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Flat-Nose, Stocky and Beautugly

James Davidson: Greek Names, 23 September 2010

A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. V.A Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia 
edited by T. Corsten.
Oxford, 496 pp., £125, March 2010, 978 0 19 956743 0
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... that already in early 19th-century Yorkshire, children were being baptised with diminutives: Fred, Ben, Willie, Joe, Tom. Everywhere, some names could be given to both girls and boys – Hilary, Evelyn, Lesley, Happy, Providence – and the practice of using surnames as forenames was well established. Particular groups have periodically used this customary ...

The Nominee

Andrew O’Hagan: With the Democrats, 19 August 2004

... out the lies and bunglings of the Bush shower. After his speech the crowd was on its feet. Jesse Jackson appeared like a pantomime ghost from behind Kucinich and the progressives stood on their chairs. ‘What do George Bush and John Kerry have in common?’ Jackson asked. ‘Answer: they both want to be elected president ...


Joanna Biggs: Zadie Smith, 1 December 2016

Swing Time 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 453 pp., £18.99, November 2016, 978 0 241 14415 2
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... sort of writing Smith tries out here, the seemingly non-fictional sort seen in the novels of Ben Lerner and Sheila Heti, and in Smith’s own essays. As the title On Beauty had been already used by Elaine Scarry, so Swing Time has been borrowed from the title of the 1936 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers vehicle, a black and white musical of waltzes and ...

How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry

Norman Finkelstein: Uses of the Holocaust, 6 January 2000

The Holocaust in American Life 
by Peter Novick.
Houghton Mifflin, 320 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 395 84009 0
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... at the time of the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, when ‘700,000 Jews’, in the words of David Ben-Gurion, were ‘pitted against 27 million Arabs – one against forty’ and the US joined a UN arms embargo on the region despite the fact that the Arab armies had a clear advantage in terms of weaponry. Even the CIA and the US Secretary of State George ...

Here for the crunch

R.W. Johnson, 28 April 1994

... won’t do here, either. We had Bob Hope there, of course. We were lucky, we didn’t have Jesse Jackson like we’re gonna have here.’ I asked how the funding worked. ‘Well, Washington has this idea that democracy is something you can sorta buy. They say: will it be free and fair? If we say no, not really, they say: well how much more do we have to ...

Cleaning Up

Tom Nairn, 3 October 1996

The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79 
by Ben Kiernan.
Yale, 477 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 300 06113 7
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... altogether and forcibly reconstitute peasant society into a different sort of nation, what Ben Kiernan calls ‘the indentured agrarian state’. Everyone has heard of the horrors accompanying this attempt, yet the episode itself remains ill-understood. In its own day the Cambodian revolution was interpreted by the outside world primarily in terms of ...

A Giant Still Sleeping

Lorna Scott Fox: Mike Davies, 4 April 2002

Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US City 
by Mike Davis.
Verso, 202 pp., £10, November 2001, 9781859843284
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... success led to reprisals by the powerful sectors in LA he had upset by his exposures. According to Ben Ehrenreich, he was ‘driven from the city by a campaign of Red-baiting disguised as fact-checking’. His portrayal of a region wrecked by systematic racism, profiteering and environmental irrationality, now controlled by an urban planning of surveillance ...

What Life Says to Us

Stephanie Burt: Robert Creeley, 21 February 2008

The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley: 1945-75 
California, 681 pp., £12.55, October 2006, 0 520 24158 4Show More
The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley: 1975-2005 
California, 662 pp., £29.95, October 2006, 0 520 24159 2Show More
On Earth: Last Poems and an Essay 
by Robert Creeley.
California, 89 pp., £12.95, April 2006, 0 520 24791 4
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Selected Poems: 1945-2005 
by Robert Creeley, edited by Benjamin Friedlander.
California, 339 pp., $21.95, January 2008, 978 0 520 25196 0
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... continuously’ and drinking a lot; he got in fights, too, including one abortive dust-up with Jackson Pollock. Partly to escape urban temptation, Creeley, his wife, Ann, and their two young sons relocated in 1948 to a farm in New Hampshire, where he bred pigeons and poultry and tried to write. ‘I learned more about poetry as an actual activity from ...

Adjusting the Mechanism

Colin Burrow: Robert Graves, 11 October 2018

Robert Graves: From a Great War Poet to ‘Goodbye to All That’, 1895-1929 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 461 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 1 4729 2914 3
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The Reader over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose 
by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.
Seven Stories, 613 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 60980 733 7
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... from the dead, he married Nancy Nicholson (daughter of William Nicholson the painter, sister to Ben Nicholson and herself a skilful illustrator and designer), with whom he had three children by 1922, although it was never quite clear how keen the strongly feminist Nancy was on being married to him. Meanwhile he was supposed to be studying English literature ...

Open in a Scream

Colm Tóibín, 4 March 2021

Francis Bacon: Revelations 
by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan.
William Collins, 869 pp., £30, January, 978 0 00 729841 9
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... studio. (‘Interesting, yes,’ Clark said. ‘What extraordinary times we live in.’) In 1945, Ben Nicholson pulled out of a planned six-artist show and Sutherland proposed that Bacon, who was quite unknown, should replace him: ‘I should really prefer Francis Bacon for whose work you know I have a really profound admiration … his recent ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby, 23 March 2006

... third party: the Palestinians. This was well understood by Israel’s early leaders. David Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress: If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country … We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... and had been offered an internship in New York.‘Her soul was of a kind,’ said Betty Jackson, speaking of her sister Mary Mendy, Khadija’s mother. Their relative Demel Carayol, also an artist and a former member of the group Soul II Soul, was full of memories the day I tracked him down in Palmers Green. ‘Mary came to the UK with the help of ...

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