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They were less depressed in the Middle Ages

John Bossy: Suicide, 11 November 1999

Marx on Suicide 
edited by Eric Plaut and Kevin Anderson, translated by Gabrielle Edgcomb.
Northwestern, 152 pp., £11.20, May 1999, 0 8101 1632 4
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Suicide in the Middle Ages, Vol I: The Violent Against Themselves 
by Alexander Murray.
Oxford, 510 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 19 820539 2
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A History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Johns Hopkins, 420 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 8018 5919 0
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... In 1846 Karl Marx published a version of a chapter about suicide which had recently appeared in a book by one Jacques Peuchet entitled Mémoires tirées des archives de la police. Peuchet had been an encyclopedist and statistician of some distinction, and is said to have invented the term ‘bureaucracy’. He had survived the Revolution, and under the restored Bourbons had become archivist of the police records of Paris and hence a benefactor of Richard Cobb and readers of his Death in Paris (1978 ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Narcissistic Kevins, 6 November 2014

... personality disorder). Politics is one; sport is another. A recent political example is Kevin Rudd, the two-time Australian prime minister, a man with a toxic personality and enormous political gifts. The Australian Labor Party saw that Rudd, who has always been popular with the public, was their route back to power after more than a decade in the ...

Extreme Jogging

Kevin Breathnach: The ‘Nocilla’ Project, 18 February 2021

The Nocilla Trilogy 
by Agustín Fernández Mallo, translated by Thomas Bunstead.
Farrar, Straus, 528 pp., $30, February 2019, 978 0 374 22278 9
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... She considers herself in the mirror of her sunglasses, which magnify her breasts. Like Pamela Anderson, she says to herself. The TV lifeguard responsible for transmitting the Californian surfing bug since the beginning of the 1990s.’ This is routine, systematic.Nocilla Lab, the final book, is the formal, as well as the ontological, outlier of the ...

Damsons and Custard

Paul Laity: Documentary cinema’s unsung poet, 3 March 2005

Humphrey Jennings 
by Kevin Jackson.
Picador, 448 pp., £30, October 2004, 0 330 35438 8
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... is far from a household name, his critical reputation has for decades been extremely high; Lindsay Anderson, an influential champion of his work, considered him ‘the only real poet the British cinema has yet produced’. The best, and best-known, of his films – the 20-minute montage Listen to Britain and Fires Were Started, an account of a day in the life ...

Out Hunting

Gary Younge: In Baltimore, 29 July 2021

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption in an American City 
by Justin Fenton.
Faber, 335 pp., £14.99, February, 978 0 571 35661 4
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... officers found an unauthorised GPS tracker attached to the car of a drug dealer called Aaron Anderson. When they went to Anderson’s home, the door had been kicked in and the place ransacked. When they discovered that the tracker had not been issued by the police but was the personal property of a GTTF cop, John ...

On the Threshold

Tom Nairn, 23 March 1995

Frameworks for the Future 
Northern Ireland Office, 37 pp., February 1995Show More
Northern Ireland: The Choice 
by Kevin Boyle and Tom Hadden.
Penguin, 256 pp., £6.99, May 1994, 0 14 023541 8
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... and commented on in another admirable analysis which appeared just before the Framework Document, Kevin Boyle and Tom Hadden’s Northern Ireland: The Choice. The authors point out that any new agreement on governing Northern Ireland hinges on a choice between fully acknowledging this existing separation or trying to wish it away by administrative ...

Maurice Thomson’s War

Perry Anderson, 4 November 1993

Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict and London’s Overseas Traders 1550-1653 
by Robert Brenner.
Cambridge, 734 pp., £40, March 1993, 0 521 37319 0
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The Nature of the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 466 pp., £32, June 1993, 0 582 08941 7
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... whose work has set the agenda for debate on the English Revolution since the Seventies. Kevin Sharpe’s Personal Rule of Charles I, Conrad Russell’s Fall of the British Monarchies and John Morrill’s Nature of the English Revolution all represent distinct standpoints, but certain common features continue to stand out. Rejecting both ...

Like Colonel Sanders

Christopher Tayler: The Stan Lee Era, 2 December 2021

True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee 
by Abraham Riesman.
Bantam, 320 pp., £20, February, 978 0 593 13571 6
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Stan Lee: A Life in Comics 
by Liel Leibovitz.
Yale, 192 pp., £16.99, June 2020, 978 0 300 23034 5
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... didn’t make it past the pilot stage. Stan Lee’s Stripperella, a cartoon vehicle for Pamela Anderson, did. Lee’s relationship with JC, whom his friend Kevin Smith was by this time describing as ‘the worst fucking human being in the world’, became more and more destructive. Between Joan’s death in 2017 and his ...


Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... that it was made by Proust’s tailor. 18 April. A pre-operation session at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson wing of UCH down Huntley Street, in which Siobhan, a nice, cheerful and silly nurse, takes me through the same questionnaire I answered twice last week. She then takes me in to see the anaesthetist, and he goes through the same questionnaire. He’s ...

The Mask It Wears

Pankaj Mishra: The Wrong Human Rights, 21 June 2018

The People v. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It 
by Yascha Mounk.
Harvard, 400 pp., £21.95, March 2018, 978 0 674 97682 5
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Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World 
by Samuel Moyn.
Harvard, 277 pp., £21.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 73756 3
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... away from the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. The Atlantic hired, then a few days later fired, Kevin Williamson, a prose stylist at the National Review who suggests that women who have abortions – a quarter of all American women – should be hanged. In this free-for-all, ‘thought leaders’ rise without a trace, at great speed and with little ...

Do I like it?

Terry Castle: Outsider Art, 28 July 2011

... be pleased. Some recent books on Outsider Art: Create by Lawrence Rinder with Matthew Riggs and Kevin Killian (California, 179 pp., £16.98, July, 978 0 97193979 0) Martín Ramírez by Brooke Davis Anderson (Marquand and the American Folk Art Museum, 2007) Martín Ramírez: The Last Works by Brooke Davis ...
... year Clarke returned to Ireland, a book called Sidelights on the Home Rule Movement, by Sir Robert Anderson, a police commissioner, was published – it helped inspire Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent. The relevant passage was an account of a conversation between Gladstone’s home secretary, Sir William Harcourt, and a police chief. While Clarke was being ...

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