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Not a great decade to be Jewish

Will Self, 11 February 1993

Complete Prose 
by Woody Allen.
Picador, 473 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 0 330 32820 4
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... coincided with what critics have identified as the ‘epistemological break’ in his work. John Lahr, in his 1984 essay on Allen, wasn’t the first to take the view that the comic’s early films, thin narrative skeletons on to which Allen could graft his anarchic one-liners, were somehow more honest. After the break, according to ...

The Story of Joe

Craig Raine, 4 December 1986

The Orton Diaries 
edited by John Lahr.
Methuen, 307 pp., £12.50, November 1986, 0 413 49660 0
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... When Joe Orton was in Tangier, he noted down the following exchange: ‘You like to be fucked or fuck?’ he said. ‘I like to fuck, wherever possible,’ I said. He leaned across and said in a confidential tone: ‘I take it.’ ‘Do you?’ I said. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘up to the last hair.’ ‘You speak very good English,’ I said. Though Orton is aroused, his attention is undeflected ...

Light Entertainment

Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture, 8 November 2012

... the help he got from Gamlin. Forbes wrote to him at the BBC – at the time Forbes’s name was John Theobald Clarke – and Gamlin wrote back, telling Forbes that his letter was so extraordinary he would have to meet him. When they met Gamlin said it would be necessary for him to change his name. ‘Another young actor, ahead of me,’ Forbes wrote years ...

Under-the-Table-Talk

Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters, 19 March 2015

Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... at the Coconut Grove in Miami: the columnist Walter Winchell called it ‘vulgar’ and Bert Lahr, who played Estragon, got a letter asking what a star of The Wizard of Oz was doing ‘in a play which is communistic, atheistic and existential’. ‘This Miami fiasco does not distress me in the smallest degree,’ Beckett wanted Schneider to know, ‘or ...

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