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Blackening

Frank Kermode: Doubting Thomas

5 January 2006
Doubting Thomas 
by Glenn Most.
Harvard, 267 pp., £17.95, October 2005, 0 674 01914 8
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... anybody who knew the Thomas story would have been puzzled if you’d asked them whether Thomas touched the wounds of Jesus, supposing his having done so to be the point of the story; yet in this book GlennMost, after scrupulously examining the evidence, insists with great assurance that Thomas did nothing of the kind. He pleads ‘the clear evidence of John’s text’, calls that evidence ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘3.10 to Yuma’, 1957 & 2007

18 October 2007
3.10 to Yuma 
directed by James Mangold.
September 2007
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3.10 to Yuma 
directed by Delmer Daves.
August 1957
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... old one. It’s rich in colour, noisy, crowded with detail and extra characters, and a lot more people die. There’s plenty of blood to look at, and a longer glimpse of Peter Fonda’s entrails than most people will be eager to have (he’s a bounty hunter who’s been shot during the robbery of a coach). In the fantasy style required of current cinema, his body, open entrails notwithstanding, shows ...
26 March 1992
Music Sounded Out 
by Alfred Brendel.
Robson, 258 pp., £16.95, September 1990, 0 86051 666 0
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Glenn​ Gould: A Life and Variations 
by Otto Friedrich.
Lime Tree, 441 pp., £12.99, October 1990, 9780413452313
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... felt not only in Bach, and not only in dense contrapuntal structures.’ He was discussing ‘Bach and the Piano’ in a dialogue reprinted, with a short reflective coda written in 1989, in his most recent collection of essays, Music Sounded Out. It is typical of the slightly unfocused nature of Brendel’s thinking that he should make the telling observation that pianists are about to lose the ...

It was satire

Mary Beard: Caligula

26 April 2012
Caligula: A Biography 
by Aloys Winterling, translated by Deborah Lucas Scheider, Glenn Most and Paul Psoinos.
California, 229 pp., £24.95, October 2011, 978 0 520 24895 3
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... from history. He took his throne down to the beach in order to show his servile courtiers that not even a king could control the waves (that was in God’s power alone). But, ironically, he is now most often remembered as the silly old duffer who got soaked on the seashore because he thought he could master the tides. When, for example, Ryan Giggs tried last year to use a super-injunction to stop ...

Venus de Silo by

Dan Jacobson

7 February 1980
The Right Stuff 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 436 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 224 01443 9
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... high-spirited, resourceful, full of surprise, extremely funny; because the author delights so much in what he detests, and because he has such an uncontrollably mischievous impulse to debunk what he most esteems, every sharply observed detail is carried on an exhilarating surge and backwash of feeling. Furthermore, his prose style is capable of building up to certain big moments, and then sustaining ...

In the Chair

Edward Said

17 July 1997
Glenn​ Gould: The Ecstasy and the Tragedy of Genius 
by Peter Ostwald.
Norton, 368 pp., $29.95, May 1997, 0 393 04077 1
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When the Music Stops: Managers, Maestros and the Corporate Murder of Classical Music 
by Norman Lebrecht.
Simon and Schuster, 400 pp., £7.99, July 1997, 0 671 01025 5
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... One of the most talked and written about musicians after World War Two, Glenn Gould quite consciously set about making himself interesting and eccentric. Most performers do, but Gould went beyond anyone. It helped a great deal that he had a phenomenal digital gift, a perfect memory, a very high intelligence, but in addition he was self-conscious and self ...

Yearning for Polar Seas

James Hamilton-Paterson: North

1 September 2005
The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule 
by Joanna Kavenna.
Viking, 334 pp., £16.99, February 2005, 0 670 91395 2
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The Idea of North 
by Peter Davidson.
Reaktion, 271 pp., £16.95, January 2005, 1 86189 230 6
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... ice floes and the rest, the word ‘north’ exercised over me little of the magic it has for so many others, including Kavenna and Peter Davidson. ‘The Idea of North’ was the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s phrase and the title of a radio documentary he made. ‘I have an enormous compulsion to look upon the polar seas,’ he wrote to a friend in 1965, ‘and I find that this is growing apace ...

