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Fyodor, Anna, Leonid

Dan Jacobson: Leonid Tsypkin, 9 May 2002

Summer in Baden-Baden 
by Leonid Tsypkin, translated by Roger Keys and Angela Keys.
New Directions, 146 pp., $23.95, November 2001, 0 8112 1484 2
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... The force and originality of Leonid Tsypkin’s writing can be conveyed only by way of sustained quotation. Thus: I was on a train, travelling by day, but it was winter-time – late December, the very depths – and to add to it the train was heading north – to Leningrad – so it was quickly darkening on the other side of the windows – bright lights of Moscow stations flashing into view and vanishing again behind me like the scattering of some invisible hand – each snow-veiled suburban platform with its fleeting row of lamps melting into one fiery ribbon – the dull drone of a station rushing past, as if the train were roaring over a bridge – the sound muffled by the double-glazed windows with frames not quite hermetically sealed into fogged-up, half-frozen panes of glass – pierced even so by the station-lights forcefully etching their line of fire – and beyond, the sense of boundless snowy wastes – and the violent sway of the carriage from side to side – pitching and rolling – especially in the end corridor – and outside, once complete darkness had fallen and only the hazy whiteness of snow was visible and the suburban dachas had come to an end and in the window along with me was the reflection of the carriage with its ceiling-lights and seated passengers, I took from the suitcase in the rack above me a book I had already started to read in Moscow and which I had brought especially for the journey ...

On not liking Tsvetaeva

Clarence Brown, 8 September 1994

Marina Tsvetaeva: Poetics of Appropriation 
by Michael Makin.
Oxford, 355 pp., £40, January 1994, 0 19 815164 0
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by Viktoria Schweitzer, translated by Robert Chandler, H.T. Willetts and Peter Norman.
Harvill, 400 pp., £20, December 1993, 0 00 272053 1
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... so terrifying to begin with? If a musician listening to a tape can tell whether the fingers on the keys are black or white, should one tremble to acknowledge that the live voice, instantly distinguishable as male or female, leaves its imprint on the page? Russian is a language in which, given the laws of grammatical concordance, the lyrical ‘I’ must ...


Glen Newey: Life with WikiLeaks, 6 January 2011

... he behaves with exactly the vulgarian bluster that one would expect of his ex-wife’s ex-husband. Angela Merkel is really a man. And so on. Not all new tokens of information count as news. Some of the disclosures, however, certainly do, such as the uprating by 15,000 of Iraq Body Count’s estimate of civilian deaths in Iraq since 2003 in the light of ...

All Reputation

Hermione Lee: Eliza and Clara, 17 October 2002

The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch 
by Anne Enright.
Cape, 230 pp., £12.99, September 2002, 0 224 06269 7
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by Janice Galloway.
Cape, 425 pp., £10.99, June 2002, 0 224 05049 4
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... reputations grow more impossible, and fragile, and large.’ Enright was once taught writing by Angela Carter at the University of East Anglia, and there’s something of Carter’s sensual, self-fashioning adventuresses in Eliza. The novel keeps edging towards the magical realism which Carter enjoyed. But, in fact, there are no ghosts or visions or talking ...

Dynamite for Cologne

Michael Wood: James Meek, 21 July 2005

The People’s Act of Love 
by James Meek.
Canongate, 391 pp., £12.99, July 2005, 1 84195 654 6
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... to have found a sort of forecourt of paradise by cutting off and throwing away what they call the keys of hell. The Czech legion, at the start of the war sent to fight for the Austrians against the Russians, are now nominally fighting for the Social Revolutionaries against the Bolsheviks, but mainly are longing to go home. In the novel and in history a ...

Give me calf’s tears

John Sturrock, 11 November 1999

George Sand: A Woman’s Life Writ Large 
by Belinda Jack.
Chatto, 412 pp., £20, August 1999, 0 7011 6647 9
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... the piano made her migraines worse, could take comfort from knowing that the fingers thumping the keys were Chopin’s. But Jack’s Sand is thankfully not writ so large as that: in this new Life her love affairs and her mannish habits are made to fit smoothly enough with the contradictory rest of her. It can’t, however, be said that the account of the ...

Sex on the Roof

Patricia Lockwood, 6 December 2018

Evening in Paradise: More Stories 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 256 pp., £14.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8229 8
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Welcome Home: A Memoir with Selected Photographs 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 160 pp., £12.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8234 2
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... life is a story in Evening in Paradise called ‘Andado: A Gothic Romance’. It is set up like an Angela Carter tale. A new bride is shown to her bedroom, and the bridegroom lays a hairy paw on her breast before disappearing to dress for dinner. ‘This would never happen to her again. When she grew older she would always be in control, even when being ...

