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Foursomes and so on

Steven Mithen: Prehistory of Inequality, 11 April 2013

The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery and Empire 
by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus.
Harvard, 631 pp., £29.95, May 2012, 978 0 674 06469 0
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... by the anthropologist Raymond Firth. Having read about such encounters in Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus’s book I am left in no doubt that they are the archaeological and anthropological chiefs of social evolution to whom I must show the utmost deference. And so should everyone else, for this is a work of profound importance. Flannery first ...

Gloomy Sunday Afternoons

Caroline Maclean: Modernists at the Movies, 10 September 2009

The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period 
by Laura Marcus.
Oxford, 562 pp., £39, December 2007, 978 0 19 923027 3
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... long-drawn-out kind of writing to which we are accustomed’. In The Tenth Muse, Laura Marcus gives a lively account of the impact of moving images on a wide range of writers and critics in the first three decades of the 20th century. As David Trotter notes in Cinema and Modernism,* his account of the impact of film on Woolf, ...

Willesden Fast-Forward

Daniel Soar: Zadie Smith, 21 September 2000

White Teeth 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £12.99, January 2000, 9780241139974
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... at Joshua’s house. To everyone’s surprise, the arrangement works well – initially at least. Joyce, the mother, quickly takes to Millat, the street gangster, and in more than a motherly way; and Irie, much in love with the easy life, helps Marcus, the father, with his filing. The Chalfens are an entertaining lot who ...

Ladies and Gentlemen

Patricia Beer, 6 May 1982

The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-17 
by Jane Marcus.
Macmillan, 340 pp., £9.95, April 1982, 0 333 25589 5
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The Harsh Voice 
by Rebecca West, introduced by Alexandra Pringle.
Virago, 250 pp., £2.95, February 1982, 0 86068 249 8
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The Meaning of Treason 
by Rebecca West.
Virago, 439 pp., £3.95, February 1982, 0 86068 256 0
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1990 
by Rebecca West.
Weidenfeld, 190 pp., £10, February 1982, 9780297779636
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... is a collection of the writings of Rebecca West from 1911 to 1917, selected and introduced by Jane Marcus, with just the right amount of explanation and comment. In one respect it is an unfortunate title, suggesting an item from the cast-list of almost any black-and-white film about almost any celebrity, but in the respect that it makes a point of Rebecca ...

Thirty Years Ago

Patrick Parrinder, 18 July 1985

Still Life 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 358 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 7011 2667 1
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Wales’ Work 
by Robert Walshe.
Secker, 279 pp., £8.95, July 1985, 9780436561450
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... family pressure-cooker) goes on to read English at Cambridge, leaving her young brother Marcus and older sister Stephanie at home in Yorkshire. Mean-while, the ‘art’ to which the novel ostensibly addresses itself is no longer literature but painting. Alexander Wedderburn, the white hope of the new Verse Drama movement, is now writing a play ...

‘What is your nation if I may ask?’

Colm Tóibín: Jews in Ireland, 30 September 1999

Jews in 20th-century Ireland: Refugees, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust 
by Dermot Keogh.
Cork, 336 pp., £45, March 1998, 9781859181492
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... in the same few years; they were both organised by the same forces. Nor is it a coincidence that Joyce made the hero of Ulysses a Jew in full possession of the streets of Dublin; Joyce understood perfectly that his book would be received, among other things, as an assault on an insular version of Ireland. The pogrom in ...

Good Fibs

Andrew O’Hagan: Truman Capote, 2 April 1998

Truman Capote: In which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career 
by George Plimpton.
Picador, 498 pp., £20, February 1998, 0 330 36871 0
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... There’s an awful lot of me in Holly Golightly. There is much more of me than there is of Carol Marcus and a girl called Bee Dabney, a painter. More of me than either of these two ladies. I know. You wouldn’t especially want to argue with what Doris Lilly knows; she once wrote a book called How to Marry a Millionaire. But her words show how keen many ...

Perfect Companions

C.K. Stead, 8 June 1995

Christina Stead: A Biography 
by Hazel Rowley.
Secker, 646 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 436 20298 0
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... radicalism: CS: We know how it was formed and this very gloomy background which is expressed by Marcus Clarke in For the Term of his Natural Life, you know that, everybody knows that ...? INT.: Yes. CS: ... forms a background, or did then, the background to an Australian’s thoughts. So she was able to see her Australian roots as making it easy for ...

The Spree

Frank Kermode, 22 February 1996

The Feminisation of American Culture 
by Ann Douglas.
Papermac, 403 pp., £10, February 1996, 0 333 65421 8
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Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the Twenties 
by Ann Douglas.
Picador, 606 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 330 34683 0
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... efforts at artistic autonomy as more successful than their political initiatives, which included Marcus Garvey’s campaign for a mass return to Africa, and a new claim, subsequently reinforced, to be originators rather than imitators of American culture. She records with considerable vivacity the effect of their arts on the culture at large, and has good ...

Paradise Syndrome

Sukhdev Sandhu: Hanif Kureishi, 18 May 2000

Midnight All Day 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 224 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 0 571 19456 7
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... loud Hindi or Urdu. We rechristened ourselves – Davinder became Dave, Baljit Trevor. We learned Joyce Grenfell comic monologues off by heart, read short stories by Arthur Quiller-Couch – anything we thought would make us truly English. Not only would we laugh at malicious jokes – ‘Why do Pakis never play football? Because every time they get a corner ...

A Snack before I Die

James Wood, 21 August 1997

Anton Chekhov: A Life 
by Donald Rayfield.
HarperCollins, 674 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 00 255503 4
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... complacent Dr Ragin in ‘Ward 6’, who lectures his abused patients at the local asylum about Marcus Aurelius and the importance of stoicism, and in the fatuous priest in ‘In the Ravine’ who, at dinner, comforts a woman who has lost her baby while pointing at her with ‘a fork with a pickled mushroom on the end of it’. Yet the son did not abandon ...

‘It was everything’

Eliot Weinberger: The Republican Convention, 10 August 2016

... from prison early. But he was, because some politician wanted to show their “compassion”.’ Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal known from the Afghanistan invasion for his (possibly exaggerated) heroism, host of a television talk show produced by the conspiracist Glenn Beck and a former ‘special guest’ on Duck Dynasty, fired up the hall when he suddenly ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 1 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... Waldorf, and writers such as C.A. Lejeune, hired as film critic from the Manchester Guardian, and Joyce Grenfell, who as David’s cousin had presumably been taken on as the paper’s radio critic at her uncle’s suggestion. Waldorf wanted Garvin to like David, and Garvin did his best, but any warmth he managed to manufacture was never returned. ‘One of ...

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