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Tall, Slender, Straight and Intelligent

Philip Kitcher: Cloning and reprogenetics

5 March 1998
Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead 
by Gina Kolata.
Allen Lane, 218 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 7139 9221 2
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Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World 
by Lee Silver.
Weidenfeld, 315 pp., £20, January 1998, 0 297 84135 1
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... do raise serious moral and social questions, even if they are not the Grand Issues towards which Kolata gestures. Under what circumstances, if any, should the cloning of human beings be permitted? LeeSilver in his admirable book understands that the most important issue doesn’t centre on cloning but on the possibilities opened up by a field he calls ‘reprogenetics’. Reprogenetics draws on ...
1 June 2000
The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy 
by Russell Jacoby.
Basic Books, 256 pp., £17.95, April 1999, 0 465 02000 3
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Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts 1905-40 
edited by Catriona Kelly.
Penguin, 378 pp., £9.99, September 1999, 0 14 118081 1
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The Faber Book of Utopias 
edited by John Carey.
Faber, 560 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780571197859
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The Nazi War on Cancer 
by Robert Proctor.
Princeton, 390 pp., £18.95, May 1999, 0 691 00196 0
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... of the Shipwrecked Sailor’ from c.1940 BC, it includes fragments of a hundred utopian fantasies of one sort or another, ending with a 1998 projection of the consequences of genetic engineering by LeeSilver called Remaking Eden. In addition to all of the usual suspects – More, Campanella, Bacon, Rousseau, Mercier, Saint-Simon, Cabet, Owen, Fourier, Morris, Bellamy, Wells, Skinner – and some ...


Jonathan Lethem: My Marvel Years

15 April 2004
... had left behind a collection of 1960s Marvel comics in sacrosanct box files. These included a nearly complete run of The Fantastic Four, the famous 102 issues drawn by Jack Kirby and scripted by Stan Lee, a defining artefact (I now know) of the Silver Age of comics.Luke was precocious, worldly, full of a satirical brilliance I didn’t always understand but pretended to, as I pretended to understand ...


Brigid Brophy

2 December 1982
Bernard Shaw: The Darker Side 
by Arnold Silver.
Stanford, 353 pp., $25, January 1982, 0 8047 1091 0
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Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence 
edited by Mary Hyde.
Murray, 237 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 7195 3947 1
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... and a million Smiths. Perhaps our psychoanalysts may find in such dull stuff clues that have escaped me.’ Although he makes no mention of it, this is the fair but discouraging challenge that Arnold Silver has taken up. The ‘darker side’ alluded to by his title consists not, as Shaw himself might have expected, of the ‘crudely erotic’ but of the violent aspect of Shaw’s imagination. This is ...

A Hit of Rus in Urbe

Iain Sinclair: In Lea Valley

27 June 2002
... springing up around Waltham Abbey; exploiting the ever-so-slightly poisoned territory yielded by ordnance factories, gunpowder mills, chemical and electrical industries. The documents put out by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority dazzle with their high gloss. They confuse weight with importance. Lee Valley Regional Park Plan, Part One: Strategic Policy Framework runs to 180 pages – with charts ...

Your life depends on it

Thomas Jones: Jonathan Raban

19 October 2006
by Jonathan Raban.
Picador, 327 pp., £16.99, September 2006, 0 330 41338 4
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... telling stories. And memory is by its nature treacherous and contingent, however honest you may believe yourself to be. On the way to her first meeting with Vanags, Lucy witnesses a car accident. A silver sedan crawling along in front of her swerves inexplicably into the path of an oncoming lorry. Later, a policeman tells her that the car was pulling out to pass a pickup truck that was turning right ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Worst case scenarios

6 October 2005
... If you’re feeling vulnerable in these cataclysmic times, stay clear of Lee Clarke, the Eeyore of American sociology and author of the forthcoming study of disaster, Worst Cases (Chicago, £16). ‘Doom is everywhere,’ he says, ‘catastrophes are common.’ Viruses as ...


