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Thomas Jones: Godot on a bike

5 February 2004
... Cincinnati,’ he said. This anecdote, like the quotation from Smith, is one of the many in ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi’: The Great Characters of Literature and Where They Came From by AndréBernard (Norton, $19.95). Literary models don’t get much more famous than the Delamare case: in that (obvious) sense, the pronouncement of Flaubert’s which Bernard takes for his title is transparently ...

Regrets

Michael Wood

17 December 1992
The Art of Cinema 
by Jean Cocteau, André Bernard and Claude Gauteur, translated by Robin Buss.
Marion Boyars, 224 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 7145 2947 8
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Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures 
by Célia Bertin, translated by Mireille Muellner and Leonard Muellner.
Johns Hopkins, 403 pp., £20.50, August 1991, 0 8018 4184 4
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Jean Renoir: Projections of Paradise 
by Ronald Bergan.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 7475 0837 2
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Malle on Malle 
edited by Philip French.
Faber, 236 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16237 1
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Republic of Images: A History of French Film-Making 
by Alan Williams.
Harvard, 458 pp., £39.95, April 1992, 0 674 76267 3
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... The pale child gives a faint wave of his hand. He is saying goodbye to his Jewish friend, about to be taken from school to die in Auschwitz, but there is also a whole history of helplessness in the gesture: not only the boy’s but that of his class and time and culture and place. The gesture occurs at the end of Louis Malle’s Au revoir les enfants, 1987 – the year of the story is 1944 – but ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett

7 November 1985
... here I go daily to cross steps with Jacques Laurent (Prix Goncourt, Grand Prix de I’ Académie Française), Max Gallo, Kenneth White (Prix Médicis Etranger), Jean-Edern Hallier, Marcel Schneider, Bernard Frank, Sartre when he was alive, Barthes likewise, Jean Genet, Wolfromm, Françoise Giroud, Le Roy Ladurie (who loafs by on a bicycle), d’Ormesson, Cartano, Genevieve Dormann, Michel Serres, Jean ...
8 February 1990
A New History of French Literature 
edited by Denis Hollier.
Harvard, 1280 pp., £39.95, October 1989, 0 674 61565 4
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... very epically to grief against Saracen fundamentalists at Roncevaux, and the last is 1985, memorable for the 500th edition of French television’s authorial chat-show Apostrophes, whose anchorman, Bernard Pivot, like Roland, gets a fearsome pasting, of which more in a moment. And each of the book’s close on two hundred chapters has for a headline some cultural event, urgently dated to the year, the ...

Self-Made Man

Ruth Bernard​ Yeazell: Edith Wharton’s Domestic Arrangements

5 April 2007
Edith Wharton 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 853 pp., £25, February 2007, 978 0 7011 6665 6
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... high comedy out of her mother’s habits of censorship, her own powers of concealment rivaled Lucretia’s. Berry’s death in 1927 may have left Wharton ‘utterly rudderless’, as she wrote to Bernard Berenson; but she still managed to get into his Paris apartment and to burn almost all the letters she had ever written to him. ‘No words can say, because such things are unsayable, how the ...
31 October 1996
Adventures on the Freedom Road: The French Intellectuals in the 20th Century 
by Bernard-Henri Lévy, translated by Richard Veasey.
Harvill, 434 pp., £20, December 1995, 1 86046 035 6
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The Imaginary Jew 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Kevin O’Neill and David Suchoff.
Nebraska, 230 pp., £23.95, August 1994, 0 8032 1987 3
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The Defeat of the Mind 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Judith Friedlander.
Columbia, 165 pp., $15, May 1996, 0 231 08023 9
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... Raymond Aron, future historians of French intellectuals in the Eighties and Nineties may well be condemned to structuring their narratives around the post-Marx brothers of French intellectual life, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Alain Finkielkraut. This is not a case simply of contemporary thinkers being dwarfed by the giants of the past – the familiar lament about the decline of French intellectuals is ...

An Absolutely Different Life

Michael Wood: Too Proustian

7 November 2019
Sept conférences sur Marcel Proust 
by Bernard​ de Fallois.
Editions de Fallois, 312 pp., €20, January, 978 1 03 210214 6
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Proust avant Proust Essai sur ‘Les Plaisirs et les jours’ 
by Bernard​ de Fallois.
Les Belles Lettres, 192 pp., €21.50, May, 978 2 251 44939 5
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‘Le Mystérieux Correspondant’ et autres nouvelles inédites 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Luc Fraisse.
Editions de Fallois, 174 pp., €18.50, October, 978 1 03 210229 0
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... Bernard de Fallois​ , a legendary French editor and publisher, died in January 2018. He worked for a long time at Hachette, and set up his own company in 1987. At one point, he was considering doing ...

Not My Fault

John Lanchester: New Labour’s Terrible Memoirs

17 July 2008
Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography 
by Cherie Blair.
Little, Brown, 421 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 4087 0098 3
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Prezza, My Story: Pulling No Punches 
by John Prescott, with Hunter Davies.
Headline, 405 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 0 7553 1775 2
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A Question of Honour: Inside New Labour and the True Story of the Cash for Peerages Scandal 
by Michael Levy.
Simon and Schuster, 310 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 84737 315 1
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... Then this happened: I had mixed feelings when a flamboyant, blond-haired 31-year-old knocked on our basement door a few days later and said he was our man. Auspiciously I suppose, his real name was Bernard Jewry, but he was better known as Shane Fenton. With his band, the Fentones, he had a few hits in the 1960s, but was not exactly a star. We explained to him as politely as possible that we had in ...

