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Subject, Spectator, Phantom

J. Hoberman: The Strangest Personality Ever to Lead the Free World

17 February 2005
Nixon at the Movies: A Book about Belief 
by Mark Feeney.
Chicago, 422 pp., £19.50, November 2004, 0 226 23968 3
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... Reagan’s professional interest in the medium notwithstanding, no president since Nixon has been so faithful a film fan. Nixon occupied the White House for 67 months. Over that time, according to MarkFeeney’s Nixon at the Movies, he saw 528 movies – an average of nearly two a week. The rate stepped up once Watergate began to darken his presidency in 1973. Chisum was a quintessential Nixon ...

When Demigods Walked the Earth

T.P. Wiseman: Roman Myth, Roman History

18 October 2007
Caesar’s Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History 
by Denis Feeney.
California, 372 pp., £18.95, June 2007, 978 0 520 25119 9
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... the knowledge of who built them and why. What is needed to structure this epistemological free-for-all is a thorough, properly nuanced account of the Romans’ concept of time – and in Denis Feeney’s excellent new book, that is very nearly what we have. Caesar’s Calendar consists of three pairs of chapters: ‘Synchronising Times’, ‘Transitions from Myth into History’ and ‘Years ...

Between Troy and Rome

Denis Feeney: Trojan Glamour

14 June 2017
Virgil’s Ascanius: Imagining the Future in the ‘Aeneid’ 
by Anne Rogerson.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £75, January 2017, 978 1 107 11539 2
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... engineers a tension between the homegrown naturalness of the Latins and the dangerously effete civilisation imported by the Trojans. Since Augustus had expended a lot of energy painting his rival, Mark Antony, as a decadent debauchee in thrall to an oriental queen, the Trojan inheritance was difficult to embrace wholeheartedly, and the figure of Ascanius, ‘poised between Troy and Rome’, is ...

Caesar’s body shook

Denis Feeney: Cicero

22 September 2011
Cicero in Letters: Epistolary Relations of the Late Republic 
by Peter White.
Oxford, 235 pp., £40, August 2010, 978 0 19 538851 0
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... of the editor, withholding the last unedifying twists and turns from posterity. Perhaps Cicero had simply given up. He remained a dangerous man to his enemies, as well as one bitterly resented by Mark Antony for the Philippics’ passionate attacks on him. When Antony met with Lepidus and young Caesar on their little island in a river in northern Italy to cement the ‘Triumvirate’ and to draw ...

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