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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 ...

What’s Left?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Russian Revolution, 29 March 2017

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 
by China Miéville.
Verso, 358 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 78478 280 1
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The Russian Revolution 1905-1921 
by Mark D. Steinberg.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.99, February 2017, 978 0 19 922762 4
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Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 
by S.A. Smith.
Oxford, 455 pp., £25, January 2017, 978 0 19 873482 6
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The Russian Revolution: A New History 
by Sean McMeekin.
Basic, 496 pp., $30, May 2017, 978 0 465 03990 6
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Historically Inevitable? Turning Points of the Russian Revolution 
by Tony Brenton.
Profile, 364 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 78125 021 1
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... Revolution, and ‘if its sentences are still unfinished, it is up to us to finish them.’ Mark Steinberg is the only one of the professional historians writing on the revolution to confess to any lingering emotional attachment to it. Of course, revolutionary idealism and daring leaps into the unknown tend to result in hard landings, but, ...

Ostentatio Genitalium

Charles Hope, 15 November 1984

The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion 
by Leo Steinberg.
Faber, 222 pp., £25, September 1984, 0 571 13392 4
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... The startling claim of Leo Steinberg’s new book is that over the past four centuries the real meaning of much of the religious art of the Renaissance has been lost. He argues that in representations of Christ, both as an infant and as an adult, the genitals had a particular theological significance to which we are now oblivious because of the modern world’s ‘massive historic retreat from the mythical grounds of Christianity ...

Everyone, Then No One

David Nasaw: Where have all the bowler hats gone?, 23 February 2006

Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora and the Death of the Hat 
by Neil Steinberg.
Granta, 342 pp., £12, August 2005, 1 86207 782 7
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... of the hat-check girl, borrowed in part from an A.J. Liebling New Yorker article, is told in Neil Steinberg’s shaggy-dog history, Hatless Jack. The book floats amiably back and forth, but spends most time on JFK. Steinberg’s thesis is simply stated. Once upon a time, everyone wore hats; then no one did; Kennedy was not ...

Superplot

Frank Kermode, 1 March 1984

The Paper Men 
by William Golding.
Faber, 191 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 571 13206 5
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William Golding: A Critical Study 
by Mark Kinkead-Weekes and Ian Gregor.
Faber, 291 pp., £3.50, February 1984, 0 571 13259 6
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... painting, for the older kind of dialogue with tradition broke down; the criticism of Leo Steinberg, so delicate in its way of relating a work to its context in the oeuvre, so subtle about the now very complex relation to tradition, is a model of the right sort of response. But in writing about fiction we experience some vulgar inhibition that may ...

Italy’s Communists

Jonathan Steinberg, 21 July 1983

After Poland 
by Enrico Berlinguer, translated by Antonio Bronda and Stephen Boddington.
Spokesman, 114 pp., £2.25, March 1982, 0 85124 344 4
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... historian of the PCI, describes an Apulian peasant who kept a map in his stables where he would mark with a pin the progress of the Russian advance during 1943 and 1944 and then calculate how many hours it would take them to cross the Adriatic and get to his village. In Sicily, militants like Calogero waited for ‘Uncle Joe’ (in Sicilian dialect, lu zi ...

At Tate Modern

Hal Foster: Robert Rauschenberg, 1 December 2016

... of the image. In this way it presaged the reorientation of the picture plane that the critic Leo Steinberg declared, 15 years later, to be ‘expressive of the most radical shift in the subject matter of art, the shift from nature to culture’ – a move towards a postmodernist conception of the image that is credited to Rauschenberg above all. If ...

A Suspect in the Eyes of Super-Patriots

Charles Simic: Vasko Popa, 18 March 1999

Collected Poems of Vasko Popa 
translated by Anne Pennington.
Anvil, 464 pp., £12.95, January 1998, 0 85646 268 3
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... dignity and heroic forbearance of the Everyman-Sisyphus figure pushing his rock – or, as Saul Steinberg has it in the old cartoon, pushing a huge, boulder-like question-mark – up a hill. The poems that elicited most controversy were the cycles ‘Landscapes’ and ‘List’. Here’s ‘On the Table’, a poem from ...

Preposterous Timing

Hal Foster: Medieval Modern Art, 8 November 2012

Medieval Modern: Art out of Time 
by Alexander Nagel.
Thames and Hudson, 312 pp., £29.95, November 2012, 978 0 500 23897 4
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Depositions: Scenes from the Late Medieval Church and the Modern Museum 
by Amy Knight Powell.
Zone, 369 pp., £24.95, May 2012, 978 1 935408 20 8
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... its strong challenge to the continued dominance of ‘style’ in art history, as the evidentiary mark of artist and period alike. In one sense, then, the book is a continuation of the postmodernist critique of ‘the author’ in the very field where such categories were first made central. But it is also a critique of the new default of the discipline, a ...

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