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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 ...

Rubbing along in the neo-liberal way

R.W. Johnson, 22 June 1995

... airports. Johannesburg and Durban airports should never, he said, have been named after Jan Smuts and Louis Botha, both lackeys of British imperialism. All this had a distinctly comforting feel, especially since no one, months later, had actually got round to removing the offending names from the airport buildings. The first anniversary of ...


Donald Davie, 20 May 1982

In Defence of the Imagination 
by Helen Gardner.
Oxford, 197 pp., £12.50, February 1982, 0 19 812639 5
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... The next antagonist, in a third lecture called ‘Shakespeare in the Directors’ Theatre’, is Jan Kott, author of Shakespeare our Contemporary, whose ‘dreary absurdities and solemn nonsense’ are however assailed, reasonably enough, in the persons of directors like Peter Brook and John Barton whose productions are determined by Kott’s or some ...

Who knew?

Norman Stone, 20 November 1980

The Terrible Secret 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 262 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 297 77835 8
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... it to the ghetto leaders, who thus were told by 28 July. The extraordinary Polish beau sabreur, Jan Karski, even smuggled himself into a death-camp, and escaped to London to tell his story – not that, for some time, he was believed. There were even some Germans (notably, Kurt Gerstein, who was entrusted with delivering the prussic acid to the SS ...

Bidding for favours

Nicholas Penny, 19 December 1991

The Altarpiece in Renaissance Italy 
by Jacob Burckhardt, edited and translated by Peter Humfrey.
Phaidon, 249 pp., £75, October 1988, 0 7148 2477 1
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The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy 
by Jacob Burckhardt, translated by S.G. Middlemore.
Penguin, 389 pp., £7.99, December 1991, 9780140445343
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The Altarpiece in the Renaissance 
edited by Peter Humfrey and Martin Kemp.
Cambridge, 273 pp., £35, February 1991, 0 521 36061 7
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Painting in Renaissance Siena 
by Keith Christiansen, Laurence Kanter and Carl Stehlke.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 386 pp., $45, July 1989, 0 8109 1473 5
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... d’Oro of embossed gold studded with gems, and adorned with enamels, in the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice. Very few altarpieces like the Pala d’Oro have survived, but such works in precious metal, together with equally precious textiles, were the most highly-prized type of altarpiece. Panel paintings with backgrounds of gold leaf were intended as ...

Living within the truth

Onora O’Neill, 13 June 1991

The Political Responsibility of Intellectuals 
edited by Ian MacLean, Alan Montefiore and Peter Winch.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £27.50, December 1990, 0 521 39179 2
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... Centre, the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna, the Soros Foundation and the Jan Hus Foundation, but their most distinctive feature has been a virtual absence of central co-ordination. They have relied on a network of intellectuals – many of the British ones from Oxford, and many of them philosophers – who have taken small ...

Playing with terror

Christopher Ricks, 21 January 1982

The Comfort of Strangers 
by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 134 pp., £5.95, October 1981, 0 224 01931 7
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... is as little mystery about the Grand Canal as about our local thoroughfare, and the name of St Mark is as familiar as the postman’s ring. The postman always rings twice, and there is much mystery in McEwan. The name of St Mark does not ring once, despite his elaborated descriptions of ‘one of the great tourist ...

Torday’s Scorpion

Basil Davidson, 9 April 1992

The African Experience 
by Roland Oliver.
Weidenfeld, 284 pp., £19.99, August 1991, 0 297 82022 2
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A Thousand Years of East Africa 
by John Sutton.
British Institute in Eastern Africa, 111 pp., £8, November 1990, 1 872566 00 6
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When the grass is gone 
edited by P.W.T. Baxter.
Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 215 pp., December 1991, 91 7106 318 8
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The Scramble for Africa 
by Thomas Pakenham.
Weidenfeld, 738 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 297 81130 4
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... development. Unsurprisingly in the Europe of those times the book appears to have made no mark; and Torday’s employers in the Leopoldian Congo Free State, then about to become the Belgian Congo colony, were men of solidly commercial good sense. They must have thought the claim absurd in so far as they may have noticed it, and after them the colonial ...


