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A Waistcoat soaked in Tears

Douglas Johnson, 27 June 1991

The Noble Savage: Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1754-1762 
by Maurice Cranston.
Allen Lane, 399 pp., £20, February 1991, 0 7139 9051 1
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Writings of Rousseau. Vol I: Rousseau: Judge of Jean-Jacques. Dialogues. 
translated by Judith Bush, edited and translated by Christopher Kelly and Roger Masters.
University Press of New England, 277 pp., $40, March 1990, 0 87451 495 9
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... About Rousseau, as about Romanticism, it is tempting to use the word ‘disorderly’. Maurice Cranston showed us in the first volume of this, the most masterly of biographies how he had spent his early life as a wanderer and adventurer, he had been an itinerant tutor, a humble music-copier, an ambitious composer; the lover of a Swiss countess and the secretary to a diplomat; he had become a fashionable writer with an obsession about preserving his independence; he was an uneasy Catholic who needed a religion and who thought that he had found it in Protestantism; he was someone who discovered that his waistcoat was soaked in tears but who had not been aware that he had been weeping ...

The Old Feudalist

D.A.N. Jones, 3 July 1986

Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass 
by Karen Blixen.
Penguin, 351 pp., £3.95, January 1986, 0 14 008533 5
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Out of Africa 
by Karen Blixen.
Century, 288 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1016 2
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Isak Dinesen: The Life of Karen Blixen 
by Judith Thurman.
Penguin, 511 pp., £3.50, April 1986, 9780140096996
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... the unsurprising movie was ‘based’ on this book. What it is really based on (very loosely) is Judith Thurman’s workmanlike biography of the Baroness, Isak Dinesen: The Life of Karen Blixen, which Penguin Books has happily reissued, with a picture of ogling film stars on the cover. Judith Thurman was Associate Producer ...

Wrong Again

Bruce Cumings: Korean War Games, 4 December 2003

... in October 1994. The Republican Right railed against this for the next six years, until George W. Bush brought a host of the Agreement’s critics into his Administration, and they set about dismantling it, thus fulfilling their own prophecy and initiating another dangerous confrontation with Pyongyang. The same folks who brought us the invasion of Iraq and a ...

Diary

Judith Baker and Ian Hacking: Walking in the Andes, 10 September 2009

... helped raise French money for work on Choquequirao. There are lots more sites to find in the bush; we sometimes pass by what even to our untutored eyes are obviously ancient relics. At Qoriwayrachina, a day further on, there is a vast network of buildings spread out between 6000 and 12,000 feet, all over a massive ridge. The area has hardly begun to be ...

Sangvinolence

J.A. Burrow, 21 May 1987

The Mirour of Mans Salvacioune: A Middle English Translation of ‘Speculum Humanae Salvationis’ 
edited by Avril Henry.
Scolar, 347 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 85967 716 8
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... already know a story, it is by no means always easy to identify representations of it. A burning bush in a stained-glass window, or a man sticking out of a whale’s mouth, or a baby in a stable, will be recognised for what they are, no doubt: but even learned church visitors commonly need a guidebook to identify the majority of the scenes. And there is no ...

Standing up to the city slickers

C.K. Stead, 18 February 1988

Selected Poems 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 151 pp., £3.95, April 1986, 0 85635 667 0
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The Daylight Moon 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 86 pp., £6.95, February 1988, 0 85635 779 0
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... married and started dairy-farming – and yet even I was almost seduced by the myth of the alien bush, as I began learning to write poetry. A received sensibility almost had me subscribing to its agenda, in spite of my awareness that the bush wasn’t alien to me at all, but a deeply loved vastness containing danger and ...

Sweeno’s Beano

Nigel Wheale: MacSweeney, Kinsella and Harrison, 1 October 1998

The Book of Demons 
by Barry MacSweeney.
Bloodaxe, 109 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85224 414 3
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Poems 1980-94 
by John Kinsella.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £9.95, April 1999, 1 85224 453 4
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The Silo: A Pastoral Symphony 
by John Kinsella.
Arc, 108 pp., £7.95, January 1997, 1 900072 12 2
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The Kangaroo Farm 
by Martin Harrison.
Paper Bark, 79 pp., £8.95, May 1998, 0 9586482 4 7
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... to Kinsella, the meaning of the urban Australian’s nostalgia for ‘the centre (read: the bush)’ is ‘probably the prime debate of mid-Nineties Australian poetics, certainly among male poets’. Born in 1963, John Kinsella grew up in the Perth suburbs but he also worked on wheatbelt farms and sheep stations in the Avon Valley area, sixty miles west ...

