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Inside the Barrel

Brent Hayes Edwards: The French Slave Trade, 10 September 2009

Memoires des esclavages: la fondation d’un centre national pour la memoire des esclavages et de leurs abolitions 
by Edouard Glissant.
Gallimard, 192 pp., €14.90, May 2007, 978 2 07 078554 4
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The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade 
by Christopher Miller.
Duke, 571 pp., £20.99, March 2008, 978 0 8223 4151 2
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... too, to imagine Toni Morrison or Caryl Phillips being asked to take charge of such matters. As Christopher Miller points out in The French Atlantic Triangle, in France ‘literature was one of the most important battlegrounds for the debate on slavery.’ But in spite of the wealth of scholarship on the Atlantic slave trade, surprisingly little ...

Horrible Dead Years

Christopher Prendergast, 24 March 1994

Baudelaire 
by Joanna Richardson.
Murray, 602 pp., £30, March 1994, 0 7195 4813 6
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... would have thought, for example, that, after Edward Said’s Orientalism and the important work of Christopher Miller on Baudelairean ‘exoticism’, the youthful trip to the Ile de la Réunion would have produced something more analytically strenuous than references to ‘his Oriental odyssey’, ‘negresses with shadowy hair, the smell of musk ...

Back to Reality

David Edgar: Arthur Miller and the Oblong Blur, 18 March 2004

Arthur MillerA Life 
by Martin Gottfried.
Faber, 484 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 571 21946 2
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... In his 1987 autobiography, Arthur Miller tells of a conversation with a Kentucky farmer about the Holy Ghost. Pressed to give a definition of the most mysterious element in the Trinity, the farmer replied: ‘I figure it’s sort of an oblong blur.’ In a later interview, Miller used the same phrase to describe the political mood of the late 1970s: ‘We were living in what to me was a kind of oblong blur ...

Artovsky Millensky

Andrew O’Hagan: The Misfit, 1 January 2009

Arthur Miller, 1915-62 
by Christopher Bigsby.
Weidenfeld, 739 pp., £30, November 2008, 978 0 297 85441 8
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... Even as late as the 1950s, at the height of his fame as a playwright, Arthur Miller would periodically leave his nice house to hang around the dockyards. He had worked for two years in the 1930s at a car parts warehouse, where he first encountered anti-semitism and suspicion. Reading Russian novels on his way into work, he found, when he considered it later, that the workers ‘feared his intelligence, his application, his ambition and his thrift, taking all these as tokens of his Jewish identity ...

Montereale

Christopher Hill, 6 November 1980

The Cheese and the Worms: the Cosmos of a 16th-Century Miller 
by Carlo Ginzburg, translated by John Tedeschi and Anne Tedeschi.
Routledge, 177 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 7100 0591 1
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... found another. Domenico Scandella, known as Menocchio, lived from 1532 to 1599 or 1600. He was a miller, who spent nearly all his life in Montereale, a small hill town in the Friuli, part of the Venetian republic. The occupation of miller set Menocchio apart. ‘The mill was a place of meeting, of social relations, in a ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... third most written about person in the ‘LRB’ archive, after Shakespeare and Freud. Here Karl Miller’s memories of the paper in her day are accompanied by extracts from some of the pieces published at the time. On the morning Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced, the lesser lights of television who were minding the shop did her proud. A river of ...

On Richard Hollis

Christopher Turner: Richard Hollis, 24 May 2018

... a portrait of Glazebrook, he chose to represent him with Hollis’s 1970 catalogue in his lap. Christopher Wilson’s excellent Richard Hollis Designs for the Whitechapel, the final book from Hyphen Press, is not only a detailed analysis of the work of Hollis, with whom Wilson collaborated from 1999 to 2004, but a story of aesthetic and social change as ...

