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Art’s Infancy

Arthur C. Danto, 22 April 1993

The Mind and its Depths 
by Richard Wollheim.
Harvard, 214 pp., £19.95, March 1993, 9780674576117
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Psychoanalysis, Mind and Art: Perspectives on Richard Wollheim 
edited by Jim Hopkins and Anthony Savile.
Blackwell, 383 pp., £40, October 1992, 0 631 17571 7
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... I have always thought of Richard Wollheim as embodying the values and interests of a particularly urbane kind of British intellectual, typified by and possibly originating with the members of the Bloomsbury Circle. It encompasses a serious interest in the arts and especially the art of painting; a dedication to some version of socialist politics; a faith in psychoanalysis as therapy and as a theory of the mind; a commitment to articulate an aesthetic philosophy and in some measure to attempt to live by it; a determination to enhance one’s prose with a certain literary surface; and a profound concern for friendship and the life of the heart ...

Dying and Not Dying

Cathy Gere: Henrietta Lacks, 10 June 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 
by Rebecca Skloot.
Macmillan, 368 pp., £18.99, June 2010, 978 0 230 74869 9
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... is derived from the name of a young African-American mother of five, whose agonising death in a Jim Crow era charity hospital gave rise to a quiet revolution in medicine. In January 1951, at the age of 30, Henrietta Lacks was admitted to the ‘Coloured Only’ examination room of Johns Hopkins Hospital in ...

Diary

Anne Enright: Boys’ Aliens and Girls’ Aliens, 21 September 1995

... You see? It’s happened to you. The main practitioner in the abductee-hypnotherapy field is Budd Hopkins, a New York artist who stumbled into the aliens business when an article he wrote for the Village Voice, ‘Sane Citizens See UFO In New Jersey’, won him a postbag of frightened people who wanted to know what had happened to them after they too saw a ...

Nothing but the Worst

Michael Wood: Paul de Man, 8 January 2015

The Paul de Man Notebooks 
edited by Martin McQuillan.
Edinburgh, 357 pp., £80, April 2014, 978 0 7486 4104 8
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The Double Life of Paul de Man 
by Evelyn Barish.
Norton, 534 pp., £25, September 2014, 978 0 87140 326 1
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... have I said those words, and yet?’ John Banville, Shroud ‘I had jumped​ ,’ Conrad’s Jim says of his abandonment of his ship, adding a moment later: ‘It seems.’ Marlow, the narrator of the novel who is listening to Jim’s story, says: ‘Looks like it.’ This is one of many instances where Marlow’s ...

John and Henry

Christopher Reid, 2 December 1982

The Life of John Berryman 
by John Haffenden.
Routledge, 451 pp., £15, September 1982, 0 7100 9216 4
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Poets in their Youth: A Memoir 
by Eileen Simpson.
Faber, 272 pp., £10.95, September 1982, 0 571 11925 5
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... from his poetic forebears: Milton’s substitution of adjectives for adverbs, for example, or Hopkins’s expressive breaking and rearrangement of syntax. The result can often be turgid or quaint, especially when raw contemporary themes are introduced. One is more impressed by the note of ambition in these immature pieces, and by Berryman’s eagerness in ...

Sorry to go on like this

Ian Hamilton: Kingsley Amis, 1 June 2000

The Letters of Kingsley Amis 
edited by Zachary Leader.
HarperCollins, 1208 pp., £24.99, May 2000, 0 00 257095 5
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... are not always silly. Some of Amis’s off-the-cuff lit. crit. is genuinely bracing. Amis on Hopkins could happily, for me, continue for a further paragraph or two: About Hopkins: I find him a bad poet – all this how to keép is there ány any stuff strikes me as a bit unnecessary – and so his defence of his work ...

Porndecahedron

Christopher Tayler: Nicholson Baker, 3 November 2011

House of Holes 
by Nicholson Baker.
Simon and Schuster, 262 pp., £14.99, August 2011, 978 0 85720 659 6
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... of minutiae and masturbation scenarios. His narrators read Maurice Baring, A.C. Benson, Hopkins, Swinburne and Iris Murdoch. In Room Temperature, Mike takes a copy of Mark Pattison’s Isaac Casaubon to read on a plane; in the novel’s closing sentence he picks up a copy of the TLS. And on top of being a great observer and metaphor-maker – a poem ...

