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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Eastern Promises’

15 November 2007
Eastern Promises 
directed by David Cronenberg.
October 2007
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... safely (if painfully and disastrously) in the mind. No director realises this more clearly than David Cronenberg. He is best known no doubt for The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988) and his much vilified Crash (1996), but some of us have a soft spot, if that’s the term, for his early work The Brood (1979), a classic instance of the acting-out theory. A ...

Man-Eating Philosophers

Will Self: David Cronenberg

17 June 2015
by David Cronenberg.
Fourth Estate, 288 pp., £18.99, October 2014, 978 0 00 729915 7
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... After working​ on his film adaptation of William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch (1991), David Cronenberg apotheosised both the writer and himself by claiming his screenwriting and Burroughs’s literary style had synergised. Cronenberg apparently mused that were Burroughs to die he might write his next novel ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: How to Type like a Man

10 May 2007
... of The Iron Whim concerns itself with the likes of Paul Auster, Bram Stoker, William Burroughs, David Cronenberg, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, J.G. Ballard and Hunter S. Thompson: in other words, men. He says more than once that he’s less interested in typewriters as machines (once upon a time the word also referred to the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘A Dangerous Method’

8 March 2012
A Dangerous Method 
directed by David Cronenberg.
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... patient is Jung’s, a disturbed woman not at all underplayed by Keira Knightley. The movie – David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, with a screenplay by Christopher Hampton – opens with a view of her struggling against her captors in a horse-drawn coach (the date is 1904) and being delivered to a posh sanatorium in Switzerland. She goes rigid ...

Junk Mail

Jeremy Harding

23 September 1993
The Letters of William Burroughs, 1949-1959 
edited by Oliver Harris.
Picador, 472 pp., £17.50, August 1993, 0 330 33074 8
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... act. As for his fellow creatures, they are to be found not in the entomologist’s nightmare, as David Cronenberg would have it, but in the homestead paradigm of the old American TV series. Burroughs belongs, along with Lassie and Champion the Wonder Horse, in a dignified menagerie of beasts who have performed incredible feats with only an inkling of ...

Surrealist Circus Animals

Ned Beauman: Jeff VanderMeer

16 August 2017
by Jeff VanderMeer.
Fourth Estate, 323 pp., £12.99, June 2017, 978 0 00 815917 7
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... really separates Borne from the creations of artists like Bourgeois and de Bruyckere – and of David Cronenberg, whom VanderMeer has noted as a major influence – is that the rank odours of sex and disease are what give body horror its potency. In comparison, VanderMeer’s menagerie can feel rather antiseptic, not to mention symbolically ...

Straight to the Multiplex

Tom McCarthy: Steven Hall’s ‘The Raw Shark Texts’

1 November 2007
The Raw Shark Texts 
by Steven Hall.
Canongate, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2007, 978 1 84195 902 3
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... from the outside is what drives The Picture of Dorian Gray, or Frankenstein, or the films of David Lynch. To watch yourself from outside is, according to the textbook, to watch yourself as dead – and both Hall and his hero understand this all too well. Holed up in his flat, Eric Sanderson reads letter after letter sent to him by ‘the First Eric ...

Pure Vibe

Christopher Tayler: Don DeLillo

4 May 2016
Zero K 
by Don DeLillo.
Picador, 274 pp., £16.99, May 2016, 978 1 5098 2285 0
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... so on. Then he returns with elliptical reports from which the tribe’s younger storytellers, from David Foster Wallace on, set about extracting a style and a tone attuned to new ways of feeling and not feeling. One constant throughout these risk-filled spirit voyages has been DeLillo’s superbly take-it-or-leave-it posture towards the laity. ‘The writer ...

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