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Double Thought

Michael Wood: Kafka in the Office, 20 November 2008

Franz Kafka: The Office Writings 
edited by Stanley Corngold, Jack Greenberg and Benno Wagner, translated by Eric Patton and Ruth Hein.
Princeton, 404 pp., £26.95, November 2008, 978 0 691 12680 7
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... Confusion’, literally ‘an everyday confusion’. In an afterword to The Office Writings, Jack Greenberg, a lawyer on the case, recalls the 1954 US Supreme Court decision on Brown v. Board of Education, which instructed school administrators to desegregate with ‘all deliberate speed’, that is, either as quickly as possible or as slowly as ...

Say hello to Rodney

Peter Wollen: How art becomes kitsch, 17 February 2000

The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of the Kitsch Experience 
by Celeste Olalquiaga.
Bloomsbury, 321 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7475 4535 9
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... in an appropriate style. She climbed laboriously up to a small ‘chamber’ – it was the Jack London room – in one of the mansion’s towers where, among a plethora of nautical bric-à-brac, she found, on the bedside table, her crustacean muse. Rodney, of course, was long dead inside the mollusc shell that served as his hermitage, but encased in ...

Jackson breaks the ice

Andrew Forge, 4 April 1991

Jackson Pollock: An American Saga 
by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.
Barrie and Jenkins, 934 pp., £19.95, March 1990, 0 7126 3866 0
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Abstract Expressionism 
by David Anfam.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 500 20243 5
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Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston 
by Musa Mayer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £8.95, February 1991, 0 500 27633 1
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... There are villains: Dr Henderson, Pollock’s Jungian analyst, Robert Motherwell, Clement Greenberg; and heroes and heroines: the sad, remote father, the brothers, particularly Sande, and his wife Arloie, Reuben Kadish, Roger Wilcox, Rita Benton. They write with respect about Lee Krasner and without parti pris. My impression is that the book is ...

Subject, Spectator, Phantom

J. Hoberman: The Strangest Personality Ever to Lead the Free World, 17 February 2005

Nixon at the Movies: A Book about Belief 
by Mark Feeney.
Chicago, 422 pp., £19.50, November 2004, 0 226 23968 3
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... the most intelligent member of the committee, he exacted especially grovelling testimony from Jack Warner, who promised to make amends for the sin of Mission to Moscow with a series of anti-Communist movies.) Congressman Nixon made his national reputation during the following year’s investigation into Alger Hiss, the first Congressional hearings to have ...

His Generation

Keith Gessen: A Sad Old Literary Man, 19 June 2008

Alfred Kazin: A Biography 
by Richard Cook.
Yale, 452 pp., £25, March 2008, 978 0 300 11505 5
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... whom would ever feel comfortable with English, he was telling the world, in his own words, about Jack London, Dos Passos, Hemingway, Steinbeck. He was announcing – as his exact contemporary Saul Bellow would announce a decade later in The Adventures of Augie March – a new addition to the canon of American sensibility. But the cost would be ...

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