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Incandescences

Richard Poirier, 20 December 1979

The Powers that Be 
by David Halberstam.
Chatto, 771 pp., £9.95
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... by virtue of a disaster, suddenly sees, live on the tube, a near-violent protest against the lily-white composition of the Mississippi delegation. An enraged President immediately gets on the phone to ol’ buddy Robert Kintner, head of the National Broadcasting Company: ‘Get those god-damned cameras off those niggers! Get them off right now!’ Still more ...

Schadenfreude with Bite

Richard Seymour: Trolling, 15 December 2016

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture 
by Whitney Phillips.
MIT, 256 pp., £10, September 2016, 978 0 262 52987 7
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Gendertrolling: How Misogyny Went Viral 
by Karla Mantilla.
Praeger, 280 pp., £32, August 2015, 978 1 4408 3317 5
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Bad Clowns 
by Benjamin Radford.
New Mexico, 188 pp., £12, February 2016, 978 0 8263 5666 6
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Trolls: An Unnatural History 
by John Lindow.
Reaktion, 60 pp., £9.99, August 2015, 978 1 78023 565 3
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... transgender and queer’ people, while trolling communities disproportionately comprise young white men in Anglophone or Nordic countries. Phillips describes the way they perform their whiteness and a particular type of masculinity – their racist trolling of Obama, for example, or their habitual use of the term ‘fag’. Masculinism is built into the ...

Foxy-Faced

John Bayley, 29 September 1988

Something to hold onto: Autobiographical Sketches 
by Richard Cobb.
Murray, 168 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4587 0
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... Frank Kermode’s lively little book History and Value, and I thought of him again while enjoying Richard Cobb’s Something to hold onto, whose title would itself have been greeted with fellow-feeling by Bagshaw. Anthony Powell’s character is fascinated by things for their own sake, an attitude not common among either believers or men of ...

ODQ

Richard Usborne, 24 January 1980

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations 
Oxford, 908 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 9780192115607Show More
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... previously letterpress) has condensed the lines, given a blacker look to the type-mass and more white space on the page. The middle rule, north/south, has gone and the old-look – for example, ‘Ib.vol.cxii, p.142.1902’ – annotation has gone from right to left of the column. Running-heads are now in sans capitals, Univers; the numbers, page (without ...

Shoot them to be sure

Richard Gott: The Oxford History of the British Empire, 25 April 2002

The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. I: The Origins of Empire 
edited by William Roger Louis and Nicholas Canny.
Oxford, 533 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924676 9
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The 18th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 639 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924677 7
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. III: The 19th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Andrew Porter.
Oxford, 774 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924678 5
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. IV: The 20th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Judith Brown.
Oxford, 773 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924679 3
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. V: Historiography 
edited by William Roger Louis and Robin Winks.
Oxford, 731 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924680 7
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... during the first decades of the 19th century. Hundreds of thousands of acres were seized by white farmers, and hardly a single Bushman band remained by 1825. A correspondent in a frontier town in 1821, describing how he had met people involved in the ‘commando’ expeditions sent out against them, wrote that ‘they talk of shooting Bushmen with the ...
Goldenballs 
by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... Sir James’s elevation and his year-long battle to punish Private Eye and jail its editor, Richard Ingrams – an effort which was supported by Wilson and Lady Falkender, both victims of Ingrams’s harassment, and which petered out in a relatively painless settlement in 1976? Ingrams’s theory is that there was such a connection. Goldsmith is no ...

Suicide by Mouth

Deborah Friedell: Richard Price, 17 July 2008

Lush Life 
by Richard Price.
Bloomsbury, 455 pp., £12.99, August 2008, 978 0 7475 9601 1
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... to the joy of seeing the teacher in the grocery store, with no more authority than anyone else. Richard Price wrote the scene for his novel Clockers, and reused it in an episode of the television show The Wire. It’s fine as written, but better on TV, with everything expressed by the quiet way one of the dealers asks, ‘Y’all go to the movies?’ and ...

