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Bloom’s Bible

Donald Davie, 13 June 1991

The Book of J 
translated by David Rosenberg, interpreted by Harold Bloom.
Faber, 286 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 571 16111 1
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... need is to have the already barely manageable ambiguities of Holy Writ compounded, as they are by David Rosenberg and Harold Bloom. To be sure, this response will seem pusillanimous. When believers, Jewish or Christian, read or hear what they take to be Holy Writ, it’s supposed that they respond complacently. But some of them at least respond needfully ...

Yes, die

Gerald Hammond, 23 May 1996

The Five Books of Moses 
translated by Everett Fox.
Harvill, 1024 pp., £25, March 1996, 1 86046 142 5
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... provide. The signs now are of a swing back to a different, more literal translation of the Bible. David Rosenberg’s The Book of J (1990) reads very differently from things like the Good News Bible or the Revised English Bible: The man named his wife Hava: she would have all who live, smooth the way, mother.     Now Yahweh made clothes from skins ...

From Pandemonium

Elizabeth Cook: Poetry wrested from mud, 1 September 2005

The Poems and Plays of Isaac Rosenberg 
edited by Vivien Noakes.
Oxford, 427 pp., £90, August 2004, 0 19 818715 7
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... In June 1914, the 24-year-old Isaac Rosenberg left his home in Stepney, East London, to stay with his married sister Minnie Horvitch in Cape Town in the hope that the climate might improve his health. He was in Cape Town when he heard that war had been declared. He responded in ‘On Receiving News of the War: Cape Town’: Snow is a strange white word ...

Cause and Effect

A.J. Ayer, 15 October 1981

Hume and the Problem of Causation 
by Tom Beauchamp and Alexander Rosenberg.
Oxford, 327 pp., £15, August 1981, 0 19 520236 8
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The Science of Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith 
by Knud Haakonssen.
Cambridge, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1981, 0 521 23891 9
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... On the flyleaf of Messrs Beauchamp and Rosenberg’s book about Hume’s theory of causation, Professor Donald Davidson says of it: ‘This is certainly the best available discussion of Hume and causality. It is much more than that, however: it is the best book-length treatment of causality.’ Professor Davidson is perhaps a little biased by the fact that the authors’ views on the nature of causality coincide so very closely with his own ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: David Jones’s War, 19 March 2015

... Last year​ – year one of the Great War centenary – David Jones’s In Parenthesis, a long prose-and-verse evocation of his first months as a soldier, got a decent outing. The poet Owen Sheers drew on the text for his play Mametz at National Theatre Wales in the summer; Faber reissued the book with T.S. Eliot’s introduction in its series Poets of the Great War; and in Poetry of the First World War (2013), Tim Kendall chose a fine sequence of extracts – sticking to the verse where he could – even though he reckoned that Jones is ‘by far the most difficult [poet] to anthologise ...

Bad Character

Andrew O’Hagan: Saul Bellow, 21 May 2015

The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-64 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 812 pp., £35, May 2015, 978 0 224 08467 3
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... outstripped anyone’s claim to possess their own story. Here he is writing to his oldest friend, David Peltz, who is thinly fictionalised as Woody Selbst in the story ‘A Silver Dish’ and as George Swiebel in Humboldt’s Gift. ‘What matters,’ Bellow wrote to Peltz when he complained of being used, is that good things get written … We’ve known ...

Faking It

Sam Gilpin: Paul Watkins, 10 August 2000

The Forger 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 343 pp., £9.99, July 2000, 0 571 20194 6
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... department. These events provide the backdrop for the fictional incidents recounted in The Forger. David Halifax, the protagonist and narrator, is an artist who arrives in Paris in 1939, at the age of 21, after he has been awarded a scholarship by a mysterious body, known only as the Levasseur Committee. The Committee handles his boarding fees and pays for ...

