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Fourteen Thousand Dried Penguins

Patrick O’Brian, 9 November 1989

Last Voyages. Cavendish, Hudson, Ralegh: The Original Narratives 
edited by Philip Edwards.
Oxford, 268 pp., £25, November 1988, 0 19 812894 0
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The Nagle Journal: A Diary for the Life of Jacob Nagle, Sailor, from the Year 1775 to 1841 
edited by John Dann.
Weidenfeld, 402 pp., £18.95, March 1989, 1 55584 223 2
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Journal of a Voyage with Bering, 1741-1742 
by Georg Wilhelm Steller, edited by O.W. Frost, translated by Margritt Engel and O.W. Frost.
Stanford, 252 pp., $35, September 1988, 0 8047 1446 0
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... Cavendish himself and by four men who sailed with him, Antony Knivet, a young gentleman volunteer; John Davis, the great navigator; J. Jane, a friend of Davis’s; and Thomas Lodge the poet. Thomas Cavendish was a man of considerable estate but varying fortunes, and like many of his contemporaries he took to the sea to improve them: they were at their charming ...

Presto!

James Buchan, 14 December 1995

The Life of Adam Smith 
by Ian Simpson Ross.
Oxford, 495 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 19 828821 2
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... of Nations. It is the price of a useful and virtuous existence, of influence and undying fame. John Home’s History of the Rebellion of 1745 was not published until 1802, so Smith may not have seen it (though I bet he did). It contains an account of the meeting between Lochiel and Charles Edward at MacDonald of Boradale’s. Lochiel argued long and hard ...

The Man without Predicates

Michael Wood: Goethe, 20 July 2000

Goethe: The Poet and the Age. Volume II: Revolution and Reunciation, 1790-1803 
by Nicholas Boyle.
Oxford, 964 pp., £30, February 2000, 0 19 815869 6
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Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy 
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by John Williams.
Wordsworth, 226 pp., £2.99, November 1999, 1 84022 115 1
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... the dedicatory poem called ‘Zueignung’, which opens Faust: Part One, are translated by John Williams as What I possess now vanishes before me, And what was lost alone has substance for me. Was ich besitze, seh’ich wie im Weiten, Und was verschwand, wird mir zu                 Wirklichkeiten. The English lines are graceful and ...

Wagner’s Fluids

Susan Sontag, 10 December 1987

... the 19th-century writers and composers), the feeling self expands to fill the empty space: selbst dann bin ich die Welt (I myself am the world), Tristan and Isolde had already sung in unison. The inevitable next move is the elimination of the self, gender, individuality. Ohne Nennen, ohne Trennen, they sing together … endlos, ewig, ein-bewusst. For one self ...

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