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A Walk with Kierkegaard

Roger Poole, 21 February 1980

Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age– A Literary Review 
by Søren Kierkegaard, edited and translated by Howard Hong and Edna Hong.
Princeton, 187 pp., £7.70, August 1978, 0 691 07226 4
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Kierkegaard: Letters and Documents 
translated by Henrik Rosenmeier.
Princeton, 518 pp., £13.60, November 1978, 0 691 07228 0
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... difficulty in choosing their term because Dru’s is so obviously the right one. But even if the Hong translation lacks some of the swing and sheer ‘go’ of Dru’s, it is consistently good and accurate, an excellent earnest of things to come. The worst of all these defects of the age is what Kierkegaard calls ‘levelling’. This cannot be carried out ...

Diary

Andrew Saint: The Jubilee Line Extension, 20 January 2000

... the whole working of the Underground, in the utopian tradition of Ruskin, Morris and Ebenezer Howard. A benevolent authority was to confront Londoners with the best in art, while at the same time pressing them to live freer, fuller and purer lives, preferably at the suburban ends of one of Pick’s lines. Profit came into it, yes; but ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Lust, Caution’, 24 January 2008

Lust, Caution 
directed by Ang Lee.
October 2007
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... is acting out in the story – will ever declare his love, or say anything, as directly as Leslie Howard does in that Western melodrama. There is a risk of cliché in this thought, but I am only following the director Ang Lee down this path, and he avoids it through cleverness. In the film moderately scrutable orientals play inscrutable orientals pretending ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair, 23 January 1997

Mr Nice: An Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... Did you write it yourself?’ That is the first question any visiting journo asks Howard Marks about his autobiography, Mr Nice. Marks suppresses a yawn. The morning is not really his time. He’s in the middle of a promotional binge, late nights, dry-throat blather; the anecdotes on autopilot. By temperament he’s the contrary of the Tory apparatchik in the radio car ...

Wigs and Tories

Paul Foot, 18 September 1997

Trial of Strength: The Battle Between Ministers and Judges over Who Makes the Law 
by Joshua Rozenberg.
Richard Cohen, 241 pp., £17.99, April 1997, 1 86066 094 0
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The Politics of the Judiciary 
by J.A.G. Griffith.
Fontana, 376 pp., £8.99, September 1997, 0 00 686381 7
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... If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it follows that the enemy of Michael Howard is my hero. So awful was Howard’s long reign at the Home Office that many liberals sought democratic relief from the most blatantly undemocratic section of the establishment: the judiciary. It was the strange sound of Law Lords denouncing Howard’s preposterous insistence that ‘prison works’ and the widespread jubilation at his many snubbings in the courts that led to liberal hosannas for the judges ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Scorsese, 16 November 2006

The Departed 
directed by Martin Scorsese.
October 2006
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... Aviator (2004) all its good moments, and turned Leonardo di Caprio (as the solitary and paranoid Howard Hughes) into an actor quite different from the one he had been. Enter Jack Nicholson. Or rather, re-enter Jack Nicholson. I had somehow missed all the hype about The Departed representing the first time Scorsese had ever worked with Nicholson, probably ...

The Suitors

Stephen W. Smith: China in Africa, 19 March 2015

China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa 
by Howard French.
Knopf, 285 pp., £22.50, June 2014, 978 0 307 95698 9
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... value than rice. That year, a 25-year-old French grain trader, Jean-Yves Ollivier, travelled to Hong Kong and crossed the Sham Chun River, the natural border with mainland China, to enter the town of Shenzhen, then hardly more than a fishing village. The far bank was dotted with red flags, portraits of Mao and banners of Chinese ideograms luffing in the ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... her, when one’s baby-sitter is a cabinet minister one realises one is really old! 21 May 1997. Howard Davies is appointed chairman-designate of ‘SuperSIB’ (or, as it is later christened by Gordon Brown, the Financial Services Authority), as much to his surprise as everyone else’s. He had been on his way to South America in his capacity as deputy ...

Diary

Clive James, 10 January 1983

... lot of open space With here and there a mildly curious face. She’s here to pin them down about Hong Kong. She’d like to have a written guarantee. The PM’s habit is to come on strong. The Chinese instinct is to wait and see. Any idea the business won’t take long Ebbs when the welcome turns out so low key. China in that respect remains immutable ...

Diary

John Lanchester: Unbelievable Blair, 10 July 2003

... of Blair, apart from all the people who voted for him. (Which, by the way, I didn’t. I was in Hong Kong and forgot to arrange a postal vote.) Mind you, Labour’s electoral majority has always been misleading when it comes to assessing Blair’s actual popularity. He won his stupendous 179-seat majority in 1997 on the basis of 13,517,911 votes – which ...

Now to Stride into the Sunlight

Ian Jack: The Brexiters, 14 June 2017

What Next: How to Get the Best from Brexit 
by Daniel Hannan.
Head of Zeus, 298 pp., £9.99, November 2016, 978 1 78669 193 4
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The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign 
by Arron Banks.
Biteback, 354 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 78590 205 5
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All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 688 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 00 821517 0
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... capacities as think-tank director, Daily Telegraph leader-writer and speechwriter for Michael Howard, he has been agitating against the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU throughout the 25 years since he was a student politician at Oxford. As an MEP he helped persuade David Cameron to withdraw the Tories from the conservative-liberal mainstream in ...

Imaginary Homelands

Salman Rushdie, 7 October 1982

... earnestly of such matters as the need for new ways of describing the world. Then the playwright Howard Brenton suggested that this might be a somewhat limited aim: does literature seek to do no more than to describe? Flustered, all the novelists at once began talking about politics. Let me apply Brenton’s question to the specific case of Indian ...

Reservations of the Marvellous

T.J. Clark, 22 June 2000

The Arcades Project 
by Walter Benjamin, translated by Howard Eiland.
Harvard, 1073 pp., £24.95, December 1999, 9780674043268
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... Benjamin’s project be attempted for the 20th century, by some stoic expatriate in Los Angeles or Hong Kong twenty years or so from now? Are there pieces of the gone city which one day a writer will teach us to fall in love with again? Maybe. Maybe the great cinemas of the 1930s and 1940s, a few of which, if we are lucky, will resist the logic of the ...

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