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How many speed bumps?

Gavin Francis: Pain, 20 August 2014

The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers 
by Joanna Bourke.
Oxford, 396 pp., £20, June 2014, 978 0 19 968942 2
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... published a paper from the Melbourne University Dental School which purported to show that the bluer the eyes the greater the capacity to withstand pain: ‘As the colour went through blue-grey, green, hazel, light brown and dark brown so the reaction to pain increased on the average.’ Similar prejudices permeated ...

A Reparation of Her Choosing

Jenny Diski: Among the Sufis, 17 December 2015

... the place keeping the planet from exploding. I remember a lecture about Vico, a lecture by Richard Gregory on the physiology of perception, for all the world as if a Pelican book had come to life, and a rather baffled aged British traveller to Eastern Parts, who talked with all the ease of his upbringing of ‘fuzzy wuzzies’ while I squeezed someone’s hand ...

Foiled by Pleasure

Matthew Bevis: Barrett Browning, 30 August 2018

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Selected Writings 
edited by Josie Billington and Philip Davis.
Oxford, 592 pp., £14.99, February 2018, 978 0 19 879763 0
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... occurs in an early poem which appears to be fretful about gratification. In her translation of St Gregory Nazianzen’s ‘Soul and Body’, she has the rhetorician pray for the right words, ones that ‘may flourish/Of which mine enemy would spoil me,/Using pleasurehood to foil me!’ But the poem’s own fondness for verbal flourishes isn’t easily ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... had prepared me for this. In Corso’s hutch, his minders begged for copies of Barbara Pym, while Gregory spoke wistfully of Philip Larkin. Denton Welch was William Burroughs’s main intellectual squeeze. Ferlinghetti had high hopes for Jeremy Reed. The Beats were now heritage fodder, a potential Bloomsbury group. There was even talk of James Ivory optioning ...

Yeats and Violence

Michael Wood: On ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’, 14 August 2008

... eye, In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones, And all their helms of silver hovering side by side, And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more, Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied, The uncontrollable mystery on ...

Travelling in the Classic Style

Thomas Laqueur: Primo Levi, 5 September 2002

Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics 
by Robert Gordon.
Oxford, 316 pp., £45, October 2001, 0 19 815963 3
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Primo Levi 
by Ian Thomson.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £25, March 2002, 0 09 178531 6
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The Double Bond: Primo Levi, a Biography 
by Carole Angier.
Viking, 898 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 670 88333 6
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... was an important source for his literary work. ‘Double bind’ is a dubious idea borrowed from Gregory Bateson, who in 1956 proposed that ‘paradoxical communications’ – when, for example, a mother on whom a child is wholly dependent offers food or comfort and at the same time gives signs of refusing it – cause schizophrenia. The popular press took ...

Europe at Bay

Jeremy Harding: The Immigration Battle, 9 February 2012

... and it is more marked than it was when Kennan was at the State Department.The anthropologist Gregory Feldman, author of The Migration Apparatus, cites a well-known study of 2006 from the UN University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research, which found that the richest 2 per cent of the world’s adults owned half its wealth. The figure ...

The Question of U

Ian Penman: Prince, 20 June 2019

Prince: Life and Times 
by Jason Draper.
Chartwell, 216 pp., £15.99, February 2017, 978 0 7858 3497 7
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The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince 
by Mayte Garcia.
Trapeze, 304 pp., £9.99, April 2018, 978 1 4091 7121 8
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... six days later, the death of the child she calls Amiir (sometimes referred to elsewhere as Boy Gregory). He was born in 1996 with Pfeiffer syndrome type 2, a rare genetic defect that causes the foetus’s cranial bones to fuse, resulting in severe skeletal and systemic abnormalities. Garcia’s account of her husband’s bizarre behaviour in the aftermath ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... surprise everyone with their readiness. ‘A good lad, who was definitely up to it.’ Guardsman Gregory Shaw says they left camp at 10 p.m. Wakefield’s head and shoulders were protruding from the top of the second snatch, the usual position for a soldier doing top cover. ‘Everybody was fatigued,’ Shaw says. ‘You know it’s going to be a long hot ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives, 5 May 2016

... down the generations. ‘You keep seeing the same faces,’ Judge Robert Finn told John Gregory Dunne, who wrote about the case in 1997. ‘I’m into third-generation domestic abuse and restraining orders.’ He was talking about husbands and lovers whose fathers and grandfathers had appeared before him on the same charges in the course of his 16 ...

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