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What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... It sure as hell wasn’t you!’ In Walls Come Tumbling Down, an oral history of the campaign, Daniel Rachel describes what happened next. Several hundred people – music fans, young Jewish punks, even the future broadcaster Rod Liddle, then at school in Middlesbrough – wrote back to Saunders, pledging their support for his initiative. An informal ...

Rachel and Her Race

Patrick Parrinder, 18 August 1994

Constructions of ‘the Jew’ in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875-1945 
by Bryan Cheyette.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £35, November 1993, 0 521 44355 5
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The Jewish Heritage in British History: Englishness and Jewishness 
edited by Tony Kushner.
Cass, 234 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7146 3464 6
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... delighting her audience with a glimpse of hell. Vashti is easily identified as the tragedian Elisa Rachel, whom Charlotte Brontë had seen in London in 1851. Sarah Bernhardt may be better known today, but it was Rachel who haunted the English literary imagination throughout the 19th century. In James’s The Tragic Muse, the ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Deborah Friedell: ‘The First Actresses’, 3 November 2011

... and the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer stand together over a cauldron as the witches in Macbeth by Daniel Gardner (c.1775), women pretending to be actresses pretending to be witches. Overwhelming the exhibition is a huge copy done by Reynolds’s studio of Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse (1784); the portrait shows Siddons sitting on an antique throne like ...


Roger Hodge: The Comanches, 15 December 2011

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanche Tribe 
by S.C. Gwynne.
Constable, 483 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 1 84901 703 9
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... empowered them to make the barbarian deserts bloom. ‘The elect are a wrathful people,’ Elder Daniel Parker said, ‘because they are the natural enemies of the non-elect.’ When the Indians arrived, ten of the Parker men were working in the fields about a mile away. Six men, including James and Silas Parker, both Texas Rangers, were still at the ...


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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... of all Jews, was to be revived: ‘jargon’ had to go. It was a consciously executed programme. Rachel Katznelson, who was born in what is today Belarus and who immigrated to Palestine in 1912, observed in 1918: ‘We had to betray Yiddish, even though we paid for it, as with any betrayal.’ By 1922, when the British Mandate recognised Hebrew as an ...

Bile, Blood, Bilge, Mulch

Daniel Soar: What’s got into Martin Amis?, 4 January 2007

House of Meetings 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 198 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 0 224 07609 4
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... grotesques that animate all Amis’s novels – from the scabrous adolescent narrator of The Rachel Papers (1973) to the leeches and locusts of House of Meetings – belong in Frye’s fourth and final mythic category, ‘winter’, which stipulates monsters for the apocalypse. But, here as elsewhere, Amis mistakes his Frye: satire is ‘militant’ not ...


Iain Sinclair: At Bluewater, 3 January 2002

... of popcorn and hogsheads of energy-boosting drinks. These days only the fake is truly authentic. Rachel Lichtenstein, with whom I wrote Rodinsky’s Room, was dragged here to choose a wedding dress. She lived in Hackney, her mother in Southend: Bluewater was the obvious rendezvous. Twenty minutes in the malls and the ceremony was about to be called ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... used for the filming.I first saw the house in 1968. Jonathan Miller lives in the same street and Rachel, his wife, saw the ‘For Sale’ sign go up. It belonged to an American woman who kept parrots and there were perches in the downstairs room and also in its small garden. Slightly older than the other houses in the crescent, like many of them it had been ...

Will to Literature

David Trotter: Modernism plc, 13 May 1999

Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture 
by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 227 pp., £16.95, January 1999, 0 300 07050 0
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Modernism, Technology and the Body: A Cultural Study 
by Tim Armstrong.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £14.95, March 1998, 0 521 59997 0
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Body Ascendant: Modernism and the Physical Imperative 
by Harold Segel.
Johns Hopkins, 282 pp., £30, September 1998, 0 8018 5821 6
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Solid Objects: Modernism and the Test of Production 
by Douglas Mao.
Princeton, 308 pp., £32.50, November 1998, 0 691 05926 8
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... to an audience of fifty at the Kensington home of Lord and Lady Glenconner on the poetry of Arnaut Daniel, but the one Marinetti was due to give to an audience of five hundred at the Bechstein Hall on Futurism. ‘“Futurist” Leader in London,’ reported the Daily Chronicle, ‘Makes an Attack on the English Nation.’ If you can’t beat them, join them ...


Jackson Lears: Ralph Nader’s novel, 8 April 2010

Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 
by Ralph Nader.
Seven Stories, 733 pp., $27.50, September 2009, 978 1 58322 903 3
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... the number of dead birds on campus led him to demand an investigation into DDT (a decade before Rachel Carson), and then to Harvard Law School, where he scraped by, never unpacking his boxes, consuming huge meals of yankee pot roast and strawberry shortcake, disappearing on long hitchhiking trips, reappearing the night before an exam. What really engaged ...

I gotta use words

Mark Ford: Eliot speaks in tongues, 11 August 2016

The Poems of T.S. Eliot: Volume I: Collected & Uncollected Poems 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.
Faber, 1311 pp., £40, November 2015, 978 0 571 23870 5
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The Poems of T.S. Eliot: Volume II: Practical Cats & Further Verses 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.
Faber, 667 pp., £40, November 2015, 978 0 571 23371 7
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... of J. Alfred Prufrock’), and the phrase ‘Let us go now …’ which occurs in Chapter 40 of Daniel Deronda (with ‘street’ and ‘sky’ later in the paragraph); between ‘When the evening is spread out against the sky’ (line 2 of ‘Prufrock’) and Thomas Hardy’s ‘forms there flung/Against the sky’ (‘The Abbey Mason’); between ...

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