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Boundary Books

Margaret Meek, 21 February 1980

Kate Crackernuts 
by Katharine Briggs.
Kestrel, 224 pp., £2.95, September 1980, 0 7226 5557 6
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Socialisation through Children’s Literature: The Soviet Example 
by Felicity Ann O’Dell.
Cambridge, 278 pp., £14, January 1979, 9780521219686
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Divide and Rule 
by Jan Mark.
Kestrel, 248 pp., £3.50, October 1980, 0 7226 5620 3
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... himself is unlikely to arise in Soviet literature, but it often does in ours. A recent example is Jan Mark’s Divide and Rule. To his disgust and amazement, the young hero, Hanno, is chosen to serve as the ritual Shepherd, the focal figure in a dying religion. For a year, the nonconformist must conform. ...

Back to Byzantium

John Thompson, 22 January 1981

Destinations 
by Jan Morris.
Oxford, 242 pp., £7.95, July 1980, 0 19 502708 6
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The Venetian Empire 
by Jan Morris.
Faber, 192 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780571099368
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... York, bathed in the rosy, gauzy haze of a dawn sun. The serenity of it all is deceptive, because Jan Morris is screaming in on a special assignment from Rolling Stone. Her collection of essays touches down in a quick succession of trouble-torn areas – India in the Emergency, post-Watergate Washington, Southern Africa, Panama, even London with its National ...

Zest

David Reynolds: The Real Mrs Miniver, 25 April 2002

The Real Mrs Miniver 
by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.
Murray, 314 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 7195 5541 8
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Mrs Miniver 
by Jan Struther.
Virago, 153 pp., £7.99, November 2001, 1 85381 090 8
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... The film was Mrs Miniver, whose heroine had come from a 1939 bestseller by the British writer Jan Struther. MGM’s 1942 movie had little else in common with her book, however, nor did its glossy portrait of a successful marriage correspond to the double life of Jan Struther. The film in fact took on an existence of its ...

At the Scuderie del Quirinale

Peter Campbell: Antonello da Messina, 8 June 2006

... in the 1470s. It is not clear just where, and from whom, he learned to paint in the manner of Jan van Eyck, using oil paint laid on in transparent layers which give a depth and brilliance unavailable in other media. It was not a technique that could have been easily picked up by inspecting finished works. The pieces in the exhibition which are most ...

Short Cuts

Jan-Werner Müller: Blame Brussels, 22 April 2021

... system, the required vaccine freezers weren’t ready when shipments arrived (the always smug Mark Rutte blamed his health advisers). Macron, appointing himself France’s chief epidemiologist, refused to lock down properly in January. The most perplexing case, however, is Germany.After their success in handling the first wave, the Christian Democrats ...

You can’t get there from here

Benjamin Markovits: Siri Hustvedt, 19 June 2003

What I Loved 
by Siri Hustvedt.
Sceptre, 370 pp., £14.99, January 2003, 9780340682371
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... and gives off an ‘irresistible’ air of ‘autonomy’. In that first meeting they discuss Jan Steen, Zurbarán’s Saint Francis, Grünewald’s Christ, Boucher’s nudes, Pontormo’s Mannerism, R. Crumb’s ‘Tales from the Land of Genitalia’, Gogol, George Grosz, Cézanne, Vietnam, Yale. And though Bill happily takes part in these intellectual ...

Virginia Weepers

Judith Shklar, 17 May 1984

The Pursuit of Happiness 
by Jan Lewis.
Cambridge, 290 pp., £20, November 1983, 0 521 25306 3
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Jefferson’s Extracts from the Gospels: ‘The Philosophy of Jesus’ and ‘The Life and Morals of Jesus’ 
edited by Dickinson Adams.
Princeton, 438 pp., £28.50, September 1983, 0 691 04699 9
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... they enjoyed contemplating their suffering. At any rate, the stay-at-homes whose domestic life Jan Lewis describes in The Pursuit of Happiness were ‘awash with self-pity’. There were, of course, other gentry Virginians who pursued active and successful political careers in Washington. Virginians had supplied most of the Presidents and many ...