Hitchcocko-Hawksien

Christopher Prendergast

5 June 1997
Projections 7 
edited by John Boorman and Walter Donohue.
Faber, 308 pp., £11.99, April 1997, 0 571 19033 2
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Cahiers du cinema. Vol. I: The Fifties. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge, 312 pp., £65, September 1996, 0 415 15105 8
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Cahiers du cinema. Vol. II: The Sixties. New Wave, New Cinema, Re-evaluating Hollywood 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge, 363 pp., £65, September 1996, 0 415 15106 6
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Cahiers du cinema. Vol. III: 1969-72. The Politics of Representation 
edited by Nick Browne.
Routledge, 352 pp., £65, September 1996, 0 415 02987 2
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... to be ‘representative’. Another important pointer came as early as 1960, with the special issue devoted to Brecht and, in particular, the essay ‘Towards a Brechtian Criticism of Cinema’ by Bernard Dort, the great French Brechtian of the journal, Théâtre populaire. Dort’s Brecht was not political Brecht (this was one of the grounds for the continuing hostility of Positif), but formalist ...

Pork Chops and Pineapples

Terry Eagleton: The Realism of Erich Auerbach

23 October 2003
Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature 
by Erich Auerbach.
Princeton, 579 pp., £13.95, May 2003, 9780691113364
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... you take a snapshot of a contradiction? The avant-garde Leftists also found something sinisterly consoling in representational realism, which reassures us with images of a world we feel at home with. Bernard Shaw’s plays may be radical in their content, but their stage directions portray a world so solid, familiar and well-upholstered, all the way down to the level of the whisky in the decanter on the ...

Think Tiny

Mark Ford: Nancification

17 July 2008
The Nancy Book 
by Joe Brainard.
Siglio, 144 pp., $39.50, April 2008, 978 0 9799562 0 1
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... cut-outs one year and drawings … it’s all been different … People want to buy a Warhol or a person instead of a work. My work’s never become ‘a Brainard’. Or even a Jainard or a Bernard or a Joe. Here are the last six ‘I remember’s from his sparklingly original and ‘totally great’ (to use one of his own favourite locutions) memoir, I Remember, issued in four instalments ...

Viva la joia

Roy Porter

22 December 1983
Montaigne: Essays in Reading 
edited by Gérard Defaux.
Yale, 308 pp., £8.95, April 1983, 0 300 02977 2
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Montaigne and Melancholy: The Wisdom of the ‘Essays’ 
by M.A. Screech.
Duckworth, 194 pp., £19.50, August 1983, 0 7156 1698 6
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... we need to ask what crop this approach yields. I can see little appeal in abandoning the Gascon sceptic who pondered the Indians and loved playing with his cat (Montaigne amicus, as apostrophised by Bernard Levin in Enthusiasms) for André Tournon’s self-confessed textual ‘cybernetic nightmare ... a text which reads and comments upon itself, a meditating machine operating by itself with interlocking ...

Riparian

Douglas Johnson

15 July 1982
The Left Bank: Writers in Paris, from Popular Front to Cold War 
by Herbert Lottman.
Heinemann, 319 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 434 42943 0
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... what she meant by that and the dictum is not explained. It cannot have meant that living in the same neighbourhood confers any identity of views or attitudes. Should we put together Françoise Sagan, Bernard-Henri Lévi and Alain Touraine, who are Left Bankers, and place them in opposition to Jean d’Ormesson, Jean-Marie Benoist and Edgar Morin, who are Right Bankers? Herbert Lottman has a lot to say ...

Staging Death

Martin Puchner: Ibsen's Modernism

8 February 2007
Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theatre, Philosophy 
by Toril Moi.
Oxford, 396 pp., £25, August 2006, 0 19 929587 5
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... in France, England and Germany, small but vocal groups of supporters defended Ibsen against official censors and the press. In Britain an Ibsen campaign was started by an unlikely pair, George Bernard Shaw and the aspiring writer William Archer, who also became Ibsen’s first English translator. Shaw’s pamphlet, The Quintessence of Ibsenism, makes Ibsen into a Norwegian Shaw, intent on shocking ...
4 April 1996
The Messiaen Companion 
edited by Peter Hill.
Faber, 581 pp., £40, March 1995, 0 571 17033 1
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Olivier Messiaen: Music and Colour. Conversations with Claude Samuel 
translated by Thomas Glasow.
Amadeus, 296 pp., $29.95, May 1994, 0 931340 67 5
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... water was being distributed. He refused to join in the struggle and struck up a conversation with another soldier who was calmly reading a book. He found he was talking to a fellow-Parisian. Guy-Bernard Delapierre, an Egyptologist. The two were shortly separated, but he was later handed a note from Delapierre giving him Delapierre’s address in Paris, and they were to become close friends during ...

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