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Germans and the German Past

J.P. Stern, 21 December 1989

The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity 
by Charles Maier.
Harvard, 227 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 674 92975 6
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Historikerstreit 
Piper, 397 pp., DM 17.80, July 1987, 3 492 10816 4Show More
In Hitler’s Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape from the Nazi Past 
by Richard Evans.
Tauris, 196 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 1 85043 146 9
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Why did the heavens not darken? 
by Arno Mayer.
Verso, 510 pp., £19.95, October 1989, 0 86091 267 1
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A German Identity, 1770-1990 
by Harold James.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £16.95, March 1989, 9780297795049
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Die Republikaner: Phantombild der neuen Rechten 
by Claus Leggewie.
Rotbuch, 155 pp., May 1989, 3 88022 011 5
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Ich war dabei 
by Franz Schönhuber.
Langen Müller, 356 pp., April 1989, 3 7844 2249 7
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... show that doctrinaire Marxism is the last obstacle on Germany’s road to democracy. An American scholar, Charles Maier of Harvard, has followed the historians’ dispute and written a commentary on it. The nonce word in his title raises expectations of originality which the book doesn’t fulfil. His summaries of the main contributions are useful, fair, and ...

Liquored-Up

Stefan Collini: Edmund Wilson, 17 November 2005

Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature 
by Lewis Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 642 pp., £35, August 2005, 0 374 11312 2
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... of the now lost ‘critic as intellectual’, those emblematic figures such as Trilling or Irving Howe who assumed their cultural inheritance in the 1940s and 1950s. Wilson, born in 1895, came into his own in the 1920s. It underlines his remoteness to recall that he had already graduated from Princeton before America entered the First World War. His ...

Who had the most fun?

David Bromwich: The Marx Brothers, 10 May 2001

Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 480 pp., £7.99, April 2001, 0 14 029426 0
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The Essential Groucho 
by Groucho Marx, edited by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 254 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 14 029425 2
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... tricorn hats would find its way into Finnegans Wake, according to Thornton Wilder, a formidable scholar of Joyce. ‘This is the three lipoleum Coyne Grouching down in the living detch.’ When told of the homage in later years, Groucho was well pleased and only a little sceptical. ‘Did a New York policeman, on his way back to Ireland to see his dear old ...

What are we allowed to say?

David Bromwich, 22 September 2016

... strictures against blasphemy. The introductory chapter of Blasphemy, by the great American legal scholar Leonard Levy, covers ‘the Jewish trial of Jesus’; it is followed in close succession, in Levy’s account, by the Christian invention of the concept of heresy and the persecution of the Socinian and Arminian heretics and later of the ...

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