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Did he really?

T.J. Binyon, 3 December 1992

The man who wasn’t Maigret: A Portrait of Georges Simenon 
by Patrick Marnham.
Bloomsbury, 346 pp., £17.99, April 1992, 0 7475 0884 4
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... Simenon was not a man to do things by halves. He moved house 33 times, wrote 193 novels under his own name and more than two hundred under 18 pseudonyms, produced 27 volumes of autobiography and at 74 claimed to have slept with ten thousand women, eight thousand of whom were prostitutes (his second wife later smallmindedly reduced the total to 1200 ...

John Sturrock

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 20 September 2017

... that. Only a very few occasions allowed John to lower his guard. The death in Auschwitz of Georges Perec’s mother elicits a hint of sentimentality, but time spent in the Gulag is no excuse for sloppy thinking and, as John puts it, Andrei Sakharov’s discussion of Derrida isn’t ‘guaranteed to be totally coherent by his courage in resisting ...

Alphabeted

Barbara Everett: Coleridge the Modernist, 7 August 2003

Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection 
edited by Seamus Perry.
Oxford, 264 pp., £17.99, June 2002, 0 19 871201 4
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works I: Poems (Reading Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1608 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00483 8
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works II: Poems (Variorum Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1528 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00484 6
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works III: Plays 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1620 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 09883 2
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... was fantastically large and wide, in other countries as well as in other media; it runs as far as Georges Simenon saying ‘he invented us all,’ ‘he began it all’). But Coleridge ‘began’ Scott. The issue has long been suspected, and is fully dealt with in John Sutherland’s Life of Scott. ‘Christabel’ was known long before it was ...

English Words and French Authors

John Sturrock, 8 February 1990

A New History of French Literature 
edited by Denis Hollier.
Harvard, 1280 pp., £39.95, October 1989, 0 674 61565 4
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... Carolyn Dean comes within three italic characters of making the volume’s one joke, when she has Georges Bataille dismissing Sade’s new-found admirers as ‘con artists’). Of the women writers for whom admission to the canon is demanded, one, George Sand, has surely never been dropped from it, but another, the late 18th-century novelist, Isabelle de ...

Who does that for anyone?

Adam Shatz: Jean-Pierre Melville, 20 June 2019

Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Solitaire 
by Bertrand Teissier.
Fayard, 272 pp., €22, October 2017, 978 2 213 70573 6
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Jean-Pierre Melville, une vie 
by Antoine de Baecque.
Seuil, 244 pp., €32, October 2017, 978 2 02 137107 9
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... credits: a device, as André Bazin noted, that Robert Bresson borrowed for his 1951 adaptation of Georges Bernanos’s Diary of a Country Priest. Melville’s early films were bookish, and rather talky. But in the early 1960s he began to hone back his dialogue. The first seven minutes of Le Samouraï (1967), in which Alain Delon plays the hitman Jef ...

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