The Virtues of Topography

John Barrell: Constable, Gainsborough, Turner, 3 January 2013

Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape 
Royal Academy, until 17 February 2013Show More
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... artists. Turner and Constable would have known even the landscapes of their great predecessor Richard Wilson mainly through some wonderful prints by Woollett and others, and at the Academy no fewer than 12 of these are exhibited together, classical landscapes animated by mythological figures, and opposite them some of the great Welsh views including ...

Diary

Richard Wollheim: In South Africa, 3 July 1986

... the rest are in the centre and occupied with life’s ordinary ambitions. Fifteen per cent are non-white. But if all this approximates to California, there are two big differences. For the first difference you would have to imagine the airport functioning, say, one day a month. People do come and go, but with a meagreness which is out of keeping with the ...

The Tarnished Age

Richard Mayne, 3 September 1981

David O. Selznick’s Hollywood 
by Ronald Haver.
Secker, 425 pp., £35, December 1980, 0 436 19128 8
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My Early life 
by Ronald Reagan and Richard Hubler.
Sidgwick, 316 pp., £7.95, April 1981, 0 283 98771 5
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Naming Names 
by Victor Navasky.
Viking, 482 pp., $15.95, October 1980, 0 670 50393 2
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... perhaps the single-minded self-absorption, to be a superstar – he’s had to be content with the White House. How much his self-portrait owes to his co-author is hard to tell. The tone is that of practised self-deprecation, modest, sincere and common-sensical – a more articulate version of Mr Deeds’s gee-gosh folksiness. Guile sometimes shows through, as ...

Outcasts and Desperados

Adam Shatz: Richard Wright’s Double Vision, 7 October 2021

The Man Who Lived Underground 
by Richard Wright.
Library of America, 250 pp., £19.99, April, 978 1 59853 676 8
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... When​ Richard Wright sailed to France in 1946, he was 38 years old and already a legend. He was America’s most famous black writer, the author of two books hailed as classics the moment they were published: the 1940 novel Native Son and the 1945 memoir Black Boy. By ‘choosing exile’, as he put it, he hoped both to free himself from American racism and to put an ocean between himself and the Communist Party of the United States, in which he’d first come to prominence as a writer of proletarian fiction only to find himself accused of subversive, Trotskyist tendencies ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White, 19 July 2012

Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... The friend in the title of Edmund White’s new novel is a writer called Will Wright, a straight man with bad skin but a sterling pedigree. What little we learn about Will’s first novel – a metafictional romance about a man, the heiress he loves and an anthropomorphic cat – comes from Jack Holmes, a handsome, closeted editorial assistant who works with him at a literary quarterly in Manhattan ...

Bye Bye Labour

Richard Seymour, 23 April 2015

... general, Emily Thornberry, for conveying a ‘sense of disrespect’ towards the owner of a white van. Ed Balls, having given up his brief attempt at an attack on the coalition’s austerity policy, courts respectability by pledging to honour all the coalition government’s spending cuts. Rachel Reeves gratuitously alienates the unemployed and welfare ...

Someone Else

Peter Campbell, 17 April 1986

In the American West 
by Richard Avedon.
Thames and Hudson, 172 pp., £40, October 1985, 0 500 54110 8
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Photoportraits 
by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Thames and Hudson, 283 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 500 54109 4
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... The first picture in Richard Avedon’s folio is captioned ‘Alan Silvey, drifter, Route 93, Chloride, Nevada’. Such photographs were taken in the Dustbowl fifty years ago. But this is art, not documentation. We have learned a lot about photography since the Thirties, and now no one believes that truth is simple – ‘all photographs are accurate ...

At Tate Modern

Anne Wagner: Richard Tuttle , 6 November 2014

... It’s easy​ to see why Richard Tuttle’s work has a tendency to rile people – in particular people who insist on believing that sculpture, even if it no longer needs to be solid and substantial, should at least cling to material existence. From early on Tuttle seemed set on refusing such notions; his work came across as impromptu and elusive, a mirage of fragments, shadows and traces, portable, and hardly built to last ...

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