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Business as Usual

J. Hoberman: Hitler in Hollywood, 19 December 2013

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39 
by Thomas Doherty.
Columbia, 429 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 231 16392 7
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The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler 
by Ben Urwand.
Harvard, 327 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 0 674 72474 7
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... purposes’. The most obvious example was the United Artists production Blockade, an anti-Franco romance starring Henry Fonda as a heroic Spanish peasant, with a script by Hollywood’s most prominent communist, the playwright John Howard Lawson. Strenuously opposed by groups like the Knights of Columbus and the Legion of Decency, as well as the ...

At the Opium Factory

David Simpson: Amitav Ghosh, 22 October 2009

Sea of Poppies 
by Amitav Ghosh.
Murray, 544 pp., £7.99, April 2009, 978 0 7195 6897 8
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... language (Spanish) and translated into another, English, three years after its first appearance. Franco Moretti has speculated that this novel and others like it speak to the world system from the periphery in ways that would be impossible if they were set in Europe or North America: they hold out the possibility of re-enchantment in our disenchanted ...

Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... state’s ‘strategy of tension’ from students fired up by the Deleuzo-Guattarian teachings of Franco Berardi, aka Bifo, an autonomist Marxist and celebrated pirate broadcaster. An attractive young woman reminisces enthusiastically about Guattari’s rock-star reception at a French philosophy conference three years earlier, though it seems that ‘that ...

To the End of the Line

Ferdinand Mount: The Red Dean, 26 April 2012

The Red Dean of Canterbury: The Public and Private Faces of Hewlett Johnson 
by John Butler.
Scala, 292 pp., £16.95, September 2011, 978 1 85759 736 3
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... salute to a crowd of thirty thousand inside and outside Madison Square Garden, eclipsing Paul Robeson and Dean Acheson. An awestruck young Alistair Cooke reported in the Guardian that ‘he looks like a divinity and he looks like the portrait on every dollar bill.’ The resemblance to George Washington is undeniable, although there is a creepy hint ...

Once a Catholic…

Marina Warner: Damien Hirst, 5 July 2012

Damien Hirst 
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... Truth, 2006), remains at a level of literality that leaves no breathing space for the viewer. When Paul Ricoeur was thinking about the working of metaphor in The Symbolism of Evil, he pointed to the necessary enigma of the thoughtful symbol: it ‘does not conceal any hidden teaching that only needs to be unmasked for the images in which it is clothed to ...

Danger: English Lessons

R.W. Johnson: French v. English, 16 March 2017

Power and Glory: France’s Secret Wars with Britain and America, 1945-2016 
by R.T. Howard.
Biteback, 344 pp., £20, October 2016, 978 1 78590 116 4
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... Mitterrand supported the murderous Hutu regime in Rwanda partly because the Tutsi leader, Paul Kagame, was a protégé of Yoweri Museveni, the president of (English-speaking) Uganda; he feared that victory for Kagame would mean an expansion of Anglo-American influence throughout the Great Lakes region. Sure enough, when Kagame won he broke links with ...

The Strange Case of Louis de Branges

Karl Sabbagh: The man who believes he has proved the Riemann Hypothesis, 22 July 2004

... much second best – see someone discover. One of the people I interviewed was Louis de Branges, a Franco-American mathematician at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, with one significant proof already under his belt. De Branges was convinced that a mathematical field in which he was the acknowledged specialist would lead to a proof of the hypothesis. I ...

Say no more about the climate

Tom Crewe: Impressionists in/on London, 26 April 2018

Impressionists in London: French Artists in Exile 1870-1904 
Tate Britain, until 7 May 2018Show More
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... and appreciate. But this isn’t a painting. It’s a photograph taken in 1870, a document of the Franco-Prussian War. Look again and you notice that the bridge itself is missing, destroyed by the conquering Prussian army; its suspension cables dangle in the air. The men who might have made this picture had different priorities. Earlier in the ...

Icicles by Cynthia

Michael Wood: Ghosts, 2 January 2020

Romantic Shades and Shadows 
by Susan J. Wolfson.
Johns Hopkins, 272 pp., £50, August 2018, 978 1 4214 2554 2
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... linguistic implications and secrets that it couldn’t see what wasn’t hiding in plain sight. Franco Moretti’s Distant Reading (2005) recommended an alertness to data and difference, and a certain aloofness from stylistic analysis. There is also the method of ‘too close reading’ wittily practised by David Miller, especially in his book Hidden ...

