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Bad Faith

J.P. Stern, 21 July 1983

Franz Kafka’s Loneliness 
by Marthe Robert, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Faber, 251 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 9780571119455
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Kafka’s Narrators 
by Roy Pascal.
Cambridge, 251 pp., £22.50, March 1982, 0 521 24365 3
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The Trial 
by Franz Kafka, translated by Willa Muir and Edwin Muir.
Penguin, 255 pp., £1.75, October 1983, 0 14 000907 8
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Letters to Milena 
by Franz Kafka and Willy Haas, translated by Tania Stern and James Stern.
Penguin, 188 pp., £2.50, June 1983, 0 14 006380 3
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The Penguin Complete Novels of Franz Kafka: ‘The Trial’, ‘The Castle’, ‘America’ 
translated by Willa Muir, illustrated by Edwin Muir.
Penguin, 638 pp., £4.95, June 1983, 0 14 009009 6
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The Penguin Complete Short Stories of Franz Kafka 
edited by Nahum Glatzer.
Penguin, 486 pp., £3.95, June 1983, 0 14 009008 8
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... Marthe Robert is a well-known freelance among French Germanisten. She has written extensively on Freudian theory, on myth and Romanticism, and she collaborated with André Breton on a splendid volume of Lichtenberg’s aphorisms. She is deeply familiar with Kafka’s writings, having translated most of them into French: her knowledge of books on Kafka and the world he lived in is less impressive ...

Concierge

John Lanchester, 16 November 1995

Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... for a year or two; Borgeses (d. 1986) will surge once the editing and republishing are sorted out; James Merrills (d. 1995) should be sold now and rebought later; Becketts (d. 1989) look a little iffy (though would-be insider-dealers should keep an eye on that biographer chap in Reading). The only reliable way for a writer to avoid this post-mortem critical ...

Revenges

Ronald Fraser, 7 February 1991

Gorbals Voices, Siren Songs 
by Ralph Glasser.
Chatto, 209 pp., £13.95, April 1990, 0 7011 3445 3
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A Place for Us 
by Nicholas Gage.
Bantam, 419 pp., £14.95, February 1990, 0 593 01515 0
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The Hidden Damage 
by James Stern.
Chelsea, 372 pp., £17.95, February 1990, 1 871484 01 4
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... its own repressed cause. This sort of class sclerosis is brilliantly depicted in a chapter of James Stern’s The Hidden Damage. Arriving unannounced in London shortly after VE Day from the US, where he has spent the war, Stern rings his parents in the country. His mother fails to recognise his voice and ...

With Slip and Slapdash

Frank Kermode: Auden’s Prose, 7 February 2008

TheComplete Works of W.H. Auden. Vol. III: Prose, 1949-55 
edited by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 779 pp., £29.95, December 2007, 978 0 691 13326 3
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... I write something, anything, good, indifferent, or trashy, every day,’ he told his friend James Stern, ‘I feel ill.’ Spurred on by these complementary inducements – the need to make money and the need not to be sick – he wrote quantities of prose. It appeared, over the years, in an impressive range of journals, from Eliot’s Criterion ...

To Anthony Thwaite at Fifty

Clive James, 4 December 1980

... synergistic donativum that Should knock all others into a cocked hat. With such wits to evoke the stern advance Of Kronos I don’t think I stand much chance Of adding anything in that respect. Monuments of unageing intellect Have doubtless flooded in, all calculated To leave you feeling slightly devastated At how your trim form must perforce disperse ...

Poets and Pretenders

John Sutherland, 2 April 1987

The Great Pretender 
by James Atlas.
Viking, 239 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 9780670814619
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The Position of the Body 
by Richard Stern.
Northwestern, 207 pp., $21.95, November 1986, 0 8101 0730 9
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The Setting Sun and the Rolling World 
by Charles Mungoshi.
Heinemann, 202 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 434 48166 1
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Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 9780224024235
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... James Atlas’s The Great Pretender is a first novel. But Atlas has some prior fame as the author of a powerful biography of Delmore Schwartz, America’s poète maudit who died tragically unfulfilled in 1966, having lived out the truth of one of his best essays: ‘The Isolation of the Modern Poet’. The Great Pretender tells the story of a tyro versifier, who comes to artistic consciousness around 1966 in Chicago and who hilariously fails to attain any subsequent artistic fulfilment ...

