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Against Independence

Musab Younis: Decolonisation

28 June 2017
Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonisation and the Future of the World 
by Gary Wilder.
Duke, 400 pp., £23.99, January 2015, 978 0 8223 5850 3
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... mayor of its capital, Fort-de-France (a post he held until the age of 87). In Freedom Time, Gary Wilder picks up a lost thread in the story of decolonisation, focusing on the anti-colonialists – chiefly Césaire and his Senegalese contemporary Léopold Sédar Senghor – who, unlike Fanon, rejected the goal of national sovereignty and argued that ...

Au revoir et merci

Christopher Tayler: Romain Gary

6 December 2018
The Roots of Heaven 
by Romain Gary, translated by Jonathan Griffin.
Godine, 434 pp., $18.95, November 2018, 978 1 56792 626 2
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Promise at Dawn 
by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham Beach.
Penguin, 314 pp., £9.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 34763 8
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... Goncourt. It was translated into English a year later under the supervision of its author, Romain Gary. The Goncourt had come at an opportune moment: Gary, who was in his early forties, hadn’t been thought to be living up to his early promise. Sartre, Camus and Raymond Aron had praised his first book, a novel about Polish ...

Rising above it

Russell Davies

2 December 1982
The Noel Coward Diaries 
edited by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 698 pp., £15, September 1982, 0 297 78142 1
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... no means out of place), and Charlie Chaplin. All the Coopers are there: Lady Diana, Duff, Gladys, Gary and Tommy. There are Douglases, from Lord Alfred to Mr and Mrs Kirk; here are the Nicholses, Beverley and Mike; and you must distinguish, if you will, between Elizabeth Taylors one (actress), two (novelist) and three (friend of Gladys Calthrop). Wilde, ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies

26 January 2012
An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... Claire Trevor, Franchot Tone, Walter Wanger, Keenan Wynn, William Wyler, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, Jerry Wald and Robert Young. Ronald Reagan, a New Deal Democrat at the time (and an FBI informant since 1941), decided after considerable brooding not to join the First Amendment protest. He spoke out anyway in roughly the same cause, from his new ...

House of Miscegenation

Gilberto Perez: Westerns

18 November 2010
Hollywood Westerns and American Myth 
by Robert Pippin.
Yale, 198 pp., £25, May 2010, 978 0 300 14577 9
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... no big stars, and Walter Wanger, the eventual producer, would have wanted Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper in the leads. But Ford insisted on Claire Trevor and John Wayne (who wasn’t a star until this movie made him one). Dietrich and Cooper would have turned Dallas and Ringo into the natural aristocrats that Ford didn’t want; Trevor and the young ...

Half-Fox

Seamus Perry: Ted Hughes

29 August 2013
Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar 
edited by Keith Sagar.
British Library, 340 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 0 7123 5862 0
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Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir 
by Gerald Hughes.
Robson, 240 pp., £16.99, October 2012, 978 1 84954 389 7
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... anecdote sets up an opposition between the sort of sterile thing academics do and the persecuted wilder life led by the animals of the mind, while actually suggesting the vital dependence that the ‘creative spirit’ has on the bookishness that allegedly threatens it. It is a magnificent dream and it needed Dr Johnson to spark it off. Hughes revered ...

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