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Bad Faith

J.P. Stern, 21 July 1983

Franz Kafka’s Loneliness 
by Marthe Robert, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Faber, 251 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 9780571119455
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Kafka’s Narrators 
by Roy Pascal.
Cambridge, 251 pp., £22.50, March 1982, 0 521 24365 3
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The Trial 
by Franz Kafka, translated by Willa Muir and Edwin Muir.
Penguin, 255 pp., £1.75, October 1983, 0 14 000907 8
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Letters to Milena 
by Franz Kafka and Willy Haas, translated by Tania Stern and James Stern.
Penguin, 188 pp., £2.50, June 1983, 0 14 006380 3
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The Penguin Complete Novels of Franz Kafka: ‘The Trial’, ‘The Castle’, ‘America’ 
translated by Willa Muir, illustrated by Edwin Muir.
Penguin, 638 pp., £4.95, June 1983, 0 14 009009 6
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The Penguin Complete Short Stories of Franz Kafka 
edited by Nahum Glatzer.
Penguin, 486 pp., £3.95, June 1983, 0 14 009008 8
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... Marthe Robert is a well-known freelance among French Germanisten. She has written extensively on Freudian theory, on myth and Romanticism, and she collaborated with André Breton on a splendid volume of Lichtenberg’s aphorisms. She is deeply familiar with Kafka’s writings, having translated most of them into French: her knowledge of books on Kafka and the world he lived in is less impressive ...

A Human Kafka

Gabriel Josipovici, 5 March 1981

The World of Franz Kafka 
edited by J.P. Stern.
Weidenfeld, 263 pp., £9.95, January 1981, 0 297 77845 5
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... texture of Kafka’s art. Chief among these were the voices of Walter Benjamin, Maurice Blanchot, Marthe Robert and Erich Heller. Heller’s essay on The Castle in The Disinherited Mind (1952) marked a real turning point. He argued persuasively that it was folly to go on debating whether Kafka was religious or anti-religious, Marxist or ...

Witchcraft and the Inquisition

Robin Briggs, 18 June 1981

Unclean Spirits: Possession and Exorcism in France and England in the Late 16th and Early 17th Centuries 
by D.P. Walker.
Scolar, 116 pp., £9.95, March 1981, 9780859676205
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The Witches’ Advocate 
by Gustav Henningsen.
Nevada, 607 pp., $24, November 1980, 0 87417 056 7
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... of his 1979 Northcliffe lectures is mostly devoted to quite well-known cases, such as that of Marthe Brossier in France, and the activities of John Darrel in England. Economically written, with telling quotations and a good deal of quiet humour, these must have been entertaining and instructive lectures; readers should not undervalue Unclean Spirits on ...

Working under Covers

Paul Laity: Mata Hari, 8 January 2004

Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War 
by Tammy Proctor.
New York, 205 pp., $27, June 2003, 0 8147 6693 5
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... eroticism, heroism, the charismatic misfit and the dark charms of a double life. The swashbuckling Marthe Richer, founder of the Patriotic Union of Aviatrices and an agent (code-name Skylark) working out of Madrid, told, in I Spied for France (1935), of being instructed by her ‘spymaster’ to ‘exploit her youth and beauty’ in order to become the ...

J. xx Drancy. 13/8/42

Michael Wood: Patrick Modiano, 30 November 2000

The Search Warrant 
by Patrick Modiano, translated by Joanna Kilmartin.
Harvill, 137 pp., £7.99, September 2000, 1 86046 612 5
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... reports a fragment of the story of Francis Jansen, a Belgian photographer, friend and protégé of Robert Capa, who works for the Magnum agency, and has disappeared. A young man, our narrator, meets Jansen (‘when I was 19’) and offers to sort and catalogue his work. Jansen is friendly, but aloof, distracted, avoiding all his old friends, not answering the ...

Herberts & Herbertinas

Rosemary Hill: Steven Runciman, 20 October 2016

Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman 
by Minoo Dinshaw.
Penguin, 767 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 241 00493 7
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... began to travel in the Balkans as a student and it was Queen Marie’s friend and fellow princess, Marthe Bibesco, whom he got to know better. Runciman asked this other princess ‘with huge green eyes … well-suited to the brush of Boldini’ if she would show him Romania and his letter of thanks after that visit strikes a rare note of sincerity and ...

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