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Mrs Perfect Awful

Mary Lefkowitz, 17 May 1984

Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour 
by Judith Martin.
Hamish Hamilton, 745 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 241 11100 5
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Gilbert: A Comedy of Manners 
by Judith Martin.
Hamish Hamilton, 303 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 241 11157 9
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... been more precise) where Miss Manners, who was really a correspondent for the Washington Post, Judith Perlman Martin, had once read English. But as a rough contemporary (class of ’57) of Ms Martin’s (class of ’59), I can confirm that even those of us who were not born to polite ...

Those Genes!

Charles Wheeler, 17 July 1997

Personal History 
by Katharine Graham.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £25, May 1997, 9780297819646
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... Agnew was indicted on charges of corruption. There was a minor skirmish when the Post assigned Judith Martin, a writer from its Style section, to cover the White House wedding of Tricia Nixon. Announcing a ban on Ms Martin, who had marked Tricia’s engagement by comparing her with a vanilla icecream cone, a White ...

And That Rug!

Michael Dobson: Images of Shakespeare, 6 November 2003

Shakespeare’s Face: The Story behind the Newly Discovered Portrait 
by Stephanie Nolen.
Piatkus, 365 pp., £18.99, March 2003, 0 7499 2391 1
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Imagining Shakespeare: A History of Texts and Visions 
by Stephen Orgel.
Palgrave, 172 pp., £25, August 2003, 1 4039 1177 0
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Shakespeare in Art 
by Jane Martineau et al.
Merrell, 256 pp., £29.95, September 2003, 1 85894 229 2
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In Search of Shakespeare 
by Michael Wood.
BBC, 352 pp., £20, May 2003, 9780563534778
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... that by now his publicity people would have come up with something a little more attractive. Martin Amis, Money Well, they keep trying. Look here upon this picture, and on this. Both are unsigned 17th-century portraits, one depicting a man, the other a child. The man is an affable-looking chap, reminiscent of Phil Hopkins, a percussionist at the repro ...

To be like us isn’t easy

Emily Cooke: Dorothy Baker, 20 June 2013

Young Man with a Horn 
by Dorothy Baker.
NYRB, 185 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 1 59017 577 4
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Cassandra at the Wedding 
by Dorothy Baker.
NYRB, 241 pp., £8.99, September 2012, 978 1 59017 601 6
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... is an exceptional pianist recovering from his mother’s suicide. His musical gift is shared by Judith, one of the twin-sister narrators of Cassandra. Cassie, the other sister, is a troubled but obviously talented writer. Baker’s characters have gifts and they defend them. ‘To be like us isn’t easy,’ Cassie jokes aloud, though she means it: ‘it ...

Diary

Christopher Turner: The controversial Alfred Kinsey, 6 January 2005

... helpers – Pomeroy, the psychologist, Paul Gebhard, an anthropologist, and the statistician Clyde Martin – assemble in the attic studio to make a film. Kinsey briefs them about the next subject who, he tells them, can have 15 to 20 orgasms in 20 minutes, the first one two to five seconds after entry. His colleagues jostle for position until she ...

Unsluggardised

Charles Nicholl: ‘The Shakespeare Circle’, 18 May 2016

The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography 
edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 107 69909 0
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... On 16 March 1810​ a Mrs Martin, a ‘labourer’s wife’, was working a field near Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon when she turned up an old gold signet ring bearing on its bezel the initials ‘W.S.’ It was bought for 36 shillings by Robert Bell Wheler, a local historian, and later donated to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, where it still resides ...

‘I merely belong to them’

Judith Butler: Hannah Arendt, 10 May 2007

The Jewish Writings 
by Hannah Arendt, edited by Jerome Kohn and Ron Feldman.
Schocken, 559 pp., $35, March 2007, 978 0 8052 4238 6
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... nationalism is noxious. Her views then vacillate during the next ten years. In 1935, she praised Martin Buber and the socialist project of the kibbutzim. In the early 1940s, she supported the Jewish emigration from Europe to Palestine, but only on the condition that Jews also fought for recognition as a ‘nation’ within Europe; at the same time, she ...

Faces of the People

Richard Altick, 19 August 1982

Physiognomy in the European Novel: Faces and Fortunes 
by Graeme Tytler.
Princeton, 436 pp., £19.10, March 1982, 0 691 06491 1
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A Human Comedy: Physiognomy and Caricature in 19th-century Paris 
by Judith Wechsler.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £18.50, June 1982, 0 500 01268 7
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... style of Tytler’s book bears unerased evidence of its origin as an American dissertation. Judith Wechsler’s, no less scholarly, is more readable, and the content, less literary, is considerably livelier. Despite the subtitle, Lavater remains in the background. The two books do not overlap, but on occasion they come into fruitful conjunction when ...

Not You

Mary Beard, 23 January 1997

Compromising Traditions: The Personal Voice in Classical Scholarship 
edited by J.P. Hallett and T. van Nortwick.
Routledge, 196 pp., £42.50, November 1996, 0 415 14284 9
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... on how we write and think about the ancient world. The best-known version of this approach is Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, his sometimes brilliant, more often wilfully obtuse, exploration of the various forms of racism embedded within classics as a discipline. In Compromising Traditions (a collection of essays deriving from major – now notorious ...

