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Hegel’s Odyssey

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 3 October 1985

Hegel: The Letters 
translated by Clark Butler and Christine Seiler.
Indiana, 740 pp., $47.50, January 1985, 0 253 32715 6
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... him, for references to others, and for six of his own that were omitted from the Meiner volumes, Clark Butler’s careful if reverent edition is invaluable. In Berlin in the 1820s, Marie arranged tea, whist and supper for guests on Fridays, looked after Karl, Immanuel and the canary, and managed everything else, except the wine, in the house on ...

Why can’t she just do as she ought?

Michael Newton: ‘Gone with the Wind’, 6 August 2009

Frankly, My Dear: ‘Gone with the Wind’ Revisited 
by Molly Haskell.
Yale, 244 pp., £16.99, March 2009, 978 0 300 11752 3
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... only by his sense of honour. Her third husband is a more serious contender for her love: Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) is Scarlett’s male counterpart, just as devious, just as heated. He’s no gentleman, but then she’s no lady. Beguiled by Ashley, dismissive of sexual desire and apparently hostile to the idea of ...

Ducking and Dodging

R.W. Johnson: Agent Zigzag, 19 July 2007

Agent Zigzag 
by Ben Macintyre.
Bloomsbury, 372 pp., £14.99, January 2007, 978 0 7475 8794 1
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... he became a film extra, playing a starved-looking prisoner in The Colditz Story, and ended up as Clark Gable’s butler in Hollywood. Macintyre says he got the idea for his book from reading Chapman’s obituary (he died, aged 83, in 1997), but he might just as easily have made Faramus the central character. Chapman was ...

Post-Modern Vanguard

Edward Mendelson, 3 September 1981

After the Wake: An Essay on the Contemporary Avant-Garde 
by Christopher Butler.
Oxford, 177 pp., £7.95, November 1980, 0 19 815766 5
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... Christopher Butler’s survey of post-war literature, music and painting maintains a judicious critical distance from its subject. Readers who wish a more direct report from the front lines of the avant-garde should consult a new anthology, Collective Consciousness: Art Performances in the Seventies, edited by Jean Dupuy ...

Vibrating to the Chord of Queer

Elaine Showalter: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, 6 March 2003

Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity 
by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.
Duke, 216 pp., £14.95, March 2003, 0 8223 3015 6
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Regarding Sedgwick: Essays on Queer Culture and Critical Theory 
edited by Stephen Barber and David Clark.
Routledge, 285 pp., £55, September 2002, 0 415 92818 4
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... of her body, an X-ray and CAT-scan images of her spine. Interviewed by Stephen Barber and David Clark, the editors of Regarding Sedgwick, she said that she was finding it hard to ‘take pleasure in writing’, and was much more drawn to the visual than the verbal, to texture rather than texts. In her introduction to Touching Feeling, a collection of essays ...

Scientific Fraud

Peter Medawar, 17 November 1983

Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science 
by William Broad and Nicholas Wade.
Century, 256 pp., £8.95, July 1983, 0 7126 0243 7
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... entirely understandable that George Bernard Shaw should have done so, but less obvious why Samuel Butler should have been among their number, especially as he expressed better than anyone else the essence of the teaching of that August Weismann who overthrew Lamarckism. Butler said that according to Weismann ‘a hen is ...

The Verity of Verity

Marilyn Butler, 1 August 1996

Essays in Appreciation 
by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 363 pp., £25, March 1996, 0 19 818344 5
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... the others (prefaced by ‘Literature and the Matter of Fact’) were linked as a series for the Clark Lectures at Cambridge in 1991. The three together make a discrete topic, for (unlike the George Eliot essay) they are each called after the Life of a great writer written by a friend or family member: ‘E.C. Gaskell’s Charlotte Brontë’, ‘Froude’s ...

Shoulder-Shrugging

Julian Critchley, 11 December 1997

Dear Bill: Bill Deedes Reports 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 333 71386 9
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... Nabarro. After the ‘Night of the Long Knives’, when Macmillan was panicked by a typical Rab Butler indiscretion into sacking the dead wood in his Cabinet, Deedes was brought in to oversee the Government’s public relations. Spin-doctors were unheard of at that time, and Deedes’s task was to exploit his Fleet Street contacts to the Government’s ...

