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He, She, One, They, Ho, Hus, Hum, Ita

Amia Srinivasan: How Should I Refer to You?, 2 July 2020

What’s Your Pronoun? Beyond He and She 
by Dennis Baron.
Liveright, 304 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 63149 604 2
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... when my pieces passed through the office. In his mind only men were philosophers. The other was Judith Butler. I had written a commentary on one of her books, and she wrote a reply to be published along with it. In the draft of her response, she referred to me by my surname and, once, as ‘he’. Just a few lines later she wrote: ‘It is surely important ...

Only More So

Rosemary Hill: 1950s Women, 19 December 2013

Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties 
by Rachel Cooke.
Virago, 368 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 1 84408 740 2
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... no female Shakespeare, Woolf traces the likely career of his imaginary and equally talented sister Judith, following her from patchy education to rebellion and flight to London, where every door including the stage door is closed to her and the streets are dangerous. There follow a pragmatic liaison, unwanted pregnancy, suicide and an unmarked grave at ‘some ...

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 ...

Mr Lukacs changes trains

Edward Timms, 19 February 1987

Georg Lukacs: Selected Correspondence 1902-1920 
translated by Judith Marcus and Zoltan Tar.
Columbia, 318 pp., $25, September 1986, 9780231059688
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... and German intellectual life: Karl Polanyi, Oscar Jasci, Emil Lask and Karl Mannheim; Ernst Bloch, Martin Buber, Georg Simmel, Ernst Troeltsch, Karl Jaspers, Max Weber, Paul Ernst and Thomas Mann. By interweaving, in chronological sequence, letters written by Lukacs with letters he received, this collection draws the strands of his early life together into a ...

Charging about in Brogues

Jenny Turner: Sarah Waters, 23 February 2006

The Night Watch 
by Sarah Waters.
Virago, 472 pp., £16.99, February 2006, 1 84408 246 6
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... The books are indeed pastiches: Victoriana as a queer theorist might perform it, with costumes by Judith Butler, prisons and madhouses by Foucault. They are indeed frissony, being peopled by young women just becoming aware of their sexuality, in scenarios involving much disguise and dissembling, and silky drawers with slits. But the books are less ...

Fearful Thoughts

Stephen Mulhall: Morality by Numbers, 22 August 2002

The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life 
by Jeff McMahan.
Oxford, 554 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 19 507998 1
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... tool-kit; it is even the way some philosophers achieve a kind of immortality – as with Judith Jarvis Thomson and her ‘case’ of the woman to whom a violinist is hooked up for life support, a case designed to illustrate a certain argument for abortion (McMahan’s critical discussion of it is the best I have seen). The Ethics of Killing puts this ...

Help yourself

Malcolm Bull: Global Justice, 21 February 2013

On Global Justice 
by Mathias Risse.
Princeton, 465 pp., £27.95, October 2012, 978 0 691 14269 2
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... making the world as a whole more just. ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’ Martin Luther King said. Although he uses the quotation, Risse can’t possibly agree, for in his view ‘domestic justice and global justice have different standards’: what is unjust on one ground may be just on another, and anyone who thinks that that itself ...

Like a Manta Ray

Jenny Turner: The Entire History of Sex, 22 October 2015

The Argonauts 
by Maggie Nelson.
Graywolf, 143 pp., £23, May 2015, 978 1 55597 707 8
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... of most viewers’ and ‘overestimates that of most artists’. (I found myself thinking about Martin Amis – that thing he used to say about ‘the talent elite’.) The art Nelson likes, on the other hand, has spaces in it, gaps and holes, swerves and paradox, opening ‘the possibility – and sometimes the arrival – of a third term into a situation ...

No Looking Away

Tom Stammers: Solo Goya, 16 December 2021

Goya: A Portrait of the Artist 
by Janis Tomlinson.
Princeton, 388 pp., £28, October 2020, 978 0 691 19204 8
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... are holding me hostage … I cannot tolerate any more.’The recipient of his disgruntlement was Martin Zapater, who would provide a vital sounding board for his friend’s frustrations and fantasies. Zapater had experienced a difficult start in Zaragoza himself, but went on to make his fortune through the buying, leasing and selling of land, becoming so ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... the Guildford Four, but for the closely related cases of the Maguire family, the Birmingham Six, Judith Ward? What did it mean for the system of justice in England? Some years earlier, in a judgment in the Birmingham Six case, Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls, had summed up the broader significance of such a reversal. If the six men win, it will mean ...

Singing the Blues

Noël Annan, 22 April 1993

A History of Cambridge University. Vol. IV: 1870-1990 
by Christopher Brooke.
Cambridge, 652 pp., £50, December 1992, 9780521343503
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... the first scholar to hold it was indeed eminent but had nothing to do with accountancy. Judith Wilson intended the lectureship in drama she endowed to be held by someone who would work in the theatre, as George Rylands had done when he directed the Marlowe Society productions: the English Faculty converted it into yet another routine ...

Some must get rich first

Colin Legum, 15 March 1984

The Heart of the Dragon 
by Alasdair Clayre.
Harvill, 281 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 0 00 272115 5
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The Origins of the Cultural Revolution. Vol. II: The Great Leap Forward 1958-1960 
by Roderick MacFarquhar.
Oxford, 470 pp., £22.50, June 1983, 0 19 214996 2
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Son of the Revolution 
by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro.
Chatto, 301 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 7011 2751 1
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by William Hinton.
Secker, 789 pp., £15.95, November 1983, 0 436 19630 1
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The Messiah and the Mandarins 
by Dennis Bloodworth.
Weidenfeld, 331 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 297 78054 9
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The Cambridge History of China. Vol. XII: Republican China 1912-1949, Part I 
edited by John Fairbank.
Cambridge, 1002 pp., £50, October 1983, 0 521 23541 3
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The Middle Kingdom: Inside China Today 
by Erwin Wickert.
Harvill, 397 pp., £12.50, August 1983, 0 00 272113 9
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... them, Professor Jerome Ch’en, writing on the Chinese Communist movement up to 1927; Professor C. Martin Wilbur, who describes the creation of the revolutionary movement and the drive to unify China in the five critical years between 1923 and 1928; and Professor Marie-Claire Bergère, who examines the rise and political failure of the Chinese bourgeoisie ...

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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... needs and partly for the ends of power. He caused blackmail letters to be sent from the FBI to Dr Martin Luther King, urging him to commit suicide.Historians and journalists have never quite known what to do about these sorts of disclosure. They have never known whether to treat such episodes as normal or exceptional. It is, for example, perfectly true to say ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history, 1 April 1999

The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... for broad groups of “minorities” ’ – the affirmative action which, he wrongly asserts, Martin Luther King Jr opposed. According to Evans, moreover, the ‘ill-judged 1965 Immigration Reform Act’ – it repealed the restrictive, ethnocentric national origins quotas of the 1924 legislation – transformed the ‘ethnic mix of the country’, as ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag, 12 February 2009

Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... as much as Les Misérables, which she had read before she was nine. She also read Jack London’s Martin Eden, a book about a self-taught writer which she later suspected had given her inspiration for her future life. A schoolteacher called Mr Starkie, recognising an unusual capacity in the girl, lent her The Sorrows of Young Werther. She started keeping a ...

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