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In the beginning was A.J. Ayer

Brian Barry, 20 June 1985

Moral Relativity 
by David Wong.
California, 248 pp., £28, July 1984, 0 520 04976 4
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Beyond Subjective Morality: Ethical Reasoning and Political Philosophy 
by James Fishkin.
Yale, 201 pp., £17.50, January 1984, 0 300 03048 7
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... of ‘advice to the lovelorn’ and meta-ethics is pulled away from abstract word-spinning. Both Wong’s and Fishkin’s books belong to the new wave, in that they are primarily concerned to argue general theses about morality, rather than to argue for particular substantive moral conclusions. But the authors understand that it really makes a difference for ...

The New Piracy

Charles Glass: Terror on the High Seas, 18 December 2003

... sentenced 13 of them to death. The ‘boss’, a powerful Indonesian Chinese businessman known as David Wong, was arrested in Indonesia and sent to prison for six years. Wong is by no means the only boss. Sony Wei, the leader of the pirates who hijacked the Chang Sheng, spoke, in the course of his testimony, of working ...


Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater, 6 February 2020

The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. III: Imaginary Portraits 
edited by Lene Østermark-Johansen.
Oxford, 359 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 882343 8
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The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. IV: Gaston de Latour 
edited by Gerald Monsman.
Oxford, 399 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 881616 4
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Walter Pater: Selected Essays 
edited by Alex Wong.
Carcanet, 445 pp., £18.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 626 3
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... be no secondary literature to speak of on his unfinished experimental novel Gaston de Latour. Alex Wong’s intelligent selection for Carcanet includes the obligatory essays on Leonardo (1869), Botticelli (1870) and Giorgione (1877), as well as the notorious conclusion to The Renaissance (1873), but those more familiar texts make up well under a third of a ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... lists, but the lists themselves are interesting. For example: Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, James Wong Howe, Dudley Nichols, Clifford Odets, Robert Rossen, John Garfield, Charlie Chaplin and Leo McCarey all attended a reception in July 1943 for the Soviet director and administrator Mikhail Kalatozov. At that time Russian and American propaganda methods ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman, 19 March 1998

Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... John Hannon in a journal extract published in the Bristol magazine, Entropy. (Hannon describes how David Jay Brown and John Lilly in Mavericks of the Mind ‘discuss the notion that ketamine renders the brain directly susceptible to TV transmissions.’ And goes on that ‘Lilly even claims that he once found himself inside a TV soap opera while on ...


John Lanchester: Getting into Esports, 13 August 2020

... the point of all this sport-watching? What is it for? I even had a title, drawn from a remark David Sexton, the literary editor of the Evening Standard, once made to me. ‘I’m not interested in sport,’ he said, ‘but I often wish I were, given that the mind is always in pain.’ The mind is always in pain … Yes, given that, you can easily see why ...

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