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Donald Duck gets a cuffing

J. Hoberman: Disney, Benjamin, Adorno

24 July 2003
Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde 
by Esther Leslie.
Verso, 344 pp., £20, August 2002, 1 85984 612 2
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... about the amazing popularity of Mickey Mouse: ‘Have we nothing better to do than decorate our garments with dirty animals because American commerce Jews want profit?’ That same year in Berlin, EstherLeslie reports, Walter Benjamin was also thinking about Mickey mania. After talking to some friends, including Kurt Weill, Benjamin made a few notes in praise of this insolent, lowlife, magically ...

Diary

Will Self: On the Common

25 February 2010
... to look forward to. As Maglorian and I bounded up the stairs from the tube Bragg syringed his guests into my inner ears: Raymond Geuss, a professor in the Cambridge University philosophy faculty; EstherLeslie, a professor of political aesthetics at Birkbeck; and Jonathan Rée, who was dashingly trailed as a ‘freelance historian and scholar’. Their subject: the Frankfurt School. And what could ...

Kettles boil, classes struggle

Terry Eagleton: Lukács recants

20 February 2003
A Defence of ‘History and Class Consciousness’: Tailism and the Dialectic 
by Georg Lukács, translated by Esther Leslie.
Verso, 182 pp., £10, June 2002, 1 85984 370 0
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... Changing the world involves a curious kind of doublethink. If we are to act effectively, the mind must buckle itself austerely to the actual, in the belief that knowing the situation for what it is is the source of all moral and political wisdom. The only trouble is that such knowledge is also desperately hard to come by, and perhaps unattainable in any complete sense. The difficulty is not so much ...

Yuh wanna play bad?

Christopher Tayler: Henry Roth

23 March 2006
Redemption: The Life of Henry Roth 
by Steven Kellman.
Norton, 372 pp., $16.99, September 2005, 0 393 05779 8
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Call It Sleep 
by Henry Roth.
Picador US, 462 pp., $15, July 2005, 0 312 42412 4
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... about his mother’s first love: perhaps Albert isn’t his father at all? Leo, sensing weakness, cajoles David into taking him to visit his Aunt Bertha’s candy store, attracted by talk of Esther and Polly, David’s cousins. ‘I like Jew-goils,’ Leo explains. Bribed with some broken rosary beads, David stands guard while his new friend plays bad with Esther in the cellar beneath the shop ...

Wall Furniture

Nicholas Penny: Dickens and Anti-Art

24 May 2012
... like a gratuitous diversion, and one wonders how well it was received by Dickens’s friends – by Maclise, for example, who would soon paint Othello and Desdemona, and especially by Charles Robert Leslie (who had supplied the frontispiece for a cheap edition of The Pickwick Papers in 1847). Leslie had on several occasions taken subjects from Cervantes (one example had found its way into the National ...
1 April 1999
Beeton's Book of Household Management 
by Isabella Beeton.
Southover, 1112 pp., £29.95, November 1998, 9781870962155
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... servants were low-paid ‘beginners’, all-purpose domestics who could have been helped by Mrs Beeton at every turn, perhaps even after they had been many years in service. Of course young wives, or Esther Summer-son-style dependent relatives, were equally ignorant when they first took up their duties of household management. But they at least had a copy of the book; they read it; and they were the ...

Dye the Steak Blue

Lidija Haas: Shirley Jackson

19 August 2010
Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories 
edited by Joyce Carol Oates.
Library of America, 827 pp., $35, May 2010, 978 1 59853 072 8
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... Jackson, whose best work has now appeared in a Library of America volume edited by Joyce Carol Oates, was born in San Francisco in December 1916, though she liked to shed three years. Her father, Leslie, whose English family had lost their money, changed their name and emigrated after a mysterious scandal, was doing well in business. His wife’s relatives had been prominent local architects. In ...

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