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Inga Clendinnen: Raul Hilberg’s Sources of Holocaust Research, 23 May 2002

Sources of Holocaust Research: An Analysis 
by Raul Hilberg.
Ivan Dee, 218 pp., $26, September 2001, 1 56663 379 6
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Neighbours: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland 
by Jan Gross.
Princeton, 261 pp., £12.95, May 2001, 0 691 08667 2
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... and fire (the Germans had refused them guns), but the bulk of the work was done by local men. Jan Gross cannot reconstruct what happened that day from contemporary records, because there are none. The Germans, not long arrived in the town, permitted the action, but they neither participated nor interfered, and it appears only glancingly in their ...

Those Streets Over There

John Connelly: The Warsaw Rising, 24 June 2004

Rising ’44: ‘The Battle for Warsaw’ 
by Norman Davies.
Pan, 752 pp., £9.99, June 2004, 0 330 48863 5
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... of 1941. In July 1941, Poles in Jedwabne murdered Jews in a day-long pogrom, as we know from Jan Gross’s book Neighbours, published in 2001. Since then, Polish researchers have located 23 other towns where Poles massacred Jews. Ignoring this research and citing no sources, Davies claims that ‘the number of reports about massacres with a similar ...

They’re just not ready

Neal Ascherson: Gorbachev Betrayed, 7 January 2010

Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment 
by Stephen Kotkin, with Jan Gross.
Modern Library, 240 pp., $24, October 2009, 978 0 679 64276 3
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Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire 
by Victor Sebestyen.
Weidenfeld, 451 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 297 85223 0
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There Is No Freedom without Bread: 1989 and the Civil War that Brought Down Communism 
by Constantine Pleshakov.
Farrar, Straus, 289 pp., $26, November 2009, 978 0 374 28902 7
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1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe 
by Mary Elise Sarotte.
Princeton, 321 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 691 14306 4
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... another hour. So the people went into the street, and reform turned into collapse. Here Kotkin and Gross have an interesting analysis. Kotkin is contemptuous of theories which argue that ‘civil society’ asserted itself. There was no civil society in those nations, he claims – with the significant exception of Poland. (There, since 1980, the opposition ...

A Little Swine

Sheila Fitzpatrick: On Snitching, 3 November 2005

Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero 
by Catriona Kelly.
Granta, 352 pp., £17.99, May 2005, 1 86207 747 9
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... Germany, the Soviet Union, and the postwar Soviet-style regimes in Eastern Europe. The sociologist Jan Gross developed the ingenious theory that denunciations constituted a form of ‘privatisation’ of the totalitarian state, since they enabled individuals to draw on the state’s coercive power to settle private grievances. When we think of ...
... grotto. All symphonicall to my Genius, regaling my cloud-born, my Nubigenous Genius, Black clouds, gross & mineral fumes vomited out of a Cupella; Aeriall nitre, black lists, Clouds heaped in cliffs, dreadfull & vast; and winds, violent & furious so as to Rock the Turret until I could not write, and with the candle dancing & waving hardly see, whilst the ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Good Enough to Eat, 24 January 2008

... shows in a painting of around 1700: when still furred and feathered as they are here, or in Jan Weenix’s study of a hound and game, dead creatures trigger a tactile appetite – how would it feel to stroke the fur? – rather than a culinary one. The single detail I found in a painting in the collection that would turn the stomach of those who share ...

Guerrilla International

Caroline Moorehead, 6 August 1981

The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism 
by Claire Sterling.
Weidenfeld, 357 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 297 77968 0
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... Ledeen, editor of the Washington Quarterly Review (of the Georgetown Institute) with General Jan Sejna of Czechoslovakia, who defected to the United States in 1968. The General said nothing publicly on the subject of terrorism at the time of his defection. In 1980, when he was interviewed by Ledeen, he was recalling, with the help of notes, events that ...

Gesture as Language

David Trotter, 30 January 1992

A Cultural History of Gestures: From Antiquity to the Present 
edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg.
Polity, 220 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 7456 0786 1
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The New Oxford Book of 17th-Century Verse 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 830 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 19 214164 3
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... to that governing masculinity in contemporary Andalusia. There are some fascinating vignettes. Jan Bremmer reveals that an Athenian male who swayed his hips when he walked, or looked over his shoulder, or inclined his head to one side, was quite likely to be classified as a passive homosexual. Fritz Graf finds Quintilian in Rumpole of the Bailey ...

