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10 February 1994
Martyr’s Day: Chronicle of Small War 
by Michael Kelly.
Macmillan, 354 pp., £16.99, October 1993, 0 333 60496 2
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Battling for News: The Rise of the Woman Reporter 
by Anne Sebba.
Hodder, 301 pp., £19.99, January 1994, 0 340 55599 8
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Women’s Letters in Wartime 
edited by Eva Figes.
Pandora, 304 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 04 440755 6
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The War at Sixteen: Autobiography, Vol. II 
by Julien Green, translated by Euan Cameron.
Marion Boyars, 207 pp., £19.95, November 1993, 0 7145 2969 9
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... looking out for me & I had orders to ignore red lights so I willed them all to turn red as I approached so that I could importantly shoot over.’ In the second volume of his autobiography (1916-20), JulienGreen, who did two stints as an ambulance driver in France and Italy, cuts less of a dash on four wheels. He is invariably troubled and often solemn. A touching photograph on the jacket shows him ...
8 June 1995
... miniskirts was discouraged as part of an ‘authentic’ Africanisation campaign; where the only candidate for the Presidential election of 1970 was Mobutu and the ballot consisted of two cards – a green one, ‘pour l’espoir’, and a red one, ‘le chaos’. Things have changed a little since Mobutu’s third seven-year term of office neared its eat-by date in 1990, when the enthusiasm for ...

Autumn in Paris

Musab Younis: Autumn in Paris

25 November 2019
... On​ 11 October, Julien Odoul, an official from the Rassemblement National, formerly the Front National, interrupted a French regional council session to ask a woman in the audience either to remove her headscarf or leave ...

Lucky Lucien

Stephen Vizinczey

20 February 1986
Lucien Leuwen 
by Stendhal, translated by H.L.R. Edwards.
Boydell and Brewer, 624 pp., £6.95, June 1984, 0 85115 228 7
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... decent at the same time. The twin discoveries of self and society are to the novel what counterpoint is to music, and Stendhal is their unequalled master. Lucien is Stendhal’s luckiest hero. Unlike Julien Sorel or Fabrizio del Dongo, he has a jovial and affectionate father who believes that ‘a son is a creditor given by nature’ – a father, moreover, who is an extremely rich and powerful Parisian ...

Steps

Gabriel Josipovici

3 December 1981
... creature of habit, always was. He lived in a two-roomed flat on the top floor of a peeling building in the Rue Octave Mirbeau, behind the Pantheon. To reach it you went through the dark narrow Rue St Julien and climbed a steep flight of steps on the right, which brought you out into the Rue Octave Mirbeau opposite the building. There were other ways, of course, but this was the one he regularly used: it ...
8 December 1988
The Pink and the Green 
by Stendhal, translated by Richard Howard.
Hamish Hamilton, 148 pp., £10.95, July 1988, 0 241 12289 9
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Stendhal’s Violin: A Novelist and his Reader 
by Roger Pearson.
Oxford, 294 pp., £30, February 1988, 0 19 815851 3
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... to speak: not in the workshop but on the prowl. We see his imagination alternately at bay (‘Use my imagination to depict the absence of imagination’) and sent off on odd errands. The Pink and the Green is a very good place to observe all these moves. The title is terrible, of course, a bit of pastel-minded self-plagiarism, but Stendhal would probably have changed that. He considered another, worse ...
4 May 1989
Flaubert: A Biography 
by Herbert Lottman.
Methuen, 396 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 0 413 41770 0
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... entirely different. Similar wonkiness affects Lottman’s brief account of Bouvard et Pécuchet. Trois Contes is ‘a book of three remarkable short stories’; and the third chapter of Saint Julien l’Hospitalier is summarised as follows: ‘When he discovers that he has indeed slain his parents, he abandons everything to beg, then befriends a leper and goes to Heaven.’ Rarely can the ...

