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The Name of the Beast

Armand Marie Leroi, 11 December 1997

by Jacques Roger.
Cornell, 492 pp., £39.50, August 1997, 0 8014 2918 8
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The Platypus and the Mermaid and Other Figments of the Classifying Imagination 
by Harriet Ritvo.
Harvard, 274 pp., £19.95, November 1997, 0 674 67357 3
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... world. Fortunately, we now have a wonderful guide to his thought, in English, by the late Jacques Roger. Buffon’s compendium is a true natural history: a compilation of facts about the form, habits and behaviours of his subjects. He believed that the creatures Linnaeus separated out as ‘Mammalia’ and ‘Aves’ could be ‘connected’ in a ...
Structuralism and Since: From Lévi-Strauss to Derrida 
edited by John Sturrock.
Oxford, 190 pp., £5.50, January 1980, 0 19 215839 2
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... Sixties, through its development and extensions in the work of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida, to its present position, which is known either as ‘post-structuralism’ or simply as ‘deconstruction’. It is significant that it should bear the date 1979, though, for it is very much a ...

Apocalypse Two

R.W. Johnson: Rwanda’s genocide, 21 June 2001

A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide 
by Linda Melvern.
Zed, 272 pp., £16.95, September 2000, 9781856498319
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... policy has always been run by a cabal operating out of a back door of the Elysée – this was how Jacques Foccart ran it under de Gaulle and Pompidou, orchestrating coups and mercenary interventions at will. Giscard dispensed with Foccart, but was equally underhand. He continued the pattern of military intervention; Africa was his true domaine ...

Did the self-made man fake it with Bohemian fossils?

Richard Fortey: Jacques Deprat, 25 November 1999

The Deprat Affair: Ambition, Revenge and Deceit in French Indochina 
by Roger Osborne.
Cape, 244 pp., £15.99, October 1999, 0 224 05295 0
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... On 23 May 1909, Jacques Deprat left France for Hanoi with his young family to start a career as a geologist in the Service Géologique de l’Indochine. His advancement had been won against the odds. His beginnings were humble, if respectable, and he had progressed by virtue of hard work. He had published brilliant papers on the geological structure of Corsica, which had eventually earned him the respect of a distinguished sponsor, Professor Termier at the Ecole des Mines in Paris ...

Wild Hearts

Peter Wollen, 6 April 1995

Virginia Woolf 
by James King.
Hamish Hamilton, 699 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 241 13063 8
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... aphoristic judgment is usually taken to refer to the Post-Impressionist Exhibition, organised by Roger Fry, which opened, in fact, on 8 November 1910. Plainly, this was the moment when the European avant garde shattered the calm of the Edwardian art world. It is still hard to see, however, why it should have changed ‘human character’, or how its ...

A bas les chefs!

John Sturrock: Jules Vallès, 9 February 2006

The Child 
by Jules Vallès, translated by Douglas Parmée.
NYRB, 343 pp., £8.99, August 2005, 1 59017 117 9
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... serialised in a French paper, as the first instalment of a work purporting to be the life story of Jacques Vingtras, who had his initials in common with the actual author, along with a closely similar, if less than identical childhood and adolescence behind him. (Modern French editions preserve the impersonation by subtitling the volumes ‘...

A Waistcoat soaked in Tears

Douglas Johnson, 27 June 1991

The Noble Savage: Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1754-1762 
by Maurice Cranston.
Allen Lane, 399 pp., £20, February 1991, 0 7139 9051 1
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Writings of Rousseau. Vol I: Rousseau: Judge of Jean-Jacques. Dialogues. 
translated by Judith Bush, edited and translated by Christopher Kelly and Roger Masters.
University Press of New England, 277 pp., $40, March 1990, 0 87451 495 9
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... works in translation, to begin with the curious, and often neglected, Rousseau: Judge of Jean-Jacques, usually known as the Dialogues. This he wrote some five years after his return to France from exile. When it was completed, in 1766, he tried to deposit the manuscript on the great altar of Notre Dame, hoping that news of its existence would thus reach ...