One blushes to admit it

D.J. Enright, 11 June 1992

The Heart of Europe: Essays on Literature and Ideology 
by J.P. Stern.
Blackwell, 415 pp., £45, April 1992, 0 631 15849 9
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... Kellers and Hellers.) In the company of a few other British Germanists and translators, J.P. Stern, who died in November of last year, did much to make these writers more accessible to us, thanks to his persuasion that literature, no matter how exalted, is not the preserve of scholars, and that what has wide implications should be known widely. And ...

Lectures about Heaven

Thomas Laqueur: Forgiving Germany, 7 June 2007

Five Germanys I Have Known 
by Fritz Stern.
Farrar, Straus, 560 pp., £11.25, July 2007, 978 0 374 53086 0
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... 180-metre long, obstacle and horror-filled space makes clear the tragedy of their error. Fritz Stern also begins with a room. In 1979, he returned to his hometown, Breslau, now Polish Wroclaw, for the first time since 1938. He wrote about this ‘homecoming’ for his children not long afterwards, and now uses that private account as a public introduction ...

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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... conflicts, which leave Mayer’s ‘interpretative construct’ in tatters, is mentioned. Harold James is a recent export to Princeton from Peterhouse, Cambridge, and has solid, old-fashioned fare to offer. His book is inspired by Society and Democracy in Germany but lacks Ralf Dahrendorf’s width and intellectual stamina; its strength derives, above ...

Raven’s Odyssey

D.A.N. Jones, 19 July 1984

Swallow 
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 312 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 575 03446 7
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First Among Equals 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 446 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 340 35266 3
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Morning Star 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 264 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 9780856341380
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... to do with the real-life Peter Morrison MP but was inspired by boyhood memories of the real-life James Prior. The fictional ‘Peter Morrison MP’ reappears in Morning Star, the first volume of Raven’s new novel sequence, but now he seems nothing like James Prior MP. We are more likely to think of ...

Islas Malvinas

Frank Lentricchia, 1 April 1999

... Much prefers the latter, doesn’t know why. It’ll be Malvina. Two spellings, one face: black, stern, starkly attractive, with a long bony body, fierce and flexible on the playgrounds of the eighth grade. At 12, she, Malvina the dominant, and young Lucchesi had competed for valedictorian of their grammar school and finished in a dead heat. Of ...

Bristling with Diligence

James Wood: A.S. Byatt, 8 October 2009

The Children’s Book 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 617 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 7011 8389 9
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... breasts, and then reveals that she is not his daughter, but the issue of Olive Wellwood and Anselm Stern, a German puppet-master and theatre designer. Two of Dorothy’s siblings are not the children of Olive, but of Olive’s sister, Violet. Meanwhile, Tom Wellwood, whose sweet spirit has been broken by a vicious Northern boarding school (from which he runs ...

Derridiarry

Richard Stern, 15 August 1991

... eyes twinkled in the classic Frenchman’s delight in talk of les femmes. I told him about Henry James dictating his last novels to a woman named Theodora (Gift of God) Bosanquet. He said he was very fond of Henry James. I’d just been rereading The Golden Bowl, and saw it suddenly as a Derridean cat’s cradle of ...

Meg, Jo, Beth and Me

Elaine Showalter, 23 March 1995

Little Women 
directed by Gillian Armstrong.
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... My regrets, however, must be minimal compared to those of the great Alcott scholar Madeleine Stern, one of the two dealers and editors chiefly responsible for identifying and reprinting Alcott’s pseudonymous thrillers in the past twenty years. Stern wrote extensively about A Long Fatal Love Chase in 1987, in her ...

‘It was necessary to uproot them’

Charles Glass: Post-Zionist historiography, 24 June 2004

A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples 
by Ilan Pappe.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £15.99, January 2004, 0 521 55632 5
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The Gun and the Olive Branch 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 624 pp., £16.99, August 2003, 0 571 21945 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 664 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 521 81120 1
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... in 1967. His house stands within two sets of walls, those of the ancient Armenian convent of St James and, beyond them, the Turkish walls of Jerusalem’s old city. The convent is a haven, in the same sense Israel calls itself a haven, in which descendants of Armenians who escaped Turkey’s First World War massacres still live. When he was director of the ...

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