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Belts Gleaming

Charles Glass: Uri Avnery

11 June 2009
1948: A Soldier’s Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem 
by Uri Avnery, translated by Christopher Costello.
Oneworld, 398 pp., £12.99, October 2008, 978 1 85168 629 2
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Israel’s Vicious Circle 
by Uri Avnery and Sara Powell.
Pluto, 230 pp., £15, July 2008, 978 0 7453 2823 2
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... Uri Avnery’s two wartime memoirs, now collected as 1948: A Soldier’s Tale, were published in Hebrew in 1949 and 1950. In the first of them, In the Fields of the Philistines, the 25-year-old Avnery is an infantryman desperate for action; in the second, The Other Side of the Coin, he criticises his own ‘silly, rotten country’ for its conduct in the 1948 war. Avnery, now 85, has continued to condemn ...

Tables and Chairs

Christopher​ Tayler: J.M. Coetzee

21 March 2013
J.M. Coetzee: A Life in Writing 
by J.C. Kannemeyer, translated by Michiel Heyns.
Jonathan Ball, 710 pp., R 325, October 2012, 978 1 86842 495 5
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Here and Now: Letters 2008-11 
by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee.
Viking, 256 pp., $27.95, March 2013, 978 0 670 02666 1
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The Childhood of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 210 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 1 84655 769 9
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... 1891-92 with a young woman of, as one of his commentators delicately puts it, indeterminate profession, later to become a circus equestrienne’); it can also be detected here and there in Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Slow Man (2005). But it was still surprising that comedy was so prominent in the interrogatory toolkit he then took to using on opinionated figures closely modelled on himself. ‘My guess ...

Two Sharp Teeth

Philip Ball: Dracula Studies

25 October 2018
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote ‘Dracula’ 
by David J. Skal.
Norton, 672 pp., £15.99, October 2017, 978 1 63149 386 7
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The Cambridge Companion to ‘Dracula’ 
edited by Roger Luckhurst.
Cambridge, 219 pp., £17.99, November 2017, 978 1 316 60708 4
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The Vampire: A New History 
by Nick Groom.
Yale, 287 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 0 300 23223 3
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... of homosexual activity. There is, in any event, no evidence Stoker had a sexual relationship with another man. What we know of his frustrations, fantasies and fears we know from his stories. Dracula, Christopher Frayling writes in his preface to the Penguin edition, ‘was probably transgressing something – but the critics weren’t quite sure exactly what’. The author probably wasn’t sure either. All ...

Reader, he married her

Christopher​ Hitchens

10 May 1990
Tom Driberg: His Life and Indiscretions 
by Francis Wheen.
Chatto, 452 pp., £18, May 1990, 0 7011 3143 8
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... there is, as Wheen points out disgustedly and in detail, not a shred of supporting empirical evidence for them. None of the pimps for Curzon Street – not Pincher, not ‘West’, not Boyle, not Costello – has ever dredged up more than an innuendo, and even those were third hand and posthumous. Pincher didn’t even bother with the sub-Freudian niceties of an Abse, preferring to sink straight to ...
10 May 2018
Early Auden, Later Auden: A Critical Biography 
by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 912 pp., £27.95, May 2017, 978 0 691 17249 1
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... Auden as a Monster’: his prodigiousness does seem to have had something about it that could be rather shattering. The year after the New Verse special a thinly disguised Auden was the star turn in Christopher Isherwood’s novel Lions and Shadows, the first of many mythologising appearances in the reminiscences of his generation: ‘he struck me as being, so to speak, several sizes larger than life ...

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