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Guantanamo Bay

Martin Puchner: A state of exception, 16 December 2004

... The concept of the state of exception (which is discussed more fully in Malcolm Bull’s review on page 3) was first put forward in the 1920s by the political and legal scholar Carl Schmitt. Having written on dictatorship, Thomas Hobbes, and political Romanticism, Schmitt turned his attention to the newly established liberal democracy of the Weimar ...

Book Reviewing

Stefan Collini: On the ‘TLS’, 5 November 2020

... receive lit supp free but outpoint Richmond many more popular books must be dealt with also.’ (Bruce Richmond had been the editor of the Lit Supp since shortly after its launch in 1902.) An announcement of the merger was set in type, to appear in the next, and final, issue of the Lit Supp, but the increasingly erratic Northcliffe changed his mind at the ...


Stephen Smith: Peace in Our Lunchtime, 6 October 1994

... In the window of the bargain shop there was a photocopy of the front page of the Sun showing a Belfast boy hugging a British soldier. Speech bubbles had been added to it, so that the boy was saying: ‘Why are you going home, Daddy?’ ‘Because the Provies have surrendered,’ the squaddy replies. A few of the Unionists I spoke to sounded this note of triumph at the IRA ceasefire but not many ...

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini, 13 August 2020

... scholarly flotsam. It was a review of a book called Music and Poetry of the English Renaissance by Bruce Pattison: a learned, exact, even exacting, piece, full of abstruse detail, acknowledging the book’s achievement but, in the manner of young scholars everywhere, ticking it off for not drawing on the latest scholarship.Reflecting on this unexpected ...

Keeping up the fight

Paul Delany, 24 January 1991

D.H. Lawrence: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £19.95, August 1990, 0 333 49247 1
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D.H. Lawrence 
by Tony Pinkney.
Harvester, 180 pp., £30, June 1990, 0 7108 1347 3
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England, My England, and Other Stories 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Bruce Steele.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 0 521 35267 3
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The ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ Trial (Regina v. Penguin Books Limited) 
edited by H. Montgomery Hyde.
Bodley Head, 333 pp., £18, June 1990, 0 370 31105 1
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by James Hanley.
Deutsch, 191 pp., £11.99, August 1990, 0 233 98578 6
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D.H. Lawrence: A Literary Life 
by John Worthen.
Macmillan, 196 pp., £27.50, September 1989, 0 333 43352 1
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... English edition of 1924 prints ‘its rosiness’, and so does Cambridge. Now, in his introduction Bruce Steele argues that Lawrence had nothing to do with the setting of the 1924 edition, and that the above reading is ‘more typical of editorial interference than of authorial change’. In other words, ‘his rosiness’ is almost surely what Lawrence ...

On David King

Susannah Clapp, 21 June 2018

... figure missing from his researches: Trotsky. A year later he had gathered enough material for a 15-page cover feature but, in an act of obliteration that almost too neatly echoed its subject, the piece did not appear: an industrial dispute led to the pulping of nearly all the 1.5 million printed copies. He had turned the feature into a photographic ...

The Year of My Father’s Dying

Jane Campbell, 8 November 2018

... to block out the facts in any way I could. Sometimes reading worked, but at others words on a page seemed inadequate. Screens were better. I watched The Killing and after each episode tried to unravel the intricacies of the plot with a friend. Then there was the cinema, a whole industry built on the promise of escape, both literal and metaphorical. When I ...


Andrew O’Hagan: A Paean to Boswell, 5 October 2000

Boswell's Presumptuous Task 
by Adam Sisman.
Hamish Hamilton, 352 pp., £17.99, November 2000, 0 241 13637 7
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James Boswell’s ‘Life of Johnson’: Research Edition: Vol. II 
edited by Bruce Redford and Elizabeth Goldring.
Edinburgh, 303 pp., £50, February 2000, 0 7486 0606 8
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Samuel Johnson: The Life of an Author 
by Lawrence Lipking.
Harvard, 372 pp., £11.50, March 2000, 0 674 00198 2
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Dr Johnson's London 
by Liza Picard.
Weidenfeld, 362 pp., £20, July 2000, 0 297 84218 8
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... red-hot efforts to strike a deal with respect to futurity, have left them large and lively on the page. Boswell, a slovenly, scribbling, lovable Scot, and Johnson, a cantankerous old genius, a John Bull himself, now appear to us as creatures of one another’s making. Together they constitute a minor archipelago of literary selves.In the past it seemed ...


