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Megacity One

Jordan Sand: Life in Edo, 3 June 2021

Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Woman’s Life in 19th-Century Japan 
by Amy Stanley.
Chatto, 352 pp., £9.99, July 2020, 978 1 78470 230 4
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Tokyo before Tokyo: Power and Magic in the Shogun’s City of Edo 
by Timon Screech.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £25, September 2020, 978 1 78914 233 4
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... The city had a highly literate population; it was also home to the artists Hokusai and Hiroshige. Amy Stanley’s Stranger in the Shogun’s City draws on this archive to pose the question: what was Edo like to a woman from the countryside, arriving in the city alone and almost penniless? Her answer is based on the letters and family records of a woman ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Gone Girl’, 23 October 2014

Gone Girl 
directed by David Fincher.
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... spoilers than usual. ‘One can feel​ that there is always a camera left out of the picture,’ Stanley Cavell wrote in The World Viewed, ‘the one working now.’ The proliferation of selfies has familiarised us with first-person photography but nothing so far has solved the problem of first-person narration in film. Whatever subjective-looking angles the ...

Gloriously Fucked

J. Robert Lennon: Paul Auster’s ‘4321’, 2 February 2017

by Paul Auster.
Faber, 866 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 0 571 32462 0
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... consisting mostly of family prehistory: Russian Jews emigrate to New York and bear a child, Stanley; Stanley marries comely Rose, and they beget our protagonist, Archie Ferguson. From there on, the book is divided into eight long chapters, and each chapter into four interleaved subchapters. Each subchapter develops ...


Stephen Fender, 3 April 1980

The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in England, 1894-1914 
by Stanley Weintraub.
W.H. Allen, 408 pp., £7.95, November 1979, 0 491 02209 3
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The Americans: Fifty Letters from America on our Life and Times 
by Alistair Cooke.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £5.95, October 1979, 0 370 30163 3
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... home, and after failing to secure a ticket, screaming to a friend: ‘Don’t they know I’m Amy Lowell? ... And it was this month that my book of poems was coming out here! ... What attention will it get with this going on?’ Alas, more than it has got in recent times. Frost, at least, realised ‘that the War had ended his “little literary ...

Just a Diphthong Away

Ange Mlinko: Gary Lutz, 7 May 2020

The Complete Gary Lutz 
by Gary Lutz.
Tyrant, 500 pp., £15, December 2019, 978 1 7335359 1 5
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... like Lutz, cult figures, who came of age in the late 1970s and 1980s, including Raymond Carver, Amy Hempel, Barry Hannah, Diane Williams and Mary Robison.One of the best accounts of Lish’s influence is in David Leavitt’s roman à clef Martin Bauman; Or, a Sure Thing. He appears in the first paragraph of the first chapter disguised as ...

You have to take it

Joanne O’Leary: Elizabeth Hardwick’s Style, 17 November 2022

A Splendid Intelligence: The Life of Elizabeth Hardwick 
by Cathy Curtis.
Norton, 400 pp., £25, January, 978 1 324 00552 0
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The Uncollected Essays 
by Elizabeth Hardwick, edited by Alex Andriesse.
NYRB, 304 pp., £15.99, May, 978 1 68137 623 3
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... Mrs Lowell – the Mayflower heritage, the bloodline that reached back to Jonathan Edwards and Amy Lowell. Bishop once confessed that she was ‘green with envy’ at Lowell’s pedigree: ‘All you have to do is put down the names!’ Her husband might stray, but Hardwick was confident he would always find his way back home. This is why, when Lowell left ...

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