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Mann v. Mann

Colm Tóibín: The Brother Problem, 3 November 2011

House of Exile: War, Love and Literature, from Berlin to Los Angeles 
by Evelyn Juers.
Allen Lane, 400 pp., £25, May 2011, 978 1 84614 461 5
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... The imposing house on Stockton Street in Princeton where Thomas Mann lived between 1938 and 1941 is these days owned by the Catholic Church. The main room is large enough for a congregation to assemble, and now contains pews and an altar. At either end of this room there are two beautiful smaller rooms with walls of glass, one made for summer light and the other designed for the winter ...

Drowned in Eau de Vie

Modris Eksteins: New, Fast and Modern, 21 February 2008

Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond 
by Peter Gay.
Heinemann, 610 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 434 01044 8
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... because of the contradictory manifestations of Modernist effort – how does one reconcile Thomas Mann and Andy Warhol? – he can’t help but see the Modernist instinct as essentially an affirmative urge. Two-thirds of the way through his book, Gay states bluntly that ‘liberalism’ was the ‘fundamental principle of Modernism’. But whose ...

In place of fairies

Simon Schaffer, 2 December 1982

Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic 
by Daniel O’Keefe.
Martin Robertson, 581 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 85520 486 9
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Scienze, Credenze Occulti, Livelli di Cultura 
edited by Paola Zambelli.
Leo Olschki, 562 pp., April 1982, 88 222 3069 8
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... accomplished for his own misty past, instead of Orpheus, Hermes and Simon Magus, we are told of Marcel Mauss, Durkheim’s nephew, who, according to Evans-Pritchard, worked expertly on the anthropology of magic ‘without leaving his flat in Paris’ and who rallied the disciples of his sect around expensive dinners in excellent ...


Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 3 November 1983

Léon Blum 
by Jean Lacouture, translated by George Holoch.
Holmes & Meier, 571 pp., $39.50, October 1982, 0 8419 0775 7
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... in a wartime coalition against Germany, put him at the head of a department in collaboration with Marcel Sembat, Minister of Public Works. As a Frenchman from Alsace, Blum’s sympathies were fully behind the struggle. He felt the assassination of Jaurès on 31 July 1914 as a personal tragedy, and, ironically, the event was to create a vacuum which would be ...

Qui êtes-vous, Sir Moses?

C.R. Whittaker, 6 March 1986

Ancient History: Evidence and Models 
by M.I. Finley.
Chatto, 131 pp., £12.95, September 1985, 0 7011 3003 2
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... it: the duty of the historian was to record ‘the total social fact’ – a phrase from Marcel Mauss which reflects the anthropological influence of Durkheim with its special emphasis on structures. Both Raymond Aron and more recently Paul Veyne admit the influence of the sociological methods of Dilthey, Simmel and Weber in underscoring the ...

Offered to the Gods

Frank Kermode: Sacrifice, 5 June 2008

Culture and Sacrifice: Ritual Death in Literature and Opera 
by Derek Hughes.
Cambridge, 313 pp., £45, October 2007, 978 0 521 86733 7
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... dealt with at the outset, turns up again in his proper historical situation (along with Nietzsche, Marcel Mauss, Jane Harrison, Jessie Weston, Freud – Totem and Taboo – and Dracula), he is judged with more disinterest. Less important than Mauss’s work, less profound than Walter Burkert’s Homo Necans, carrying too much encyclopedic luggage, enjoying too ...

Mythology in Bits

Tim Whitmarsh: Ancient Greek ‘Religion’, 20 December 2018

The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion 
edited by Esther Eidinow and Julia Kindt.
Oxford, 736 pp., £30, December 2017, 978 0 19 881017 9
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... as ‘believers’ and put the expression of faith at the heart of their identity. But as Thomas Harrison observes, this does not mean that there were no beliefs involved in Greek religion. Someone who prays, sacrifices or enacts a magical spell has to believe, at some level, that it is likely to be efficacious. Harrison calls this ‘low-intensity ...

