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High Jinks at the Plaza

Perry Anderson, 22 October 1992

The British Constitution Now 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Heinemann, 289 pp., £18.50, April 1992, 0 434 47994 2
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Constitutional Reform 
by Robert Brazier.
Oxford, 172 pp., £22.50, September 1991, 0 19 876257 7
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Anatomy of Thatcherism 
by Shirley Letwin.
Fontana, 364 pp., £6.99, October 1992, 0 00 686243 8
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... from James Burnham and F.R. Buckley, to ‘our century’s most successful ruler’, Generalissimo Franco – ‘a giant who will be truly mourned by Spain’, giving ‘the lie to cant about “fascism” ’. At the start of the journal was an admiring interview with General Somoza, ‘long the best friend the United States has in Central America’, as he ...

In the Anti-World

Nicholas Jenkins: Raymond Roussel, 6 September 2001

Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams 
by Mark Ford.
Faber, 312 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 17409 4
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... to Mark Ford’s impressive list of artists with an interest in Roussel. Take, for instance, Paul Muldoon’s poem ‘The Lass of Aughrim’, which has a character playing a tune on a hollowed-out and drilled human tibia, just as Roussel has in his novel Locus Solus. And the title of Muldoon’s opera libretto, Shining Brow, is drawn from Roussel’s ...


Tom Nairn, 3 July 1980

Gramsci and Marxist Theory 
edited by Chantal Mouffe.
Routledge, 288 pp., £9.50, November 1979, 0 7100 0358 7
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Gramsci and the State 
by Christine Buci-Glucksmann.
Lawrence and Wishart, 470 pp., £14, February 1980, 9780853154839
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Gramsci’s Politics 
by Anne Showstack Sassoon.
Croom Helm, 261 pp., £12.95, April 1980, 9780709903260
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... for its legitimation; and this Euro-Gramscism is its basis. Some years ago, the American Marxist Paul Piconne predicted that if Marxism is to become a meaningful political force in the West, ‘it will have to follow a Gramscian path,’ and that because Gramsci provides ‘a formulation of Marxism free from all the traditional trappings of orthodox ...

On the chance that a shepherd boy …

Edmund White: Gide in Love, 10 December 1998

Andre Gide: A Life in the Present 
by Alan Sheridan.
Hamish Hamilton, 708 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 241 12729 7
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Andre Gide ou la vocation du bonheur. Tome 1, 1869-1911 
by Claude Martin.
Fayard, 699 pp., frs 180, September 1998, 2 213 02309 3
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... criticism directed at him or his work by his friends. When the arch-Catholic poet and playwright Paul Claudel begged him not to publish an overtly gay passage in his 1914 novel Les Caves du Vatican, Gide corresponded with him at length (and agreed to the publication of their complete correspondence). He did not drop the offending passage – in fact he and ...

In and Out of the Panthéon

Thomas Laqueur: Funerals, politics and memory in France, 20 September 2001

Funerals, Politics and Memory in Modern France 1789-1996 
by Avner Ben-Amos.
Oxford, 425 pp., £55, October 2000, 0 19 820328 4
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Monumental Intolerance: Jean Baffier, a Nationalist Sculptor in Fin-de-Siècle France 
by Neil McWilliam.
Pennsylvania State, 326 pp., £58.95, November 2000, 0 271 01965 4
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... actually dumped, however, until 21 September 1794, the day the body of the martyred radical Jean-Paul Marat entered. In 1797 the relatively conservative regime wanted to bring Mirabeau back, but his body was nowhere to be found. (This was not the only lost body: the hero of Verdun in 1792, General Nicolas-Joseph Beaurepaire, was supposedly sent to the ...

History’s Postman

Tom Nairn: The Jewishness of Karl Marx, 26 January 2006

Karl Marx ou l’esprit du monde 
by Jacques Attali.
Fayard, 549 pp., €23, May 2005, 2 213 62491 7
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... in all theoretical fields became evident and our joint work dates from that time.’ Attali quotes Paul Lafargue’s comment that they ‘realised in our own day an ideal of friendship depicted by the poets of antiquity’. Unusual, certainly, but possibly explicable more mundanely by their being compatriots in a foreign city. Marx and Engels were ‘public ...