Picasso and Tragedy

T.J. Clark, 16 August 2017

... disbelief, the suffering of animals – none of these realities ‘falls into place’. Judith Butler in a recent essay, looking for a basis on which a future politics might be built, asks her readers to consider the idea of a collectivity founded on weakness. ‘Vulnerability, affiliation and collective resistance’: these, she argues, are such a ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... as he looks.’ In that mode of feline understatement, nothing can overtake the words of Kenneth Clark (who was all eyes), that ‘Cyril was not conventionally handsome.’ The crayon sketch of Connolly on the jacket, by Augustus John, is no oil painting. But what might make us reluctant to spring to Connolly’s defence is that he said the same sort of ...

The Doctrine of Unripe Time

Ferdinand Mount: The Fifties, 16 November 2006

Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties 
by Peter Hennessy.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, October 2006, 0 7139 9571 8
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... objective of buying industrial peace at any price, just as he had preferred the emollient Rab Butler to the more abrasive Oliver Lyttelton for the Treasury. Butler was in fact attracted by the most daring of all breakout policies, the most tantalising of all the might-have-beens: the plan to let the pound float and so ...

Back home

Mary Warnock, 1 September 1983

Cohabitation without Marriage 
by Michael Freeman and Christina Lyon.
Gower, 228 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 566 00455 0
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A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture 
by Steven Mintz.
New York, 234 pp., $32.50, May 1983, 0 8147 5388 4
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What is to be done about the family? 
edited by Lynne Segal.
Penguin, 237 pp., £2.50, April 1983, 0 14 006596 2
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‘Autistic’ Children: New Hope for a Cure 
by N. Tinbergen and E.A. Tinbergen.
Allen and Unwin, 362 pp., £19.50, April 1983, 0 04 157010 3
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Thicker than water? Adoption: Its Loyalties, Pitfalls and Joys 
by Alice Heim.
Secker, 211 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 436 19155 5
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The Artificial Family: A Consideration of Artificial Insemination by Donor 
by R. Snowden and G.D. Mitchell.
Counterpoint, 138 pp., £2.95, April 1983, 0 04 176002 6
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... might ultimately need all the help they could get from their siblings. Those, like Samuel Butler, who attempted to break away from the family, or who wrote about it frankly or satirically, were afflicted by the most terrible guilt. What we may think of as the great era of the family, to which we half-nostalgically turn our thoughts at Christmas ...

A Life without a Jolt

Ferdinand Mount: M.R. James, 26 January 2012

Collected Ghost Stories 
by M.R. James.
Oxford, 468 pp., £14.99, October 2011, 978 0 19 956884 0
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... are so often women, spurned or murdered or guilt-ridden: Mrs Mothersole in ‘The Ash Tree’, Ann Clark in ‘Martin’s Close’, Theodosia Bryan in ‘A Neighbour’s Landmark’ and the terrible figure in ‘a shapeless sort of blackened sun-bonnet’ in ‘Wailing Well’. We don’t need to have read any of the Freud which James would have run several ...

Where are we now?

LRB Contributors: Responses to the Referendum, 13 July 2016

... David Runciman, Neal Ascherson, James Butler, T.J. Clark, Jonathan Coe, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Daniel Finn, Dawn Foster, Jeremy Harding, Colin Kidd, Ross McKibbin, Philippe Marlière, James Meek, Pankaj Mishra, Jan-Werner Müller, Susan Pedersen, J.G.A. Pocock, Nick Richardson, Nicholas Spice, Wolfgang Streeck, Daniel TrillingDavid RuncimanSo who​ is to blame? Please don’t say the voters: 17,410,742 is an awful lot of people to be wrong on a question of this magnitude ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... were three government ministers, William Waldegrave from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Alan Clark from the DTI and Lord Trefgarne from Defence. On the agenda was what to do about the export of arms and arms-related equipment to the Gulf region in light of the changed circumstances brought about by peace. To the extent that the Howe guidelines were ...

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