Niela Orr, 3 December 2020

Such a Fun Age 
by Kiley Reid.
Bloomsbury, 310 pp., £12.99, January, 978 1 5266 1214 4
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... established in the work of Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany among others, is glimpsed at here. Bruce Sterling’s description of William Gibson’s cyberpunk aesthetic as combining ‘low life and high tech’ applies in the grocery store scene, with the boorish security guard, the racialised suspicions of the white shoppers and the recording iPhone. The ...

Embracing Islam

Patrick Parrinder, 4 April 1991

Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 
by Salman Rushdie.
Granta, 432 pp., £17.99, March 1991, 9780140142242
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... man without religion, and one who was ‘not a Muslim’. Then last December he published a three-page declaration: ‘Why I have embraced Islam’. Rushdie’s religious change of heart is, of course, a matter for his own conscience. As a public act, however, it is clearly meant to invite a response. Together with his decision not to permit further ...

We want our Mars Bars!

Will Frears: Arsène Who?, 7 January 2021

My Life in Red and White 
by Arsène Wenger, translated by Daniel Hahn and Andrea Reece.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £25, October 2020, 978 1 4746 1824 3
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... he took over as Arsenal manager. After the announcement in August 1996, the headline on the back page of the Daily Mirror ran: ‘Arsène Who?’ In his new autobiography, Wenger describes his first match as manager: ‘On 12 October 1996, I was no longer in the stands … We were playing away at Blackburn Rovers. Ian Wright scored twice. Victory! On the way ...


John Sutherland: Sad Professor, 18 February 1999

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture 
by Roger Scruton.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £14.95, November 1998, 0 7156 2870 4
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... than his aesthetician critic. The back jacket of the Intelligent Person’s Guide displays a full-page photograph of the author, in his tanned, coiffed and open-necked glory. He could model for Michelangelo. Since REM’s 1995 Monster tour, Stipe, once as elfinly beautiful as the young Truman Capote, has affected a shaven-headed, emaciated look. Scurrilous ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... by Ronald Knox, one of the ‘wider reading’ books I swotted up for my scholarship. Remembering Bruce MacFarlane was at Dulwich, I wander into Charles Barry’s huge hammerbeam hall, the walls lined with honours boards of distinctions at Oxford and Cambridge chiefly; though there’s some mention of the Army and the Indian Civil Service, there is none of ...

MacDiarmid and his Maker

Robert Crawford, 10 November 1988

by Alan Bold.
Murray, 482 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4585 4
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A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 203 pp., £12.50, February 1988, 0 7073 0425 3
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The Hugh MacDiarmid-George Ogilvie Letters 
edited by Catherine Kerrigan.
Aberdeen University Press, 156 pp., £24.90, August 1988, 0 08 036409 8
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Hugh MacDiarmid and the Russian 
by Peter McCarey.
Scottish Academic Press, 225 pp., £12.50, March 1988, 0 7073 0526 8
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... with dictionary-highbrow. Buthlay’s edition prints the text of A Drunk Man on the left-hand page and many of its source materials on right-hand pages. This arrangement allows us to see clearly how MacDiarmid in the poem achieves choral, typically Modernist effects. A good instance is seen when Buthlay places a verse of MacDiarmid’s host-text (an ...

Naming the Dead

David Simpson: The politics of commemoration, 15 November 2001

... and other more or less public figures who are ordinarily assured a place on the obituary page continue to appear there. The full page of photographs and memorials is for the firefighters, window-cleaners, janitors and waiters whose lives and deaths would normally have gone unrecorded by the most widely circulated ...

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