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The Sober Science

Mark Lilla, 20 April 1995

German Ideology: From France to Germany and Back 
by Louis Dumont.
Chicago, 259 pp., £25.95, March 1995, 0 226 16952 9
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... of Mill, let alone that of John Rawls. Many have turned instead to the work of the anthropologist Louis Dumont, the great specialist of India now retired from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes. Dumont was a student of Marcel Mauss and a contemporary of Lévi-Strauss who was virtually unknown to the literate public before the ...

Djojo on the Corner

Benedict Anderson, 24 August 1995

After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist 
by Clifford Geertz.
Harvard, 198 pp., £17.95, April 1995, 0 674 00871 5
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... Mead (1901), Edward Evans-Pritchard (1902), Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908), Edmund Leach (1910), Louis Dumont and Max Gluckman (1911). They were formed in the age of Hitler and Stalin, and, in the cases of France and Britain, of impending imperial decline. The last generation came to adulthood during World War Two, and made their careers during the Cold ...

Participation in America

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 6 November 1980

by Richard Sennett.
Secker, 206 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 436 44675 8
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... reflective Americans to think in anything but liberal terms (however ingenious they may be, as Louis Hartz once so cleverly showed, in deploying those terms), it is a view which continues to haunt them. Perhaps Tocqueville was right? Perhaps it really is the case that the most nearly liberal society is one in which the promise of such a society is ...

Seven Miles per Hour

Robert Macfarlane: The men who invented flight, 5 February 2004

First to Fly: The Unlikely Triumph of Wilbur and Orville Wright 
by James Tobin.
Murray, 431 pp., £9.99, November 2003, 0 7195 5738 0
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The Wright Brothers: The Aviation Pioneers who Changed the World 
by Ian Mackersey.
Little, Brown, 554 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 316 86144 8
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Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight 
by Paul Hoffman.
Fourth Estate, 369 pp., £18.99, June 2003, 1 84115 368 0
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Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity to the First World War 
by Richard Hallion.
Oxford, 531 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 19 516035 5
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... them to be – but also aerial romantics, even if they were not so flamboyant as Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont was 5'4" and weighed 100 lbs: vital statistics for a man who had always wanted to be a bird. Growing up on his father’s coffee plantation in Brazil, he had watched eagles ‘flying so high and soaring on ...

Do Not Fool Around

E.S. Turner, 24 November 1994

A Passion for Wings: Aviation and the Western Imagination, 1908-1918 
by Robert Wohl.
Yale, 320 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 300 05778 4
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... The man of the year in 1909 was Louis Blériot, in whom I have a personal interest, since I was a five-month foetus at the time of his cross-Channel flight. Notoriously, this exploit showed that Britain was wide open to aerial attack and I was one of numerous infants born in the Belle Epoque who were called on to spend up to four years of their adult lives trying to shoot aircraft out of Britain’s skies; and a damned difficult task it was ...

Nothing goes without saying

Stanley Cavell, 6 January 1994

The Marx Brothers: ‘A Day at the Races’, ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Duck Soup’ 
introduced by Karl French.
Faber, 261 pp., £8.99, November 1993, 0 571 16647 4
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... as anyone else might think it that he should be found lovable. It does both him and Margaret Dumont an injustice not to see that he wins her love and is a faithful husband to it; he courts her as fervently as, and much more persistently than, he does any other woman – he amuses her, shocks her, tells her the truth, expresses contempt for the boring and ...
... places. As the weekly Le Point put it, ‘on the right the lists resemble the court of Louis XVIII, a veritable Restoration, replete with old powdered marquises, their hairpieces whitened with the passage of time, and with great local feudatories.’ On the left the difference is one only of degree. The exception to this rule, of course, is that ...

Like Cold Oysters

Bee Wilson, 19 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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... than her, she presented him to her fans, as if begging a blessing from a father (her own father, Louis Gassion, a circus contortionist and street performer, a miniature, bendy man just five feet tall, died in 1944). The night before her wedding to Sarapo, in 1962, she appeared on stage with him at the Paris Olympia and sang ‘Le Droit d’amour’. ‘Do I ...

Frameworks of Comparison

Benedict Anderson, 21 January 2016

... Elliott), sociology (Mosca, Pareto, Weber, Simmel, Mann), anthropology (Mauss, Lévi-Strauss, Dumont, Malinowski, Evans-Pritchard) or literary studies (Bakhtin, de Man, Barthes). All these foundational figures are European. The grand American exception is Chomsky, who revolutionised the study of linguistics, and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Milton ...

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