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Via ‘Bret’ via Bret

J. Robert Lennon: Bret Easton Ellis, 24 June 2010

Imperial Bedrooms 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 178 pp., £16.99, July 2010, 978 0 330 44976 2
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... when our ship failed to come in, claim we had hated all along. Ellis provided them, and so did Jay McInerney, Tama Janowitz and others: these were writers who shared a sensibility and social milieu; they came to be identified with the same unsavoury behaviour of their characters. They were declared spokespeople for a generation that, once the initial ...

A Moustache Too Far

Danny Karlin: Melville goes under, 8 May 2003

Herman Melville: A Biography. Vol. II: 1851-91 
by Hershel Parker.
Johns Hopkins, 997 pp., £31, May 2002, 0 8018 6892 0
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... by means of maps and surveys; he is master of the Melville Log, the documentary project begun by Jay Leyda in 1956 and now continued by Parker in electronic (and indefinitely expanding) form. Volume II of the biography, especially, is enlivened by cantankerous outbursts against long-dead Melvilles who failed to preserve letters, or librarians who neglected ...

Reel after Seemingly Needless Reel

Tony Wood: Eisenstein in Mexico, 3 December 2009

In Excess: Sergei Eisenstein’s Mexico 
by Masha Salazkina.
Chicago, 221 pp., £27.50, April 2009, 978 0 226 73414 9
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... In the USSR, things had been very different: when Eisenstein restaged the storming of the Winter Palace for October, he had been allowed to close off parts of the city for hours at a time, and to deploy 8000 volunteers, many of them workers and soldiers who had taken part in the real thing; for Potemkin, he was given the use of the Black Sea Fleet for ...

Cubist Slugs

Patrick Wright: The Art of Camouflage, 23 June 2005

DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature – Military – Culture 
DPM, 2 vols, 944 pp., £100, September 2004, 9780954340407Show More
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... shadows and flattening a creature’s appearance. As various commentators, including Stephen Jay Gould, have confirmed, Thayer’s theory of countershading – illustrated in DPM with images of light-bellied jet planes as well as sharks – proved that artists could bring genuine insight to this field. Thayer greatly overstated his case, however. Animal ...

He had it all

Alex Harvey: Fitzgerald’s Decade, 5 July 2018

Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald 
by David S. Brown.
Harvard, 424 pp., £21.95, May 2017, 978 0 674 50482 0
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‘I’d Die for You’ and Other Lost Stories 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Scribner, 384 pp., £9.99, April 2018, 978 1 4711 6473 6
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... columnist called Sheilah Graham, who had, he said, the look of ‘a young Zelda’. The creator of Jay Gatsby wasn’t slow to see through her persona. Sheilah Graham was actually Lily Shiel, the youngest child of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, who had grown up in a Stepney Green slum. Fitzgerald took it on himself to remedy her lack of an education. When she ...

Paralysed by the Absence of Danger

Jeremy Harding: Spain, 1937, 24 September 2009

Letters from Barcelona: An American Woman in Revolution and Civil War 
edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn.
Palgrave, 209 pp., £50, February 2009, 978 0 230 52739 3
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War Is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War 
by James Neugass.
New Press, 314 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 59558 427 4
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We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War 
by Paul Preston.
Constable, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 1 84529 946 0
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... technique,’ Saxton confided as he held a full syringe ‘between his squinting eye and the late winter sun’. Neugass overcame his dismay and joked in his diary that many resuscitated volunteers were by now ‘full-blooded Spaniards’. Thirty-five thousand volunteers from 53 countries took up the call of the Comintern and another four or five thousand ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... to be the effortless maestro of the scene. He has willed himself into being. Gatsby is actually Jay Gatz, a poor boy from the plains, in romantic pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, the upper-class object of his desire, who once rejected him. He believes he can win her back through displays of wealth and manners, but she is now married to Tom Buchanan, an ...

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