In their fathers’ power

Jasper Griffin, 15 October 1987

A History of Private Life. Vol. I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium 
edited by Paul Veyne.
Harvard, 670 pp., £24.95, May 1987, 0 674 39975 7
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The Roman World 
edited by John Wacher.
Routledge, 2 pp., £100, March 1987, 0 7100 9975 4
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The Roman Empire: Economy, Society and Culture 
edited by Peter Garnsey and Richard Saller.
Duckworth, 231 pp., £24, March 1987, 0 7156 2145 9
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Sexual Life in Ancient Egypt 
by Lisa Manniche.
KPI, 127 pp., £15, June 1987, 0 7103 0202 9
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... with the number of administrators in 12th-century China duly reappears (it was introduced by Keith Hopkins, himself a great one for calling other historians ‘conventional’). Veyne, for his part, has much to say about the ‘thousands of autonomous cities that formed the fabric of the Empire and were controlled by local notables, the governing élite which ...

The Wildest, Highest Places

David Craig, 17 July 1997

John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings 
edited by Terry Gifford.
Baton Wicks, 912 pp., £20, November 1996, 1 898573 07 7
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... this he is closer to the master wildlife writers of our own time – Barry Lopez or Mike Tomkies, Jim Crumley or John Baker – than to the moralistic and didactic Victorians. In Muir a delighted immersion was primary. He was born like that and he grew up like that. Activity and gleeful sensing were second nature to him – or should I say first nature? When ...

An Attic Full of Sermons

Tessa Hadley: Marilynne Robinson, 21 April 2005

Gilead 
by Marilynne Robinson.
Virago, 282 pp., £14.99, April 2005, 1 84408 147 8
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... of course, is a redemptive act, a way of ‘keeping’ the lost things. The writing is sometimes Hopkins-like, its natural world vibrating with ‘inscape’; though that could just reflect a coincidence of shared intuition. More crucially, for all the differences, Housekeeping is often reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn. Sylvie and Ruthie are fugitives like ...

Between Worlds

Edward Said: A memoir, 7 May 1998

... and accommodations – which invariably lured one into further traps, such as those Lord Jim encounters when he starts life again on his little island. Marlow enters the heart of darkness to discover that Kurtz was not only there before him but is also incapable of telling him the whole truth; so that, in narrating his own experiences, Marlow cannot ...
Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles 
by Irwin Gellman.
Johns Hopkins, 499 pp., $29.95, April 1995, 0 8018 5083 5
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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley 
edited by Geoffrey Ward.
Houghton Mifflin, 444 pp., $24.95, April 1995, 0 395 66080 7
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No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War Two 
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Simon and Schuster, 759 pp., £18, June 1995, 0 671 64240 5
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The End of Reform 
by Alan Brinkley.
Knopf, 371 pp., $27.50, March 1995, 0 394 53573 1
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... in Europe and the desire to get the Soviet Union into the Pacific war, not because he or Harry Hopkins were tired and ill or because they lacked wise State Department counsel. The political significance of the Welles-Hull debacle lies, for Irving Gellman, in FDR’s ‘divisive management style’, his habit of under-cutting his aides by being unable to ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell, 2 December 2010

J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... work into sharper focus without unduly cleaning up its oddness and irony. James Gordon Farrell – Jim to his friends – turns out to have had more in common with J.G. Ballard than with Paul Scott, George MacDonald Fraser, M.M. Kaye and other writers of 1970s bestsellers with imperial themes. Like the empty swimming-pools and weed-choked concrete landscapes ...

Tummy-Talkers

Jonathan Rée: Ventriloquists, 10 May 2001

Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism 
by Steven Connor.
Oxford, 449 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 19 818433 6
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... from Eric von Stroheim in The Great Gabbo to Michael Redgrave in Dead of Night and Anthony Hopkins in Magic – who have been led astray by their dummy-selves; and real vents can be just as mixed up as fictional ones. When the English entertainer Arthur Prince died in 1948, his jolly partner Jim was interred with ...

Inside Every Foreigner

Jackson Lears: America Intervenes, 21 February 2019

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life 
by Robert M. Dallek..
Allen Lane, 692 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 0 241 31584 2
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... Berle), economic planners (Rexford Tugwell) and social-welfare liberals (Harry Hopkins). This was the heterogeneous group that lay behind the American version of the welfare state. A flurry of legislation followed; dams and highways were built; electricity was brought to remote rural areas; there was regulation of finance capital; people ...

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