How Dirty Harry beat the Ringo Kid

Michael Rogin, 9 May 1996

John Wayne: American 
by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
Free Press, 738 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 02 923837 4
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... World War ended, war movies were revived again in 1948 – in the middle of the Alger Hiss and Judith Coplon spy trials, the House Un-American Activities Committee investigation of Communist influence in Hollywood, and the ‘loss’ of China and Eastern Europe to Communism. Neither cowboy nor soldier, John Wayne was the right star to restore the frontier ...

Old Gravy

Mark Ford, 7 September 1995

Robert Graves: Life on the Edge 
by Miranda Seymour.
Doubleday, 524 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 385 40423 9
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Robert Graves and the White Goddess 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Weidenfeld, 618 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 297 81534 2
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Robert Graves: His Life and Work 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Bloomsbury, 600 pp., £25, June 1995, 0 7475 2205 7
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Robert Graves: Collected Writings on Poetry 
edited by Paul O’Prey.
Carcanet, 560 pp., £35, June 1995, 1 85754 172 3
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Robert Graves: The Centenary Selected Poems 
edited by Patrick Quinn.
Carcanet, 160 pp., £15.95, April 1995, 9781857541267
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... but it seems that it also reflected his strait-laced German mother’s high Protestant ideals. Martin Seymour-Smith, Graves’s first biographer and a close friend, traces the demonic bloodlust of the White Goddess all the way back to Graves’s cradle: ‘The infant looked up into its mother’s face, and sensed that – without much ambiguity – she ...

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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... work, for example, or Robert Adamson’s Hawkesbury River poems, or, from an earlier generation, Judith Wright’s concern for landscape. The title-poem of Kinsella’s most recent book, The Hunt – Other Poems (1998), is dedicated to Les Murray, who reaches out to an international readership from Bunyah, New South Wales. Kinsella’s West Australian ...

Brief Shining Moments

Christopher Hitchens: Donkey Business in the White House, 19 February 1998

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 746 pp., $30, February 1998, 0 684 80819 6
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-64 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 416 pp., September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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The Dark Side of Camelot 
by Seymour Hersh.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £8.99, February 1998, 9780006530770
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Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson , Bobby Kennedy and the Feud that Defined a Decade 
by Jeff Shesol.
Norton, 591 pp., £23.50, January 1998, 9780393040784
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The Year the Dream Died 
by Jules Witcover.
Warner, 512 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 446 51849 2
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Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon and the Crimes of Camelot 
by Jerry Zeifman.
Thunder's Mouth, 262 pp., $24.95, November 1996, 9781560251286
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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Howard, 740 pp., £23.50, September 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection 
edited by David Barrett.
Texas A & M, 906 pp., $94, June 1997, 0 89096 741 5
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Taking Charge: The Johnson Whitehouse Tapes 1963-64 
edited by Michael Beschloss.
Simon and Schuster, 624 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 684 80407 7
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Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes 
edited by Stanley Kutler.
Free Press, 675 pp., $30, November 1997, 0 684 84127 4
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The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957-63 
by Philip Nash.
North Carolina, 231 pp., £34.70, October 1997, 0 8078 4647 3
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... form the enchanted or bewitched triad or triangle which still exerts power and fascination. Dr Martin Luther King is the slain hero and absent knight who – though they don’t teach you this in school – fell victim to the swords of all three. Now this is a fairly routine passage from Seymour Hersh’s new book, ill-advisedly (and unironically) entitled ...

Shoot them to be sure

Richard Gott: The Oxford History of the British Empire, 25 April 2002

The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. I: The Origins of Empire 
edited by William Roger Louis and Nicholas Canny.
Oxford, 533 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924676 9
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The 18th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 639 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924677 7
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. III: The 19th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Andrew Porter.
Oxford, 774 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924678 5
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. IV: The 20th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Judith Brown.
Oxford, 773 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924679 3
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. V: Historiography 
edited by William Roger Louis and Robin Winks.
Oxford, 731 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924680 7
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... History. The fate of the Canadian Indians, too, is largely ignored in these pages, though Ged Martin, in a chapter on Canada after 1815, admits that the 19th century was ‘a disaster’ for its indigenous peoples: ‘They had constituted at least one-fifth of the population in 1815 but by 1911 their total members halved to just over 100,000, barely 1 per ...

The Unmaking of the President

Benjamin Barber, 7 October 1982

The Kennedy Imprisonment: A Meditation on Power 
by Garry Wills.
Atlantic/Little, Brown, 310 pp., $14.95, February 1982, 0 316 94385 1
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... and publicised (as Why England slept); President Kennedy in bed with Mafia mistresses such as Judith Campbell and stars such as Angie Dickinson, wondering if he was as good as Frank Sinatra; the sisters and wives being driven slowly to drink or to seed or to bedlam; ‘honorary Kennedys’ fighting over the reputation of their fallen leader, facing each ...

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