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Two Poems

Seamus Heaney, 25 October 1979

... his head out of a roadside cabin still following, and followed. Near Anahorish: a Visitation For Louis Simpson I I stood between them, the one with his scanning intelligence and fencer’s containment, his speech like a bowstring, and another, unshorn and bewildered in the tubs of his wellingtons, smiling at me for help, faced with this stranger I’d ...

Best Things

Alan Hollinghurst, 20 August 1981

Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation with John Haffenden 
Faber, 189 pp., £7.50, June 1981, 0 571 11689 2Show More
A Free Translation 
by Craig Raine.
Salamander, 29 pp., £4.50, June 1981, 0 907540 02 3
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A German Requiem 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 9 pp., £1.50, January 1981, 0 907540 00 7
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Caviare at the Funeral 
by Louis Simpson.
Oxford, 89 pp., £4.50, April 1981, 0 19 211943 5
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... of tone may indicate the discovery of a new and less self-defensively whimsical manner. Louis Simpson’s new poems work by an accumulation of observations too, but the tone is so much more relaxed and affable, and the pieces so innocent of any form, that they give the impression of having been transcribed from a tape-recording of ...

They don’t say that about Idi Amin

Andrew O’Hagan: Bellow Whinges, 6 January 2011

Saul Bellow: Letters 
edited by Benjamin Taylor.
Viking, 571 pp., $35, November 2010, 978 0 670 02221 2
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... of tiny hurts. To Ruth Miller, a former student, apropos a piece in the New York Times by Louis Simpson occasioned by Humboldt’s Gift: It was cheap, mean, it did me dirt … I don’t ask myself why the Times prints such miserable stuff, why I must be called an ingrate, a mental tyrant, a thief, a philistine enemy of poetry, a narcissist ...

Speaking Azza

Martin Jay: Where are you coming from?, 28 November 2002

Situatedness; Or, Why We Keep Saying Where We’re Coming From 
by David Simpson.
Duke, 290 pp., £14.50, March 2002, 0 8223 2839 9
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... As a colleague of David Simpson at the University of California and a friend graciously thanked in his acknowledgments, can I pretend to have the disinterestedness necessary to write an objective review of his book? Or, as a reviewer opening with a confession of this sort – what in the lingo of our day is called a ‘full disclosure’ – have I then somehow neutralised my personal stake in such a way that I can offer my opinion as unbiased? Can such reflexivity work to undo the debilitating effects of situatedness? These are the kinds of question that agonise Simpson, who has written Situatedness in the hope of stemming the tide of what he calls, following Andrew Sullivan, ‘azza’ declarations – ‘as a colleague of David Simpson’; ‘as a white, middle-class male’ – in the age of identity politics ...

Diary

Wendy Lesser: On O.J. Simpson, 21 July 1994

... I missed most of the original hoopla in the O.J. Simpson story because I happened to be spending the weekend in a televisionfree zone, as a house-guest in the Connecticut countryside. We all thought, before we secluded ourselves, that O.J. had probably done it; the widely publicised bloodstained ski mask (which has since mutated, as a piece of evidence, into the far less memorable knitted cap) seemed to seal his fate ...

When judges sleep

Stephen Sedley, 10 June 1993

In the Highest Degree Odious: Detention without Trial in Wartime Britain 
by A.W.B. Simpson.
Oxford, 453 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 825775 9
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... bat. A book may be lurking there, as it must in many other corners of the legal attic. Brian Simpson himself embarked on such an enterprise some years ago with the 19th-century case, known to every law student, of the Crown v. Dudley and Stephens – the captain and mate of the yacht Mignonette who survived a ship-wreck by eating the cabin boy and were ...

Places Never Explained

Colm Tóibín: Anthony Hecht, 8 August 2013

The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht 
edited by Jonathan Post.
Johns Hopkins, 365 pp., £18, November 2012, 978 1 4214 0730 2
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... letter from 2000 written to Hoy in which Hecht remembered writing a Guggenheim recommendation for Louis Simpson and then Simpson saying ‘from the vantage of his post at Berkeley he would see what he could do to get me invited out to read at several campuses in California’. Years later, Hecht discovered that when ...