At the Venice Biennale

Alice Spawls: All the World’s Futures

17 June 2015
... is the great drama of our age’), with the main arena playing host to a reading of the entire work. Marx is artist #047 in the catalogue. The performance, organised by the installation artist Isaac Julien, is preceded by a video interview with David Harvey for those who missed ‘Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey’ on his website. It’s a world away from the sunshine of the gardens and ...
31 July 1997
Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell 
by Deborah Solomon.
Cape, 426 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 224 04242 4
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... edited by Mary Ann Caws, and Charles Simic’s prose poems, an inspired labour of love called Dime Store Alchemy. Cornell’s life as an artist began the day he showed his Ernst-inspired collages to Julien Levy, whose gallery brought Surrealism to America. Levy asked Cornell to design the announcement for his first Surrealist exhibition. That same year, 1932, Levy gave him a one-man show, where he ...

Red

Stephen Bann

5 July 1984
Time in a Red Coat 
by George Mackay Brown.
Chatto, 249 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 7011 2804 6
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Harland’s Half-Acre 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 230 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 7011 2737 6
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The Border 
by Elaine Feinstein.
Hutchinson, 113 pp., £6.95, June 1984, 0 09 156320 8
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... Frank Harland opens with a remarkably beautiful and, as it were, densely textured evocation of a motherless childhood in Killarney, many miles south-west of Brisbane in ‘lush country... of the green, subtropical kind’. Phil Vernon comes in next with an account of his own, less materially deprived childhood and his memories of the smart seaside resort of Southport, where his family come to know ...

Real isn’t real

Michael Wood: Octavio Paz

4 July 2013
The Poems of Octavio Paz 
edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger.
New Directions, 606 pp., £30, October 2012, 978 0 8112 2043 9
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... paper the pen goes writing in any solitary hour, who drives the pen? To whom is he writing, he who writes for me … Someone in me is writing, moves my hand, hears a word, hesitates, halted between green mountains and blue sea … He writes to anyone, he calls nobody, to his own self he writes, in himself forgets, and is redeemed, becoming again me[*] There is no question of automatic writing here ...

How to Get Another Thorax

Steven Rose: Epigenetics

7 September 2016
... which communicated with the body by way of a mini-organ at the centre of the brain, the pineal gland. A hundred years later, the physician, philosopher and self-declared ‘mechanical materialist’ Julien Offray de la Mettrie dismissed Descartes’s dualistic waystation in his manifesto L’Homme machine. He argued that mental processes were no more than manifestations of the workings of the brain, a ...
26 September 1991
Georg Lukács: Life, Thought and Politics 
by Arpad Kadarkay.
Blackwell, 538 pp., £45, June 1991, 1 55786 114 5
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... patricidal urge inordinately far. And before the farce was over it turned bloody. There are no indications that Lukács had the slightest notion of military matters. In an outfit of plus-fours, green stockings and heavy walking shoes he visited the trenches of the Red Army’s fifth division (which, as Kadarkay explains, was defending the Hungarian frontier against Czech troops), and addressed ...

Hedonistic Fruit Bombs

Steven Shapin: How good is Château Pavie?

3 February 2005
Bordeaux 
by Robert Parker.
Dorling Kindersley, 1244 pp., £45, December 2003, 1 4053 0566 5
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The Wine Buyer’s Guide 
by Robert Parker and Pierre-Antoine Rovani.
Dorling Kindersley, two volumes, £50, December 2002, 0 7513 4979 8
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Mondovino 
directed by Jonathan Nossiter.
November 2004
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... at all, or in many other wines that are aged in new American oak, but she thinks that ‘cedar’, ‘cigar box’ and ‘lead pencil’ are pretty straightforward ways of describing what a nice St-Julien or Pauillac tastes like. Some people who seem to know what they’re talking about say that Rieslings are ‘petrolly’; others prefer ‘plasticine’ for what they agree to be – but which may ...

In a Spa Town

James Wood: ‘A Hero of Our Time’

11 February 2010
A Hero of Our Time 
by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Natasha Randall.
Penguin, 174 pp., £8.99, August 2009, 978 0 14 310563 3
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... A Hero of Our Time seems to have been seduced by this southern Orientalism. ‘What a glorious place, this valley! On every side there are unassailable mountains and reddish promontories, high with green ivy and crowned with clumps of plane trees.’ He marvels at the purity of the mountain air, and the welcome sense of withdrawing from the world and being born anew. But like Dr Johnson, Lermontov ...

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