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Too Close to the Bone

Allon White, 4 May 1989

... grass not far from the garden swing and the old plum tree. I was a bit bored and listless. I had a white sunhat on and I was idly shovelling sand with a small tin seaside spade, red with a wooden handle. Carol was a bit further down the lawn away from the house. Gradually she began to wander down the garden further and further away from the house and away from ...

Water Music

Allon White, 2 September 1982

Oh what a paradise it seems 
by John Cheever.
Cape, 99 pp., £5.50, July 1982, 0 224 02930 4
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Collected Short Stories 
by John Cheever.
Penguin, 704 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 14 005575 4
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So long a Letter 
by Mariama Bâ, translated by Modupé Bodé-Thomas.
Virago, £5.50, August 1982, 0 86068 295 1
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A joke goes a long way in the country 
by Alannah Hopkin.
Hamish Hamilton, 157 pp., £7.95, July 1982, 0 241 10798 9
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... One time in four, and usually to everyone’s surprise, John Cheever’s heroes spring a wry and furtive victory over disappointment. Cheever is irresistible in describing those delicious moments of triumph when a dogged loser suddenly strikes a home run – like Farragut’s escape from the penitentiary at the end of Falconer. Cheever’s fiction is full of the kind of episode in which the amiably incompetent warm our hearts with an unexpected success, and Oh what a paradise it seems is no exception ...


John Barrell: On Allon White, 29 August 1991

... The autobiographical fragment by Allon White entitled ‘Too close to the bone’, which was published in 1989 in the London Review of Books, has just been republished by the LRB, this time in book form.* Allon taught at the University of Sussex until he died in 1988 at the age of 37 ...

Bringing it home to Uncle Willie

Frank Kermode, 6 May 1982

Joseph Conrad: A Biography 
by Roger Tennant.
Sheldon Press, 276 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 85969 358 9
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Edward Garnett: A Life in Literature 
by George Jefferson.
Cape, 350 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 224 01488 9
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The Edwardian Novelists 
by John Batchelor.
Duckworth, 251 pp., £18, February 1982, 0 7156 1109 7
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The Uses of Obscurity: The Fiction of Early Modernism 
by Allon White.
Routledge, 190 pp., £12, August 1981, 0 7100 0751 5
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... some writers to develop an artist’s concern with technical possibilities latent in those forms. Allon White’s book addresses similar questions much more ambitiously, and his answers make more sense. An interest in the doing, in angles and glare, tends to produce obscurity, and a peculiarly modern obscurity is ...

Saints on Sundays, Devils All the Week After

Patrick Collinson: London Burnings, 19 September 2002

The Antichrist’s Lewd Hat: Protestants, Papists and Players in Post-Reformation England 
by Peter Lake and Michael Questier.
Yale, 731 pp., £30, February 2002, 0 300 08884 1
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... epitomised in the character of the pig-woman Ursula – in the words of Peter Stallybrass and Allon White in The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (1986), ‘belly, womb, gaping mouth, udder . . . the celebrant of the open orifice’. It is a commonplace among critics that, since ‘Bartholomew Fair’ is almost the same thing or place as the ...

Crossed Palettes

Ronald Paulson, 4 November 1993

Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in 18th-Century England 
by David Solkin.
Yale, 312 pp., £40, July 1993, 0 300 05741 5
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... Lawrence Klein, Howard Caygill, Terry Eagleton and Bakhtin, as restated by Peter Stallybrass and Allon White. The result is both fashionably cultural-materialist and safely old art-historical, supposing paintings to be socially determined primarily by discursive texts of the sort art historians require to explain an artist’s intention. Before Hogarth ...

Indecision as Strategy

Adam Shatz: After the Six Day War, 11 October 2012

The Bride and the Dowry: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War 
by Avi Raz.
Yale, 288 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 0 300 17194 5
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... to Moshe Dayan; on 1 June, a national unity cabinet was formed, including Dayan’s rival Yigal Allon, once commander in chief of the Palmach, and Menachem Begin of the far-right Herut party. The next day, Eshkol received word that the Americans were no longer opposed to war: the ‘yellow light’ he had been waiting for. On the morning of 5 June, Israel ...


Ian Gilmour and David Gilmour, 7 February 1985

From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict 
by Joan Peters.
Joseph, 601 pp., £15, February 1985, 0 7181 2528 2
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... the Jewish writer William Zuckerman in 1958, ‘has literally succeeded in changing black into white, lies into truth and serious social injustice into an act of justice, praised by thousands.’ Evidently, the process continues.Apart from Arabs and Muslims, the chief villains of the book are the British. They are persistently accused of ‘perfidy’ and ...

The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam

Henry Siegman: There Is No Peace Process, 16 August 2007

... When Ehud Olmert and George W. Bush met at the White House in June, they concluded that Hamas’s violent ousting of Fatah from Gaza – which brought down the Palestinian national unity government brokered by the Saudis in Mecca in March – had presented the world with a new ‘window of opportunity’.* (Never has a failed peace process enjoyed so many windows of opportunity ...

The Morning After

Edward Said, 21 October 1993

... more unfavourably weighted than many had first supposed. The fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony, the degrading spectacle of Yasser Arafat thanking everyone for the suspension of most of his people’s rights, and the fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton’s performance, like a 20th-century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through ...

Peace for Galilee

David Twersky, 21 April 1983

The Longest War 
by Jacobo Timerman.
Chatto, 160 pp., £7.95, December 1982, 0 7011 3910 2
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... Double Standards’, to provide intellectual cover for a return to the Cold War policies of red-white-and-blue anti-Sovietism. Timerman became an almost mystical personification of the Carter policy, and his book evoked harsh counter-attacks by Kirkpatrick’s allies, in Commentary, in the Zionist magazine Midstream and elsewhere. Paradoxically the start of ...

We Are Conquerors

Adam Shatz: Ben-Gurion’s Obsession, 24 October 2019

A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion 
by Tom Segev.
Head of Zeus, 804 pp., £30, August 2019, 978 1 78954 462 6
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... But Ben-Gurion was adept at turning events to his advantage. When, in 1930, the British released a white paper that reinterpreted Balfour as a ‘dual and equal commitment to both Jews and Arabs’ most Zionists were furious. Ben-Gurion, however, took his colleagues to task for succumbing to panic: ‘Such hysterical mood swings are not to our credit and we ...

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