Heritage

Gabriele Annan, 6 March 1997

The Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stan ford White Family 
by Suzannah Lessard.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £18.99, March 1997, 0 297 81940 2
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... The trial that followed has been described as the most sensational in the States until O.J. Simpson came along. Stanford White’s style was Beaux Arts, which the author equates with Neoclassical. She also calls it ‘imperial’, meaning, presumably, ‘dominating’ or even ‘domineering’; and reflecting the ruthlessness of Edith Wharton’s Gilded ...

Diary

Kwame Dawes: A Story of American Racism, 8 February 1996

... thing to say given all the media attention ‘race issues’ receive in this country – the O.J. Simpson verdict, Susan Smith alleging that a black man killed her children, the Million Man March and Louis Farrakhan, Colin Powell and his non-bid for office, Affirmative Action and so on and on. Anyone would think that ...

I am Prince Mishkin

Mark Ford, 23 April 1987

‘Howl’: Original Draft Facsimile 
by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Barry Miles.
Viking, 194 pp., £16.95, February 1987, 0 670 81599 3
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White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 89 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81598 5
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... following. It was Ginsberg’s old Columbia colleagues, John Hollander, Norman Podhoretz and Louis Simpson, all cutting their teeth in the New York literary scene under the approving auspices of Lionel and Diana Trilling, who led the charge against the Beats. ‘It is only fair to Allen Ginsberg to remark on the utter lack of decorum of any kind in ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing, 8 March 2001

... on the contents page: Barbara Trapido, Anthony Thwaite, Anne Stevenson, Alan Brownjohn, Helen Simpson, Andrew Motion, Michael Hofmann, Alan Sillitoe, Louis de Bernières and Geoff Dyer are ten of them, and ‘new’ isn’t the first word that springs to mind. But there are plenty of good reasons, too obvious to need ...

The great times they could have had

Paul Foot, 15 September 1988

Wallis: Secret Lives of the Duchess of Windsor 
by Charles Higham.
Sidgwick, 419 pp., £17.95, June 1988, 0 283 99627 7
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The Secret File of the Duke of Windsor 
by Michael Bloch.
Bantam, 326 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 9780593016671
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... the Order of the Crown of Italy, one of the highest decorations of the Mussolini regime. Ernest Simpson, the dull partner in a shipping firm whom Wallis married in 1928, had close business ties with Fascist Italy. But her feeling for Fascism cannot be attributed only to her men friends. On the contrary, the ‘new social order’ brayed around the world by ...

Everyone’s Pal

John Sutherland: Louis de Bernières, 13 December 2001

Red Dog 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 119 pp., £10, October 2001, 0 436 25617 7
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Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World 
by Louis de Bernières.
Vintage, 119 pp., £6.99, October 2001, 9780099428442
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... Who would have expected Louis de Bernières to follow up Captain Corelli’s Mandolin with the soft-centred biography of a lovable pooch? Red Dog could be seen as a reversion to national type – the English, Nabokov witheringly remarked, feel sorry for the blind man’s dog. And where there are soft spots, to coin a book-trade proverb, there’s hard cash ...

How’s the vampire?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 November 1990

King Edward VIII: The Official Biography 
by Philip Ziegler.
Collins, 654 pp., £20, September 1990, 0 00 215741 1
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... come to it, as we are in great danger from the Communists too.’ During the same period he told Louis Ferdinand of Prussia that ‘dictators were very popular these days and that we might want one in England before long.’ He made similar remarks to Marshall Mannerheim at the funeral of King George V, gratified von Ribbentrop at every opportunity and ...

Iwo Jima v. Abu Ghraib

David Simpson: The iconic image, 29 November 2007

No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture and Liberal Democracy 
by Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites.
Chicago, 419 pp., £19, June 2007, 978 0 226 31606 2
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... commonplace since at least the American Civil War. In No Caption Needed, Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites are less concerned with these debates than with the ways in which iconic images have been used to propose and renegotiate various kinds of ‘democratic citizenship’ and ‘civic identity’. Here original truths matter less than accumulated ...

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