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Even if I married a whole harem of women I’d still act like a bachelor

Elaine Showalter: Isaac Bashevis Singer, 17 September 1998

Shadows on the Hudson 
by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Joseph Sherman.
Hamish Hamilton, 560 pp., £16.99, June 1998, 0 241 13940 6
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Isaac Bashevis Singer: A Life 
by Janice Hadda.
Oxford, 254 pp., £22.50, February 1998, 0 19 508420 9
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... to protect him. The former are mainly men, the latter almost exclusively women.’ Among the men, Charles McGrath, who was Singer’s editor at the New Yorker, told Richard Bernstein that ‘the public Singer was a creation. He pretended not to be interested in his fame, but he was consumed by success, literary stature and his popularity long past the ...

I want to be the baby

Kasia Boddy: Barthelme’s High Jinks, 18 August 2022

Collected Stories 
by Donald Barthelme, edited by Charles McGrath.
Library of America, 1004 pp., £40, July 2021, 978 1 59853 684 3
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... Donald Barthelme’s​ relationship with the New Yorker began in March 1963 and hasn’t ended yet, more than thirty years after his death. Every so often one of his stories pops up on the magazine’s monthly Fiction Podcast, in which writers are asked to choose a favourite piece from the archive to read and discuss. Many admit that they began their careers trying to emulate Barthelme but soon gave up ...

Poor Rose

Christian Lorentzen: Against Alice Munro, 6 June 2013

Dear Life 
by Alice Munro.
Chatto, 319 pp., £18.99, November 2012, 978 0 7011 8784 2
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... and there’s certainly something universal about remembering. ‘That Alice Munro, now 81,’ Charles McGrath, her first editor at the New Yorker, wrote recently in the New York Times, ‘is one of the great short story writers not just of our time but of any time ought to go without saying by now.’ ‘Alice Munro,’ James Wood wrote in the LRB in ...

Off Narragansett

Karl Miller, 28 September 1989

Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn 
by Paul Watkins.
Century Hutchinson, 269 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 09 173914 4
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Blood and Water 
by Patrick McGrath.
Penguin Originals, 183 pp., £4.99, February 1989, 0 14 011005 4
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The Grotesque 
by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 186 pp., £11.95, October 1989, 0 670 82987 0
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... Paul Watkins’s novel and Patrick McGrath’s The Grotesque are second books by young British writers whose work has been well-received in America, to which, together with its surrounding seas, both of these writers have been drawn. Paul Watkins used, they say, to set off from Eton for spells on an oil rig, and after graduating from Yale he fished for three years off the New England coast, where this novel of his is located ...

Deeper Shallows

Stefan Collini: C.S. Lewis, 20 June 2013

C.S. Lewis: A Life 
by Alister McGrath.
Hodder, 431 pp., £20, April 2013, 978 1 4447 4552 8
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... drafts of work in progress. The leading members of the group, which included the Anglican writer Charles Williams during the years of the Second World War, also seem to have shared a form of conservatism – one with Tory anarchist leanings – that was more cultural than political (and was the more conservative for seeing itself as apolitical). Tolkien and ...

Whose giraffe?

Charles Hope, 21 March 1985

Dynasty and Destiny in Medici Art: Pontormo, Leo X and the Two Cosimos 
by Janet Cox-Rearick.
Princeton, 700 pp., £100.50, October 1984, 0 691 04023 0
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... exactly the same way – as Vasari himself implies at several points in his text, and as Elizabeth McGrath conclusively demonstrated at a conference several years ago, in a paper which is still to be published – many of the ‘meanings’ which the artist applied to his frescoes in Florence can’t have occurred to him or to his advisers when they chose the ...

Phattbookia Stupenda

Nicholas Spice, 18 April 1985

by Peter Carey.
Faber, 600 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 571 13207 3
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... the Balliang East brass tap, Herbert Badgery finds himself face to face with the beautiful Phoebe McGrath, who just happens to be picnicking there with her parents, Molly and Jack. Book One of Illywhacker tells of how Herbert develops this encounter into a flourishing epoch of his life, seducing Phoebe, deluding Jack and almost upsetting the delicate balance ...

‘Where’s yer Wullie Shakespeare noo?’

Michael Dobson: 17th-century literary culture, 11 September 2008

Archipelagic English: Literature, History, and Politics 1603-1707 
by John Kerrigan.
Oxford, 599 pp., March 2008, 978 0 19 818384 6
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... Then the Troubles flared up again; and the IRA bombing campaign came to the mainland; and John McGrath wrote The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil; and suddenly it was 1974, and there were two close-run general elections, and not only did the Ulster Unionists matter even in England, but so did a couple of hitherto obscure and eccentric ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... capital punishment, but in other states 25 people were executed in 2018.)Barr later cites the Charles Bronson vigilante movie, Death Wish, and the Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry movies as evidence that ‘it’s satisfying to see justice done.’At​ the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California, a 19-year-old white ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 30 June 2016

... Clear, who quickly denied it. The story went nowhere and Clear went back to his studies. Then Leah McGrath Goodman wrote a piece for Newsweek claiming Satoshi was a maths genius called Dorian Nakamoto, who lived in the Californian suburb of Temple City and didn’t actually know, it turned out, how to pronounce bitcoin. When Goodman’s article ran on the ...

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