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Instant Depths

Michael Wood

7 July 1994
The Cryptogram 
by David Mamet.
The Ambassador's Theatre
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A Whore’s Profession: Notes and Essays 
by David Mamet.
Faber, 412 pp., £12.99, June 1994, 0 571 17076 5
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... The earlier plays of DavidMamet seemed to spring from a meeting between Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter, as if the characters from The Caretaker or The Homecoming had caught the American anxieties of Death of a Salesman. Pinter is ...

Magician behind Bars

Michael Rogin: David Mamet​ in a Cul de Sac

2 July 1998
The Old Religion 
by David Mamet.
Faber, 194 pp., £9.99, May 1998, 0 571 19260 2
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... direction. Reincarnated as a punch-bag swaying from a tree, that sack comes to signify the body of the black boxer in Body and Soul who (in a reversal of the Leo Frank case) has died to save the Jew. DavidMamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 22 plays and 14 screenplays (and director of five films), has written a novel about Leo Frank. Although The Old Religion credits some of the sources from ...

Which is the hero?

David​ Edgar

20 March 1997
Henrik Ibsen 
by Robert Ferguson.
Cohen, 466 pp., £25, November 1996, 1 86066 078 9
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... In fact, the structures, with their very precise demand that we address the questions Ibsen wants us to address about intense human dilemmas, demonstrate that he was not a Shavian but a Mametian. For DavidMamet, drama poses questions the conscious mind cannot answer, questions whose complexity and depth render them insusceptible to rational examination. For Ferguson, Nora Helming’s escape from the ...

Making faces

Philip Horne

9 May 1991
The Grimace 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Grafton, 256 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 246 13770 3
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Playing the game 
by Ian Buruma.
Cape, 234 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 224 02758 1
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The Music of Chance 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 217 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 9780571161577
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... to achieve clarity.’ The clarity of The Music of Chance in the face of its potently presented inner and outer chaos is such that one occasionally imagines it could be easily made into a movie (by DavidMamet, perhaps, another connoisseur of the disturbing set-up), but then come such wonderful moments as the following, when Nashe and the gambler Pozzi arrive for the big game:Nashe put the car into ...

American Manscapes

Richard Poirier

12 October 1989
Manhood and the American Renaissance 
by David​ Leverenz.
Cornell, 372 pp., $35.75, April 1989, 0 8014 2281 7
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... all these won’t for long dissuade the hearty reader from going back to the classics as to some plate of infamous goodies. Meanwhile, FDA criticism will probably earn a few more adherents thanks to David Leverenz’s Manhood and the American Renaissance. It is better than most such books because, for one thing, he is at times a competent if constricted close reader, while being at heart resentful ...
22 July 1993
Politics by Other Means: Higher Education and Group Thinking 
by David​ Bromwich.
Yale, 296 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 300 05702 4
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Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts can Revitalise American Education 
by Gerald Graff.
Norton, 224 pp., £13.95, March 1993, 0 393 03424 0
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... Thanks to DavidMamet’s new play Oleanna, the distracted, bumbling and self-regarding male professor has now become the archetypal victim of political correctness. Mamet’s John is victimised by Carol, the ultimate female intellectual mediocrity who gets her revenge on his patronising didacticism by turning him in to the university tenure committee on grounds of ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012

3 January 2013
... draws the French flag on each cheek and on her forehead and colours them in. This is done so unselfconsciously and without a smile R. feels that for this alone they deserve to win. Brian, Stewie, DavidMamet, Alan Bennett and Yasmina Reza in Family Guy. 25 April. At five a car comes to take me down to Silk studios on Berwick Street to record a voiceover (of my own voice) for an episode of Family ...

Benefits of Diaspora

Eric Hobsbawm: The Jewish Emancipation

20 October 2005
... and Kafka makes his enormous posthumous impact on the century. Conversely, moved by the general American – perhaps global – meanings of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, we barely notice, as DavidMamet has reminded us, how recognisably Jewish is the experience on which it is based. In the visual arts, one or two distinguished figures who happened to be Jews (Liebermann, Pissarro) gave way to ...

Nothing Natural

Jenny Turner: SurrogacyTM

13 January 2020
Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism against Family 
by Sophie Lewis.
Verso, 216 pp., £14.99, May 2019, 978 1 78663 729 1
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Making Kin Not Population 
edited by Adele Clarke and Donna Haraway.
Prickly Paradigm, 120 pp., £10, July 2018, 978 0 9966355 6 1
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... WAGs and anti-abortionist Christians. But American surrogates are expensive, so there is always a demand for babies produced in places where life is cheaper. Google Baby introduced us to Doron Mamet-Meged, an Israeli entrepreneur who paid $140,000 for an American surrogate to carry his daughter. In IT, he knew, costs were being cut by sending everything possible to India, so he got into the ...

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