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Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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WagnerRace and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... The bewildering variety of interests and standards in Wagner scholarship (or what passes for it) is congenitally resistant to study.’ Thus John Deathridge, the leading Wagner scholar of the English-speaking world, at the beginning of his chapter on Wagner research in the Wagner Handbook ...

The Koreans and their Enemies

Jon Halliday, 17 December 1992

Korea Old and New: A History 
by Carter Eckert, Ki-baik Lee, Young Ick Lew, Michael Robinson and Edward Wagner.
Harvard, 454 pp., £11.95, September 1991, 0 9627713 0 9
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The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World 
by Anthony Daniels.
Hutchinson, 202 pp., £16.99, April 1991, 9780091741532
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... Over the past year evidence has been emerging that the Japanese kidnapped more than 200,000 young women into sex slavery during their occupation of East Asia. Those so enslaved were termed ‘comfort women’, about 80 per cent of whom were Korean. Some were as young as 12, hauled out of their schools, often under a quota system, and carted off to army barracks and outposts all the way from Manchuria to the South Pacific ...

Warfield

José Harris, 24 July 1986

Wallis and EdwardLetters 1931-1937 
edited by Michael Bloch.
Weidenfeld, 308 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 297 78804 3
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Rat Week: An Essay on the Abdication 
by Osbert Sitwell.
Joseph, 78 pp., £7.95, May 1986, 0 7181 1859 6
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... The abdication of Edward VIII belongs to a class of events that can never be adequately treated by historians, since both the act and the actors transcend the conventional boundaries of the historian’s craft. All the evidence suggests that Edward was a mediocre character of limited intelligence and scant scruple, remarkable only for his gigantic powers of self-deception ...

Music Made Visible

Stephen Walsh: Wagner, 24 April 2008

Wagner and the Art of the Theatre 
by Patrick Carnegy.
Yale, 461 pp., £35, September 2006, 0 300 10695 5
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... Among the operatic victims of what its enemies nowadays refer to as ‘directors’ theatre’, Wagner has suffered as much as anyone. Keith Warner has the Wanderer crash-land his fighter plane into Mime’s cave; Phyllida Lloyd has Brünnhilde as a suicide bomber who blows herself up in the immolation scene; Jürgen Flimm turns Nibelheim into a microchip factory ...

Going Against

Frank Kermode: Is There a Late Style?, 5 October 2006

On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain 
by Edward Said.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £16.99, April 2006, 9780747583653
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Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work 
edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow.
Getty, 235 pp., $40, August 2006, 0 89236 813 6
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... obliged to believe that Timon of Athens signified a nervous breakdown, and even the very modern Edward Said, in an unexpected aside, speaks of the ‘new spirit of reconciliation and serenity’ in The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. Such a view clearly needs to be reconsidered in the light of Leontes’s murderous jealousy and Prospero’s habitual ...

Cosmic Ambition

Edward Said: J.S. Bach, 19 July 2001

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician 
by Christoph Wolff.
Oxford, 599 pp., £25, March 2000, 9780198165347
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... finer than the ones he wrote down; or – one of my favourites – the young Saint-Saëns visiting Wagner and Liszt at Bayreuth, sitting at the piano and giving a perfect rendition of Siegfried, the unfinished full orchestral score of which Wagner had left at the keyboard as he chatted with his father-in-law. Both ...
The Romantic Generation 
by Charles Rosen.
HarperCollins, 723 pp., £30, November 1995, 0 00 255627 8
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... creativity, a composer whose only real rival in the end was someone as different and as grand as Wagner. As Rosen says, there is a paradox at the heart of Chopin’s style, in its unlikely combination of a rich chromatic web of polyphony, based on a profound experience of J.S. Bach, with a sense of melody and a way of sustaining the melodic line derived ...

Look!

Jerry Fodor, 29 October 1998

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge 
by Edward O. Wilson.
Little, Brown, 374 pp., £18.99, September 1998, 0 316 64569 9
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... me to look at it. And this new JF would have to have, along with my slightly guilty passion for Wagner, a worry, just like mine, about whether he’d remembered to feed the cat and lock the apartment when he left for work this morning. Likewise, mutatis mutandis, for you; and for the tree that you can see from wherever it is that you are; and likewise for ...

