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Pictures of Malamud

Philip Roth, 8 May 1986

... out he’d arrange for me to meet Bernard Malamud. Bern taught nearby at the state university in Eugene, Oregon. He’d been in Eugene (pop. 50,000) since leaving New York (pop. 8,000,000) and a night-school teaching job there in 1949 – 12 years in the Far West instructing Oregonian freshmen in the fundamentals of ...

Southern Discomfort

Bertram Wyatt-Brown, 8 June 1995

The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism 
by Eugene Genovese.
Harvard, 138 pp., £17.95, October 1994, 0 674 82527 6
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... Eugene Genovese is a Marxist historian with conservative affiliations who has had a greater impact on current interpretations of the Southern past than any other scholar with the possible exception of C. Vann Woodward. Perhaps he can also make sense of the right-wing garbage that nowadays fills American papers and airwaves (his devastating National Review article on The Bell Curve should be required reading ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... in general in New York an audience is either young or old (in the Lincoln Center, mainly old), black or white (in the Lincoln Center, almost exclusively white), gay or straight (in the Lincoln Center it is often hard to tell). The audience for James Baldwin that evening could not be so easily categorised: it was, I suppose, half ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: The Classic Apocalypse, 7 January 2021

... of Revelation, a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes summons the Four Horsemen, the sun turns black, the moon turns red, stars fall out of the sky, and an angel sets free a legion of horse-sized locusts with men’s faces, women’s hair and lion’s teeth, who torture the unsaved for five months. Then 200,000 horsemen appear wearing armour made of ...

Building an Empire

J. Hoberman: Oscar Micheaux, 19 July 2001

Writing Himself into History: Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films and His Audiences 
by Pearl Bowser and Louise Spence.
Rutgers, 280 pp., £38.95, August 2000, 0 8135 2803 8
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Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux 
by J. Ronald Green.
Indiana, 368 pp., £21.95, August 2000, 0 253 33753 4
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... dedicated to Booker T. Washington, celebrated Micheaux’s successful reinvention and proposed the black settlement of the North-West. Micheaux followed Washington’s bootstraps philosophy and published and distributed The Conquest himself, embarking on an aggressive round of personal appearances in black communities. His ...

Growing Vegetables

Phyllis Birnbaum: Kiyosawa Kiyoshi, 11 November 1999

A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi 
translated by Eugene Soviak.
Princeton, 391 pp., £30, January 1999, 9780691001432
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... Finally, the translators are stingy in giving background information. In the introduction, Eugene Soviak makes a strong case for the importance of the diary, citing Kiyosawa’s analyses of Japan’s disintegration. In 1948, in the silence of a ruined country, his observations will have read very powerfully. Fifty years later, his thoughts about ...

Fumbling for the Towel

Christopher Prendergast: Maigret’s elevation to the Panthéon, 7 July 2005

Romans: Tome I 
by Georges Simenon.
Gallimard, 1493 pp., €60, May 2004, 2 07 011674 3
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Romans: Tome II 
by Georges Simenon.
Gallimard, 1736 pp., €60, May 2004, 2 07 011675 1
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... pausing on a bridge to light his pipe and look over his shoulder, the whole scene held in grainy black and white. Here a world of crime and mystery was about to unfold, but in a special inflection of the thriller genre that kept thrills to a minimum. Then along came Bond and Bondery, the fast-moving, sex-drenched and gadget-packed fantasy of the new Cold ...

White Lies

James Campbell: Nella Larsen, 5 October 2006

In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Colour Line 
by George Hutchinson.
Harvard, 611 pp., £25.95, June 2006, 0 674 02180 0
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... both the US and Britain: your part-Scottish, part-Native American, part-Spanish friend is often ‘black’ if there is a hint of Africa in his or her make-up. John Bellew, the husband of Clare Kendry in Nella Larsen’s exquisite novel Passing (1929), responds violently when he finds out that Clare, who has cheeks of ‘ivory’ and hair the colour of ‘pale ...

On Hiroaki Sato

August Kleinzahler: Hiroaki Sato, 21 January 2016

... more useful than the prettiest paraphrase.”’ Introducing his notorious version of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, Nabokov sketched three basic types of translation: the paraphrastic, a free rendering; the lexical, ‘rendering the basic meaning of words (and their order)’; and the literal, ‘rendering, as closely as the associative and syntactical ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... much finished, thanks to Max, a young Latvian who’s unsmiling but an excellent carpenter and Eugene, much jollier and from New Zealand who has supervised it all. Walking round the job this evening R. is shocked to discover in the bathroom above the bath a crudely made wooden cross. He takes this to be the work of Max who, scarcely out of his ...

Sorry to be so vague

Hugh Haughton: Eugene Jolas and Samuel Beckett, 29 July 1999

Man from Babel 
by Eugene Jolas.
Yale, 352 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 300 07536 7
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No Author Better Served: The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett and Alan Schneider 
edited by Maurice Harmon.
Harvard, 486 pp., £21.95, October 1998, 0 674 62522 6
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... transition is one of the very few to have made a permanent mark. It was founded and edited by Eugene Jolas (initially with Elliot Paul), and Jolas, too, was at the heart of art movements about which at the time the outside world knew little – Surrealism, Dadaism and Joyce among them. Few small mags have done as much to ‘make art free’. As well as ...


Thomas Sugrue: Civil Rights v. Black Power, 5 October 2006

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice 
by Raymond Arsenault.
Oxford, 690 pp., £19.99, March 2006, 0 19 513674 8
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... It is canonical in the American classroom, on television and in popular culture to celebrate the black civil rights movement as the triumph of American universalism, the vindication of the ‘American creed’ of egalitarianism, colour blindness and individual liberty against the forces of oppression that long held blacks in a subservient status ...


Elaine Showalter: On the Phi Beta Kappa Tour, 10 March 1994

... After two weeks in Canada, the Phi Beta Kappa tour kicked off at the University of Oregon in Eugene, a little oasis of the Sixties where the newspaper was advertising Oregon Wineries, a concert of Balinese gamelan and a rich menu of counselling: depression and grief resolution, sexual abuse and incest, ACOA and codependency, inner-child, emotional-body ...

Helping Bush Win Re-Election

Patrick Cockburn: Iraq’s disintegration, 7 October 2004

... Signs of disintegration are everywhere in Iraq. Oily columns of black smoke billow up from the airport road where US patrols are regularly hit by suicide bombers or roadside bombs between Baghdad and Camp Victory, the gigantic US headquarters on the edge of the airport. In a vain attempt to deny cover to resistance fighters, American soldiers have chopped down the palm trees and bushes beside the highway, leaving only the stumps behind ...


Christopher Driver, 19 May 1983

Fools of Fortune 
by William Trevor.
Bodley Head, 239 pp., £7.50, April 1983, 0 370 30953 7
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What a beautiful Sunday! 
by Jorge Semprun, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Secker, 429 pp., £8.95, April 1983, 9780436446603
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An Innocent Millionaire 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 388 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 241 10929 9
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The Papers of Tony Veitch 
by William McIlvanney.
Hodder, 254 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 340 22907 1
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In the Shadow of the Paradise Tree 
by Sasha Moorsom.
Routledge, 247 pp., £6.95, April 1983, 0 7100 9408 6
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The Bride 
by Bapsi Sidhwa.
Cape, 248 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 224 02047 1
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... is killed with his dogs and servants, not by Irishmen resenting his English connections, but by Black and Tans avenging the hanging of an informer from a Quinton oak. Willie’s mother takes to drink and slits her wrists. In the emotion of the moment, Marianne conceives shy Willie’s child, but by the time she knows and has cut herself off from her ...

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