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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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... is hard enough to come by, for instance, in the AV version of the Book of Job: the last thing I need is to have the already barely manageable ambiguities of Holy Writ compounded, as they are by DavidRosenberg 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 ...

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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... known as dynamic equivalence translations, but ‘dynamic’ seems the wrong word for the stodge they provide. The signs now are of a swing back to a different, more literal translation of the Bible. DavidRosenberg’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 ...

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 ...
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 ...

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 ...

Bad Character

Andrew O’Hagan: Saul Bellow

20 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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... in charge of whatever facts he chose to be interested in, and his genius, which can’t be doubted, 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 ...

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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... thousand of the remaining ‘degenerate’ art works were burned in the courtyard of the Berlin fire 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 ...

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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... concentrates attention, ‘offers what is largely a new experience to most people in our sort of society’. 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 ...
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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... Men who march away; the only one whose reputation has shifted much since then is Ivor Gurney, 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 to arcane ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken

30 April 2009
... a new reading room there is currently a display of letters, books, catalogues, paintings and 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 ...
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 ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David​ Blackbourn: Weimar

18 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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... for the town, which remained largely uncompleted at the end of the war. Other senior Nazis used 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 ...

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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... of those forced to leave their homelands during the dismal course of 20th-century history. Jean-Michel 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 ...

Wharton the Wise

D.A.N. Jones

4 April 1985
The Missing Will 
by Michael Wharton.
Hogarth, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2666 3
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... with a kind of horrid fascination, the voice of the Führer on the wireless as he went into the hwyl – I had a theory that he was really a Welshman, an Alpine Celt such as the Nazi racial theorist Rosenberg might have dreamed of in an unguarded moment.’ Many years later, Michael’s son, ‘himself one of the reasons for the change, decided, in a burst of Jewish romanticism at the time of the Israeli ...

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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... obscured by the fog of booze, of their interpersonal ‘doings and undoings’ (expression of Mr 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 ...

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