About Myself

Liam McIlvanney: James Hogg, 18 November 2004

The Electric Shepherd: A Likeness of James Hogg 
by Karl Miller.
Faber, 401 pp., £25, August 2003, 0 571 21816 4
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Altrive Tales 
by James Hogg, edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 293 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 7486 1893 7
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... The author of the Noctes was John Wilson, who constructed dialogues between his own alter ego (‘Christopher North’) and that of Hogg (‘the Shepherd’). The Shepherd gets the best lines – better, some have suggested, than anything Hogg ever wrote – but he is also made to look a ‘boozing buffoon’. He says things like, ‘Hoots, man – I dinna ...

Taking sides

Karl Miller, 17 April 1980

W.H. Auden: The Life of a Poet 
by Charles Osborne.
Eyre Methuen, 336 pp., £7.95, March 1980, 0 413 39670 3
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... plenty of items relating to the poet’s promiscuous sex life: at the same time, he observes what Christopher Ricks has identified as an honourable Victorian reticence as to the inner life and motives of his subject. In other words, his way with facts is such that reticence and candour meet, and that, apart from the details of publication and ...

English Changing

Frank Kermode, 7 February 1980

The State of the Language 
edited by Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks.
California, 609 pp., £14.95, January 1980, 0 520 03763 4
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... however, professors of literature who think we should rather go along with or encourage change. Christopher Ricks writes on clichés, contesting the common view that their prevalence is a sign of decadence: since we can’t beat them, he says, we ought to join them, or rather change them and use them in surprising ways, like the poets Geoffrey Hill and Bob ...

Dostoevsky’s America

Karl Miller, 3 September 1981

In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison 
by Jack Henry Abbott.
Random House, 166 pp., $11.95, June 1981, 0 394 51858 6
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... In March of the following year, in the London Review of Books, the book was examined at length by Christopher Ricks, whose piece was reprinted – at Mailer’s suggestion, or so I was told at the time – in the form of an advertisement in the New York Review of Books. The piece was laudatory – excited, even exalted: it argued for special qualities of ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Everybody loves the OED, 20 April 1989

... to a work of his own, and also a parapraxis (‘my own mother, Rates of Exchange’) which Christopher Ricks, come all the way from Boston to perform an unjetlagged, nay virtuoso lexical dance before the ark, dexterously picked up and developed in a perfectly smooth improvisation.It emerged that everybody loves the OED, not always as devotedly as ...

Demi-Paradises

Gabriele Annan, 7 June 1984

Milady Vine: The Autobiography of Philippe de Rothschild 
edited by Joan Littlewood.
Cape, 247 pp., £10.95, June 1984, 0 224 02208 3
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I meant to marry him: A Personal Memoir 
by Jean MacGibbon.
Gollancz, 182 pp., £10.95, May 1984, 0 575 03412 2
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... Imagine a mixture of Maurice Chevalier (Gallic charm), Max Miller (the Cheeky Chappie), and Don Juan, with a boastful list of sexual conquests on which contesse, baronesse, marchesine, principesse line up with famous literary and theatrical ladies as well as top professionals in another field. The man is also a racing driver, yachtsman, avant-garde theatre and film producer, poet, translator of Elizabethan verse and Christopher Fry, and the inventor of the windscreen-wiper, starlight electric bulbs and château bottling, not to speak of his being a Rothschild ...

The Wrong Blond

Alan Bennett, 23 May 1985

Auden in Love 
by Dorothy Farnan.
Faber, 264 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 571 13399 1
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... are, not what you pretend to be. You, Wystan, will find him very soon, within three months. You, Christopher, will have to wait much longer for yours ... At present he is only four years old.If looking for Mr Right was what it was, this celebrated voyage that put paid to a decade, it was lucky that Auden’s quest so soon found its object. Otherwise the ...

Georgie

Karl Miller, 18 September 1980

The Oxford Chekov. Vol. IV: Stories 1888-1889 
edited by Ronald Hingley.
Oxford, 287 pp., £14, July 1980, 0 19 211389 5
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... an uncle and a priest (you need to consult the notes to be quite sure that Chekhov thought Father Christopher silly), Yegorushka travels the prairies of Southern Russia, as Chekhov had lately done and as he had done before in his youth. He transfers for a while to a caravan of carters, perched on the loads. The birds and plants of the steppe are observed. A ...

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