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21 October 1982
Hanns Eisler: Political Musician 
by Albrecht Betz, translated by Bill Hopkins.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £25, June 1982, 0 521 24022 0
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Music and Political: Collected Writings 1953-81 
by Hans Werner Henze, translated by Peter Labanyi.
Faber, 286 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 571 11719 8
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Vindications: Essays on Romantic Music 
by Deryck Cooke and Bryan Magee.
Faber, 226 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11795 3
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... own re-spelling of the name) hints at verbally, but which both their music and a wordless work like the String Trio define with quasi-mathematical precision. It is, incidentally, Peter Labanyi, not BillHopkins, who rightly translates ‘committed’; BillHopkins turns it into the foreign-sounding ‘engaged’. And while both translations seem competent, Labanyi’s is the more natural. But then ...

Starting up

Peter Clarke

6 November 1986
The German Slump: Politics and Economics 1924-1936 
by Harold James.
Oxford, 469 pp., £30, March 1986, 0 19 821972 5
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The Making of Keynes’s General Theory 
by Richard Kahn.
Cambridge, 327 pp., £20, May 1984, 9780521253734
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Towards the Managed Economy: Keynes, the Treasury and the Fiscal Policy Debate of the 1930s 
by Roger Middleton.
Methuen, 244 pp., £25, September 1985, 0 416 35830 6
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Keynes and his Contemporaries 
edited by G.C. Harcourt.
Macmillan, 195 pp., £22.50, October 1985, 0 333 34687 4
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The Policy Consequences of John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Harold Wattel.
Macmillan, 157 pp., £29.50, April 1986, 0 333 41340 7
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... wizard, Dr Schacht, presided over a regime of fiscal conservatism, at least on the surface. Under price controls, forced savings found their outlet in public spending, and devices like the Mefo-Bill helped conceal the costs of the rearmament programme. For it was rearmament which represented the big increase in spending and the crucial stimulus to the economy. Its importance may have been ...

Had he not run

David Reynolds: America’s longest-serving president

2 June 2005
Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
by Roy Jenkins.
Pan, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2005, 0 330 43206 0
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Franklin D. Roosevelt 
by Patrick Renshaw.
Longman, 223 pp., $16.95, December 2003, 0 582 43803 9
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom 
by Conrad Black.
Weidenfeld, 1280 pp., £17.99, October 2004, 0 7538 1848 5
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... wall of newspaper owners and editors. He also benefited from the creative ingenuity of those around him, including his ‘Brains Trust’ of Columbia University academics and advisers such as Harry Hopkins, a former social worker who became the president’s confidant after the death of Louis Howe in April 1936. Inventive, loyal and industrious, Hopkins worked himself to death in Roosevelt’s service ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London

19 June 2008
... discussion groups, such as the seminar convened by PNUK (Planners Network UK) and held at the boxing club in the old Limehouse Town Hall. I attended this public debate and heard the Hackney solicitor Bill Parry-Davies describe, quietly, remorselessly, how, after a series of mysterious fires, Dalston Lane had lost its Victorian theatre and sections of Georgian terrace, facilitating the new transport ...

A Bit Like Gulliver

Stephanie Burt: Seamus Heaney’s Seamus Heaney

11 June 2009
Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney 
by Dennis O’Driscoll.
Faber, 524 pp., £22.50, November 2008, 978 0 571 24252 8
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The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney 
edited by Bernard O’Donoghue.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £45, December 2008, 978 0 521 54755 0
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... with a postscript about Heaney’s recovery from a stroke; early chapters move, necessarily, place by place, from Mossbawn to St Columb’s College in Derry, where Heaney discovered Wordsworth and Hopkins, and then to Queen’s University in Belfast. ‘When I wrote my first poems as an undergraduate,’ Heaney says, ‘I wrote in Hopkins-speak.’ That early affinity sprang not only from Hopkins’s ...

Who gets to trip?

Mike Jay: Psychedelics

27 September 2018
How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics 
by Michael Pollan.
Allen Lane, 465 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 0 241 29422 2
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Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds 
by Lauren Slater.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £20, February 2018, 978 0 316 37064 6
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... Wouldn’t you like​ to see a positive LSD story on the news?’ asked the late comedian Bill Hicks in one of his most famous routines. ‘Today, a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing ...

Poetry to Thrill an Oyster

Gregory Woods: Fitz-Greene Halleck

16 November 2000
The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck 
by John W.M. Hallock.
Wisconsin, 226 pp., £14.95, April 2000, 0 299 16804 2
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... Fortunate Family’, a poem Halleck wrote during his adolescence. It tells of a boy called Dick (‘a name that may have doubled as slang for an erect penis since the 17th century’) and his brother Bill, who runs away to sea. So far so routine. But Hallock interposes a jaunty paragraph on sodomy and piracy ‘on the high seas’ in the 17th and 18th centuries, before leaping to the conclusion that ...

