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Christine Stansell, 3 October 1996

Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York 
edited by Rebecca Zurier, Robert Snyder and Virginia Mecklenburg.
Norton, 232 pp., £35, February 1996, 0 393 03901 3
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... cultural ascendancy was beginning. These artists – George Luks, Everett Shinn, William Glackens, John Sloan and George Bellows – had all (Bellows apart) started out in the 1890s as newspaper sketch-artists in Philadelphia. Drawn together by the magnetic preaching of Robert Henri, a slightly older painter who had returned from art school in Paris to ...

At the Smithsonian

August Kleinzahler: Richard Estes, 22 January 2015

... so he can make changes easily. He finishes the painting off in oil. Many realist painters, like John Sloan and the Ashcan School, render architecture in a more or less gestural fashion. But Estes is fascinated by architectural form and the way it can be used to frame interiors and the reflections contained within those interiors. In his work the edges ...

The Call of the Weird

Michael Ledger-Lomas: Last Gasp Apparitions, 4 April 2024

Andrew Lang: Writer, Folklorist, Democratic Intellect 
by John Sloan.
Oxford, 285 pp., £78, June 2023, 978 0 19 286687 5
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Troubled by Faith: Insanity and the Supernatural in the Age of the Asylum 
by Owen Davies.
Oxford, 350 pp., £25, September 2023, 978 0 19 887300 6
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... was in Oxford when he first encountered the living dead. One autumn night in 1869, he passed John Conington, professor of Latin, staring silently at Corpus Christi College. Nothing odd about a distracted don, except that Lang soon learned that Conington had, at that moment, been breathing his last in Boston, Lincolnshire. Years later, he discussed this ...

I was the Left Opposition

Stuart Middleton: Max Eastman, 22 March 2018

Max Eastman: A Life 
by Christoph Irmscher.
Yale, 434 pp., £35, August 2017, 978 0 300 22256 2
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... Eastman was living in New York with Crystal, and through a friend of hers became an assistant to John Dewey at Columbia. Dewey was one of the leading philosophers in America, and his prestige beyond university philosophy departments was such that, as Eastman recalled, ‘rays of his influence may have helped to mould me long before I heard of him.’ The ...


Eric Klinenberg: Sinful Cities?, 9 October 2003

The Unfinished City: New York and the Metropolitan Idea 
by Thomas Bender.
New Press, 287 pp., $30, September 2002, 1 56584 736 9
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Dead Cities: and Other Tales 
by Mike Davis.
New Press, 448 pp., $16.95, October 2003, 1 56584 844 6
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... geometrical forms and imposing, non-human physicality. The City of Making Do, associated with John Sloan, is the peopled New York of parks, neighbourhoods and sidewalks, a ‘warm, soft and slightly nostalgic’ alternative to the ‘cool, hard-edged and futuristic’ world of high-powered Manhattan. Art critics may not agree with Bender’s ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: John White’s New World, 5 April 2007

... John White is famous for the drawings he made in the late 1580s which record aspects of the North American littoral: its geography, its inhabitants, their dress, customs and dwellings, and the birds, plants and animals found there. Seventy-five of White’s drawings, along with navigational instruments, maps, books and relics of 16th-century exploration are on show in A New World, an exhibition at the British Museum until 17 June ...

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 ...

Our chaps will deal with them

E.S. Turner: The Great Flap of 1940, 8 August 2002

Dad’s Army: The Story of a Classic Television Show 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 304 pp., £7.99, August 2002, 1 84115 309 5
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... he be required to remove his trousers. Lowe, it turns out, was a sergeant-major in the war, and John Le Mesurier, who played the limp Sergeant Wilson, was a captain. Now Lowe was playing a bank manager who had come up the hard way, and Le Mesurier, his chief clerk, was a pampered ex-public schoolboy, incapable of giving orders (‘Oh, Wilson! Bark it ...

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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... idealism metamorphosed into hubris. In 1954, Chester Southam, the chief of virology at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, began to inject HeLa cells into the arms of cancer patients to see if he could induce tumours. He failed to inform his research subjects that the cells were cancerous, on the grounds that it might upset them, and ...

How peculiar it is

Rosemary Hill: Gorey’s Glories, 3 June 2021

Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey 
by Mark Dery.
William Collins, 512 pp., £9.99, October 2020, 978 0 00 832984 6
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... to children. The Beastly Baby (1962) brought on palpitations in Cap Pearce, his editor at Duell, Sloan and Pearce. ‘He even dragged out a bottle and gave me a drink,’ Gorey told his friend Alison Lurie, ‘this being eleven o’clock in the morning.’ Lurie, to whom he had sent a copy, reported that her own children were loving it. Pearce’s ...

In Praise of Mess

Richard Poirier: Walt Whitman, 4 June 1998

With Walt Whitman in Camden. Vol. VIII: 11 February 1891-30 September 1891 
by Horace Traubel, edited by Jeanne Chapman and Robert MacIsaac.
Bentley, 624 pp., $99.50, November 1996, 0 9653415 8 5
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With Walt Whitman in Camden. Vol. IX: 11 February 1891-30 September 1891 
by Horace Traubel, edited by Jeanne Chapman and Robert MacIsaac.
Bentley, 624 pp., £99.50, November 1996, 0 9653415 9 3
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... in Whitman, just as Whitman’s many early admirers in England had done, like Edward Carpenter and John Addington Symonds, who seemed primarily taken with his poetry because it spoke for and to gay men like themselves. He is at his frequent best, however, when his poetry is least negotiable in the hands of people who read it on the look-out for what they hope ...

Osler’s Razor

Peter Medawar, 17 February 1983

The Youngest Science 
by Lewis Thomas.
Viking, 256 pp., $14.75, February 1983, 9780670795338
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... unoccupied for more than two minutes they would inevitably bugger each other. I share with Sir John Betjeman the fate of having been educated at a public school so steeped in the Arnold tradition that, when we were there, water closets were doorless: but perhaps the Laureate was exaggerating when, later in life, he said that he did not have a bowel ...

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