La Grande Sartreuse

Douglas Johnson, 15 October 1981

Simone de Beauvoir and the Limits of Commitment 
by Anne Whitmarsh.
Cambridge, 212 pp., £14.50, June 1981, 9780521236690
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Un Fils Rebelle 
by Olivier Todd.
Grasset, 293 pp., £5.50, June 1981, 2 246 21231 6
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The Intellectual Resistance in Europe 
by James Wilkinson.
Harvard, 358 pp., £14, July 1981, 0 674 45775 7
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... a section called ‘Biographical Notes’, should make the first entry read, ‘1905 21 June: Jean-Paul Sartre born in Paris’, and the last: ‘1980: Death of Sartre’. There are those for whom Simone de Beauvoir is important only because of her association with Sartre. Her four volumes of autobiography are sometimes seen merely as useful source material ...

Le Grand Jacques

R.W. Johnson, 9 October 1986

Jacques Doriot: Du Communisme au Fascisme 
by Jean-Paul Brunet.
Balland, Paris, 563 pp., August 1986, 2 7158 0561 6
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... this question the career of Jacques Doriot has always had a special fascination. Now Jean-Paul Brunet has ransacked just about everything – including police files – in order to put the full story together. He has an amazing story to tell. Doriot was the only child of a working-class family, his father a blacksmith forced into factory work and a ...

We came, we saw, he died

Jackson Lears: Clinton’s Creed, 5 February 2015

Hard Choices 
by Hillary Clinton.
Simon and Schuster, 635 pp., £20, June 2014, 978 1 4711 3150 9
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HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton 
by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.
Hutchinson, 440 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 0 09 195448 2
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... enthusiasm of Sarkozy, who was eager to reassert French imperial prerogatives in North Africa. The Franco-American friendship began with a mishap. Walking up the stairs of the Elysée palace, Clinton stepped out of her shoe; Sarkozy ‘gracefully took my hand and helped me regain my footing’. She sent him a photo of the incident inscribed, ‘I may not be ...

Haddock blows his top

Christopher Tayler: Hergé’s Redemption, 7 June 2012

Hergé: The Man who Created Tintin 
by Pierre Assouline, translated by Charles Ruas.
Oxford, 276 pp., £9.99, October 2011, 978 0 19 983727 4
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Hergé, Son of Tintin 
by Benoît Peeters, translated by Tina Kover.
Johns Hopkins, 394 pp., £15.50, November 2011, 978 1 4214 0454 7
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... language communities, being a French speaker who was also comfortable in Dutch and Marols, a Franco-Dutch dialect associated with Brussels street life. (The made-up exotic languages in the Tintin books are filled with plays on Marols: Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab, a comic Arab potentate introduced in Land of Black Gold, gets his name from ...

The Force of the Anomaly

Perry Anderson: Carlo Ginzburg, 26 April 2012

Threads and Traces: True False Fictive 
by Carlo Ginzburg, translated by Anne Tedeschi and John Tedeschi.
California, 328 pp., £20.95, January 2012, 978 0 520 25961 4
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... work? Here the key term is the anomaly. An anecdote can serve as illustration. One day Franco Moretti and Carlo Ginzburg went to the Metropolitan Museum in New York together. Coming upon Vermeer’s A Maid Asleep, depicting a servant-girl drowsing at a table laden with fruit, a wine-glass lying on its side, a painting of Cupid on the wall ...

Among the Flutterers

Colm Tóibín: The Pope Wears Prada, 19 August 2010

The Pope Is Not Gay 
by Angelo Quattrocchi, translated by Romy Clark Giuliani.
Verso, 181 pp., £8.90, June 2010, 978 1 84467 474 9
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... become priests’. Hooper went on: One priest, a Frenchman in his thirties identified as Father Paul, attended a party at which there were two male prostitutes, then said Mass the following morning before driving them to the airport, Panorama reported. A photo on its website claimed to show the priest in his dog collar but without his trousers with a gay ...

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