, 238 pp., £36.50, January 1998, 0 8122 3408 1
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... down to the deepest terrors and desires. Jonson’s most certainly have not.’ Insofar as Bruce Thomas Boehrer’s resourceful sifting of Jonson’s plays focuses on the network of tentacular roots animating their language, it might be seen as a salutary transatlantic redressing of an earlier American deformation. His concern to explore the furthest ...

Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language, 10 May 2012

Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... poets: Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, Rae Armantrout, Steve McCaffery, Ron Silliman, Susan Howe, Bruce Andrews and perhaps a dozen others, who first published during the 1970s in a brace of little magazines, one of which bore the all too catchy name L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. Often – too often – seen as a uniform group, language writers soon became the subject of ...

Operation Big Ear

Tam Dalyell, 3 May 1984

The Unsinkable Aircraft-Carrier: American Military Power in Britain 
by Duncan Campbell.
Joseph, 351 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 0 7181 2289 5
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... military presence in Britain, but who may have neither the time nor the inclination to read a 340-page book. ‘Go to the Oriel Room in the Commons Library, and having got the Unsinkable Aircraft-Carrier, turn to pages 76 and 77. There you will find a map of all the American bases and installations in Britain. You and I are meant to be public representatives ...

Hallo Dad

Christopher Ricks, 2 October 1980

Mr Nicholas Sir Henry and Sons Daymare 
by Thomas Hinde.
Macmillan, 271 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 333 29539 0
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... of close attention as Hinde at his best. Hinde’s own attention wavers in Daymare. The second page shows his prose as equable as ever but less alert: ‘The old village stood – still stands – around the Common, a long oval of chalky turf now useful only to Miss Winifred Mannerly’s three white-bearded goats, mown fortnightly ...’ Goat-mowing, a ...

Phut-Phut

James Wood: The ‘TLS’, 27 June 2002

Critical Times: The History of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 
by Derwent May.
HarperCollins, 606 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 00 711449 4
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... It has been calculated that 20 per cent of the contributors to the TLS under the editorship of Bruce Richmond (1903-37) were members of the Athenaeum. Most articles were of course unsigned until 1974, and at least in those early years the paper’s fabled anonymity was really the signature of the institutional, the establishment’s individual voice. It ...

You know who

Jasper Rees, 4 August 1994

Jim Henson – The Works: The Art, the Magic, the Imagination 
by Christopher Finch.
Aurum, 251 pp., £20, April 1994, 1 85410 296 6
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... of this book,* bursting through the plane of white paper as if in symbolic disdain for the printed page on which his fame has never relied. The full career of Jim Henson reveals that the gulf between the traditions of fairy tale and the self-inventing styles of television culture generally thought to have supplanted them is not as wide as the disparity between ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Google Glass, 23 May 2013

... steps a day. I know this with such precision not because I’ve turned into a cross between Bruce Chatwin and Rain Man but because I’ve been using a Fitbit One, a fancy-schmancy pedometer which tracks how much I’ve been moving about and automatically synchronises it, via a Bluetooth dongle on my computer, with a website and an app on my phone. The ...

Howard’s End

John Sutherland, 18 September 1986

Redback 
by Howard Jacobson.
Bantam, 314 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 593 01212 7
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Coming from behind 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 250 pp., £2.95, April 1984, 0 552 99063 9
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Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 351 pp., £2.95, October 1985, 0 552 99141 4
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... of his chest, only inches from his gaping mouth.’ The befouled young Oxonian, we discover on page 262, is actually the hero, Leon Forelock (of Cambridge). Why the deception? Forelock rounds on the reader with a bitter question by way of reply: ‘Would you have been able to show the proper intellectual regard for the spiritual history of a man, who, on ...

Concini and the Squirrel

Peter Campbell, 24 May 1990

Innumeracy 
by John Allen Paulos.
135 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 670 83008 9
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The Culture of Print 
edited by Roger Chartier.
351 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 7456 0575 3
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Symbols of Ideal Life 
by Maren Stange.
Cambridge, 190 pp., £25, June 1989, 0 521 32441 6
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The Lines of My Hand 
by Robert Frank.
£30, September 1989, 0 436 16256 3
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... at the history of oral versus silent prayer and the consequences of the privacy the silently-read page offers – one was that, in the late Middle Ages and Early Modern period, margins could show erotic scenes ‘unimaginable in public art or publicly displayed liturgical texts’. Alain Bourea traces the various uses of hagiography. The book of a saint’s ...

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