At the Prado

Adrian West: Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, 22 February 2018

... in the shadow of his far more famous son, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, who designed sets for Wagner and costumes for Orson Welles, and whose classic Delphos gown, Proust wrote, had the ability to detach the wearer ‘from the current of everyday life like a scene in a novel’. The Moorish arches and Arabs in djellabas of Fortuny senior were outdated by ...

Diary

Edward Said: My Encounter with Sartre, 1 June 2000

... was a joke of some sort. It might just as well have been an invitation from Cosima and Richard Wagner to come to Bayreuth, or from T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf to spend an afternoon at the offices of the Dial. It took me about two days to ascertain from various friends in New York and Paris that it was indeed genuine, and far less time than that to ...

First Impressions

Fredric Jameson: Slavoj Žižek’s Paradoxes, 7 September 2006

The Parallax View 
by Slavoj Žižek.
MIT, 434 pp., £16.95, March 2006, 0 262 24051 3
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... as well as on mass-cultural writers like Stephen King or Patricia Highsmith; references to opera (Wagner, Mozart); jokes from the Marx Brothers; outbursts of obscenity, scatological as well as sexual; interventions in the history of philosophy, from Spinoza and Kierkegaard to Kripke and Dennett; analyses of Hitchcock films and other Hollywood ...

Ne me touchez pas

Nicholas Spice: Debussy’s Mission, 24 October 2019

Debussy: A Painter in Sound 
by Stephen Walsh.
Faber, 368 pp., £15.99, March 2018, 978 0 571 33016 4
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Claude Debussy: A Critical Biography 
by François Lesure, translated by Marie Rolf.
Rochester, 478 pp., £40, June 2019, 978 1 58046 903 6
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... agitation that Liszt thought verged on the pathological. The withholding of harmonic resolution in Wagner’s mature style – most famously exploited in Tristan und Isolde – threatened to take music into the realm of hysteria. Where could it go next? One answer was simply to push on further, to ratchet up the harmonic and emotional tension to the very edge ...

Sacrifice

Frank Kermode, 14 May 1992

The Gonne-Yeats Letters, 1893-1938 
edited by Anna MacBride White and A. Norman Jeffares.
Hutchinson, 544 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 09 174000 2
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... the ceremony Their plan was to use a Spanish honeymoon as cover for an assassination attempt on Edward VII, who was visiting Gibraltar, but MacBride instead got drunk in Algeciras. The editors describe this dereliction as ‘the final blow’ to Maud in a honeymoon ‘that from the start had not been auspicious’. In defence of MacBride. I suppose it might ...

Fabian Figaro

Michael Holroyd, 3 December 1981

Shaw’s Music. Vol. I: 1876-1890 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 957 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30247 8
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Shaw’s Music. Vol. II: 1890-1893 
by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 985 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30249 4
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Shaw’s Music. Vol. III: 1893-1950 
by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 910 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30248 6
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Conducted Tour 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.50, November 1981, 0 224 01896 5
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... It constantly refreshes the listener with reminiscences of familiar masters.’ A little later, Wagner’s overture to Tannhäuser holds the audience seated ‘despite the loss of the express at 5.15 entailed by waiting’. Gradually, over almost a year on the Hornet, these instances of Shavian wit and spirit increase. ‘Some glees were contributed by the ...

Who were they?

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: ‘Thuggee’, 3 December 2009

Stranglers and Bandits: A Historical Anthology of ‘Thuggee’ 
edited by Kim Wagner.
Oxford, 318 pp., £22.99, January 2009, 978 0 19 569815 2
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... and Professions in Gujarat’, and looked back on his earlier collaboration with the likes of Edward Moor in exposing such practices as female infanticide, which he claimed was particularly common among the Jadeja Rajputs of Gujarat. Walker, like many others, was inclined increasingly as his career progressed to see Indian society as made up not of ...

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