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Berenson’s Elixir

Simon Schama, 1 May 1980

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 477 pp., £9.50, June 1979, 0 674 06775 4
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Being Bernard Berenson 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 473 pp., £8.50, January 1980, 0 297 77564 2
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... Bouvier Kennedy (whose presence was, BB felt, ‘life-enhancing’), and, most improbable of all, Ernest Hemingway. Meryle Secrest discloses that Hemingway was desperate in his suit for Berenson’s favours, and would have prostrated himself for a petal from the Great Man’s boutonnière. He clambered out of plane ...

Her Guns

Jeremy Harding, 8 March 1990

The View from the Ground 
by Martha Gellhorn.
Granta, 459 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 14 014200 2
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Towards Asmara 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 320 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 340 41517 7
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... from Graham Greene and H.G. Wells. For years, her literary standing was compromised by her ties to Ernest Hemingway in the Thirties and Forties. This has long since ceased to be the case. The Face of War, her collected war reporting, is one of the most readable accounts of conflict in the 20th century, unspoiled by convictions which would have been ...

Apoplectic Gristle

David Trotter: Wyndham Lewis, 25 January 2001

Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis 
by Paul O'Keeffe.
Cape, 697 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 224 03102 3
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Wyndham Lewis: Painter and Writer 
by Paul Edwards.
Yale, 583 pp., £40, August 2000, 0 300 08209 6
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... The day he first met Wyndham Lewis, shortly after the end of the First World War, Ernest Hemingway was teaching Ezra Pound how to box. The encounter took place in Paris, where Pound had a studio, and Lewis, impassive beneath his trademark wide black hat, seemed content to watch in silence. ‘Ezra had not been boxing very long and I was embarrassed at having him work in front of anyone he knew, and I tried to make him look as good as possible,’ Hemingway wrote ...

Calvino

Salman Rushdie, 17 September 1981

If on a winter’s night a traveller 
by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 260 pp., £6.95, July 1981, 0 436 08271 3
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The Path to the Nest of Spiders 
by Italo Calvino, translated by Archibald Colquhoun.
Ecco, 145 pp., $4.95, May 1976, 0 912946 31 8
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Our Ancestors 
by Italo Calvino, translated by Archibald Colquhoun.
Picador, 382 pp., £2.95, September 1980, 0 330 26156 8
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Cosmicomics 
by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver.
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 153 pp., $2.95, April 1976, 0 15 622600 6
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Invisible Cities The Castle of Crossed Destinies 
by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver.
Picador, 126 pp., £1.25, May 1979, 0 330 25731 5
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... on Earth as long ago as 1947. This was The Path to the Nest of Spiders, a war story sired by Ernest Hemingway out of Italian neo-realist cinema about a cobbler’s apprentice who joins the Partisans and finds the friend he has always longed to have. Although this book has one of the great titles of 20th-century literature, it’s really no better ...

Joan Didion’s Style

Martin Amis, 7 February 1980

The White Album 
by Joan Didion.
Weidenfeld, 223 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 297 77702 5
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... that no man is an island once or twice a week, quite often from people who think they are quoting Ernest Hemingway.’ Or again, writing about Hollywood: ‘A book or a story is a “property” only until the deal; after that it is “the basic material”, as in “I haven’t read the basic material on Gatsby.” ’ Miss Didion has read the basic ...
Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered 
by William Pritchard.
Oxford, 186 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 19 503462 7
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... prosaic counterpart: the distinctively American vernacular prose style developed by Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and company. The absence of historical depth is also evident where Pritchard is at his best: in his sensitive discussion of Frost’s most admired and distinctive poems, the pastoral lyrics. (The working title for North of Boston was New ...

Dangerous Misprints

M.F. Perutz, 26 September 1991

Genome 
by Jerry Bishop and Michael Waldholz.
Touchstone, 352 pp., £8.99, September 1991, 0 671 74032 6
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... to abort foetuses with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism or manic depression, forgetting that Ernest Hemingway was an alcoholic, Virginia Woolf a manic depressive, Dostoevsky an epileptic. Lincoln is suspected to have suffered from a hereditary connective tissue disorder. Achievement does not necessarily go with good health. Genetic screening could ...

Aunts and Uncles

Michael Hofmann, 19 November 1992

A Feast in the Garden 
by George Konrad, translated by Imre Goldstein.
Faber, 394 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 571 16623 7
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Wartime Lies 
by Louis Begley.
Picador, 198 pp., £5.99, August 1992, 0 330 32099 8
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Brothers 
by Carmelo Samona, translated by Linda Lappin.
Carcanet, 131 pp., £13.95, August 1992, 0 85635 990 4
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Rolling 
by Thomas Healy.
Polygon, 161 pp., £7.95, July 1992, 0 7486 6121 2
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... sexpots of women; his terminally self-admiring writers. Louis Begley’s Wartime Lies won the Ernest Hemingway and Aer Lingus prizes when it came out last year, and the paperback carries glowing tributes from Christopher Hope and Paul Bailey. I don’t find myself reaching for superlatives like them, but it certainly isn’t any old first ...