Text-Inspectors

Andrew O’Hagan: The Good Traitor

24 September 2014
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State 
by Glenn​ Greenwald.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 0 241 14669 9
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... that he felt profoundly at peace with what he had done and so the nights were easy. ‘I figure I have very few days left with a comfortable pillow,’ he joked, ‘so I might as well enjoy them.’ Glenn Greenwald​ expresses his bafflement and the reader can share it. The journalist is in a panic – about security, about deadlines, about being scooped, about being misunderstood – while the ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Sport Poetry

23 January 1986
... I would have thought, but there we are. What matters is that soccer Is Back, and that we can all happily plug in again on Saturdays: Frank Furillo might be cool in dead-ball situations but he’s no Glenn Hoddle, and we all know that at Hill Street no one ever heard of a slow-motion replay ...So it goes, or so it’s meant to go. But something jars. The jaunty build-up – our old buddy welcomed back ...

Who’s Got the Moxie?

A. Craig Copetas

23 March 1995
The Mexican Tree Duck 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 247 pp., £15.99, May 1994, 0 330 32451 9
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One to Count Cadence 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 338 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 330 32450 0
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... as you can get to a nursing home for Sixties’ veterans and survivors of the more recent Hollywood filmscript wars – complete with a beanery in nearby Bozeman, owned and operated by the actress Glenn Close. Yet the North Country has never tried to be fashionable. If Aspen is all plastic surgery and cholesterol-free restaurants, the North Country is veterinarians and iron skillets. Over a hundred ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Matrix

22 May 2003
... in a row would surely be impossible – just look what happened to Star Wars. Star Wars, along with Jaws, is regularly cited, not least by David Thomson, as the film that ‘killed the movies’. Glenn Kelly’s answer, in his introduction to A Galaxy Not So Far Away: Writers and Artists on 25 Years of ‘Star Wars’ (Allison and Busby, £9.99), is: ‘Get over it, Dad.’ This selective quotation ...

Simple Facts and Plain Truths

David A. Bell: Common Sense

20 October 2011
Common Sense: A Political History 
by Sophia Rosenfeld.
Harvard, 337 pp., £22.95, 0 674 05781 3
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... Holbach began to apply this idea to politics, claiming that ‘the true principles of politics are clear, self-evident,’ and need only to ‘be simplified to the point where they can be felt by the most ordinary of men’. It was Paine, Rosenfeld claims, who brought these somewhat contradictory concepts of common sense together into a revolutionary package. From the Aberdeen ministers Paine took the ...

Half-Finished People

Thomas Meaney: Germany Imagines Hellas

11 October 2012
The Tyranny of Greece over Germany 
by E.M. Butler.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £23.99, March 2012, 978 1 107 69764 5
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... to a sense of the nation’s destiny in Europe. By embracing Greece, Romantics short-circuited what they took to be the imposed, oppressive legacy of Latin Rome and linked Germany directly with the most hallowed culture in the European past. There was an irony here, since the longing for Hellas was itself a Roman preoccupation. When Butler’s book on all this, The Tyranny of Greece over Germany ...

On the Sixth Day

Charles Nicholl: Petrarch on the Move

7 February 2019
Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer 
by Christopher Celenza.
Reaktion, 224 pp., £15.95, October 2017, 978 1 78023 838 8
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... troubled relations with the city) and a celebration of their role in making Tuscan the pre-eminent language of Italian culture and scholarship. Francesco Petrarca Of the three Petrarch is the most prolific, the most eclectic, the hardest to pin down – and, nowadays, the least read. He is chiefly remembered as a love poet, and particularly a sonneteer, though this represented only a fraction ...

We stop the words

David Craig: A.L. Kennedy

16 September 1999
Everything you need 
by A.L. Kennedy.
Cape, 567 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 224 04433 8
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... Kennedy’s latest novel, its chief character and overriding consciousness, Nathan Staples, a successful writer of horror fiction, emerges slowly from a bout of compulsive masochistic fantasies, puts Glenn Gould on his CD player, and gets ready to hang himself from an iron hook in the central beam of his cottage, or almost hang himself – well, just enough to give himself ‘that big, blank, hot ...

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