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I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... he may have been so bruised by the initial beatdown that it wasn’t much consolation. In 1999, Cynthia Ozick published an essay in Commentary imposingly titled ‘The Rights of History and the Rights of Imagination’ that called Styron’s intent into suspicion. ‘The investigation of motive is history’s task, and here a suspicion emerges: that ...

How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry

Norman Finkelstein: Uses of the Holocaust, 6 January 2000

The Holocaust in American Life 
by Peter Novick.
Houghton Mifflin, 320 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 395 84009 0
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... to justify the necessity of a Jewish state and to account for any hostility directed at Israel. Cynthia Ozick, for example, writing in Esquire in 1974, explained criticism of Israel by saying: ‘The world wants to wipe out the Jews ... the world has always wanted to wipe out the Jews.’ Deploring the ‘Holocaust lesson’ of eternal Gentile ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... were. Lionel Trilling published a book on E.M. Forster’s fiction in 1944. In 1972, he wrote to Cynthia Ozick that it wasn’t until I had finished my book on Forster that I came to the explicit realisation that he was homosexual. I’m not sure whether this was because of a particular obtuseness on my part or because … homosexuality hadn’t yet ...

Travelling in the Classic Style

Thomas Laqueur: Primo Levi, 5 September 2002

Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics 
by Robert Gordon.
Oxford, 316 pp., £45, October 2001, 0 19 815963 3
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Primo Levi 
by Ian Thomson.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £25, March 2002, 0 09 178531 6
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The Double Bond: Primo Levi, a Biography 
by Carole Angier.
Viking, 898 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 670 88333 6
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... in the camps and who, even as a graduate student, had read none of his father’s works, agreed. Cynthia Ozick, a great defender of Israel, read what she and many Americans regarded as the new pessimism and despair of The Drowned and the Saved as ‘Primo Levi’s suicide note’. Italian critics did not read it that way and, despite his claim that ...

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