Six Wolfs, Three Weills

David Simpson: Emigration from Nazi Germany, 5 October 2006

Weimar in Exile: The Anti-Fascist Emigration in Europe and America 
by Jean-Michel Palmier, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 852 pp., £29.99, July 2006, 1 84467 068 6
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... Palmier’s sombre encyclopedia of exile, published in French in 1987 and now translated by David Fernbach, offers seemingly endless evidence of the ways in which exile often punished over and over again those who fled Germany after 1933. One story is symptomatic. Hans Bendgens-Henner, a pacifist refugee who had first settled in Holland, was expelled ...

Playing Fields, Flanders Fields

Paul Delany, 21 January 1982

War Diary 1913-1917: Chronicle of Youth 
by Vera Brittain, edited by Alan Bishop.
Gollancz, 382 pp., £8.50, September 1981, 0 575 02888 2
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The English Poets of the First World War 
by John Lehmann.
Thames and Hudson, 144 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 0 500 01256 3
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Voices from the Great War 
by Peter Vansittart.
Cape, 303 pp., £7.95, November 1981, 0 224 01915 5
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The Little Field-Marshal: Sir John French 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 427 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 0 224 01575 3
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... now admired as a kind of wartime reincarnation of Christopher Smart. Gurney trained as a musician, David Jones and Isaac Rosenberg as artists; they all served in the ranks and were excluded from the mainstream of literary life after the war – Rosenberg was dead, Gurney mad, Jones given ...

Balls and Strikes

Charles Reeve: Clement Greenberg, 5 April 2007

Art Czar: The Rise and Fall of Clement Greenberg 
by Alice Goldfarb Marquis.
Lund Humphries, 321 pp., £25, April 2006, 0 85331 940 5
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... The marriage of Pollock to Raphael infuriated Greenberg’s long-time antagonist Harold Rosenberg, who argued with a nod to Existentialism that mid-century abstraction was revolutionary because it wasn’t interested in any of the conventions of painting and thus offered a radically free arena in which to act. He was not alone. Greenberg’s notion ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken, 30 April 2009

... drawings relating to the Whitechapel Boys: the group of Jewish painters and writers (they included David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein, Mark Gertler and Isaac Rosenberg) who met in the library in the early decades of the 20th century. In the space at the top of the old library building is a selection, made by Michael ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... Norman Podhoretz). Queenie Leavis of course became an official widow, and it is les veuves on whom David Laskin relies most heavily in this relatively orderly account of sexual and matrimonial chaos. Diana Trilling outlived Lionel by many a book; Mary McCarthy enjoyed the same revenge on Edmund Wilson; the witches of Eastwick (lacking only their Hardwick) have ...

Theme-Park Prussia

David Blackbourn, 24 November 1994

Prussia: The Perversion of an Idea 
by Giles MacDonogh.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 456 pp., £20, July 1994, 1 85619 267 9
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... a negative light (as Ritter blocked German translations of books by the émigré historians Hans Rosenberg and Francis Carsten in the Fifties). In the next two decades a formidable array of scholars showed how much the Prussian monarchy, landed nobility, army and bureaucracy had contributed to the disastrous course of modern German history. Their mordant ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David Blackbourn: Weimar, 19 May 2016

Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present 
by Michael Kater.
Yale, 463 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 0 300 17056 6
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... Weimar for their own purposes: von Schirach for youth rallies, Goebbels for book weeks, Alfred Rosenberg for ideological training at the Nietzsche archive. The Degenerate Art exhibition, which included works by former Bauhaus painters, visited Weimar; in 1944, the theatre was shut down and taken over for arms production. A State Office for Race Studies was ...

There was and there was not

Jonathan Coe, 4 April 1991

To Know a Woman 
by Amos Oz, translated by Nicholas de Lange.
Chatto, 265 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 7011 3572 7
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The Smile of the Lamb 
by David Grossman, translated by Betsy Rosenberg.
Cape, 325 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 224 02639 9
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... Amos Oz and David Grossman are both political writers. This might seem an obvious statement, given that they are well-known for being politically vocal and have both written political (non-fiction) books consisting of interviews with their Palestinian and Israeli countrymen. But the main thing is that they also write intensely and truthfully political novels of the sort which tend to be thin on the ground in Britain ...

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