Fanfares

Ian Sansom

11 December 1997
The Bounty 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 78 pp., £14.99, July 1997, 0 571 19130 4
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... darker tones, moodily suggesting depth and history. Brilliance is usually acceptable only if it goes hand in hand with breeding (whence the popularity of Stephen Fry). Walcott does not fit the bill: he’s an outsider and an overreacher and his work betrays a definite lack of cool; it sparkles and it shines. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a 1936 recording of Ella Fitzgerald with ...

Diary

Elisa Segrave: Revved Up on Solpadeine

22 July 1993
... and approach her outside the lifts, where she sits smoking in her blue nightdress. However Duncan thinks this is terribly vulgar and refuses to do it. Also, he says, according to research at Johns Hopkins University, people who change sex quite often commit suicide. I feel worried for Caroline, who at the moment looks so happy. Monday. I am out of hospital but I missed the literary party. Still, my ...

The End

James Buchan

28 April 1994
The City of London. Vol. I: A World of Its Own, 1815-1890 
by David Kynaston.
Chatto, 497 pp., £25, February 1994, 0 7011 6094 2
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... lips. He stands, one hand in his pocket, the other holding a piece of paper with a pudgy thumb. The reproduction is poor so one can’t read the writing on the paper but it is presumably a foreign bill of exchange; and the way he holds it, without invitation or anxiety, there before his favourite pillar on ’Change, distills his character for me. There is some anti-semitic caricature in the face ...

The Academy of Lagado

Edward Said: The US Administration’s misguided war

17 April 2003
... power America could bring to bear on them. Fouad Ajami is a Lebanese Shia educated in the US who made his name as a pro-Palestinian commentator. But by the mid-1980s, he was teaching at Johns Hopkins; he’d become a fervent anti-Arab ideologue and had been taken up by the right-wing Zionist lobby (he now works for Martin Peretz and Mort Zuckerman) and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is fond ...

Pound & Co.

August Kleinzahler: Davenport and Kenner

26 September 2019
Questioning Minds: Vols I-II: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner 
edited by Edward Burns.
Counterpoint, 1817 pp., $95, October 2018, 978 1 61902 181 5
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... College in Pennsylvania for two years and then took a job at the University of Kentucky, ‘the remotest offer with the most pay’. He taught there for 27 years; in 1973 Kenner moved on to Johns Hopkins for 17 years, and finally, in 1990, to the University of Georgia for a decade. By 1977, the exchange of letters, which had been frequent and intense, begins to trail off. From 1989 to 2002 they ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell

2 December 2010
J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... in an alarming fashion one evening. Edward, however, is a fierce Loyalist landlord, too busy railing against mutinous tenant farmers to make a good manager; ‘as for baldly asking a lady to pay her bill, he would as soon have committed sodomy.’ In consequence, his only guests are genteel old women too cash-strapped or confused to move elsewhere. Once the Major has been absorbed into the hotel, his ...

A chemistry is performed

Deborah Friedell: Silicon Valley Girl

7 February 2019
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup 
by John Carreyrou.
Picador, 320 pp., £9.99, March 2019, 978 1 5098 6808 7
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... like her, and he’d known thousands. ‘When I finally connected with what Elizabeth fundamentally is, I realised that I could have just as well been looking into the eyes of a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates.’ Her family wasn’t well connected, but one of her childhood friends was the daughter of Tim Draper, the venture capitalist currently in the news for his vast holdings in bitcoin, and for ...
21 September 1995
Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles 
by Irwin Gellman.
Johns Hopkins, 499 pp., $29.95, April 1995, 0 8018 5083 5
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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley 
edited by Geoffrey Ward.
Houghton Mifflin, 444 pp., $24.95, April 1995, 0 395 66080 7
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No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War Two 
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Simon and Schuster, 759 pp., £18, June 1995, 0 671 64240 5
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The End of Reform 
by Alan Brinkley.
Knopf, 371 pp., $27.50, March 1995, 0 394 53573 1
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... at Yalta to Stalin’s demand for Soviet hegemony in Poland because of the disposition of allied troops in Europe and the desire to get the Soviet Union into the Pacific war, not because he or Harry Hopkins were tired and ill or because they lacked wise State Department counsel. The political significance of the Welles-Hull debacle lies, for Irving Gellman, in FDR’s ‘divisive management style ...

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