Unknowables

Caroline Campbell: Antonello da Messina, 7 October 2021

Antonello da Messina 
edited by Caterina Cardona and Giovanni Carlo Federico Federico Villa.
Palazzo Reale/Skira, 299 pp., £35, April 2019, 978 88 572 3898 2
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... Jacometto Veneziano? Others – Michiel implicitly includes himself – ‘attribute it to Gianes [Jan Van Eyck] or Memelin [Hans Memling]’. Several years later, in January 1533, he returned to take further notes on the painting. He praised the ‘buildings in the Flemish style’, the ‘natural, minute and finished’ landscape, and the study itself with ...

Two Poems

Christopher Reid, 1 September 2005

... Night Noises Neddy Bumwhistle jolts awake in the dark. Insomnia’s big comic-strip exclamation mark twitches like defective neon above his head. At least he’s in the familiar slum of his own bed: no body beside him; nobody, perhaps, for miles around . . . But hang about, what’s that weird, squeaky-bedspring sound? He’s heard it before. Don’t tell ...

Capitalism in One Family

Jan-Werner Müller: The Populist Moment, 1 December 2016

... and so do I’; Trump did the same. His apparent lack of self-control probably came across as a mark of authenticity, and it was hugely entertaining: you never knew what might happen next. It’s an open question whether the taboo-breaking was spontaneous or not, but as with reality TV, what mattered was that it was dramatic and looked like a true ...

The Nazis were less harsh

Mark Mazower: Mischka Danos, 7 February 2019

Mischka’s War: A Story of Survival from War-Torn Europe to New York 
by Sheila Fitzpatrick.
I.B. Tauris, 336 pp., £20, June 2017, 978 1 78831 022 2
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... risk that loomed largest in these months was a call-up from the Waffen-SS. His younger brother, Jan, had been imprisoned after going into hiding. His older brother, Arpad Junior, was safe because he worked in a protected occupation. When Misha presented himself to the mobilisation bureau at the end of 1943 he was told that his work at VEF would not protect ...

What a Ghost Wants

Michael Newton: Laurent Binet, 8 November 2012

HHhH 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 336 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 1 84655 479 7
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... Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust, by two Czech special agents, Jozef Gabčik and Jan Kubiš, their subsequent deaths and the terrible retaliation enacted by the Nazis on the Czech people, which culminated in the massacre of all the inhabitants of the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. The first difficulty the reader runs up against is the ...

One Good Side

Brendan Simms: Edvard Benes, 18 February 1999

The Life of Edvard Benes, 1884-1948: Czechoslovakia in Peace and War 
by Zbynek Zeman and Antonin Klimek.
Oxford, 293 pp., £40, July 1997, 9780198205838
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... served in the Habsburg army; the vast majority did not desert. One of them, oddly enough, was Jan Masaryk, son of the exiled T.G., who defended the Dual Monarchy to the bitter end and was even decorated for it. In spite of all this, Benes and Masaryk senior persuaded the Allies in August 1918 to recognise Czechoslovakia as a ‘belligerent ...
Hans Memling: The Complete Works 
by Dirk de Vos.
Thames and Hudson, 431 pp., £95, October 1994, 0 500 23698 4
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... I was not able to get to the major exhibition organised by the city of Bruges to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Hans Memling. But there is consolation in the fact that if one has ever been to Bruges one knows something of what his art is like. To a remarkable degree Memling has come to be identified with this city, whose centre is a preserve out of time ...

Mummies

Ian Hamilton, 16 June 1983

Ancient Evenings 
by Norman Mailer.
Macmillan, 709 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 333 34025 6
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... solid rather than soft ... He is remarkably fit for a man of 60, which is what he became last Jan 31. Time on Norman Mailer, April 1983 His hair showed the silver of a virile maturity, while the lines on his face had not yet become a myriad of wrinkles, terraces and webs, but exhibited, instead, that look of character supported by triumph which comes ...

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