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Perfect Light

Jenny Diski, 9 July 1992

Diana: Her True Story 
by Andrew Morton.
Michael O’Mara, 165 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 1 85479 191 5
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Shared Lives 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Bloomsbury, 285 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 7475 1164 0
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Antonia White: Diaries 1958-1979 
edited by Susan Chitty.
Constable, 352 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 09 470660 3
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... to it (a Mars Bar is always a good way of getting fast energy after a long nap), or we may look forward, in years to come, to ghosted memoirs and to a stream of chat show appearances by the personality of all personalities: the one that got away from the innermost sanctum of the Royal Family. Fergie, eat your heart out. It’s hardly surprising that some ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern, 20 July 2000

... building for the Goetz collection of arte povera and abstract monochromes.Donald Judd was also put forward as a model by Nicholas Serota in his Walter Neurath Memorial Lecture, published earlier this year as Experience or Interpretation: The Dilemma of Museums of Modern Art.† Serota invoked Carl Andre (whom he had exhibited and written on while still at the ...

Inquisition Mode

Tariq Ali: Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism, 16 July 2020

Notebooks: 1936-47 
by Victor Serge, translated by Mitchell Abidor and Richard Greeman.
NYRB, 651 pp., £17.99, April 2019, 978 1 68137 270 9
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... has been written about Serge’s life, first and foremost in his own Memoirs of a Revolutionary. Susan Weissman provided a meticulous account in Victor Serge: A Political Biography, published in 2001. Born Victor Lvovich Kibalchich in Brussels in 1890, Serge was the son of poverty-stricken intellectuals who had fled tsarist Russia. The family name itself was ...

Fenton makes a hit

Blake Morrison, 10 January 1983

In Memory of War: Poems 1968-1982 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 96 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 0 907540 17 1
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... with a Third, and being forced out into the world, helped him to avoid this fate. But the way forward can be found, in any case, in the most literal ‘museum piece’ of all his early poems, ‘The Pitt-Rivers Museum’. Here the poet ranges over bizarre exhibits – a dolphin’s jawbone, nut castanets, a musical whip from the Torres straits – with ...

At Tate Britain

Jeremy Harding: Don McCullin, 18 April 2019

... exhibition, from one room to the next, face after face, a serial crowd begins to gather, pressing forward from conflicts in distinct parts of the world, and – despite the carefully historicised curating – assembling in the present. ‘Biafra’ (1969) If McCullin’s remarks about his work are reliable, this was his intention all along, from his ...

I hate thee, Djaun Bool

Denis Donoghue: James Clarence Mangan, 17 March 2005

James Clarence Mangan: Selected Writings 
edited by Sean Ryder.
University College Dublin, 514 pp., £21, February 2004, 1 900621 92 4
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The Collected Works of James Clarence Mangan: Prose 1832-39 
edited by Jacques Chuto, Peter Van der Kamp, Augustine Martin and Ellen Shannon-Mangan.
Irish Academic, 416 pp., £45, October 2002, 0 7165 2577 1
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The Collected Works of James Clarence Mangan: Prose 1840-82 
edited by Jacques Chuto, Peter Van der Kamp, Augustine Martin and Ellen Shannon-Mangan.
Irish Academic, 496 pp., £45, October 2002, 0 7165 2735 9
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James Clarence Mangan: Poems 
edited by David Wheatley.
Gallery Press, 160 pp., £8.95, April 2005, 1 85235 345 7
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Selected Poems of James Clarence Mangan 
edited by Jacques Chuto, Rudolf Holzapfel, Peter Van der Kamp and Ellen Shannon-Mangan.
Irish Academic, 320 pp., £16, May 2003, 0 7165 2782 0
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... Joyce claimed, ‘a rare and unsympathetic figure in the streets, where he is seen going forward alone like one who does penance for some ancient sin.’ Joyce was evidently more interested in Mangan’s temperament than in his poems and essays: Mangan’s ‘purely defensive reserve’, he said, ‘is not without dangers for him, and in the end it ...

Votes for Women, Chastity for Men

Brian Harrison, 21 January 1988

Troublesome People: Enemies of War, 1916-1986 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Hamish Hamilton, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 241 12105 1
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Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 
by Susan Kingsley Kent.
Princeton, 295 pp., £22, June 1987, 0 691 05497 5
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Women, Marriage and Politics, 1860-1914 
by Pat Jalland.
Oxford, 366 pp., £19.50, November 1986, 0 19 822668 3
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An Edwardian Mixed Doubles: The Bosanquets versus the Webbs. A Study in British Social Policy, 1890-1929 
by A.M. McBriar.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, July 1987, 0 19 820111 7
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... will never want to read it.’ One serious but incidental error in Moorehead is amply corrected by Susan Kingsley Kent, for no attentive reader of Sex and Suffrage will swallow Moorehead’s assertion that ‘by the time war broke out’ – in 1914 – ‘the battle for the female vote in Britain was just nine years old.’ By linking the campaigns for sexual ...

