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Rendings

Edward Timms, 19 April 1990

Thomas Mann and his Family 
by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Collins, 230 pp., £20, August 1989, 9780002158374
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... As the debate about German identity enters a new phase, the work of Marcel Reich-Ranicki acquires a special interest. His career crosses several ideological frontiers: from Pilsudski’s Poland to Hitler’s Germany, from the Communist East to the capitalist West, from traditional Judaism to secular modernism, from radical dissent to conservative orthodoxy ...

Rosa with Mimi

Edward Timms, 4 June 1987

Rosa Luxemburg: A Life 
by Elzbieta Ettinger.
Harrap, 286 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 245 54539 5
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... It is only by accident that I am whirling in the maelstrom of history,’ Rosa Luxemburg wrote from prison in September 1915; ‘actually I was born to tend geese.’ The subject of this absorbing biography is Luxemburg the goose-girl, the ‘hurt child’ who, according to Elzbieta Ettinger, lurked within the ‘famous revolutionary’. Drawing on previously unknown private letters, this book portrays Luxemburg as a socially insecure and emotionally vulnerable woman ...

Wonderland

Edward Timms, 17 March 1988

The Temple 
by Stephen Spender.
Faber, 210 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 0 571 14785 2
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... Mayn’t your politics simply be the result of sexual maladjustment?’ This question, unobtrusively formulated in Stephen Spender’s Forward from Liberalism (1937), lurks as a sub-text in some of the most significant writings of his generation. For authors like Auden, Isherwood and Spender, the struggle for sexual freedom was a stimulus to political dissent ...

Mr Lukacs changes trains

Edward Timms, 19 February 1987

Georg Lukacs: Selected Correspondence 1902-1920 
translated by Judith Marcus and Zoltan Tar.
Columbia, 318 pp., $25, September 1986, 9780231059688
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... When Georg Lukacs joined the Hungarian Communist Party in December 1918, his admirers were taken by surprise. This gifted young man from an affluent Jewish background, then aged 33, had previously devoted himself exclusively to cultural pursuits. After coming into prominence around 1905 as one of the instigators of the Hungarian intellectual revival, he had gone on to make his mark in Germany as a cultural theorist in the tradition of Dilthey, Simmel and Weber ...

How to be Viennese

Adam Phillips, 5 March 1987

Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist 
by Edward Timms.
Yale, 468 pp., £20, October 1986, 0 300 03611 6
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Half-Truths and One-and-a-Half-Truths: Selected Aphorisms of Karl Kraus 
translated by Harry Zohn.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £3.94, May 1986, 0 85635 580 1
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... turned empty phrases inside out. The goat-like satyr on the front cover of Die Fackel suggests, as Edward Timms says, ‘that for the Kraus of the 1890s satire was a vaguely defined primitive force disrupting the civilities of a philistine society.’ But as the political situation worsened, Kraus embarked on the graver, more apocalyptic project of seeing ...

Modernity

George Steiner, 5 May 1988

Visions and Blueprints: Avant-Garde Culture and Radical Politics in Early 20th-century Europe 
edited by Edward Timms and Peter Collier.
Manchester, 328 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 7190 2260 6
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... are followed by potted reading-lists, others not. There is no description of the contributors. Edward Timms writes usefully about Benda and Gottfried Benn. He notes accurately that the Dreyfus Affair lies at the very roots of the relations between intellect and power, between the literary intelligentsia and the increasingly totalitarian claims of the ...

Women: what are they for?

Adam Phillips, 4 January 1996

Freud and the Child Woman: The Memoirs of Fritz Wittels 
edited by Edward Timms.
Yale, 188 pp., £19.95, October 1995, 0 300 06485 3
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... contributions to the Vienna Society, backed up by this memoir so ably edited and reconstructed by Edward Timms, make possible a reconsideration of some of the most contentious issues in psychoanalysis: the problem of the ‘problem of women’, and the disappearance of the idea of sexual liberation. And indeed the question of why sexuality should be so ...

What did Freud want?

Rosemary Dinnage, 3 December 1992

Freud’s Women 
by Lisa Appignanesi and John Forrester.
Weidenfeld, 563 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 297 81244 0
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Psychoanalysis in its Cultural Context 
edited by Edward Timms and Ritchie Robertson.
Edinburgh, 209 pp., £30, August 1992, 9780748603596
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... The sharpest comment in Freud’s Women – a huge book, but consistently readable – comes at the end. It would be eccentric, say the authors, to conclude after five hundred-odd pages that Freud’s significance for women lies in his having been the first equal-opportunities employer. Eccentric, but rather tempting because, in his famously ambivalent way, he left such a paradox behind ...

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