Wrong Trowsers

E.S. Turner, 21 July 1994

A History of Men’s Fashion 
by Farid Chenoune, translated by Deke Dusinberre.
Flammarion/Thames & Hudson, 336 pp., £50, October 1993, 2 08 013536 8
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The Englishman’s Suit 
by Hardy Amies.
Quartet, 116 pp., £12, June 1994, 9780704370760
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... strong. Certainly Chenoune has read his Chateaubriand and his Proust, his Scott Fitzgerald and his Ernest Hemingway, as well as the Tailor and Cutter and Journal des Tailleurs; he has studied a history of the Hawaiian shirt and he knows where to put his hand on the fanzine called Sniffin’ Glue. His objective approach is praised in a preface by Richard ...

A Dangerously Liquid World

John Sutherland: Alcoholics Anonymous, 30 November 2000

Bill W. and Mr Wilson: The Legend and Life of AA’s Co-Founder 
by Matthew Raphael.
Massachusetts, 206 pp., £18.50, June 2000, 1 55849 245 3
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... cult of heroic abstention) celebrated in the work of such contemporaries as Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Raphael sees Wilson – the moving hand behind the ‘Big Book’ (which came out in 1939) – as primarily a writer: an illuminating approach. He also touches on the co-founder’s ‘character defects’ (as AA likes to term them): his ...

Drowned in Eau de Vie

Modris Eksteins: New, Fast and Modern, 21 February 2008

Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond 
by Peter Gay.
Heinemann, 610 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 434 01044 8
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... The endless cemeteries of the Western Front posed the same questions that Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway put to their lost generation. Contrary to Gay’s assertion that the Second World War brought on the really difficult questions (which rings like an autobiographical rather than a historical observation), the artistic response to the second ...

Best Remain Seated

Jeremy Harding: Travel guides, 1 January 1998

Kenya 
by Hugh Finlay and Geoff Crowther.
Lonely Planet, 376 pp., £11.99, April 1997, 0 86442 460 4
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Borneo 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 632 pp., £13.95, December 1995, 1 56952 026 7
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Asia's Top Dive Sites 
edited by Fiona Nichols and Michael Stachels.
Fielding, 228 pp., £13.95, December 1996, 1 56952 129 8
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Jon Murray et al.
Lonely Planet, 658 pp., £13.99, January 1998, 0 86442 508 2
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Southern Africa 
by Richard Cox.
Thornton Cox, 474 pp., £11.95, July 1995, 0 7818 0388 8
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The World's Most Dangerous Places 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 1048 pp., £13.95, December 1997, 1 56952 104 2
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Barbara McCrea et al.
Rough Guides, 697 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85828 238 1
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The Good Honeymoon Guide 
by Lucy Horne.
Trailblazer, 320 pp., £11.95, March 1997, 1 873756 12 7
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Amnesty International Report 1997 
Amnesty International, 378 pp., £18, June 1997, 0 86210 267 7Show More
Morocco 
by Barnaby Rogerson.
Cadogan, 596 pp., £12.99, December 1997, 1 86011 043 6
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... for all this is Willis and Geiger (head office: Madison, Wisconsin), ‘the firm which outfitted Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable’ for their tours on the Dark Continent. The person I’d prefer to look like is Trevor Howard, the epitome of Mr Sensible, even with his kneecaps bared, but I’ve a feeling W&G can stretch to ...

At the End of a Dirt Road

Thomas Powers: The Salinger File, 24 October 2019

The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour – an Introduction 
by J.D. Salinger.
Little, Brown, 1072 pp., $100, November 2018, 978 0 316 45071 3
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... skating he laced up her skates. In the summer of 1945, from a hospital in Nuremberg, he wrote to Ernest Hemingway – whom he had met in Paris during the first weeks after the Liberation – and said he was planning a trip to Vienna to ‘put some ice skates on some Viennese girl’s feet again’. The tone of the remark suggests that Salinger did not ...

Putting Religion in Its Place

Colm Tóibín: Marilynne Robinson, 22 October 2014

Lila 
by Marilynne Robinson.
Virago, 261 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84408 880 5
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... now and then before letting other more worldly dramas take over. In the early summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway began to convert from his family’s Congregationalism to Catholicism, but he seemed also to believe that his Catholicism had begun in 1918 in Italy, when, after being wounded, he was anointed or baptised, or both, by a priest. In a letter ...

Dirty Little Secret

Fredric Jameson: The Programme Era, 22 November 2012

The Programme Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing 
by Mark McGurl.
Harvard, 466 pp., £14.95, November 2012, 978 0 674 06209 2
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... able to share. There is more. Those European writers envying earlier American writers who, like Hemingway, were not university students and very far from any thought of writing courses and learning technique – those writers were citizens of societies in which universities were part of the state, and in which attending school was a social ...

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