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Grey Eminence

Edward Said, 5 March 1981

Walter Lippmann and the American Century 
by Ronald Steel.
Bodley Head, 669 pp., £8.95, February 1981, 0 370 30376 8
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... debated socialism with Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells … became the éminence grise to Woodrow Wilson’s own alter ego, Colonel House’), the presidents, kings and leaders he knew, the great events he witnessed at very close quarters, the papers, books and journals he produced, the careers he espoused or helped, the ideas, issues, problems he encountered ...

Italy Stirs

Adrian Lyttelton, 22 June 1995

by Denis Mack Smith.
Yale, 302 pp., £19.95, April 1994, 0 300 05884 5
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Verdi: A Biography 
by Mary Jane Phillips-Matz.
Oxford, 941 pp., £30, October 1993, 0 19 313204 4
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The Real Traviata 
by Gaia Servadio.
Hodder, 290 pp., £20, October 1994, 9780340579480
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... success.’ In 1919, the two most important architects of the Versailles peace settlement, Woodrow Wilson and Lloyd George, both acknowledged Mazzini’s inspiration. According to Lloyd George, ‘the map of Europe as we see it today is the map of Joseph Mazzini. He was the prophet of free nationality ... He taught us not merely the rights of a ...

Old Ladies

D.A.N. Jones, 20 August 1992

Dear Departed: A Memoir 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Maria Louise Ascher.
Aidan Ellis, 346 pp., £18, April 1992, 0 85628 186 7
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Anna, Soror 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Walter Kaiser.
Harvill, 256 pp., £7.99, May 1992, 0 00 271222 9
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That Mighty Sculptor, Time 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Walter Kaiser.
Aidan Ellis, 224 pp., £18, June 1992, 9780856281594
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Coming into the End Zone: A Memoir 
by Doris Grumbach.
Norton, 256 pp., £13.95, April 1992, 0 393 03009 1
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Anything Once 
by Joan Wyndham.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 178 pp., £15.95, March 1992, 9781856191296
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Within Tuscany 
by Matthew Spender.
Viking, 366 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 670 83836 5
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... DC to the famously restful State of Maine – where Yourcenar had lived so long, on L’Ile des Monts-Déserts. Before she settles down in the End Zone, Grumbach writes discursively of her griefs in the Inner City, assailed by thoughts of death and ageing. This is a sad account, deliberately saddening. The summer heat of Washington DC ‘has increased ...

The Man in White

Edward Pearce, 11 October 1990

The Golden Warrior: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia 
by Lawrence James.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £19.50, August 1990, 0 297 81087 1
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... denied such a thoughtful conclusion, though there were Regular Army types like the snarling Arnold Wilson, a sort of Cheltenham Man, who would have been delighted to afford it him. Instead, his post-conflict life was the strange half-world of Shaw and Ross, a couple of flaunted incognitos worn during his days as a ranker. They have fascinated posterity and ...

Unmasking Monsieur Malraux

Richard Mayne, 25 June 1992

The Conquerors 
by André Malraux, translated by Stephen Becker.
Chicago, 198 pp., £8.75, December 1991, 0 226 50290 2
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The Temptation of the West 
by André Malraux, translated by Robert Hollander.
Chicago, 122 pp., £8.75, February 1992, 0 226 50291 0
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The Walnut Tree of Altenburg 
by André Malraux, translated by A.W. Fielding.
Chicago, 224 pp., £9.55, April 1992, 0 226 50289 9
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... and Malraux would say no less to interviewers and critics, even in writing (notably to Edmund Wilson). In fact, Malraux may scarcely have set foot on the Chinese mainland when he wrote The Conquerors. Yet the book convinced no less a reader than Leon Trotsky that it was based on first-hand experience. It even convinced an old China hand like Jean ...


Paul Henley: The EU, 14 January 2002

... up by Abélès and Bellier in An Anthropology of the European Union, edited by Bellier and Thomas Wilson.2 Both essays suggest that the core values underlying the European project have undergone a major shift since the 1950s. For the founding figures, it was a political project from the start. Jean Monnet envisaged an eventual ‘United States of ...
From Author to Reader: A Social Study of Books 
by Peter Mann.
Routledge, 189 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9089 7
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David Copperfield 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 781 pp., £40, March 1981, 0 19 812492 9
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Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Margaret Cardwell.
Oxford, 923 pp., £45, December 1982, 0 19 812488 0
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Books and their Readers in 18th-Century England 
edited by Isabel Rivers.
Leicester University Press, 267 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7185 1189 1
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Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century 
by Ian Norrie.
Bell and Hyman, 253 pp., £12.95, October 1982, 0 7135 1341 1
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Reading Relations 
by Bernard Sharratt.
Harvester, 350 pp., £18.95, February 1982, 0 7108 0059 2
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... publishers’ archives. But we still lack anything comparable to the German Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens. Nor does Britain have an equivalent to John Tebbel’s multivolume history of American publishing. The student of the subject in this country (particularly if he is interested in contemporary matters) will find himself dredging through the pages ...


