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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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... For Eric Hobsbawm​ , the Russian Revolution – which occurred, as it happens, in the year of his birth – was the central event of the 20th century. Its practical impact on the world was ‘far more profound and global’ than that of the French Revolution a century earlier: for ‘a mere thirty to forty years after Lenin’s arrival at the Finland Station in Petrograd, one third of humanity found itself living under regimes directly derived from the [revolution] … and Lenin’s organisational model, the Communist Party ...
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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... As Communism began to wear thin in the mid-Eighties, many Russians looked back to the tsarist period as grander and more Russian than the Jewish-Germanic system under which they had most recently suffere...
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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... To paraphrase​ Roland Barthes, hats are worn to be seen and to be read. They are signs of who we are or want to be. Because hats, unlike shoes or coats, are worn near eye-level, they are the first item of apparel offered for view ...

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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... Even in the days of what is now called ‘classical realism’ it was understood that plot, as a human contrivance meant to suggest intelligible causal relations between history-like events, could sometimes seem to be shadowed by other and larger plots, of uncertain and superhuman provenance ...

At Tate Modern

Hal Foster: Robert Rauschenberg

1 December 2016
... He has created​ more than any artist after Picasso,’ Jasper Johns said of Robert Rauschenberg, his one-time partner, and the Rauschenberg retrospective now at Tate Modern (until 2 April) fully attests to the sheer abundance of his six-decade career (he died in 2008 ...

Italy’s Communists

Jonathan Steinberg

21 July 1983
After Poland 
by Enrico Berlinguer, translated by Antonio Bronda and Stephen Bodd</span>ington.
Spokesman, 114 pp., &pound;2.25, March 1982, 0 85124 344 4
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... 1983 is the most important election since the war,’ said my Italian friend, a sociologist, exultantly. ‘After nearly forty years everything is in flux.’ I had rung him the day after the election. He could hardly speak for excitement ...

Preposterous Timing

Hal Foster: Medieval Modern Art

8 November 2012
Medieval Modern: Art out of Time 
by Alexander Nagel.
Thames and Hudson, 312 pp., &pound;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., &pound;24.95, May 2012, 978 1 935408 20 8
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... is to slot a work of art into its proper place in time, in the corpus of the artist who made it and in the context of the world that informed its making. Usually, we rely on the notion of ‘style’ to help with this task, to connect the work ...
18 March 1999
Collected Poems of Vasko Popa 
translated by Anne Pennington.
Anvil, 464 pp., &pound;12.95, January 1998, 0 85646 268 3
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... It may well be that the most interesting literature of this century cannot be subsumed under the broad label of Modernism or be said to have originated in the great literary centres, but was actually the work of outsiders and mavericks, starting with Kafka, who created something without precedent from a mix of native and foreign traditions ...

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