More Husband than Female

Sharon Marcus: Gender Renegades, 17 June 2021

Female Husbands: A Trans History 
by Jen Manion.
Cambridge, 350 pp., £17.99, March 2020, 978 1 108 48380 3
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Before Trans: Three Gender Stories from 19th-Century France 
by Rachel Mesch.
Stanford, 344 pp., £24.99, May 2020, 978 1 5036 0673 9
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... and a sharpshooter in the Franco-Prussian War. They were married to the engineer and archaeologist Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy and together the couple undertook a number of expeditions to Persia. Their ‘common dress’ reflected their common interests (one journalist wrote that Dieulafoy’s male attire enabled ‘man and wife’ to enjoy ‘unbroken ...

Not You

Mary Beard, 23 January 1997

Compromising Traditions: The Personal Voice in Classical Scholarship 
edited by J.P. Hallett and T. van Nortwick.
Routledge, 196 pp., £42.50, November 1996, 0 415 14284 9
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... neatly sceptical essay effectively pulls the plug on the first article in the book – in which Thomas van Nortwick offers a touching, but nugatory, reading of the character of Odysseus against his own background as the son of an alcoholic mother. (‘If you cannot keep your parent from drinking, at least you can try to keep yourself safe ... In short, you ...

Bring me another Einstein

Matthew Reisz, 22 June 2000

American Pimpernel: The Man who Saved the Artists on Hitler’s Death List 
by Andy Marino.
Hutchinson, 416 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 0 09 180053 6
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... Virginian family; Mary Jayne Gold, a young heiress with a thuggish lover nicknamed ‘Killer’; Marcel Chaminade, an oleaginous Catholic monarchist who acted as the ‘unofficial ambassador to Vichy’; Otto Albert Hirschmann, known as ‘Beamish’ for his sunny smile, a francophile German Jew who claimed to be American, despite his atrocious English ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David Blackbourn: Weimar, 19 May 2016

Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present 
by Michael Kater.
Yale, 463 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 0 300 17056 6
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... In March 1932​ , Thomas Mann visited Weimar in central Germany. For the last thirty years of the 18th century, this modestly sized town was home to Goethe, Schiller, Herder and Wieland, but by the 1930s it had become a hotbed of the radical right. ‘The admixture of Hitlerism and Goethe affects one strangely,’ Mann wrote in ‘Meine Goethereise ...

A Joke Too Far

Colin Burrow: My Favourite Elizabethan, 22 August 2002

Sir John Harington and the Book as Gift 
by Jason Scott-Warren.
Oxford, 273 pp., £45, August 2001, 0 19 924445 6
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... for sex) has declined, and in another of which (translated from a Latin epigram by Thomas More, one of Harington’s early Tudor heroes) he has to leave out a word in order to avoid telling his mother-in-law to eat shit. Lady Rogers, unsurprisingly enough, did not make her son-in-law the executor of her will, which led to violent disputes ...

His Own Private Armenia

Anne Hollander: Arshile Gorky, 1 April 2004

Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work 
by Hayden Herrera.
Bloomsbury, 767 pp., £35, October 2003, 9780747566472
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Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective of Drawings 
edited by Janie Lee and Melvin Lader.
Abrams, 272 pp., £30, December 2003, 0 87427 135 5
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... a ridiculous European import. Most successful American painters – Grant Wood, Reginald Marsh, Thomas Hart Benton and Georgia O’Keeffe – were then producing Americana, adding a 20th-century image of the United States to the work of the great Hudson River School painters of the early 19th, or of Thomas Eakins and ...

Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

... of its block. The American Folk Art Museum fell in its march west to Sixth Avenue, and only Saint Thomas Church has blocked its access east to Fifth.MoMA has added 47,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 30 per cent increase for a new total of 165,000 square feet in more than sixty galleries, at a cost of $450 million. Roughly half of this great sum came ...

Who’s your dance partner?

Thomas Meaney: Europe inside Africa, 7 November 2019

The Scramble for Europe: Young Africa on Its Way to the Old Continent 
by Stephen Smith.
Polity, 197 pp., £15.99, April 2019, 978 1 5095 3457 9
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... appeared in France last year it was received with rapture by a wide swathe of the establishment. Marcel Gauchet, intellectual king of the French liberals, declared it ‘compulsory reading for all political leaders’. Macron called it ‘a perfect description of Africa’s demographic time bomb’ and Smith received a prize from the foreign minister. Alain ...

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