James Wood

8 December 1994
Shadow Dance 
by Angela Carter.
Virago, 182 pp., £9.99, September 1994, 1 85381 840 2
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Flesh and the Mirror: Essays on the Art of Angela Carter 
edited by Lorna Sage.
Virago, 358 pp., £8.99, September 1994, 1 85381 760 0
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... men. One of them, Finn, explains the rules of the house: ‘He’ – the uncle – ‘likes, you know, silent women.’ Indeed, on Sundays, the sinister uncle forces his wife to wear a monstrous silver choker that he made, in case we were disinclined to believe Finn. We hope, in the fairy-tale way, that good will triumph and that the little girl will escape from the nasty house on the hill (several ...


Michael Church

18 April 1985
Gypsy and Me: At Home and on the Road with Gypsy Rose Lee 
by Erik Lee​ Preminger.
Deutsch, 277 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 233 97736 8
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George Thomas, Mr Speaker: The Memoirs of Viscount Tonypandy 
Century, 242 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 7126 0706 4Show More
Toff down Pit 
by Kit Fraser.
Quartet, 129 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 7043 2513 6
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Menlove: The Life of John Menlove Edwards 
by Jim Perrin.
Gollancz, 347 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 575 03571 4
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... For his 15th Christmas, Erik Lee Preminger’s mother gave him an antique gold watch and two glass eyes set in clay, with a card which said: ‘Remember dear, Mother is always watching.’ She thought it a hysterically funny gift ...

The Amazing …

Jonathan Lethem: My Spidey

6 June 2002
directed by Sam Raimi.
May 2002
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... and popular this character becomes, and no matter how whitewashed of ethnicity the name ‘Parker’ has always been, Parker-Spider-Man is always an Other. Spider-Man’s official creator, Stan Lee (typically, for his generation of showmen, a de-Judaicised ‘Stanley Lieber’), has boasted: ‘Spider-Man’s costume covers every inch of his body . . . any reader, of any race’ – if not ...

In the Potato Patch

Jenny Turner: Penelope Fitzgerald

19 December 2013
Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 508 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 7011 8495 7
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... She made her own clothes from material bought in the sales, and seemed never to acquire a handbag: acquaintances remember a trusty William Morris carrier, and she took a spongebag, Hermione Lee reports, to the Booker dinner. In her letters she uses the dotty-lady schtick for two main purposes. It’s there to entertain and mollify her daughters, on whom she depended for all sorts of things ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Queer British Art

6 September 2017
... frustrated by the comparative scarcity of material.’ In a section somewhat dutifully titled ‘Defying Convention’, we find John Singer Sargent’s 1881 portrait of an austerely boyish Vernon Lee, and Alvaro Guevara’s Dame Edith Sitwell from 1916. Laura Knight, three years earlier, had been condemned by the Telegraph for a self-portrait with a nude model that lacked ‘the higher charm of ...

At the Party

Christopher Hitchens

17 April 1986
Hollywood Babylon II 
by Kenneth Anger.
Arrow, 323 pp., £5.95, January 1986, 0 09 945110 7
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Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan 
by Robin Wood.
Columbia, 336 pp., $25, October 1985, 0 231 05776 8
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... In the Forties and Fifties there used to be a series of Confidential books – Washington Confidential, New York Confidential and so on – turned out by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer. The fearless duo, shrouded in their macintoshes and trilbies, would bring the naive reader the straight dope from the lower depths. They practised the same combination of rough-hewn ...

Rose’s Rex

David Cannadine

15 September 1983
King George V 
by Kenneth Rose.
Weidenfeld, 514 pp., £12.95, July 1983, 0 297 78245 2
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... him the lachrymose sentimentality which, at the Queen’s behest and with her all-too-active co-operation, Theodore Martin lavished on the Prince Consort; still less the ‘feline skill’ of Sidney Lee who, disregarding the advice of Edward VII, ‘Stick to Shakespeare, Mr Lee, there’s money in Shakespeare,’ produced a double-decker biography of his late majesty; least of all the flippant ...

‘How big?’ ‘That big’

Andrew Motion: Tales from the Riverbank

5 February 1998
Notes on Fishing 
by Sergei Timmofeevich Aksakov, translated by Thomas Hodge.
Northwestern, 230 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780810113664
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... see it, though, as it began to flag and my mother drew it towards her: one minute just clear brown racing water, then a spangle of light fragments like big fish-scales, then the thing itself – a silver ingot, rigid and heavy, its lower jaw stuck out. When it found me and the dog looming over the bank, all its energy came back in a thunderbolt, the silver etherising at once, the water empty, my ...

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