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Double Thought

Michael Wood: Kafka in the Office, 20 November 2008

Franz Kafka: The Office Writings 
edited by Stanley Corngold, Jack Greenberg and Benno Wagner, translated by Eric Patton and Ruth Hein.
Princeton, 404 pp., £26.95, November 2008, 978 0 691 12680 7
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... It’s certainly an excellent arrangement,’ the official says, ‘always unimaginably excellent, even if in other respects hopeless.’ We can easily picture, or even recall, arrangements that are excellent for some and hopeless for others, and that is what the phrase ‘in other respects’ invites us to do. But the larger rhythm and grammar of the sentence ask us to go beyond this option, to think both contrary thoughts at once, taking excellence and hopelessness as partners in an intricate dance, each calling for and implying the other; as if the arrangement is excellent because it’s hopeless, hopeless because it’s excellent ...

Diary

Deborah Friedell: The Heart and the Fist, 24 May 2018

... same way, even with the same pauses and hand gestures. At the end, I would play on my phone one of Eric’s earliest campaign ads, in which he shoots a machine gun into a field as he promises to take ‘dead aim at politics as usual’. ‘If you’re ready for a conservative outsider,’ he says, ‘I’m ready to fire away.’ I would tell how Sheena and ...

The Mothering of Montgomery

John Keegan, 2 July 1981

Monty: The Making of a General, 1887-1942 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 871 pp., £12, June 1981, 0 241 10583 8
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The War between the Generals: Inside the Allied High Command 
by David Irving.
Allen Lane, 446 pp., £9.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1344 4
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... of love at all. Her own fortunes in love had been mixed. The daughter of Dean Farrar (author of Eric, or Little by Little), she was only 14 when one of the Dean’s curates fell in love with her, and only 16 when they were married. The curate was 33. Eight years later, they had had five children, and the 24-year-old wife was also looking after three infant ...

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