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Flirts, Victims, Connivers

Jerry Fodor, 11 September 2008

Enchantment: The Seductress in Opera 
by Jean Starobinski, translated by C. Jon Delogu.
Columbia, 262 pp., £17.50, March 2008, 978 0 231 14090 4
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... been told you can’t judge a book by its cover; and not by its subtitle either, it would seem. Jean Starobinski’s Enchantment presents itself as concerned with ‘the seductress in opera’, but not much of it actually is. It consists, rather, of a collection of occasional pieces, most of which have previously been published. They offer relatively ...

Missed Opportunities

Judith Shklar, 4 August 1983

Will and Circumstance: Montesquieu, Rousseau and the French Revolution 
by Norman Hampson.
Duckworth, 282 pp., £19.50, June 1983, 0 7156 1697 8
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Jean-Jacques: The Early Life and Work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-1754 
by Maurice Cranston.
Allen Lane, 382 pp., £14.95, April 1983, 0 7139 0608 1
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... was, he will attract biographers. With the publication of the first volume of Maurice Cranston’s Jean-Jacques, there are now two and a half biographies available in English. Each one follows the Confessions step by step, adding some information here, correcting an error there and commenting on Rousseau’s ideas as these develop. The first volume of each ...

Presidential Criticism

John Sutherland, 10 January 1991

Victorian Subjects 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 330 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0820 8
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Tropes, Parables, Performatives: Essays on 20th-Century Literature 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 266 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0836 4
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... around 1953, first of Marcel Raymond, and then soon after, of Georges Poulet, Albert Béguin, Jean Rousset, Jean-Pierre Richard, Jean Starobinski and Gaston Bachelard, I am reminded of a passage in George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Marcel Raymond I read first in the English ...

The pleasure of not being there

Peter Brooks, 18 November 1993

Benjamin Constant: A Biography 
by Dennis Wood.
Routledge, 321 pp., £40, June 1993, 0 415 01937 0
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Isabelle de Charrière (Belle de Zuylen): A Biography 
by C.P Courtney.
Voltaire Foundation, 810 pp., £49, August 1993, 0 7294 0439 0
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... of the upper-bourgeoisie where small things and small gestures carried a large significance. As Jean Starobinski puts it, her reader must ‘listen to faint rustlings. In this narrow world and in this comfortable class, a woman’s destiny turns on allusive signs, through a succession of visits, balls, conversations: important revelations must be ...

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