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Towards the Transhuman

James Atlas, 2 February 1984

The Oxford Companion to American Literature 
by James Hart.
Oxford, 896 pp., £27.50, November 1983, 0 19 503074 5
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The Modern American Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Oxford, 209 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 19 212591 5
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The Literature of the United States 
by Marshall Walker.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £14, November 1983, 0 333 32298 3
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American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Valuation 
by Frederick Karl.
Harper and Row, 637 pp., £31.50, February 1984, 0 06 014939 6
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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 919 pp., £21, January 1984, 0 233 97610 8
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... and a ‘List of Major Works’. Frederick Karl offers up columns of elaborate notes. Marshall Walker supplies a ‘chronological table’ that correlates authors and titles with events (Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone the same year that Henry James published Roderick Hudson; Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems coincided with ...


Ben Walker: ‘A test case for Corbynism’, 5 December 2019

... candidate to stand against him. This election has even managed to split the Brexit Party.Greg Marshall, the Labour candidate in Broxtowe, hasn’t stopped campaigning for two years. Selected not long before the 2017 election, he cut the Conservative majority from 4287 to 863 and was chosen to stand again five months later. In his constituency ...

Leaving it alone

R.G. Opie, 21 April 1983

Britain can work 
by Ian Gilmour.
Martin Robertson, 272 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 85520 571 7
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The Use of Public Power 
by Andrew Shonfield, edited by Zuzanna Shonfield.
Oxford, 140 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 215357 9
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... not have mattered so much – even in Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet there are some unbelievers, Peter Walker is an honourable example – but his style must have been insufferable. It is not only wickedly witty – better, perhaps, even than Galbraith. From a background of Eton, Balliol, the Guards and the Spectator it is the least some might expect (one wonders ...


Hugh Barnes, 2 May 1985

Towards the End of the Morning 
by Michael Frayn.
Harvill, 255 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 00 221822 4
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Sweet Dreams 
by Michael Frayn.
Harvill, 223 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 00 221884 4
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The Fall of Kelvin Walker 
by Alasdair Gray.
Canongate, 144 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 9780862410728
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Lean Tales 
by James Kelman, Agnes Owens and Alasdair Gray.
Cape, 286 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 224 02262 8
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Stones for Ibarra 
by Harriet Doerr.
Deutsch, 214 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 9780233977522
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Family Dancing 
by David Leavitt.
Viking, 206 pp., £8.95, March 1985, 0 670 80263 8
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The Whitbread Stories: One 
by Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson.
Hamish Hamilton, 184 pp., £4.95, April 1985, 0 241 11544 2
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... how Paddington Station has deteriorated, no longer ‘full of innocent bustle presaging lunch at Marshall and Snelgrove’s and tea at Fortnum’s’. Instead ‘girls with white faces and heavily kohled eyes hurried out towards Praed Street’ – the book is best read with a streetfinder close to hand – ‘as if hastening to appointments with ...

Frognal Days

Zachary Leader: Files on the Fifties, 4 June 1998

Previous Convictions: A Journey Through the Fifties 
by Nora Sayre.
Rutgers, 464 pp., £27.95, April 1997, 0 8135 2231 5
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... parents and the people she met in their living room in New York: Edmund Wilson, James Thurber, Walker Evans, James M. Cain, Nunnally Johnson, S.J. Perelman, Dawn Powell, Joseph Mitchell and John O’Hara. Many of these celebrated figures, artists and authors approaching fifty at the start of the decade or only lately past it, grew up in small provincial ...

In place of fairies

Simon Schaffer, 2 December 1982

Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic 
by Daniel O’Keefe.
Martin Robertson, 581 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 85520 486 9
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Scienze, Credenze Occulti, Livelli di Cultura 
edited by Paola Zambelli.
Leo Olschki, 562 pp., April 1982, 88 222 3069 8
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... Institute in London as one modern source of respect for the occult, and one of its members, D.P. Walker, shows by contrast that Catholic clergy could use spirit apparitions and demonic possession as weapons against Lutherans, atheists, Jews and subversives. Important papers by Paola Zambelli, Elisabeth Labrousse and Paolo Galluzzi indicate the ways in which ...

