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Corporate Imposter

Alex Harvey, 4 February 2021

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden 
by Denis Johnson.
Vintage, 224 pp., £9.99, February 2019, 978 1 78470 817 7
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... some form of enlightenment. In Resuscitation of a Hanged Man (1991), Johnson’s fourth novel, Leonard English, a failed suicide, gives up his job as a medical equipment salesman in Kansas and moves to Provincetown, Massachusetts to become a private detective. He’s another drifter, a voyeuristic onlooker, who visits drag shows, develops a crush on a ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... in the second. The implication, perhaps, is that the 1980s were judged by the two editors, Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks, to be likely to rate correctness of language above its political and social implications, while the 1990s will reverse these priorities. There is little point in taking issue with this, since in practice such divisions ...

So Hard to Handle

John Lahr: In Praise of Joni Mitchell, 22 February 2018

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell 
by David Yaffe.
Farrar, Straus, 420 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 0 374 24813 0
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... better than Dylan.’ Crosby briefly became Mitchell’s inamorato and produced her first album. Leonard Cohen, another influential early lover, helped too. ‘There was a certain ferocity associated with her gift. She was like a storm,’ Cohen said. ‘She was fully formed: uneducated, uninformed, uninstructed, unneeding of any kind of influences.’ Cohen ...

His Bonnet Akimbo

Patrick Wright: Hamish Henderson, 3 November 2011

Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. I: The Making of the Poet (1919-53) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 416 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84697 132 7
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Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. II: Poetry Becomes People (1954-2002) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 395 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 1 84697 063 4
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... as it travels the Celtic fringe from Stornoway to Pontevedra in Galicia, or in the songs of Dick Gaughan, which include references to the death of the Chilean singer Victor Jara, murdered under Pinochet in 1973, and the plight of the Native American activist Leonard Peltier, convicted of murdering two FBI agents at ...

Depicting Europe

Perry Anderson, 20 September 2007

... of New Labour. Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century declaims the title of a manifesto by Mark Leonard, the party’s foreign policy wunderkind.2 ‘Imagine a world of peace, prosperity and democracy,’ he enjoins the reader. ‘What I am asking you to imagine is the “New European Century”.’ How will this entrancing prospect come about? ‘Europe ...

Who had the most fun?

David Bromwich: The Marx Brothers, 10 May 2001

Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 480 pp., £7.99, April 2001, 0 14 029426 0
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The Essential Groucho 
by Groucho Marx, edited by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 254 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 14 029425 2
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... the fire he felt. Of all the smelts I ever smelt, I never smelt a smelt like that smelt smelt. Leonard (Chico), Adolph (Harpo), Julius (Groucho), Herbert (Zeppo) and Milton (Gummo): Groucho was a middle child, if you want to make anything of it. He was the first to succeed, at the age of 15, with a vestigial talent for singing, but a miasma of rotten luck ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... off his debt in kind and possibly save his own life.) More than 20 per cent of Rusal is owned by Leonard Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg, who were also briefly subject to sanctions. Blavatnik has donated $3.5 million to McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund, and also (probably illegally) gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration. Vekselberg supposedly donated ...

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