Sorrows of a Polygamist

Mark Ford: Ted Hughes in His Cage, 17 March 2016

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 662 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 00 811822 8
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... the cultural spectrum, generating both sophisticated psychoanalytical readings, such as those put forward by Jacqueline Rose in The Haunting of Sylvia Plath (1991), and the schlock movie Sylvia (2003), in which Hughes was played by Daniel Craig and Plath by Gwyneth Paltrow. From the early 1970s more or less until his death Hughes was a major hate figure for ...

La Perestroika

Harold Perkin, 24 January 1991

The Second Socialist Revolution: An Alternative Soviet Strategy 
by Tatyana Zaslavskaya, translated by Susan Davies.
Tauris, 241 pp., £19.95, February 1990, 1 85043 151 5
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... of work and domestic chores for too long, and it was time for a change. Russian women looked forward to less work, not more: they wanted the freedom to stay at home if they wished, instead of being forced to work not only by the state but by economic necessity. That, of course, would require a rise in living standards to enable a single breadwinner to ...

Under the Ustasha

Mark Mazower: Sarajevo, 1941-45, 6 October 2011

Sarajevo, 1941-45: Muslims, Christians and Jews in Hitler’s Europe 
by Emily Greble.
Cornell, 276 pp., £21.50, February 2011, 978 0 8014 4921 5
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... That the Serbs were not heroic defenders of Christian values but plotters of ethnic cleansing. Susan Sontag and Bernard-Henri Lévy felt it their duty to visit Sarajevo and publicise its plight. It was, as Sontag put it, the Spanish Civil War for her generation. Was this version any closer to reality than West’s? What the Victorians called the Eastern ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... is essential for fashion, McDowell argues that ‘the only way for a fashion designer to look forward is by taking the past and realigning it so that it can serve the purposes of the future. That is why retro fashion has been not only the obsession of the last fifty years, but also, in the opinion of many, the source of virtually everything new.’ Of ...

Locum, Lacum, Lucum

Anthony Grafton: The Emperor of Things, 13 September 2018

Pietro Bembo and the Intellectual Pleasures of a Renaissance Writer and Art Collector 
by Susan Nalezyty.
Yale, 277 pp., £50, May 2017, 978 0 300 21919 7
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Pietro Bembo on Etna: The Ascent of a Venetian Humanist 
by Gareth Williams.
Oxford, 440 pp., £46.49, August 2017, 978 0 19 027229 6
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... willingness to cart specimens of lava back down the mountain for further examination – he looks forward to an age when things would claim epistemic authority. Later scholars like Ulisse Aldrovandi and Athanasius Kircher would search the marketplaces for new species of fish and collect shells and fossils as eagerly as books. With their finds they created ...

Fyodor, Anna, Leonid

Dan Jacobson: Leonid Tsypkin, 9 May 2002

Summer in Baden-Baden 
by Leonid Tsypkin, translated by Roger Keys and Angela Keys.
New Directions, 146 pp., $23.95, November 2001, 0 8112 1484 2
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... entire adult life, harking back to his time as a political prisoner in Siberia and reaching forward to his death – which is most affectingly rendered – 11 years after the couple’s return to St Petersburg. But who was or is Leonid Tsypkin? And what is the story of his book – which is not to be confused with the stories told in the book? In her ...

Absolute Modernity

Paul Driver, 26 September 1991

Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life 
by Jean-Michel Nectoux, translated by Roger Nichols.
Cambridge, 646 pp., £45, April 1991, 0 521 23524 3
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Pierre Boulez 
by Dominique Jameux, translated by Susan Bradshaw.
Faber, 422 pp., £25, March 1991, 9780571137442
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Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship 
by Pierre Boulez, translated by Stephen Walsh.
Oxford, 316 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 19 311210 8
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... biography shades into and out of musical explanation, with heavier-duty exegesis always to look forward to in the second part of the volume. Nectoux’s organisation of material is not dissimilar, but more satisfying: a vivid and copious chronological narrative constantly subject to essay-length interpolations on pertinent musicological topics. Both books ...

Taking Refuge in the Loo

Leland de la Durantaye: Peter Handke, 22 May 2014

Versuch über den Pilznarren: Eine Geschichte für sich 
by Peter Handke.
Suhrkamp, 217 pp., £14.70, September 2013, 978 3 518 42383 7
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Peter Handke im Gespräch, mit Hubert Patterer und Stefan Winkler 
Kleine Zeitung, 120 pp., £15.36, November 2012, 978 3 902819 14 7Show More
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... monster’. Salman Rushdie nominated him ‘International Moron of the Year’ for 1999. Susan Sontag said that there were many many people who would never pick up one of his books again. Presenting the matter in the starkest possible terms, the human rights worker and novelist Jonathan Littell remarked in 2008: When a family is sitting in its house ...

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