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How he got out of them

Anne Hollander, 24 September 1992

Kafka’s Clothes: Ornament and Aestheticism in the Habsburg ‘Fin-de-Siècle’ 
by Mark Anderson.
Oxford, 231 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 815162 4
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... as someone unworldly enough to break off his engagement in order to give himself only to his work. Mark Anderson has nevertheless shown that clothes mattered hugely to him. Clothes have always made a very useful literary metaphor (language is the dress of thought, and so on), and they have also offered a useful descriptive device for most ...

Guilty Men

Michael Neve, 5 March 1981

The Fate of Mary Rose 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Cape, 208 pp., £5.95, February 1981, 0 224 01791 8
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Darling, you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble 
by Caroline Blackwood and Anna Haycraft.
Cape, 224 pp., £6.50, November 1980, 0 224 01834 5
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... emerges again in the appalling clarity of The Fate of Mary Rose. The male narrator, Rowan Anderson, is a historian, albeit one with the right kinds of ‘sympathy’: he is engaged on the biography of a woman engineer who contributed to the war effort against German Zeppelins by developing a powerful arc lamp. ...

In a Pomegranate Chandelier

T.J. Clark: Benedict Anderson, 21 September 2006

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism 
by Benedict Anderson.
Verso, 240 pp., £12.99, September 2006, 1 84467 086 4
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Under Three Flags: Anarchism and the Anti-Colonial Imagination 
by Benedict Anderson.
Verso, 224 pp., £14.99, January 2006, 1 84467 037 6
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... about the world. But it is understandable, and touching, that the first footnote to Benedict Anderson’s afterword to his new edition should read, in explanation of the trimming of the title in his text: ‘Aside from the advantages of brevity, IC restfully occludes a pair of words from which the vampires of banality have by now sucked almost all the ...

Too Glorious for Words

Bernard Porter: Lawrence in Arabia, 3 April 2014

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East 
by Scott Anderson.
Atlantic, 592 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 1 78239 199 9
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... deliberately against the interests and wishes of his British imperial superiors, even – Scott Anderson suggests – to the point of treason. (When George V tried to decorate him after the war, he handed all the medals back on the spot.) He was also very much against European cultural imperialism, genuinely – so far as we can tell – preferring ...

Two Men in a Boat

Ian Aitken, 15 August 1991

John Major: The Making of the Prime Minister 
by Bruce Anderson.
Fourth Estate, 324 pp., £16.99, June 1991, 9781872180540
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‘My Style of Government’: The Thatcher Years 
by Nicholas Ridley.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 09 175051 2
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... electoral gutter in the moment of her own humiliation to tout for votes for her favourite. Bruce Anderson has nevertheless written the best of the three journalists’ books on the Major succession to be published so far. That is not entirely surprising, since his credentials are unusually good. Not only was he an admired (by me, at any rate – his ...

On Joan Murray

Patrick McGuinness: Joan Murray, 20 December 2018

... were being shipped to the archive at Smith College where they are now held. In 2014, an inquiry by Mark Ford, who’d written on Murray for Poetry, prompted the trunk’s rediscovery (as Farnoosh Fathi tells us in her introduction, it had a dent in its side consistent with having fallen off the back of a lorry). This new book, Drafts, Fragments and Poems ...

The Ribs of Rosinante

Richard Gott, 21 August 1997

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Bantam, 814 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 593 03403 1
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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara 
by Jorge Castañeda, translated by Marina Castañeda.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7475 3334 2
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... that came completely naturally,’ Julia Costenla, an Argentine journalist told Jon Lee Anderson when he was researching his biography of Guevara. ‘If he entered a room, everything began revolving around him.’That night he found a seat in a corner of the embassy gardens and everyone gathered round. I haven’t much memory of what was ...

Black and White Life

Mark Greif: Ralph Ellison, 1 November 2007

Ralph Ellison: A Biography 
by Arnold Rampersad.
Knopf, 657 pp., $35, April 2007, 978 0 375 40827 4
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... effort . . . to keep a lid on the volcanic parts of his personality’, as the writer Jervis Anderson once put it. ‘Don’t do violence to what I am saying,’ he warns one of the participants, a bit violently. A big problem with the biographical evaluation of Ellison – one of many problems – is that he was so much smarter and a better writer than ...

