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Clinging to the Sides of a Black, Precipitous Hole

James Davidson: Writes about The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens by Danielle Allen, 24 August 2000

The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens 
by Danielle Allen.
Princeton, 449 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 691 05869 5
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... be fastened tightly for execution, or more loosely – the stocks. What then of hemlock? This, as Danielle Allen demonstrates very cogently in The World of Prometheus, is a major problem. If we confine ourselves to contemporary Athenian sources, the case of Socrates stands out as unique. Hemlock is found not in discussions of punishment but of ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: ‘The Bestseller Code’, 17 November 2016

... action, brisk writing, with a certain underlying violence.’ The authors of The Bestseller Code (Allen Lane, £20), Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers, are both literary computer people: Archer worked for Penguin, did an English PhD at Stanford and then went to work for Apple; Jockers is the cofounder of Stanford’s ‘Literary Lab’ in Silicon Valley. They ...

It makes yer head go

David Craig: James Kelman and Gordon Legge, 18 February 1999

The Good Times 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 246 pp., £14.99, July 1998, 0 436 41215 2
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Near Neighbours 
by Gordon Legge.
Cape, 218 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05120 2
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... Danny Lamb and the mysterious – nay, extraordinary – duplicating that went by the name of Danielle. Notice that the narrative gist enveloped in these sawing, hammering repetitions and wall-to-wall clichés is just a spelling-out of what all readers know full well, as though Legge was trying to make his prose idiot-proof. And what is that bookish ...

About to Pop

Madeleine Schwartz: Kathleen Collins, 4 July 2019

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? 
by Kathleen Collins.
Granta, 192 pp., £8.99, February 2018, 978 1 78378 341 0
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Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works 
by Kathleen Collins.
Ecco, 464 pp., £14, February 2019, 978 0 06 280095 4
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... pressure African-American characters towards what we now call “respectability politics”’, as Danielle Evans writes in her introduction. ‘Coloured people don’t talk about sex,’ a woman says in one of Collins’s plays. ‘You ever notice that … they are so exposed in this life they are unwilling to admit to any further undressing.’In the story ...

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