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Every Latest Spasm

Christopher Hitchens, 23 June 1994

A Rebel in Defence of Tradition: The Life and ‘Politics’ of Dwight Macdonald 
by Michael Wreszin.
Basic Books, 590 pp., £17.99, April 1994, 0 465 01739 8
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... sucking up to the young. This trope of absurdity was the one favoured by all his enemies from Diana Trilling to Irving Howe. But Wreszin’s account makes clear that for his subject, the Indo-China war and its domestic analogues were decisive. There was the hated war-machine to be confronted, with its attendants in the military-intellectual ...

Wild-Eyed and Ready to Die

Mary Hawthorne: Dawn Powell, 22 February 2001

The Diaries of Dawn Powell 1931-65 
edited by Tim Page.
Steerforth, 513 pp., $19, October 1999, 1 883642 25 6
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... engrossing portraits of egotism, greed, opportunism and general frailty. Powell was criticised by Diana Trilling for devoting her attention to characters who, in their venality and shallowness, were unworthy of her gifts, but this doesn’t seem quite right. We delight in Powell’s tales of ‘types’ because we know them well: hacks like Dennis ...

Mailer’s Psychopath

Christopher Ricks, 6 March 1980

The Executioner’s Song 
by Norman Mailer.
Hutchinson, 1056 pp., £8.85, November 1979, 0 09 139540 2
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... encourage the steady contemplation of the psychopath in him and in oneself, but not only of that. Diana Trilling, in an essay which paid Mailer the compliment of fear as well as of admiration, was rightly horrified by what Mailer said in 1961 about a brutal murder. What he said was this: Let’s use our imaginations. It means that one human being has ...

Dark Tom

Christopher Ricks, 1 December 1983

Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley 1933-1980 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 323 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 436 28852 4
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Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Fontana, 274 pp., £2.50, October 1983, 0 00 636644 9
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... his long-suffering wife and in the ensconcing of a short-suffering Mosley with his other help-meet Diana Guinness née Mitford. Mosley’s biographer Robert Skidelsky avers that ‘Mosley always tried to maintain the old English distinction between private life and public life.’ But Mosley came up against that other, even more powerful, old English tradition ...

A Rumbling of Things Unknown

Jacqueline Rose: Marilyn Monroe, 26 April 2012

... she never stopped educating – herself. ‘Of the cruelties directed at this young woman,’ Diana Trilling wrote after Monroe’s death, ‘even by the public that loved her, it seems to me that the most biting and unworthy of the supposedly enlightened people who were particularly guilty of it, was the mockery of her wish to be educated, or ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... in 1963, I met many of Saunders’s cast of characters at social events on Morningside Heights: Diana and Lionel Trilling, Daniel Bell, Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald – all of them brilliant, feisty, friendly and endlessly voluble. Some of their hangers-on were third-rate intellectual goons like Arnold Beichmann ...

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