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Serious Dr Sonne

Philip Purser, 6 December 1990

The Play of the Eyes 
by Elias Canetti, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Deutsch, 329 pp., £14.95, August 1990, 0 233 98570 0
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Yellow Street 
by Veza Canetti, translated by Ian Mitchell.
Halban, 139 pp., £11.95, November 1990, 1 870015 36 3
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... attracts only a passing mention, identified as ‘a philosopher, the brother of the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein’. Robert Musil occupies the summit of Canetti’s esteem until he is demoted after a show of petulance at a tactless mention of his archrival Thomas Mann. Herman Broch was Canetti’s great friend at the beginning of the period but ...

Poisoned Words

Ian Williams, 5 May 1988

Indictment: Power and Politics In the Construction Industry 
by David Morrell.
Faber, 287 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 571 14985 5
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... however, there is now a memorial-David Morrell’s Indictment. Mr Morrell is the chairman of Mitchell Construction, the original contractors for the KNB project, and his book breaks ground unturned since Samuel Smiles’s Lives of the Engineers. In his pages, Mitchell Construction, in legal fiction a corporate ...

An Alternative Agenda

Ian Hamilton, 25 June 1987

... actually spoken by the Convener of a Conference on Literary Journals held last month at the Australian National University at Canberra We’re gathered here today In Canberra To discourse on The Literary Journal: It’s role – Now, Then, Tomorrow afternoon, when (by the way) We have a change Of personnel. Jon Culler has got toothache; In his stead ...


Ian Hamilton: Two weeks in Australia, 6 October 1983

... or so before I set off, however, almost everybody I bumped into (including at least one Australian) seemed to think that I’d gone off my head. Nobody, I was told, went to Australia just for the sake of Going to Australia. I must be mad. Or was I ‘up to something’? I reflected at the time that ‘Australia’ was perhaps the only destination in the ...

Little Brother, Little Sister

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen: Hysteria, 24 May 2001

Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria and the Effects of Sibling Relationships on the Human Condition 
by Juliet Mitchell.
Penguin, 381 pp., £9.99, December 2000, 0 14 017651 9
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... no longer concern themselves with the ‘historical truth’ of what is said on the couch; Lacanians reformulate the theory in terms of language and the ‘signifier’. The Freudian collar can’t be attached to any of these, because they didn’t wait for the Freud bashers before profoundly revising both their theory ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... Sir Gordon is investigating allegations of corruption made against certain MPs by the Guardian newspaper. The allegations referred to payments and relationships between MPs, lobbyists and businessmen dating back more than ten years: ten years in which the media now berated by the Speaker displayed an almost unanimous reluctance to refer in any way to ...

Among the Picts

John Sutherland, 18 August 1994

Stained Radiance: A Fictionist’s Prelude 
by J. Leslie Mitchell.
Polygon, 219 pp., £7.95, July 1993, 0 7486 6141 7
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The Speak of the Mearns 
by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
Polygon, 268 pp., £8.95, June 1994, 0 7486 6167 0
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... Lewis Grassic Gibbon (the pen-name of James Leslie Mitchell) is put forward as his country’s great 20th-century novelist: the Scottish D.H. Lawrence. Gibbon’s reputation substantially rests on A Scots Quair (‘quire’ – or ‘gathering of sheets’), also called ‘The Mearns Trilogy’, Mearns being an ancient name for Kincardineshire, now itself an ancient name after the county reorganisation of 1975 ...

No Trousers

Claude Rawson, 20 December 1990

The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Vol. VIII: The French Revolution 1790-1794 
edited by L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, March 1990, 0 19 822422 2
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Reflections on the Revolution in France 
by Edmund Burke, edited by J.G.A. Pocock.
Hackett, 236 pp., $5.95, January 1987, 0 87220 020 5
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APhilosophical Enquiry 
by Edmund Burke, edited by Adam Phillips.
Oxford, 173 pp., £4.95, June 1990, 0 19 281807 4
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... as Tories of that sort seem to do. His best-known political champion today is probably Sir Ian Gilmour. The type, though not lately in the ascendant, is closer to the model which has evolved over time, as Burke might have seen it, who would certainly have seen Thatcherism as the convulsive aberration. It seems only yesterday that it was possible to ...