Diary

Christopher Turner: The controversial Alfred Kinsey, 6 January 2005

... at the Kinsey Institute. The central figure behind the current anti-Kinsey campaign is Dr Judith Reisman, a 69-year-old former songwriter for the children’s TV programme Captain Kangaroo, who served as Reagan’s porn tsar in the 1980s (she received a $734,000 grant from the Justice Department to evaluate the images of children in Playboy, Hustler ...

Enemies of Hindutva

Tariq Ali: The BJP defeat, 8 July 2004

Nehru: A Political Life 
by Judith Brown.
Yale, 407 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 300 09279 2
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Nehru 
by Benjamin Zachariah.
Routledge, 336 pp., £10.99, April 2004, 9780415250177
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... were dismayed by the reversal of traditional Indian foreign policy under the BJP. The attitude to Bush after 9/11 and to Sharon (who was invited on a state visit after the Israeli offensive in Jenin) was not popular. The architect of the new turn, the foreign minister Yashwant Sinha, lost his Jharkhand constituency to a Communist, who won by a handsome ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Giorgio Armani, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... analysts and gender theorists – ‘fashion civilians’, in the words of Colette’s biographer Judith Thurman – as well as superstar designers, magazine editors, high-spending celebrities, and chic purveyors and curators of front-line style. Fashion studies involves men as well as women, and has its own scholarly quarterly, Fashion Theory: The Journal of ...

Greeromania

Sylvia Lawson, 20 April 1989

Daddy, we hardly knew you 
by Germaine Greer.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £13.95, March 1989, 0 241 12538 3
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... that there was the cattleman’s niece, who threw a party for the writer, hoping to activate the bush telegraph. Later there was Scrubbie, the battered, emaciated heroine of the ghost-town service-station. ‘She was one of my proud, independent country-women ... generous, and lively, and loving, and hardworking, and she had been beaten like a jade.’ The ...

I’ll be back

Marjorie Garber: Sequels, 19 August 1999

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel 
edited by Paul Budra and Betty Schellenberg.
Toronto, 217 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 8020 0915 8
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... More recently, the question of originality and essence has been articulated by Judith Butler in terms that combine philosophy and the history of sexuality. Butler’s assertion that ‘gay is to straight not as copy is to original, but rather, as copy is to copy. The parodic repetition of “the original” … reveals the original to be ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... North recruited convicted narcotics smugglers to run the secret war against Nicaragua. George Bush recruited Manuel Noriega to the CIA. As the Watergate hounds closed in, Henry Kissinger was implored to sink to his Jewish knees and join Richard Nixon in prayer on the Oval Office carpet, and complied. Klaus Barbie was plucked from the SS ‘Most ...

Megaton Man

Steven Shapin: The Original Dr Strangelove, 25 April 2002

Memoirs: A 20th-Century Journey in Science and Politics 
by Edward Teller and Judith Shoolery.
Perseus, 628 pp., £24.99, January 2002, 1 903985 12 9
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... motion which, with his energetic assistance, would eventually lead to its abrogation by George W. Bush. In 1966, Teller met Ronald Reagan, then running for the governorship of California, and, once elected, Reagan accepted his invitation to tour the Livermore lab, where Teller and his colleagues told him about plans to build a vast anti-missile defence ...

Vigah

Elizabeth Drew: JFK, 20 November 2003

John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life 1917-63 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 838 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 7139 9737 0
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... his Presidency, Kennedy took at least two large and by now well-known chances: his affairs with Judith Campbell Exner, who was also the girlfriend of the mobster Sam Giancana, and with Ellen Rometsch, who was believed to be an East German spy and had to be spirited out of the country. His recklessness was far greater than Bill Clinton’s (Dallek found that ...

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