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Much like the 1950s

David Edgar: The Sixties, 7 June 2007

White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties 
by Dominic Sandbrook.
Little, Brown, 878 pp., £22.50, August 2006, 0 316 72452 1
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Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles 
by Dominic Sandbrook.
Abacus, 892 pp., £19.99, May 2006, 0 349 11530 3
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... doesn’t mention the (equally chaotic) Dialectics of Liberation Congress of July 1967, at which Herbert Marcuse, Paul Goodman, Allen Ginsberg and Stokely Carmichael were brought together not by a university or a political party but by a group of dissident psychiatrists living in a commune in London’s East End. The role of R.D. Laing’s ...

Dream On

Katha Pollitt: Bringing up Babies, 11 September 2003

I Don't Know How She Does It 
by Allison Pearson.
Vintage, 256 pp., £6.99, May 2003, 0 09 942838 5
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A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother 
by Rachel Cusk.
Fourth Estate, 224 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 1 84115 487 3
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The Truth about Babies: From A-Z 
by Ian Sansom.
Granta, 352 pp., £6.99, June 2003, 1 86207 575 1
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What Are Children For? 
by Laurie Taylor and Matthew Taylor.
Short Books, 141 pp., £6.99, January 2003, 1 904095 25 9
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The Commercialisation of Intimate Life 
by Arlie Russell Hochschild.
California, 313 pp., £32.95, May 2003, 0 520 21487 0
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... aspects of the women’s movement have entered the mainstream of American life through a process Herbert Marcuse described as ‘resistance through incorporation’. American culture incorporated what of feminism fitted with capitalism and individualism, but it resisted the rest. It incorporated the idea of equal pay for equal work and diversity but ...

Naughty Children

Christopher Turner: Freud’s Free Clinics, 6 October 2005

Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice 1918-38 
by Elizabeth Ann Danto.
Columbia, 348 pp., £19.50, May 2005, 0 231 13180 1
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... the revolutionary Freud as a myth. It was only in 1955 that a member of the Frankfurt School, Herbert Marcuse, revived the more radical Freud in Eros and Civilisation, which came out two years before Reich’s death. Perhaps these vacillating positions represent some ambivalence at the heart of Freud’s politics, allowing us to grasp the ...

Gloomy Pageant

Jeremy Harding: Britain Comma Now, 31 July 2014

Mammon’s Kingdom: An Essay on Britain, Now 
by David Marquand.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 1 84614 672 5
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... were entitled to get.’ The defiant style of the 1960s, epitomised for Marquand by R.D. Laing and Herbert Marcuse, was also a ‘hyper-individualistic’, romanticised worship of choice by jejune students and lotus-eaters wearing paisley. ‘Slowly, incompletely, but unmistakably, today’s hedonistic and relativist culture elbowed aside the old culture ...

America Deserta

Richard Poirier, 16 February 1989

by Jean Baudrillard, translated by Chris Turner.
Verso, 129 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 86091 220 5
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America Observed: The Newspaper Years of Alistair Cooke 
by Ronald Wells.
Reinhardt, 233 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 1 871061 09 1
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American Journals 
by Albert Camus, translated by Hugh Levick.
Hamish Hamilton, 155 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 241 12621 5
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... as in his most famous essay ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, by Herbert Marcuse in One-Dimensional Man, a major text for the Sixties, and by the writings of Marshall McLuhan on the semiology of an electronic environment in which ‘the medium is the message.’ Together and in different ways, such writers have gradually ...

Why can’t he be loved?

Benjamin Kunkel: Houellebecq, 20 October 2011

The Map and the Territory 
by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Gavin Bowd.
Heinemann, 291 pp., £17.99, September 2011, 978 0 434 02141 3
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... no other contemporary writer, left or right, has made the supposedly outdated Freudo-Marxism of Herbert Marcuse look like such a prescient glimpse into the future we now inhabit. Marcuse’s formula for the libidinal condition of the postwar capitalist era was ‘repressive desublimation’. The ...