Looking back

Hugh Thomas, 7 July 1983

The Spanish Civil War 
by David Mitchell.
Granada, 208 pp., £9.95, December 1982, 0 246 11916 0
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... fundamental concessions: the murder of Andres Nin, the independent Communist killed by the Russian secret police on the Republican side, had no counterpart among victims of the Gestapo, but Nationalist Spanish propaganda was Nazified, and, in those days, the distinction between propaganda, ideology and culture became increasingly fine. Franco won the war ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama, 11 October 2012

... to All That and All Quiet on the Western Front? Or in the nook reserved for cultish para-Jamesiana like Howard Sturgis’s Belchamber? Buoyed up by these undecidables it’s stayed more or less afloat, not as visible as The Good Soldier but not as neglected as Ford’s partisans sometimes like to make out. Copies used to be quite difficult to find and ...

Beijing Envy

Joshua Kurlantzick: China in Africa, 5 July 2007

China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise 
by Ian Taylor.
Routledge, 233 pp., £75, August 2006, 0 415 39740 5
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China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the 21st Century 
edited by Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham and Derek Mitchell.
Sharpe, 232 pp., $29.95, April 2007, 978 0 7656 1713 2
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China’s African Policy 
Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, January 2006Show More
China’s Expanding Role in Africa: Implications for the United States 
by Bates Gill, Chin-hao Huang and J. Stephen Morrison.
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, February 2007
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Friends and Interests: China’s Distinctive Links with Africa 
by Barry Sautman.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, April 2006
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African Perspectives on China in Africa 
edited by Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks.
Fahamu, 174 pp., £11.95, March 2007, 978 0 9545637 3 8
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Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier 
by Harry Broadman.
World Bank, 391 pp., $20, November 2006, 0 8213 6835 4
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... Zambia as a good friend, good partner, and a good brother.’ Two years earlier, around fifty Zambians were killed in an accident at an explosives factory that supplied a Chinese-owned copper mine. Protesters had afterwards demanded better safety conditions and higher salaries: they earned roughly £35 a month, less than the minimum wage. Armed with tree ...

They never married

Ian Hamilton, 10 May 1990

The Dictionary of National Biography: 1981-1985 
edited by Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 518 pp., £40, March 1990, 0 19 865210 0
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... latest supplement to the Dictionary of National Biography there are photographs of David Niven, Diana Dors, Eric Morecambe, John Betjeman and William Walton. Dors has a leering ‘Come up and read me sometime’ expression on her face and Niven wears his yacht-club greeter’s smile. Morecambe seems to be laughing at one of his own jokes. Amiable ...


Ian Stewart, 4 November 1993

The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier 
by Bruce Sterling.
Viking, 328 pp., £16.99, January 1993, 0 670 84900 6
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The New Hacker’s Dictionary 
edited by Eric Raymond.
MIT, 516 pp., £11.75, October 1992, 0 262 68079 3
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Approaching Zero: Data Crime and the Computer Underworld 
by Bryan Clough and Paul Mungo.
Faber, 256 pp., £4.99, March 1993, 0 571 16813 2
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... On 29 June 1989, a security manager for the US telephone company Indiana Bell received an anonymous telephone call. In a menacing tone a young man’s voice informed him that he had planted bombs in several switching systems known as 5ESSs. ‘They’re set to blow on a national holiday. They could be anywhere in the country – it’s a sort of competition, a security test ...


Susan McKay: Breakdown in Power-Sharing, 8 March 2018

... of the Good Friday Agreement is marked at the beginning of April. The Clintons, Tony Blair, George Mitchell and Bertie Ahern were all expected to make an appearance. Recently it seemed that a deal was about to be made. May and Varadkar flew in to Belfast on 12 February, ready to welcome it. But it soon became clear that the talks were in deep trouble, so the ...


Tom Paulin: Trimble’s virtues, 7 October 2004

... he gets it right in ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz’, and it was that Turgenevian poem I was celebrating. Going back onto the lawn I bump into a friend who works in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. Knowing that he was closely involved in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement, I mention Trimble to him. He speaks ...

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