Incendiary Devices

Daniel Soar: The Edward Snowden Story, 20 February 2014

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man 
by Luke Harding.
Guardian Faber, 346 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 78335 035 3
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... his complaint to the world. The irony of the story, as we now know, having seen what happened to Angela Merkel’s phone, is that the NSA would have got hold of the messages between the presidents even before they hit the newspapers. Why did Snowden matter so much? Mostly because the Americans didn’t know what he still had, and how damaging it could ...

Save the feet for later

Edmund Gordon: Leonora Carrington, 2 November 2017

The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington 
by Joanna Moorhead.
Virago, 304 pp., £20, April 2017, 978 0 349 00877 6
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‘The Debutante’ and Other Stories 
by Leonora Carrington.
Silver Press, 153 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 0 9957162 0 9
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Down Below 
by Leonora Carrington.
NYRB, 69 pp., £8.99, May 2017, 978 1 68137 060 6
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Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-Garde 
edited by Jonathan Eburne and Catriona McAra.
Manchester, 275 pp., £75, January 2017, 978 1 78499 436 5
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... key to Leonora was that she was a rebel, and a rebel to the very core of her being.’ With keys like that, who needs locks? This attitude is calamitous for her treatment of Down Below, Carrington’s memoir of mental illness and recovery, about which she cautions: ‘how much … is true, and how much is a result of being unbalanced, is ...

Agents of Their Own Abuse

Jacqueline Rose: The Treatment of Migrant Women, 10 October 2019

... as exhaustive of their condition as social or legal subjects.’ Either women are handed the keys to mental freedom, only to find themselves stranded with no moral or legal recourse to justice; or they are turned into subjects with no control over their own lives. Women are always guilty, of having too much agency or not enough. Most of the cases I have ...

Who Owns Kafka?

Judith Butler, 3 March 2011

... is interesting that these arguments about Kafka’s German are recirculating now, just as Angela Merkel has announced the failure of multiculturalism in Germany and marshalled as evidence the further claim that new immigrants, and indeed their ‘children and grandchildren’, fail to speak German correctly. She has publicly admonished such ...


Jacqueline Rose, 19 June 2014

The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women 
by Elisabeth Badinter, translated by Adriana Hunter.
Picador, 224 pp., £10.99, June 2013, 978 1 250 03209 6
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Are You My Mother? 
by Alison Bechdel.
Jonathan Cape, 304 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 0 224 09352 1
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A Child of One’s Own: Parental Stories 
by Rachel Bowlby.
Oxford, 256 pp., £20, June 2013, 978 0 19 960794 5
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Mothering and Motherhood in Ancient Greece and Rome 
by Lauren Hackworth Petersen and Patricia Salzman-Mitchell.
Texas, 274 pp., £16.99, April 2013, 978 0 292 75434 8
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Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in 20th-Century England 
by Pat Thane and Tanya Evans.
Oxford, 240 pp., £24.99, August 2013, 978 0 19 968198 3
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I Don’t Know Why She Bothers: Guilt-Free Motherhood for Thoroughly Modern Womanhood 
by Daisy Waugh.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £12.99, July 2013, 978 0 297 86876 7
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... aspire to, the highest form of social belonging they could expect. Today we are witnessing what Angela McRobbie has described as a ‘neoliberal intensification of mothering’: perfectly turned out middle-class, mainly white mothers, with their perfect jobs, perfect husbands and marriages, whose permanent glow of self-satisfaction is intended to make all ...

Wham Bang, Teatime

Ian Penman: Bowie, 5 January 2017

The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference 
by Paul Morley.
Simon & Schuster, 484 pp., £20, July 2016, 978 1 4711 4808 8
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On Bowie 
by Rob Sheffield.
Headline, 197 pp., £14.99, June 2016, 978 1 4722 4104 7
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On Bowie 
by Simon Critchley.
Serpent’s Tail, 207 pp., £6.99, April 2016, 978 1 78125 745 6
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Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy 
by Simon Reynolds.
Faber, 704 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 571 30171 3
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... camp-for-kids teatime show, Marc. This was what made them who they were: they could play in both keys, MOR versions of avant-garde modernity. People still get into knots about the ‘mystery’ of Bowie’s serial life-swapping in the 1970s, but he’d been pulling the same trick for years on the perimeter of Tin Pan Alley before he applied it to rock. A bit ...

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