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Dirty’s Story

Mark Polizzotti

28 November 1996
The Collected Writings 
by Laure, translated by Jeanine Herman.
City Lights, 314 pp., $13.95, August 1995, 0 87286 293 3
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... 1922 that poetry ‘emanates more from the lives of men – whether or not they are writers – than from what they have written or from what we might imagine they could write’, it is unlikely that Laure, then 19 and cloistered in the bourgeois family estate, would have got wind of it. Yet in many ways she was the embodiment of Breton’s pronouncement. Indeed, most people, if they know of Laure at ...
20 January 2000
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence and Douglas Cooper 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 320 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 224 05056 7
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... John Richardson is one of those gossips who knows – or at least knows about – everyone. For example (on page 118, to be precise), Marie-Laure (1), Maurice Bischoffsheim (2), the Comtesse de Chevigné (3), the Duchesse de Guermantes (4), the Marquis de Sade (5), Jean Cocteau (6), the Vicomte de Noailles (7), an anonymous gym instructor (8 ...

Mon Charabia

Olivier Todd: Bad Duras

4 March 1999
Marguerite Duras 
by Laure​ Adler.
Gallimard, 627 pp., frs 155, August 1998, 2 07 074523 6
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No More 
by Marguerite Duras.
Seven Stories, 203 pp., £10.99, November 1998, 1 888363 65 7
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... most conventional novel, The Lover (1984) – Marguerite Duras was a literary monster. Her personality and the legends about her have fascinated readers of everything from Elle to the Village Voice. Laure Adler’s biography, the best so far, proves that the required period of mourning is over. Duras produced 73 books and about twenty films; her last posthumous work, No More, is currently available in ...

Short Cuts

Elisabeth Ladenson: Autofriction

20 September 2007
... publisher notes that he bears the scars of several lawsuits to prove it. People have objected to being depicted, even under fictional names, ever since Proust spent his spare time writing letters to Laure Heyman trying in vain to convince her that she was not the model for Odette de Crécy. Laurens herself is such a firm believer in autofiction that she seems to feel literature – at least trauma ...

At the Foundling Museum

Brian Dillon: Found

10 August 2016
... people who have fallen asleep on public transport. Most of the artists have responded to Parker’s request with a seriousness that can occasionally verge on preciousness. Few are funny, among them Laure Prouvost’s short video Stong Sory Vegetables, in which a faceless narrator points offscreen at fruit and vegetables set on a plinth in the gallery, and claims they fell out of the sky and landed on ...

Late Picasso

Nicholas Penny

20 November 1986
Je suis le Cahier: The Sketchbooks of Picasso 
edited by Arnold Glimcher and Marc Glimcher.
Thames and Hudson, 349 pp., £36, September 1986, 0 500 23461 2
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The Musèe Picasso, Paris: Catalogue of the Collections. Paintings, Papiers Collés, Picture Reliefs, Sculptures, Ceramics 
by Laure​Besnard-Bernadac" class="underline">Marie-Laure​ Besnard-Bernadac, Michéle Richet and Hélène Seckel.
Thames and Hudson, 315 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 500 23461 2Show More
Degas: The Complete Etchings, Lithographs and Monotypes 
by Jean Adhémar and Françoise Cachin.
Thames and Hudson, 290 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 500 09114 5
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... In three of the Royal Academy’s exhibition rooms, the Pace Gallery of New York (presumably a commercial organisation but revealing nothing about itself) has displayed in perspex boxes some of the 175 sketchbooks which Picasso had hoarded, and which were unstudied, and in many cases entirely unknown, when he died. We admire brisk notes made of Paris nightlife at the turn of the century, and then our ...