Stewing Waters

Tim Parks: Garibaldi, 21 July 2005

Rome or Death: The Obsessions of General Garibaldi 
by Daniel Pick.
Cape, 288 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 224 07179 3
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... had continued to defend papal Rome after Italian unification abandoned the city to fight in the Franco-Prussian War. Shortly afterwards Italian troops walked in. At this point, the military phase of the Risorgimento was over; Italy had been made, but not, as D’Azeglio famously remarked, the Italians. There was at once a perceived gap between what patriots ...

She gives me partridges

Bee Wilson: Alma Mahler, 5 November 2015

Malevolent Muse: The Life of Alma Mahler 
by Oliver Hilmes, translated by Donald Arthur.
Northeastern, 360 pp., £29, May 2015, 978 1 55553 789 0
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... for being a ‘weakling’ – for taking the side of the Spanish democratic government against Franco, for example – or yelled at him in front of dinner guests: ‘Don’t forget, I’m not a Jew! I’m not a Jew!’ So far as she was concerned, the lack of sensitivity was all on Werfel’s side, as he failed to understand the sacrifices she had made for ...

The Magic Lever

Donald MacKenzie: How the Banks Do It, 9 May 2013

... Japanese banks, would be able to undercut US banks by offering loans at lower rates of interest. Paul Volcker, then chair of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, was given the task of negotiating international capital requirements. At a private dinner in London in September 1986 with Robin Leigh-Pemberton, governor of the Bank of England, and three ...

Velvet Gentleman

Nick Richardson: Erik Satie, 4 June 2015

A Mammal’s Notebook: The Writings of Erik Satie 
edited by Ornella Volta, translated by Antony Melville.
Atlas, 224 pp., £17.50, June 2014, 978 1 900565 66 0
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... Church. This turned out to be a false start. His father, Alfred, when he came home from the Franco-Prussian War, got a job as a government translator and moved his family to Paris. Satie’s mother, as well as his youngest sister, died soon after the move. Distraught, Alfred went travelling on his own, and Eric (the ‘k’ was a later ...

All This Love Business

Jean McNicol: Vanessa and Julian Bell, 24 January 2013

Julian Bell: From Bloomsbury to the Spanish Civil War 
by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams.
Stanford, 314 pp., £38.95, 0 8047 7413 7
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... they took the town of Brunete they would gain control of the road west of the city. According to Paul Preston, however, Brunete was a ‘strategic irrelevance’, and the battle merely gave Franco the opportunity to kill a large number of Republicans using the Messerschmitts he had just acquired. On 18 July a bomb from one ...

Summarising Oneself

Julian Barnes: Degas’s Vanity, 19 November 2020

The Letters of Edgar Degas 
edited by Theodore Reff.
Wildenstein Plattner Institute, 1464 pp., £150, June, 978 0 9988175 1 4
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... Madox Brown and Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and later of Whistler. Monet came to London to avoid the Franco-Prussian War, Pissarro to avoid political persecution; both painted here. There were examples of cross-Channel quasi-pupillage, the most famous being Sickert’s to Degas. On the whole, the British were more drawn to new French ways than vice versa: one ...

An Invertebrate Left

Perry Anderson, 12 March 2009

... the United States shows: Luca Cavalli-Sforza in genetics, Giovanni Sartori in political science, Franco Modigliani in economics, Carlo Ginzburg in history, Giovanni Arrighi in sociology, Franco Moretti in literature, to whom younger names might be added. Not a diaspora in a strong sense, since nearly all have maintained ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... around a terrifying pit explosion in which the rescue teams, recruited from both sides of the Franco-German border, serve as a kind of allegory of human solidarity, was a progenitor; and Hollywood played a big part in putting British ‘social consciousness’ drama on the silver screen (The Citadel, the first of Cronin’s novels to be filmed, was an MGM ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... the early years of the war and his family’s conservatism. Gavin’s mother thinks that General Franco is a saint and Gavin’s father is jubilant about Hitler’s prospects, just as our young hero, a member of the ARP, a local defence unit, comes more and more to understand what is happening in Europe. Moore offers perfect set pieces between father and ...

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