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Oh, My Aching Back

Roy Porter, 2 November 1995

The History of Pain 
by Roselyne Rey, translated by Elliott Wallace and J.A. Cadden , and S.W. Cadden.
Harvard, 394 pp., £25.50, October 1995, 0 674 39967 6
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... themselves, or to priests or nurses, while the heroic surgeon sawed on. Half a century ago, John Alfred Ryle, the founder of social medicine, declared that one of the mistakes of scientific medicine was to have shelved the problem of pain. With both clinical and humane ends in mind, he called for fresh study. Since then things have indeed improved, but ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... though I’d have thought the chances of him persuading his mamma to come are pretty slim. John Gielgud was once telling me about Mrs Simpson and how smart she was. ‘Mind you,’ he said, ‘she’d have made a disastrous queen. Didn’t go to the theatre at all.’ 19 January. Alan Bates opens tonight at the Barbican in the RSC production of Antony ...

One Long Scream

Jacqueline Rose: Trauma and Justice in South Africa, 23 May 2019

... in a bitter final chapter, ‘has not honoured the pain of our people in its politics’. John Jeffrey, the current deputy minister of justice, told him in September 2017 that turning a blind eye to the murder of the Cradock Four and others such as the activist Steve (Bantu) Biko ‘was the price that had to be paid’. Partly for budgetary ...

Writing Absurdity

Adam Shatz: Chester Himes, 26 April 2018

Chester B. Himes: A Biography 
by Lawrence P. Jackson.
Norton, 606 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 393 06389 9
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... won admirers among the black writers who emerged during the Black Power era, such as LeRoi Jones, John A. Williams and Ishmael Reed. And his legacy now? As Jackson writes, ‘history has borne out some of his vinegary judgments.’ Today, Himes’s belief in the implacable force of white supremacism – what is now called Afro-pessimism – enjoys a growing ...

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