She wore Isabel Marant

Joanna Biggs: Literary London

2 August 2018
by Olivia Laing.
Picador, 140 pp., £12.99, June 2018, 978 1 5098 9283 9
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... husband, Ian Patterson, the Cambridge academic and poet who was Jenny Diski’s husband until her death in April 2016; she was tweeting about Sam Shepard and Brexit and the Booker shortlist and a new Laure Prouvost show and Charlie Gard and Call Me by Your Name and cab drivers in Rome and John McCain’s part in the GOP vote to roll back Obamacare. And a year later, almost to the day, here is Crudo ...

The Wrong Head

Mike Jay: Am I Napoleon?

20 May 2015
The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon: Towards a Political History of Madness 
by Laure​ Murat, translated by Deke Dusinberre.
Chicago, 288 pp., £31.50, October 2014, 978 0 226 02573 5
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... the last appearance of Bonaparte from that of certain insane persons whose insanity connects itself with the events,’ Esquirol claimed in Maladies mentales. He never delivered on the promise, but Laure Murat takes it as the starting point for her enthralling study of the correspondences between politics and madness in 19th-century France. In drawing on patient records in the archives of the Paris ...

On the Sixth Day

Charles Nicholl: Petrarch on the Move

7 February 2019
Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer 
by Christopher Celenza.
Reaktion, 224 pp., £15.95, October 2017, 978 1 78023 838 8
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... of his father, the notary Ser Petracco, the previous year. That she died in 1348 makes her a probable victim of the Black Death. According to a venerable tradition Laura was a Provençal woman called Laure de Noves, born in about 1310. She married Hugo or Hughes de Sade, of a landed family from Le Thor, a few miles south-east of Avignon. The marriage contract is dated 6 January 1325. They had at least ...

Our God is dead

Richard Vinen: Jean Moulin

22 March 2001
The Death of Jean Moulin: Biography of a Ghost 
by Patrick Marnham.
Murray, 290 pp., £20, June 2000, 0 7195 5919 7
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... Giraud, from the leadership of the anti-Vichy forces. Moulin’s reputation has not been seriously damaged by any of these attacks. It has benefited from two indefatigable defenders: his sister Laure Moulin, who wrote a biography of her brother, and Daniel Cordier, who was parachuted into France in 1942 and acted for a few months as Moulin’s secretary. He loved Moulin and reported his capture ...

Death (and Life) of the Author

Peter Wollen: Kathy Acker

5 February 1998
... or orphan, the wanderer, the vagrant, the victimised – Toulouse-Lautrec, Pip in Great Expectations , Don Quixote (transformed into a dog), or, more directly, as Cathy from Wuthering Heights or Laure, the masochistic lover of Souvarine and Bataille. ‘I became very interested in the model of schizophrenia. I wanted to explore the use of the word ‘I’, that’s the only thing I wanted to do ...

Shovelling Clouds

Adam Mars-Jones: Fred Vargas

22 April 2015
Temps glaciaires 
by Fred Vargas.
Flammarion, 490 pp., €19.90, March 2015, 978 2 08 136044 0
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... to start with and violated even so, while political jockeying dominates the handling of cases. Technically the British system of criminal justice is adversarial and the French one inquisitorial, but Laure Berthaud and her team on Spiral don’t seem short of determined, even vicious adversaries who are technically on their side. By contrast, Vargas’s recurring detective Commissaire Jean-Baptiste ...
18 May 2016
Edith Piaf: A Cultural History 
by David Looseley.
Liverpool, 254 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 78138 257 8
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... in the early 1930s – preferred to see her as vulnerable, in need of protection. On the streets, she would sing her guts out – her voice was ‘cathedral-like’, according to the singer Odette Laure, who as a child collected 25 centime pieces to throw at Piaf’s feet whenever she busked in her part of the city. Yet part of the act was to appear indifferent to the applause. In 1931, she met ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes

18 October 2017
After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... come out of serious child abuse, sexual and other.’) And she also seems to have been drifting deeper and deeper inwards, into the exaltation and derangement that gets written about by Bataille and Laure and so on. She talked about writing while masturbating with a vibrator, ‘losing control of the language and seeing what that’s like’. ‘I didn’t know my body could do this,’ she said about ...

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