Heil Heidegger

J.P. Stern, 20 April 1989

Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu seiner Biographie 
by Hugo Ott.
Campus Verlag, 355 pp., DM 48, December 1988, 3 593 34035 6
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... includes what may well be Heidegger’s only reference to the holocaust, in a letter to Herbert Marcuse, one of his former pupils. Marcuse’s reproaches are justified (Heidegger writes in January 1948): he can only add that ‘instead of “Jews” ’ Marcuse’s letter ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag, 12 February 2009

Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... birth to a son, David. She studies for masters’ degrees in literature and philosophy at Harvard. Herbert Marcuse boards in their house. The tone is one of new maturity in a high-toned world, but there are also floods of tears, feelings of imprisonment, the need to die or leave. There isn’t much room for the complex, human Philip Rieff. He was famous ...

‘I’m not racist, but …’

Daniel Trilling, 18 April 2019

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities 
by Eric Kaufman.
Allen Lane, 617 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 241 31710 5
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National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy 
by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin.
Pelican, 384 pp., £9.99, October 2018, 978 0 241 31200 1
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... criticised Coates’s ideas, from a variety of positions.* He treats Marcel Duchamp, New Labour, Herbert Marcuse and US affirmative action policies as if they are all part of the same continuous trend. More important, Kaufmann gives too little consideration to the difference between top-down initiatives – the celebration of diversity in advertising ...

On Cruelty

Judith Butler: The Death Penalty, 17 July 2014

The Death Penalty: Vol. I 
by Jacques Derrida, translated by Peggy Kamuf.
Chicago, 328 pp., £24.50, January 2014, 978 0 226 14432 0
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... its justification. But for Davis, the task is to move beyond vengeance. Her mentor was at one time Herbert Marcuse, who in Eros and Civilisation, his rejoinder to Civilisation and Its Discontents, suggested that Eros might be expanded to create forms of community that would counter the force of Thanatos, or the death drive augmented under capitalism. He ...


Michael Neve, 20 October 1983

by Timothy Leary.
Heinemann, 397 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 434 40975 8
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Freud and Cocaine 
by E.M. Thornton.
Blond and Briggs, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 85634 139 8
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Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females 
by Andrea Dworkin.
Women’s Press, 254 pp., £4.95, June 1983, 0 7043 3907 2
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Hidden Selves: Between Theory and Practice in Psychoanalysis 
by Masud Khan.
Hogarth, 204 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 7012 0547 4
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... these pages of Timothy Leary being a liar, or a bad man. In the Sixties, he played the part of the Herbert Spencer of the drug culture to the full – ‘Tokyo, an urban hive fascinating to any diligent student of insectoid interpersonal relations’. Or on his early experince of marriage: ‘The nesting circuits of our brains were activated. It was the first ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah Berlin: A Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... straight thing was ever made.” ’In 1969, he came upon a piece of moral idiocy from Herbert Marcuse – or at any rate a piece of moral idiocy from Marcuse quoted in Encounter – and went into a towering rage, writing that people like Marcuse and indeed Hannah Arendt ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes, 19 October 2017

After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... for originality in their narratives, so why should she?Acker also claimed to have studied with Herbert Marcuse at the University of California at San Diego, but that doesn’t seem to have been true either. In fact she dropped out of Brandeis after two years to follow her boyfriend, Bob Acker, to UCSD, marrying him in the process. That’s just what ...

The German Question

Perry Anderson: Goodbye to Bonn, 7 January 1999

... of authority. When it has been in power, the pattern has always been a diarchy – Brandt and Herbert Wehner, or Schmidt and Brandt – with the Chancellor flanked by a powerful and independent Party Chairman, not to speak of the regional prime ministers. Schröder, catapulted within six months of winning a provincial election in Hanover to leadership of ...

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