And then there was ‘Playtime’

Jonathan Coe: Vive Tati!, 9 December 1999

Jacques Tati 
by David Bellos.
Harvill, 382 pp., £25, October 1999, 1 86046 651 6
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... worthwhile books devoted to these figures, there should run such a noticeable vein of anxiety. In Roger Lewis’s extraordinary biography of Peter Sellers, for instance, proper celebration of comic genius goes hand in hand with character assassination. Every version of Tony Hancock’s life zooms in on his alcoholism and depression. David Bellos does not, in ...

What’s the problem with critical art?

Hal Foster: Rancière’s Aesthetics, 10 October 2013

Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art 
by Jacques Rancière, translated by Zakir Paul.
Verso, 272 pp., £20, June 2013, 978 1 78168 089 6
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... about now? Are there any maîtres à penser left? Do we still want such figures? One contender is Jacques Rancière, who recently retired as professor of philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII. Rancière emerged at the age of 25 as a co-author, with Althusser, of Reading ‘Capital’ (1965), but broke with him over the revolts of May 1968: Althusser took ...

Princeton Diary

Alan Ryan: In Princeton , 26 March 1992

... lustre as his horror stories have been found not to stand up to dispassionate investigation, while Roger Kimball’s Tenured Radicals catches less attention now that the tenured radicals are spending less time poisoning the minds of the young than dealing with deficits which could reach $50 million a year or more at Yale and Columbia. The quarrels rumble ...

At the Queen’s Gallery

Inigo Thomas: David Hockney , 2 March 2017

... acquisitions for decades. ‘Do you not agree that the fate of the portrait is rather pathetic,’ Jacques-Emile Blanche, an artist famous in his day for his portraits, wrote in a letter to William Rothenstein, who was another – ‘unless the name of the artist be such a famous one that no change in public opinion could possibly prevent them from falling ...

My Dagger into Yow

Ian Donaldson: Sidney’s Letters, 25 April 2013

The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney 
edited by Roger Kuin.
Oxford, 1381 pp., £250, July 2012, 978 0 19 955822 3
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... with elegant epistles’ which he had painstakingly written. The opening letter in Roger Kuin’s superb new edition of his correspondence, addressed to the 12-year-old Philip by his father, Sir Henry, urges him ‘to exercise that practise’ in letter writing, ‘for it will stand you in most steed in that profession of lyfe that you are ...

The Greatest

R.W. Johnson, 4 August 1994

Charles de Gaulle, Futurist of the Nation 
by Régis Debray, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 111 pp., £29.95, April 1994, 0 86091 622 7
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De Gaulle and 20th-Century France 
edited by Hugh Gough and John Horne.
Edward Arnold, 158 pp., £12.99, March 1994, 0 340 58826 8
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François Mitterrand: A Study in Political Leadership 
by Alistair Cole.
Routledge, 216 pp., £19.99, March 1994, 0 415 07159 3
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... his son, Jean-Christophe, to become his special adviser on African affairs. Ever since the time of Jacques Foccart, the post of Elysée African expert has been synonymous with skulduggery and corruption and, sure enough, Jean-Christophe was forced to resign in 1992 after accusations of corruption, influence-trading and support for authoritarian ...

The Presidents’ Man

R.W. Johnson, 25 May 1995

Foccart Parle: Entretiens avec Philippe Gaillard 
Fayard/Jeune Afrique, 501 pp., frs 150, May 1995, 2 213 59419 8Show More
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... rumours circulated in Paris political circles about the awesome powers of de Gaulle’s adviser, Jacques Foccart. Foccart had no elected position and was seldom seen, but he was said to have an exclusive hold over France’s African policy, the intelligence services and the whole shadowy world of covert action. Every now and again a coup would occur in West ...

Nesting Time

P.N. Furbank, 26 January 1995

The Manuscript Found in Saragossa 
by Jan Potocki, translated by Ian MacLean.
Viking, 631 pp., £16, January 1995, 0 670 83428 9
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... own country. For the rest of the world, however, the book slept in obscurity, till, in 1958, Roger Caillois published a new edition of the first fourteen or so days. It created a considerable stir. The hunt for a complete text was renewed; and, this failing, René Radrizzani produced a reconstruction of it, drawing on various newly-found partial ...

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