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Argentine Adam

Malcolm Deas, 20 November 1986

Argentina 1516-1982: From Spanish Colonisation to the Falklands War 
by David Rock.
Tauris, 478 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 1 85043 013 6
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A State of Fear: Memories of Argentina’s Nightmare 
by Andrew Graham-Yooll.
Eland, 180 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 907871 51 8
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... answer to that question from an economic history is, in the old Spanish phrase, to expect pears from the elm. His book offers a competent account of Argentine economic history, though not one as readable or as stimulating as Professor Ferns’s short economic history published a decade ago. I am less sure, however, that even in the field of economics ...

Call it Hollywood

Wayne Koestenbaum: The sex life of Rudolph Valentino, 16 December 2004

Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino 
by Emily Leider.
Faber, 514 pp., £8.99, November 2004, 0 571 21819 9
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... D’Annunzio. At 5 a.m. they share a breakfast that includes avocados, which they called alligator pears.’ Men who imitated Valentino’s trademark patent-leather hair were nicknamed ‘Vaselinos’, at once a racial slur and a reference to a personal lubricant once popular among homosexuals. Metonymically adjacent to ‘Vaselino’ is ‘dandy’, which ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2016, 5 January 2017

... 11 January. It’s not to disparage David Bowie, but if even a fraction of the tributes being paid to him and his influence were true we would never have had a Conservative government or indeed any government at all. Hearing the news on the Today programme this morning R. nearly cries. I met Bowie only once, at John Schlesinger’s sometime in the 1980s, and remember him as a slight, almost colourless figure, who was somehow Scots ...

What the Public Most Wants to See

Christopher Tayler: Rick Moody, 23 February 2006

The Diviners 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 567 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 571 22946 8
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... gestures, glazed irony and so on. But for Moody (b.1961), as for Jonathan Franzen (b.1959) and David Foster Wallace (b.1962), the previous generation’s experimentalism was as much a way of looking at society as a renovation of novelistic technique. Writers their grouchier teachers viewed as rebarbatively modish or futuristic struck them as fairly ...

Breathing in Verse

Theodore Ziolkowski: A rich translation of Hölderlin, 23 September 2004

Poems and Fragments 
by Friedrich Hölderlin, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Anvil, 823 pp., £19.95, March 2004, 0 85646 360 4
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... Leishman rendered many of the odes into graceful Alcaics and Asclepiads; Christopher Middleton and David Constantine, in contrast, resorted to looser paraphrases. Hamburger takes the more challenging route – with considerable success. The opening lines of ‘Bread and Wine’ catch the rhythm and flow of Hölderlin’s distichs: Round us the town is at ...


August Kleinzahler: Drinking Bourbon in the Zam Zam Room, 8 August 2002

... Europe, would come to the Zam Zam, sometimes for the martinis but usually to be thrown out. When David Letterman came to town to do a week of shows his advance people phoned Bruno to see if he would throw Letterman out of the bar on the show. ‘No, I’m sorry, thank you,’ Bruno said over the phone. ‘Who’s ...

Playboy’s Paperwork

Patrick Collinson: Historiography and Elizabethan politics, 11 November 1999

The World of the Favourite 
edited by J.H. Elliott and L.W.B. Brockliss.
Yale, 320 pp., £35, June 1999, 0 300 07644 4
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The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 1585-97 
by Paul Hammer.
Cambridge, 468 pp., £45, June 1999, 0 521 43485 8
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... from here on the would-be historical regulator encounters difficulties, mainly of the apples and pears variety. At root there is a problem of vocabulary, and this underlies a variety of statuses and relationships which may defy regulation. In Spanish, they spoke of the privado or valido. Yet Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, who, if anyone, makes ...

The Wrong Blond

Alan Bennett, 23 May 1985

Auden in Love 
by Dorothy Farnan.
Faber, 264 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 571 13399 1
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... where, among others regularly passing the (obligatory) potatoes, were Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, Carson McCullers, Lincoln Kirstein and Gipsy Rose Lee. When love comes to the confirmed bachelor old friends find it difficult to take. Chums winced to see T.S. Eliot spooning with wife No 2, smirked when they brazenly held hands, and there was a bit of ...

My Heroin Christmas

Terry Castle: Art Pepper and Me, 18 December 2003

... Swing Tenor – after his disastrous nervous breakdown in the US Army in the 1940s. According to David Perry in Jazz Greats (1996), Many claims, some of them vague and inflated, have been made about the linguistic originality of black American English, but in the case of Lester Young’s language, such claims seem to have some substance. Buck Clayton ...

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