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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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... probably, strangulation, since the condemned were attached to said board with a collar which might be fastened tightly for execution, or more loosely – the stocks. What then of hemlock? This, as DanielleAllen 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 ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: ‘The Bestseller Code’

17 November 2016
... belt, commander, do, have, immediately, it, life … There’s no question: it’s a war novel, all 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 ...

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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... it was time to put up or it was time to shut up, it was time to broach my subject: the subject of Troy, 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 ...

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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... that racism dictates who they can be, even what they allow themselves to say, ‘the forces that 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 ...

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