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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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... One might, in view of these transformations, be tempted to regard The Religion of Java as one of Mark Twain’s classics, that ‘everyone wants to have read and nobody wants to read’. But, aside from being Geertz’s finest work, it continues to hold its audience. The question is why. In Works and Lives (1987), a sympathetic study of the grip that ...

Casuistries of Peace and War

Perry Anderson: The assumptions the Bush Administration and its critics share, 6 March 2003

... being batted by the assembled Western Governments that have befriended it. Turkey, freshly off the mark for entry into the EU, does not, unlike Iraq, even tolerate the language of its Kurds – and, as a member of Nato in good standing, likewise jails and tortures without hindrance. As for ‘international justice’, the farce of the Hague Tribunal on ...

A Girl and a Gun

Jenny Turner: Revenge Feminism, 10 October 2013

Apocalypse Baby 
by Virginie Despentes, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Serpent’s Tail, 338 pp., £8.99, June 2013, 978 1 84668 842 3
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... face with muffins and Coca-Cola’ in the café next door to her expensive school. Only two things mark out Valentine from the other rich, pretty, sad girls in the café by the crammer. She has no internet presence at all, no Facebook or Instagram, no nothing, and when Lucie plants a doctored phone on her she never switches it on. And then, in the Metro one ...

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 ...

At the Beverly Wilshire

Ric Burns, 8 January 1987

Hollywood Husbands 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 508 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 14090 2
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Letters from Hollywood 
by Michael Moorcock.
Harrap, 232 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 0 245 54379 1
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Rain or Shine: A Family Memoir 
by Cyra McFadden.
Secker, 178 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 436 27580 5
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... story, which chronicles the showbiz mores of a bewildering galaxy of cartoon characters – Silver Anderson, Mannon Cable, Jack Python, Jade Johnson, Whitney Valentine – lurks an italicised sub-plot. This tells of an unnamed victim of sexual abuse who falls into the quite plausible routine of torching her abusers to a charred crisp in their own homes. When ...

A Little Electronic Dawn

James Francken: Perlman, Anderson and Heller, 24 August 2000

The Reasons I Won't Be Coming 
by Elliot Perlman.
Faber, 314 pp., £9.99, July 2000, 0 571 19699 3
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Turn of the Century 
by Kurt Anderson.
Headline, 819 pp., £7.99, February 2000, 0 7472 6800 2
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Slab Rat 
by Ted Heller.
Abacus, 332 pp., £10.99, March 2000, 0 349 11264 9
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... Zachary Post is suspected of murder, but an e-mail puts him in the clear. Post is angry when Mark Larkin, the new boy in the office, is promoted ahead of him; Larkin becomes an editor and is ruthless with Post’s copy, filling it with ‘second-tier magazine-speak words’: ‘Grand Guignol’, ‘cause célèbre’, ‘roué’, ‘moue’ and ...

Think Tiny

Mark Ford: Nancification, 17 July 2008

The Nancy Book 
by Joe Brainard.
Siglio, 144 pp., $39.50, April 2008, 978 0 9799562 0 1
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... Bill Berkson in 1971 enjoying congress with another comic character called Henry (created by Carl Anderson in 1932) in a pretty comprehensive range of sexual positions. As in his pseudo-Christian assemblages, his many collages which make liberal use of male pornography and the more explicit bits of I Remember, Brainard manages to fuse the innocent and the ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home, 24 May 2012

Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... Corbin Henderson of Poetry; to Scofield Thayer and James Sibley Watson of the Dial; to Margaret Anderson of the Little Review. Two hefty books collected his courtship letters to Dorothy Shakespear, and those written to her some thirty years later from the Disciplinary Training Centre outside Pisa, where he was incarcerated after surrendering to US forces in ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... was ‘agony for me’ when Larry ‘thinks I’m no good’. Such a public breakdown might well mark the end of an actor’s career, but while Redgrave never quite recovered the shine of his glory days, he continued to work. In 1965 he directed and acted in Turgenev’s A Month in the Country in Guildford opposite Ingrid Bergman. Reviews were not ...

From the Outer Edge

Rory Scothorne: ‘Painting Nationalism Red’, 6 December 2018

Tom Nairn: ‘Painting Nationalism Red’? 
by Neal Ascherson.
Democratic Left Scotland, 27 pp., £4, February 2018
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... they partially paid for – at the McManus Gallery in Dundee. Being painted by Moffat has become a mark of entry into Scotland’s intellectual pantheon, formalising Nairn’s place alongside figures like Hugh MacDiarmid, Muriel Spark and Ascherson himself. Ascherson is keen that this process of national canonisation should not become one of pacification and ...

Juiced

David Runciman: Winners Do Drugs, 3 August 2006

Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, Balco and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports 
by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams.
Gotham, 332 pp., $26, March 2006, 1 59240 199 6
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... up with offensive rhyming chants) broke the most precious record in American sports, Babe Ruth’s mark of 60 home runs in a single season, which had stood for 34 years. When Maris struck number 61 in the final game of the 1961 season, no one seemed especially pleased: not the Yankee fans, who resented his stealing the Babe’s thunder; not the New York ...

Russian hearts are strange

Andrew Solomon, 20 June 1996

The Romanovs: The Final Chapter 
by Robert Massie.
Cape, 308 pp., £17.99, November 1995, 0 224 04192 4
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The Fall of the Romanovs: Political Dreams and Personal Struggles in a Time of Revolution 
by Mark Steinberg and Vladimir Khrustalev.
Yale, 444 pp., £18.50, November 1995, 0 300 06557 4
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... the orderly world of kings and queens and emperors and empresses falls on their narrow shoulders. Mark Steinberg and Vladimir Khrustalev’s Fall of the Romanovs is a collection of documents from the very end of the tsarist period which tells the story of Nicholas’s last days. Robert Massie’s The Romanovs: The Final Chapter tells what happened to the ...

The point of it all

Linda Colley, 1 September 1988

The Duel in European History: Honour and the Reign of Aristocracy 
by V.G. Kiernan.
Oxford, 360 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 822566 0
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History, Classes and Nation-States: Selected Writings of Victor Kiernan 
edited by Harvey Kaye.
Blackwell, 284 pp., £27.50, June 1988, 0 7456 0424 2
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... that status? Can we, in short, really see duelling as a by-product of aristocratic dominance, as a mark of caste? Victor Kiernan’s answer in this intriguing and invariably well-written book is an emphatic and unsurprising yes. Kiernan is both a Marxist and a student of Antonio Gramsci. Like the majority of British historians who take even a remotely radical ...

Did more mean worse?

Michael Brock, 23 October 1986

Government and the Universities in Britain: Programme and Performance 1960-1980 
by John Carswell.
Cambridge, 181 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 9780521258265
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... since both of the ‘heads’ on the Committee came from independent schools. Dame Kitty Anderson had presided over North London Collegiate since 1944; Anthony Chenevix-Trench moved from Brad-field to Eton while the Committee was operating. ‘His contributions,’ as Mr Carswell tells us, ‘were few.’ There was no voice on the Committee from ...

Sex’n’Love

Blake Morrison, 21 February 1991

The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... to the better-known version of ‘Coming through the Rye’ printed in Fuller, but whose ‘John Anderson My Jo’ is shown to longer and better effect by Whitworth. Even Fuller himself spans the anthologies, editing the one with a strong authorial hand and appearing twice in the other in the company of James Fenton. To be a love poet is a matter of ...

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