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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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... At the beginning of the third volume of his autobiography, Elias Canetti is still in his twenties. He has been cooped up for a year in a bed-sitter on the outskirts of Vienna with only a print of the Isenheim altar as company, working on the grim novel that was eventually to be called Auto da Fé. Early one morning he catches the first workman’s train into town, dashes through empty streets and lets ...

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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... where and how would anyone commemorate the builders of Chernobyl? For the Kariba North Bank power station, 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 ...
25 June 1987
... An unlucky break: The expat. Peter Porter, with some stuff You can quite happily ignore On why he thinks professors are a bore. Stuff him. We welcome too, From Critical Inquiry, our lone Yank: W.J.T. Mitchell seems at first Unsettlingly cheery. Underneath He’s ninety per cent Theory, One of us. While others idly prate Tom will ‘articulate’, post ’68. Which brings us to the ones We still most love ...

Diary

Ian​ Hamilton: Two weeks in Australia

6 October 1983
... no one would actually have pitied me. After all, I would only have been two hours from NY. Of course, it could be argued that the Aussies bring it on themselves, with their Barry McKenzies, their Ian Chappells, their self-parodying Foster ads, and so on. And there is the accent: for some reason more readily mimickable than any of our own regional twangs. Theories about the Australian accent are ...

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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... from its ashes, always more powerful, always more imperial, always more Freudian. How do analysts manage to transmute their defeats into victories? How do they change while remaining the same? Juliet Mitchell is a grande dame of Freudo-Lacanian feminism. Her first book, Psychoanalysis and Feminism (1974), played a critical role in the feminist rehabilitation of Freud. The present one deals with hysteria ...

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 ...

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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... and moderate rather than extremist in its principles of political action. He would have loathed Thatcherism, 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 ...
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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... the actors offered only a false address in the United States and posh premises in Park Lane equipped with an answering machine. Grylls was hooked at once. He recommended the legendary lobbyist Ian Greer, who was approached by the hoaxers and, like Grylls, immediately hoodwinked. Lured to the bogus Park Lane offices Greer and his associates were filmed as they boasted about their powerful ...

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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... not only that he was already secretly a Communist in 1936 when still formally the leader of the Socialist Youth, but that Andres Nin was indeed murdered ‘on our side’. Even the recent book by Ian Gibson has, however, failed to establish his responsibility, or freedom from blame, for the murder of two thousand Republican prisoners at Paracuellos – probably the biggest single atrocity of the ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama

11 October 2012
... to be coloured by his famously well-populated love life, and Parade’s End draws heavily on his overlapping entanglements – principally those with Elsie Martindale, Violet Hunt and Stella Bowen. Ian Hamilton thought Ford’s novels ‘were too often damaged by having to serve as silvery-tongued back-ups to whatever life-muddle he happened to be engaged with’. Yet Ford’s self-exculpatory ...

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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... his trip. The protests shocked many Chinese policy-makers. ‘I don’t understand – why would they attack Chinese businesses?’ one Chinese scholar asked me. ‘Why would anyone hate them?’ As Ian Taylor notes in China and Africa, the People’s Republic has had substantial relations with sub-Saharan Africa since at least the early 1950s. Back then, Beijing chose allies for ideological reasons ...

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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... in Park Lane when it was widened’. Sometimes the choice of contributors can seem cosier than it might have been: Ned Sherrin on Caryl Brahms, for example, or Hugh Johnson on his publisher, James Mitchell: ‘The World Atlas of Wines,’ Johnson writes, ‘became the most discussed and most imitated reference book of the Seventies among rival publishers. By the end of the decade it had sold one ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: Trimble’s virtues

7 October 2004
... punishment than most Unionist MPs. Though he was the party’s youngest and most junior MP, he was already acquiring respect both as its most intellectual member and as a potential counterweight to Ian Paisley, but it was Paisley who helped him win the Unionist leadership, when the two men clasped hands at chest level as they took the salute of the admiring throng, after the Orange Order defied a ...

The Slightest Sardine

James Wood: A literary dragnet

20 May 2004
The Oxford English Literary History. Vol. XII: 1960-2000: The Last of England? 
by Randall Stevenson.
Oxford, 624 pp., £30, February 2004, 0 19 818423 9
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... shorter: ‘Declining economic confidence among publishers, and dwindling stamina or leisure time among readers, encouraged some novelists almost to usurp the short story’s usual dimensions. When Ian McEwan moved on from short-story writing, it was to produce a first "novel", The Cement Garden (1978), not much in excess of one hundred pages.’ Ah, so that is why McEwan’s novels are so short ...

Oops

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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... to Sterling’s reading of events – and he argues it very convincingly – the central issue in the USA has now become one of civil liberties. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, founded by Mitchell Kapor, funded in a substantial degree by Steve Wozniak (who started up Apple Computer) and John Gilmore (a pioneer of Sun Microsystems), has supported several hackers who have filed suit against the ...

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