It’s a Knock-Out

Tom Nairn, 27 May 1993

The Spirit of the Age: An Account of Our Times 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 388 pp., £20, February 1993, 1 85619 204 0
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... In his brilliant account of collapsing Yugoslavia, A Paper House, Mark Thompson meets a leader of the Vojvodina Ruthenes called Professor Julijan Tamas. Since 1989 this tiny people has been struggling back into political existence. In 1991 they managed to stage the first World Congress of Ruthenes and just before that the first Bible in Ruthenian had finally appeared ...

Outposts of Progress

Mark Elvin, 19 October 1995

Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 
by Richard Grove.
Cambridge, 540 pp., £45, April 1995, 0 521 40385 5
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... almost without exception well-trained in the science of their day, from Poivre on Mauritius and Anderson on St Vincent to Gibson, the first con servator of forests in Bombay. Some of them were directly influenced by experimentalists and theorists such as Hales and Priestley, and so putting them in the mainstream of contemporary scientific thought. Green ...

What would socialism be like?

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 1 March 1984

In the Tracks of Historical Materialism 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 112 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 86091 776 2
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The Dialectics of Disaster 
by Ronald Aronson.
Verso, 329 pp., £5.95, February 1984, 9780860910756
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Rethinking Socialism 
by Gavin Kitching.
Methuen, 178 pp., £3.95, October 1983, 0 416 35840 3
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The Economics of Feasible Socialism 
by Alec Nove.
Allen and Unwin, 244 pp., £12.95, February 1983, 0 04 335048 8
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The Labour Party in Crisis 
by Paul Whiteley.
Methuen, 253 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 416 33860 7
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... economy to alleviate waste and disorder. But he did actually say. Few others have. In Perry Anderson’s view, Marxists have been ceasing to do so since the Bolshevik coup in 1917. Ever since the 1880s, they had understandably been more exercised about how to escape from capitalism than about what to do once they had. Lenin’s success and the ...

Our Man

Perry Anderson: The Inglorious Career of Kofi Annan, 10 May 2007

The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power 
by James Traub.
Bloomsbury, 442 pp., £20, November 2006, 0 7475 8087 1
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Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War 
by Stanley Meisler.
Wiley, 384 pp., £19.99, January 2007, 978 0 471 78744 0
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... was enjoined to fire unwanted colleagues, and accept a more competent minder, in the shape of Mark Malloch Brown, a former journalist for the Economist whose main claim to fame was to have been campaign manager for Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, a Bolivian ruler so hated by the population for his neoliberal zeal and subservience to Washington that he had ...

Little Grey Cells

J. Robert Lennon: More Marple than Poirot, 5 March 2020

Big Sky 
by Kate Atkinson.
Black Swan, 356 pp., £8.99, January, 978 0 552 77666 0
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... to work in the hotel industry, with the help of what they believe is an employment agency called Anderson Price Associates. ‘They weren’t stupid,’ we’re assured, ‘they knew about trafficking, about people who tricked girls into thinking they were going to good jobs, proper jobs, who then ended up drugged, trapped in some filthy hole of a room ...

Diary

Perry Anderson: Forget about Paris, 23 January 2014

... The image is not just a foreign legend. It was Tocqueville who first supplied it, as the brand-mark of French Absolutism and the Revolution that followed it. In modern times, its element of truth lies in the exceptional position of Paris as political and intellectual centre of the nation, a position occupied by no other city in a European society of ...

Sinomania

Perry Anderson, 28 January 2010

When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World 
by Martin Jacques.
Allen Lane, 550 pp., £30, June 2009, 978 0 7139 9254 0
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Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State 
by Yasheng Huang.
Cambridge, 348 pp., £15.99, November 2008, 978 0 521 89810 2
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Against the Law: Labour Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt 
by Ching Kwan Lee.
California, 325 pp., £15.95, June 2007, 978 0 520 25097 0
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... Jacques’s version is only a little less absurd than Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century by Mark Leonard, a fellow seer of the Demos think tank Jacques helped to found. But there is another side to When China Rules the World at odds with its generally upbeat story. Internationally, China has ‘embraced multilateralism’, attracts its neighbours ...

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