Peter Burke, 19 November 1981

The Building of Renaissance Florence: An Economic and Social History 
by Richard Goldthwaite.
Johns Hopkins, 459 pp., £16.50, April 1981, 0 8018 2342 0
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Public Life in Renaissance Florence 
by Richard Trexler.
Academic Press, 591 pp., £29.80, March 1981, 0 12 699550 8
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Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice 
by Edward Muir.
Princeton, 356 pp., £10.80, August 1981, 0 691 05325 1
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Venice: The Greatness and the Fall 
by John Julius Norwich.
Allen Lane, 400 pp., £12, September 1981, 0 7139 1409 2
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Ruskin and Venice 
edited by Jeanne Clegg.
Junction, 233 pp., £10.50, September 1981, 0 86245 019 5
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The Stones of Venice 
by John Ruskin and Jan Morris.
Faber, 239 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 0 571 11815 1
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... does not seem to permit a study of the Florentine palace of the Renaissance along the lines of Mark Girouard’s Life in the English Country House. However, Goldthwaite has put his finger on an important problem, all the more important because the example of the Florentines was followed all over Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries. In Genoa, for ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives, 5 May 2016

... and thereby denied them legal recognition of their gender. In 1986, female-to-male transsexual Mark Rees, in the first challenge to the ruling, lost his case at the European Court of Human Rights against the UK government for its non-recognition of his status as male, loss of privacy and barring his marriage to a woman. Only with the Gender Recognition Act ...


Graham Robb: The Tour de France, 19 August 2004

... for five hours at 40 kph. The slightly bulkier sylph in pink is Armstrong’s long-time rival, Jan Ullrich. His Tour is now practically over. With only five stages and 600 kilometres to go, a gap of 6 minutes 45 seconds is too big to be bridged. Ullrich turns his bike, spits, and heads for the team bus. In the time it takes to give an interview and a blood ...

The Twin Sister’s Twin Sister

Adam Mars-Jones: Dag Solstad, 9 May 2019

Armand V.: Footnotes to an Unexcavated Novel 
by Dag Solstad, translated by Steven Murray.
Vintage, 256 pp., £11.99, May 2018, 978 1 78470 846 7
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T. Singer 
by Dag Solstad, translated by Tiina Nunnally.
Vintage, 272 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78470 306 6
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... Oslo to study at the university at Blindern’ – but the focus soon shifts to Paul, and then to Jan Brosten, ‘with whom Paul would eventually become strongly linked’, and from there to a whole fistful of characters luxuriating in the possession of both first and last names, commodities strictly rationed elsewhere, and withheld even from the title ...

Hiatus at 4 a.m.

David Trotter: What scared Hitchcock?, 4 June 2015

Alfred Hitchcock 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 279 pp., £12.99, April 2015, 978 0 7011 6993 0
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Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much 
by Michael Wood.
New Harvest, 129 pp., £15, March 2015, 978 1 4778 0134 5
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Hitchcock à la carte 
by Jan Olsson.
Duke, 261 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 8223 5804 6
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Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews, Vol. II 
edited by Sidney Gottlieb.
California, 274 pp., £24.95, February 2015, 978 0 520 27960 5
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... analysis of Vertigo, Wood draws attention to sequences of shots in the first hour of the film that mark a narrative threshold: a step-change in its relation to its audience. During these moments, our eyes and ears are ‘co-opted’ for the ‘sense of the world’ somewhat precariously maintained by the agoraphobic private detective Scottie Ferguson (James ...

Dutch Interiors

Svetlana Alpers, 15 November 1984

Masterpieces of 17th-Century Dutch Genre Painting: Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Royal Academy 
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 397 pp., £20, March 1984, 9780876330579Show More
The Golden Age: Dutch Painters of the 17th Century 
by Bob Haak.
Thames and Hudson, 936 pp., £40, September 1984, 0 500 23407 8
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... groupings – the Leiden School, the School of Delft or the Dutch Italianate tradition. And Jan Steen hangs alone.) In place of moral messages we have, so we are told, reflections of attitudes towards peasant, soldier, professional or wife. Ostade’s peasants are not warning us off violence, drink or lust, but are showing us how the superior classes ...

Holland’s Empire

V.G. Kiernan, 17 August 1989

Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740 
by Jonathan Israel.
Oxford, 462 pp., £45, June 1989, 0 19 822729 9
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... put a premium on managerial ingenuity. House rents and food, on the other hand, were costly; and Jan den Tex’s Oldenbarnevelt brings out the fact that taxation was tailored, as in all well-regulated states, to fall disproportionately on the poor. It may be regretted that Israel does not tell us more about labour conditions – for example, in the vast ...

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