Nicholas Penny, 12 December 1996

Grands Décors français 1650-1800 
by Bruno Pons.
Faton, 439 pp., £130, June 1995, 2 87844 023 4
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The Rococo Interior 
by Katie Scott.
Yale, 342 pp., £39.95, November 1995, 0 300 04582 4
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by Marianne Roland Michel, translated by Eithne McCarthy.
Thames and Hudson, 293 pp., £60, March 1996, 0 500 09259 1
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... or to analyse the wit and fantasy, the spatial audacities, those ‘idées riantes que la magie des glaces répète encore et semble multiplier à l’infini’, nor does she chart the emergence of a less formal way of life among the rich. Her first chapter opens with an introduction to wood panelling, explaining how the wood was prepared and carved. She ...

Issues for His Prose Style

Andrew O’Hagan: Hemingway, 7 June 2012

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Vol. I, 1907-22 
edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert Trogdon.
Cambridge, 431 pp., £30, October 2011, 978 0 521 89733 4
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... a retreat we drink barbera.’ There’s more grappa back in Milan and a martini at the Hotel des Iles Borromées (‘the martini felt cool and clean’), before going up to the lake with Catherine. Here the nouns go mad and Hemingway’s style reveals itself to be an inventory. He drinks vermouth with the barman, then there’s lunch with the Scottish ...

Black and White Life

Mark Greif: Ralph Ellison, 1 November 2007

Ralph Ellison: A Biography 
by Arnold Rampersad.
Knopf, 657 pp., $35, April 2007, 978 0 375 40827 4
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... noted the ‘National Book Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, a place in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a position at New York University as Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities’. And Ellison’s novel took on a life of its own in the postwar American canon. In 1965 Invisible Man ...

Husbands and Wives

Terry Castle: Claude & Marcel, Gertrude & Alice, 13 December 2007

Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore 
edited by Louise Downie.
Tate Gallery, 240 pp., £25, June 2006, 1 59711 025 6
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Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice 
by Janet Malcolm.
Yale, 229 pp., £16.99, October 2007, 978 0 300 12551 1
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... Adrienne Monnier – partner of Sylvia Beach and owner of the famous Montparnasse bookshop Maison des amis des livres – and became fixtures in avant-garde circles. They helped to found the Union des Amis des Arts Esotériques, an experimental theatre ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... his long and loving friendship with the self-thwarting Esther Murphy in The Fifties (1986), Edmund Wilson recalled how vividly, if also profligately, Murphy – whose particular tragedy was to have an alcohol-saturated writer’s block of mammoth proportions and lifelong duration – embodied ‘the special characteristics of our race of the 1920s: habit of ...

Is it still yesterday?

Hilary Mantel: Children of the Revolution, 17 April 2003

The Lost King of France 
by Deborah Cadbury.
Fourth Estate, 352 pp., £18.99, October 2002, 1 84115 588 8
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... through the capital with their ears open for sedition. A drinker in a tavern near the place des Victoires claimed: ‘Our women of Les Halles will go to Versailles to dethrone the King and tear his eyes out.’ A month later, when the King wanted to move palaces, he would not go through Paris, but had a path cut through the Bois de Boulogne, which was ...

Topography v. Landscape

John Barrell: Paul Sandby, 13 May 2010

Paul Sandby: Picturing Britain 
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... of Titian, of Mola, of Salvator, of the Poussins, Claude, Rubens, Elzheimer, Rembrandt, and Wilson, spurns all relation with this kind of map-work. Fuseli did introduce a small saving clause in defence of painters of ‘Views’: their ‘enumerations’ of the objects in a scene become ‘little more than topography’ only if they are not ‘assisted ...

Hyacinth Boy

Mark Ford: T.S. Eliot, 21 September 2006

T.S. Eliot: The Making of an American Poet 
by James E. Miller.
Pennsylvania State, 468 pp., £29.95, August 2005, 0 271 02681 2
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The Annotated ‘Waste Land’ with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 270 pp., $35, April 2005, 0 300 09743 3
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Revisiting ‘The Waste Land’ 
by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 203 pp., £22.50, May 2005, 0 300 10707 2
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... I remember The hyacinth garden. Those are pearls that were his eyes, yes! In other words, as G. Wilson Knight first pointed out in 1972, the ‘hyacinth girl’ was initially conceived as male and, like Phlebas, appears to have drowned, or so the section’s concluding quotation from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde suggests: ‘Öd’ und leer das ...

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