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Writing about it

Robert Souhami, 19 March 1981

Conquering Cancer 
by Lucien Israel, translated by Joan Pinkham.
Penguin, 269 pp., £2.25, January 1981, 0 14 022276 6
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... a difficult business and whoever attempts to do so has to cross some very difficult territory. Dr Israel, however, is not lacking in confidence. Indeed, he charges in, banner held high. Dr Israel, who is head of a medical oncology unit in Bobigny in France, has no doubt whatsoever that systemic treatments are working in ...

Promenade Dora-Bruder

Adam Shatz: Patrick Modiano, 22 September 2016

So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood 
by Patrick Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron.
MacLehose, 160 pp., £8.99, September 2016, 978 0 85705 499 9
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... Sachs’s work, along with the books of other collaborationist writers such as Brasillach, Lucien Rebatet, Drieu la Rochelle and Céline. These were books in which he found the figure of ‘the Jew’ is depicted as a ‘monster with claw-like hands and hooked nose’, a ‘creature corrupted by every vice, responsible for every evil and guilty of ...

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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... a labour lawyer who would fight for blue-collar rights, but under the influence of Burroughs and Lucien Carr he soon began to see himself as a poète maudit and Nietzschean transgressor. Burroughs handed out reading-lists that included Gide, Rimbaud, Dostoevsky and Lautrèamont, and introduced into their set as a live existentialist hero the low-life Herbert ...

‘J’accuse’: Dreyfus in Our Times

Jacqueline Rose: A Lecture, 10 June 2010

... may not – by the end – be those most obviously expected. Because of Dreyfus, therefore Israel. It is an argument that many find unanswerable: the crimes perpetrated by the French state against the Jewish officer heralded, for those who could hear, the end of the dream of emancipation for European Jews. Jewish nationalism would then be the most ...

Au revoir et merci

Christopher Tayler: Romain Gary, 6 December 2018

The Roots of Heaven 
by Romain Gary, translated by Jonathan Griffin.
Godine, 434 pp., $18.95, November 2018, 978 1 56792 626 2
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Promise at Dawn 
by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham Beach.
Penguin, 314 pp., £9.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 34763 8
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... Foucault or Robbe-Grillet, and he contrived to offend everyone when it came to such questions as Israel or Algeria. Asked for his position on the bourgeoisie, he responded: ‘Right inside it.’ He also affected the manner of a prewar Polish dandy, kissing women’s hands, wearing make-up and so on, and played the tasteless plutocrat at a villa he built in ...

Cubist Slugs

Patrick Wright: The Art of Camouflage, 23 June 2005

DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature – Military – Culture 
DPM, 2 vols, 944 pp., £100, September 2004, 9780954340407Show More
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... out that the Cubist quality of camouflage was quite widely perceived during the war. The artist Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola, who was one of the forces behind France’s camouflage initiative, claimed to have used Cubist means to ‘deform objects totally’ and deliberately to have employed avant-garde artists in his section de camouflage, where they ...

Where Life Is Seized

Adam Shatz: Frantz Fanon’s Revolution, 19 January 2017

Écrits sur l’aliénation et la liberté 
by Frantz Fanon, edited by Robert Young and Jean Khalfa.
La Découverte, 688 pp., £22, October 2015, 978 2 7071 8638 6
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... the affection of a young woman. ‘There is you and me and we sleep on a bed of wild flowers,’ Lucien, a sensualist, tells Ginette, while his brother François, a delirious visionary, offers to show her ‘the doors of the Absolute/where life is seized’. The characters in his 1949 play ‘Les Mains parallèles’ (the title was a nod to Sartre’s Les ...

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