In the Box

Dale Peck, 6 February 1997

How Stella Got Her Groove Back 
by Terry McMillan.
Viking, 368 pp., £16, September 1996, 0 670 86990 2
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by Sapphire.
Secker, 142 pp., £7.99, September 1996, 0 436 20291 3
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The Autobiography of My Mother 
by Jamaica Kincaid.
Vintage, 228 pp., £8.99, September 1996, 0 09 973841 4
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... when such writers as Nikki Giovanni, Toni Cade Bambara, Ntozake Shange, Sonia Sanchez and Paule Marshall helped redefine and expand the parameters of the mainstream in American publishing. This ‘middle period’ was, I think, capped in 1982 by the publication of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prizewinning The Color ...

A Particular Way of Looking

J. Hoberman: NeoRealismo, 21 November 2019

NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-60 
edited by Enrica Viganò.
Prestel, 349 pp., £49.99, September 2018, 978 3 7913 5769 0
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... the country. In 1948, the same year the US pledged $200 million (approximately 40 per cent of the Marshall Plan budget for Italy) to head off communism and implement land reform in the south, the photojournalist Tino Petrelli travelled to Calabria, where he documented conditions with a purposeful rawness – unvarnished images, for instance, of a dirt-floored ...

I want to be the baby

Kasia Boddy: Barthelme’s High Jinks, 18 August 2022

Collected Stories 
by Donald Barthelme, edited by Charles McGrath.
Library of America, 1004 pp., £40, July 2021, 978 1 59853 684 3
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... a university quarterly called Forum, and set about publishing everyone he admired, including Walker Percy, William Gass and the not yet famous Marshall McLuhan. In 1960, he joined the board of Houston’s Contemporary Arts Association and the following year became the museum’s temporary director. He remained there ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... Anglophile incubation as ‘Oh So Social’. A proper WASP – former CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush swims into mind – can have two rationales for entering the ungentlemanly world of dirty tricks. One is patriotism. The other is religion. Hubbard finds a release from responsibility in both:I eschewed political arguments about Republicans and ...


Christian Lorentzen: At the Conventions, 27 September 2012

... this would come to the surface in the form of wild applause for union-busting governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin or Chris Christie of New Jersey. Imagine Nikki Haley’s joy when she saw the first Boeing built in South Carolina roll down the tarmac ‘surrounded by six thousand non-union employees’. That Monday night, after the protest, I met two local ...

Warfare State

Thomas Meaney, 5 November 2020

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities 
by John J. Mearsheimer.
Yale, 320 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 0 300 23419 0
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Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition 
by David Hendrickson.
Oxford, 304 pp., £25.49, December 2017, 978 0 19 066038 3
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... fiefdom in the mid-19th century, America produced its own brand of freebooters, including William Walker, the Tennessee doctor who conquered and ruled Nicaragua for ten months and decimated the population of Costa Rica.Until the end of the 19th century the US state was in no position to undertake imperial projects outside its region, and its projected sphere ...

At the White House’s Whim

Tom Bingham: The Power of Pardon, 26 March 2009

... Among the applicants, it is reported, were Conrad Black; Michael Milken, of junk bond fame; John Walker Lindh, the ‘American Taliban’; a former Republican congressman jailed for accepting bribes; and a former Democratic governor of Louisiana, convicted on racketeering charges. They were doomed to disappointment. But just before Christmas 2008, the ...

As Astonishing as Elvis

Jenny Turner: Ayn Rand, 1 December 2005

Ayn Rand 
by Jeff Britting.
Duckworth, 155 pp., £12.99, February 2005, 0 7156 3269 8
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... and offered free sessions of ‘Objectivist therapy’ to NBI volunteers. According to Jeff Walker, the author of a book called The Ayn Rand Cult (1998), Barbara Branden – herself in therapy with her husband – remembered the experience as a ‘moral flaying’. ‘On everything, absolutely everything, one was constantly being judged … It was a ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... was reported that he was to receive an annual salary of £20,000. He later became Lord Howe. Peter Walker’s resignation in May 1990 was followed by an explosion of career activity. He took directorships with the Welsh off-shoot of N.M. Rothschild, the bank used by the government for the sell-off of British Gas, and with British Gas itself, at a salary ...

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