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On a Chinese Mountain

Frank Kermode, 20 November 1986

The Royal Beasts 
by William Empson.
Chatto, 201 pp., £12.95, November 1986, 0 7011 3084 9
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Essays on Shakespeare 
by William Empson.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £25, May 1986, 0 521 25577 5
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... The measure of this virtuous méchanceté can be got from the ferocity with which he attacked Helen Gardner’s edition and, almost at the end of his life, John Carey’s critical biography. According to his review, Carey’s book says ‘no one need bother any more about Donne,’ and the tone is fiercely contemptuous; the main argument is about the ...

Memories of Frank Kermode

Stefan Collini, Karl Miller, Adam Phillips, Jacqueline Rose, James Wood, Michael Wood and Wynne Godley, 23 September 2010

... some of the celebrated critical spats he had been involved in, unyielding about the iniquities of Helen Gardner, generous about Empson though still irritated (‘Later in his life he made a great to-do about “matters of fact” in literature, but he so often got things wrong’). He had the usual nominal aphasia that comes with age, but uncannily sharp ...

White Hat/Black Hat

Frances Richard: 20th-Century Art, 6 April 2006

Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism 
by Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois and Benjamin H.D. Buchloh.
Thames and Hudson, 704 pp., £45, March 2005, 0 500 23818 9
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... Helen Gardner’s benevolently dictatorial Art through the Ages was published in 1926, and remained the pre-eminent survey for American undergraduates until 1962, when H.W. Janson’s History of Art joined it on introductory syllabuses. Now in its 12th edition, Gardner has been revised and updated without its pantheon of geniuses being much dislodged, while Janson, in its seventh edition, makes more concessions to newfangled notions like feminism and deconstruction ...

Very Inbred

Helen McCarthy: Coeducation Revolutions, 10 May 2018

‘Keep the Damned Women Out’: The Struggle for Coeducation 
by Nancy Weiss Malkiel.
Princeton, 646 pp., £22.95, May 2018, 978 0 691 18111 0
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... by an authoritative report commissioned by Princeton’s president, Robert Goheen, and drafted by Gardner Patterson, an economist at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Both men’s political instincts and diplomatic skills were tested to the limit when the report reached sceptical alumni, whose reservations were encouraged and ...

A Particular Way of Looking

J. Hoberman: NeoRealismo, 21 November 2019

NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-60 
edited by Enrica Viganò.
Prestel, 349 pp., £49.99, September 2018, 978 3 7913 5769 0
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... Evans’s images, and In the Street, a spare, poetic documentary about Spanish Harlem, filmed by Helen Levitt.) Life magazine ran a seven-page spread on the movie’s ‘earthy verisimilitude’. Audiences accustomed to Hollywood coyness were amazed to see Anna Magnani’s skirt ride up, revealing her garter straps, when she is shot by a German soldier in ...

His Own Private Armenia

Anne Hollander: Arshile Gorky, 1 April 2004

Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work 
by Hayden Herrera.
Bloomsbury, 767 pp., £35, October 2003, 9780747566472
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Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective of Drawings 
edited by Janie Lee and Melvin Lader.
Abrams, 272 pp., £30, December 2003, 0 87427 135 5
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... Boston, devouring and copying the treasures in the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, even getting a little basic training at night from the New School of Design. Later he would promulgate more lies about having studied at the more prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, or graduated from Brown University. Daily life remained ...

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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... Melvyn Douglas, Deanna Durbin, Melvyn Frank, Daniel Fuchs, Henry Fonda, John Garfield, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Henry Hathaway, Van Heflin, Fritz Lang, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Burgess Meredith, Groucho Marx, Vincente Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Robert Ryan, Edward G. Robinson, Donna Reed, Nicholas Ray, Robert Siodmak, Frank ...

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