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Dick Wilson, 27 October 1988

Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train through China 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 494 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 241 12547 2
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Discos and Democracy: China in the Throes of Reform 
by Orville Schell.
Pantheon, 384 pp., $19.95, June 1988, 9780394568294
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The Star Raft: China’s Encounter with Africa 
by Philip Snow.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 297 79081 1
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Ancestors: Nine Hundred Years in the Life of a Chinese Family 
by Frank Ching.
Harrap, 528 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 245 54675 8
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... hope. Another way of defining the China phenomenon is to examine one dominant institution, and Frank Ching in Ancestors chooses the family – his own, which he was able to trace back for 900 years. To review almost a millennium of Chinese history through the single genealogical line which leads to a young American journalist does reduce that history ...


Paul Driver, 7 January 1993

The Roaring Silence: John Cage, A Life 
by David Revill.
Bloomsbury, 375 pp., £22.50, September 1992, 0 7475 1215 9
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... dutifully spoke for the defence at the Lady Chatterley trial while feeling that it was a bad book. Frank Kermode, writing of what he approvingly termed ‘decreative’ Modernist poets in a 1966 essay on T.S. Eliot, suggested that one way of recognising them ‘is by a certain ambiguity in your own response. The Waste Land, and also Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, can ...

Memories of Lindsay Anderson

Alan Bennett, 20 July 2000

... meditation and even been given a mantra is understandable because it was done to please Frank Grimes, whom he loved, but that he not only experimented with but appears to have relied on the I Ching seems unlike the man I knew. Lambert reveals that at Oxford he himself had a fling with Peter Brook whom I had ...


Jonathan Barnes, 24 July 1986

The World of Thought in Ancient China 
by Benjamin Schwartz.
Harvard, 490 pp., £23.50, January 1986, 0 674 96190 0
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... and the theory of the five ‘elements’, and its six classic books included the fantastical I Ching while excluding both the book of Mencius and Confucius’s Analects. Nor is it clear that the tao was rediscovered or the glories of Chou revived. Nonetheless, it was a sort of triumph. And in 136 BC the Emperor Han Wu-ti declared Confucianism the official ...

Post-Modern Vanguard

Edward Mendelson, 3 September 1981

After the Wake: An Essay on the Contemporary Avant-Garde 
by Christopher Butler.
Oxford, 177 pp., £7.95, November 1980, 0 19 815766 5
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... whole European tradition. It suits me fine if that’s all down the drain.’ This happens to be Frank Judd speaking in the late 1960s, but all that distinguishes it from Futurist manifestos of fifty years before is its tone of lumpen disgruntlement. Allen Ginsberg, quoted in one of Butler’s epigraphs, says: ‘there is nothing to be learned from history ...


John Kerr, 23 March 1995

The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement 
by Richard Noll.
Princeton, 387 pp., £19.95, January 1995, 0 691 03724 8
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... Freud, of course, but also Bergson, William James and Count Keyserling. Mandalas, yoga and the I Ching, plus warnings to the Western mind about becoming too deeply immersed in Eastern practices. Archetypes, psychological types and, regrettably, racial types. Wotan until the reader is woozy. And we are just warming up ... Holding all this together was one of ...

Homer Inc

Edward Luttwak, 23 February 2012

The Iliad by Homer 
translated by Stephen Mitchell.
Weidenfeld, 463 pp., £25, October 2011, 978 0 297 85973 4
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... translated the Epic of Gilgamesh (from the Old, or the Standard Babylonian version?), the Tao Te Ching (now Dao De Jing), less well known than its supposed author Lao Tzu (now Laozi), Rainer Maria Rilke (from German, French, or both?) and the Book of Job, Sefer Iiov, which I happen to know quite well but would never dare translate. In any case, Mitchell ...

The Ground Hostess

Francis Wyndham, 1 April 1983

... would come to me for advice with a solemn yet perfunctory insistence, as though consulting the I Ching, and would sometimes volunteer some disconcerting advice of her own. Small, blonde and assertive, she had the unsettling charm of a ferocious nature tempered by a cosy disposition. Jeremy might be described as a professional fan. All his energies had been ...

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