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Tsk, Ukh, Hmmm

Michael Newton: Forgetting to remember to forget

23 February 2006
Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 287 pp., £18.95, May 2005, 1 890951 49 8
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... Kipling’s mother tongue may have been English, but those other mothers, the native nurses and household servants, had left their mark on him. In Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language, DanielHeller-Roazen recounts a parallel story. Elias Canetti grew up in Bulgaria speaking Ladino, the ‘largely medieval Spanish of the Sephardim’. Bulgarian was the language used by the family servants. However ...

Feeling feeling

Brian Dillon: Sense of Self

5 June 2008
The Inner Touch: Archaeology of a Sensation 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 386 pp., £21.95, June 2007, 978 1 890951 76 4
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... Essays had lost as he hit the ground was not consciousness as such. Montaigne still thinks, and knows that he thinks, but his actual ‘self’ is bound up with his rapidly diminishing sensorium. As DanielHeller-Roazen argues in his rich and elegant book, a more enigmatic formulation of the sense of self than we are used to was still at work in the 16th century: its place had not yet been usurped by ...

Enemies of All Mankind

Stephen Sedley: Pirates

24 June 2010
The Treatment of Prisoners under International Law 
by Nigel Rodley, with Matt Pollard.
Oxford, 697 pp., £85, August 2009, 978 0 19 921507 2
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The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 295 pp., £21.95, November 2009, 978 1 890951 94 8
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The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates 
by Peter Leeson.
Princeton, 271 pp., £16.95, May 2009, 978 0 691 13747 6
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... captured by an American vessel off the west coast of Africa, brought back to New York, tried there for piracy by a judge and jury and sentenced according to law. Although he knows of the Gordon case, DanielHeller-Roazen appears not to understand all this. Since his chair at Princeton is in comparative literature, this would be unsurprising if his book were what for much of its length it appears to be ...


Daniel Heller-Roazen: The Story of Yiddish

2 November 2006
Early Yiddish Texts 1100-1750 
edited by Jerold Frakes.
Oxford, 889 pp., £100, December 2004, 9780199266142
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Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature 
by Jean Baumgarten, edited and translated by Jerold Frakes.
Oxford, 459 pp., £75, June 2005, 0 19 927633 1
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The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture 
by David Fishman.
Pittsburgh, 190 pp., £23.50, November 2005, 0 8229 4272 0
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Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture 
by Jeffrey Shandler.
California, 263 pp., £26.95, November 2005, 0 520 24416 8
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... Like many others of his time, Kafka called Yiddish ‘jargon’. This was one of various names for the language, and Kafka, who knew several, could have used another had he so wished. But ‘jargon’ was an exact name for the unsettled and unsettling thing he took the language of the Eastern European Jews to be. ‘Jargon,’ he wrote, ‘is the youngest European language – barely four hundred years ...

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