Regret is a shabby thing

Bernard Porter: Knut Hamsun, 27 May 2010

Knut Hamsun: Dreamer and Dissenter 
by Ingar Sletten Kolloen, translated by Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik.
Yale, 378 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 0 300 12356 2
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Knut Hamsun: The Dark Side of Literary Brilliance 
by Monika Zagar.
Washington, 343 pp., £19.99, May 2009, 978 0 295 98946 4
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... of Hamsun which, as she sees it, continues to this day. Included in her indictment are Jan Troell’s 1996 biopic of his later years, Hamsun, with Max von Sydow playing the elderly author, on the whole sympathetically; Ingar Sletten Kolloen’s first, two-volume version of his biography (2003-4) which has now appeared, abridged and translated, as ...

A Winter Mind

John Burnside, 25 April 2013

... pattern blue or peach or an elusive pigeon grey, or the dark, textured gold of old vellum, as in Jan van Goyen’s Winter Landscape with Skaters or Hendrick Avercamp’s Scene on the Ice Near a Town, but no matter how bright or dark the heavens, how empty or crowded the ice, what was important was the new space these pictures revealed. That space, I ...


John Sturrock, 20 February 1986

Handbook of Russian Literature 
edited by Victor Terras.
Yale, 558 pp., £25, April 1985, 0 300 03155 6
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Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time 
by Roman Jakobson, edited by Krystyna Pomorska and Stephen Rudy.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £25, July 1985, 0 631 14262 2
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Historic Structures: The Prague School Project 1928-1946 
by F.W. Galan.
Croom Helm, 250 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 7099 3816 0
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Mikhail Bakhtin 
by Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist.
Harvard, 398 pp., £19.95, February 1985, 0 674 57416 8
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The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics 
by M.M. Bakhtin and P.M. Medvedev, translated by Albert Wehrle.
Harvard, 191 pp., £7.50, May 1985, 0 674 30921 9
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Dialogues between Roman Jakobson and Krystyna Pomorska 
translated by Christian Hubert.
Cambridge, 186 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 521 25113 3
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The Dialogical Principle 
by Tzvetan Todorov, translated by Wlad Godzich.
Manchester, 132 pp., £25, February 1985, 0 7190 1466 2
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Rabelais and his World 
by Mikhail Bakhtin, translated by Hélène Iswolsky.
Indiana, 484 pp., $29.50, August 1984, 0 253 20341 4
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... his essays – is more fatalistic than angry: for Jakobson, Russia has always been a society too gross to support such fine geniuses as Mayakovsky. Rather than dwell on the poet’s fate, Jakobson turns to the characterisation of his poetry. Jakobson remained in Prague until the Nazis came, teaching, writing and, along with ...

Who whom?

Christopher Ricks, 6 June 1985

The English Language Today 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum.
Pergamon, 345 pp., £12.50, December 1984, 0 08 031078 8
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The English Language 
by Robert Burchfield.
Oxford, 194 pp., £9.50, January 1985, 9780192191731
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A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 1779 pp., £39.50, May 1985, 0 582 51734 6
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by John Silverlight.
Macmillan, 107 pp., £17.50, May 1985, 9780333380109
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Faux Amis and Key Words: A Dictionary-Guide to French Language, Culture and Society through Lookalikes and Confusables 
by Philip Thody, Howard Evans and Gwilym Rees.
Athlone, 224 pp., £16, February 1985, 0 485 11243 4
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by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 631 13793 9
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Fair of Speech: The Uses of Euphemism 
edited by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 19 212236 3
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... and John Murray, on doctors and their proper self-protection, mention ‘consumption’. And John Gross, in a finely judged and moving essay on ‘Intimations of Mortality’, offers a grim humane reminder that some, still, of the uses of euphemism (pace Enright’s cry, ‘Come back, euphemism, all is forgiven!’) are unforgivable: ‘No one can read very ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... implicitly downgrades the feelings and experiences of a minority group. In ‘Aids: Keywords’, Jan Zita Grover runs through a lexicon of Aids vocabulary after the manner of Raymond Williams, angrily expounding the ways in which PLWA (people living with Aids) are linguistically punished by the rest of the community. Her approach is determinedly ...

Devoted to Terror

Thomas Laqueur: How the Camps Were Run, 24 September 2015

KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps 
by Nikolaus Wachsmann.
Little Brown, 865 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 0 316 72967 3
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... is no ordinary world. ‘There are times when history is let off the leash,’ the Polish academic Jan Kott remembered one of his teachers saying of the war years. Wachsmann understands this. No criminal operation has left as much evidence, great mountains of it, as the concentration camps. Wachsmann has consulted 45 archives and thousands of other ...


Barbara Everett, 2 April 1987

... potent small poems, the Dutch 17th-century genre-painting of a tavern, at once radiant and very gross, which he called ‘The Card-Players’. The Larkin poem possesses a rich calm moral abstraction that works against and yet through its earthy image of what happens when, in the company of ‘Jan van Hogspeuw’ and ...

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