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The Red and the Green

Raymond Williams, 3 February 1983

Socialism and Survival 
by Rudolf Bahro, translated by David Fernbach.
Heretic Books, 160 pp., £6.95, December 1982, 9780946097029
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Capitalist Democracy in Britain 
by Ralph Miliband.
Oxford, 76 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 19 827445 9
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Socialist Register 1982 
edited by Martin Eve and David Musson.
Merlin, 314 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 9780850362923
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... Some very important changes in socialist ideas are now beginning to come through in Europe. Yet at the surface of politics they are invisible in Britain, even though there are those here who have contributed to them. Where they have become visible at the surface, as most notably in the rise of the Green Party in the German Federal Republic, they are still commonly interpreted as a local ‘ecological’ variation, without long-term effect on the main body of socialist institutions and ideas ...

At the Courtauld

Peter Campbell: Cranach’s Nudes, 19 July 2007

... A new exhibition, Temptation in Eden: Lucas Cranach’s Adam and Eve, runs at the Courtauld Institute of Art until 23 September. It consists of five paintings: Cupid Complaining to Venus, Apollo and Diana, A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the Courtauld’s own Adam and Eve ...

Hang Santa

Wendy Doniger, 16 December 1993

Unwrapping Christmas 
edited by Daniel Miller.
Oxford, 239 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 19 827903 5
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... Pagans have been fighting for their survival for a long time. As Russell Belk points out, Martin Luther’s objections to gifts being given to children in the name of Saint Nicholas prompted him to introduce Christkindlein – ‘the little Christ child’, a messenger of Christ – as the gift-bringer. (Belk doesn’t point out the historical irony ...

Nouvelle Vague

Anthony Quinn, 7 January 1993

The Conclave 
by Michael Bracewell.
Secker, 339 pp., £8.99, October 1992, 0 436 20020 1
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Cock & Bull 
by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 310 pp., £9.99, October 1992, 0 7475 1274 4
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... who simply cannot resist underlining his point. The sentimental progress of suburban aesthete Martin Knight is weighed down by his creator’s lofty annotations, as when the poor sap first goes window-shopping: ‘This walk was crucial to Martin’s development. It instilled in him, for the first time, the realisation ...

Boy’s Own

Erika Hagelberg: Adam, Eve and genetics, 20 November 2003

The Seven Daughters of EveThe Astonishing Story that Reveals How Each of Us Can Trace Our Genetic Ancestors 
by Bryan Sykes.
Corgi, 368 pp., £6.99, May 2002, 0 552 14876 8
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Mapping Human History: Unravelling the Mystery of Adam and Eve 
by Steve Olson.
Bloomsbury, 293 pp., £7.99, July 2003, 0 7475 6174 5
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The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey 
by Spencer Wells.
Penguin, 224 pp., £8.99, May 2003, 0 14 100832 6
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... that we are all descended from a common African female ancestor, whom they called ‘Mitochondrial Eve’, or ‘African Eve’. The idea that the whole human race might have a single ancestral mother captured everyone’s imagination. Eve featured topless on the cover of Newsweek. In the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dead Babies, 16 November 2000

... to place some higher example before the world. Carp would have been appalled by the goings-on in Martin Amis’s Dead Babies – all kinds of sex, all kinds of drugs, all kinds of violence, if little or no arson – which was written a mere fifty years later, and has just been adapted for the cinematograph and directed by William Marsh. It’s due for ...

Sinister Blandishments

Edmund White: Philip Hensher, 3 September 1998

Pleasured 
by Philip Hensher.
Chatto, 304 pp., £14.99, August 1998, 0 7011 6728 9
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... pages. Instead of explaining in a few orientating paragraphs what Germany was like on New Year’s Eve, 1988, when the action begins, Hensher plunges us into the experience, as conveyed by the actions but especially the conversation of his characters. Friedrich Kaiser, to give the full, grand name borne by this loser, is underemployed and broke: ‘He lived in ...

Nature’s Chastity

José Harris, 15 September 1983

Eve and the New Jerusalem: Socialism and Feminism in the 19th Century 
by Barbara Taylor.
Virago, 402 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 86068 257 9
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Virgins and Viragos: A History of Women in Scotland from 1080 to 1980 
by Rosalind Marshall.
Collins, 365 pp., £13.50, June 1983, 0 00 216039 0
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... to feminism as a direct response to their own unhappy experience of marriage – among them Emma Martin, an ex-Baptist turned militant rationalist and free-thinker, who founded the Anti-Persecution Union. Others by contrast joined together with sympathetic husbands in socialist and feminist causes. Frances Morrison, for example, supported her house-painter ...

That which is spoken

Marina Warner, 8 November 1990

The Virago Book of Fairy-Tales 
edited by Angela Carter.
Virago, 242 pp., £12.99, October 1990, 1 85381 205 6
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Sisters and Strangers: A Moral Tale 
by Emma Tennant.
Grafton, 184 pp., £12.95, July 1990, 0 246 13429 1
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... rise of the writer as cynosure; with fame comes responsibility, it seems, for even bad boys like Martin Amis speak of their world sorrow, while, elsewhere, playwrights and poets take power. Long gone the days of anti-social surrealist anarchy among writers, when Breton and his kind acclaimed psychotics as heroes and spat on morality, private and ...

Cambodia: Year One

Elizabeth Becker, 9 February 1995

Cambodia: A Shattered Society 
by Marie Alexandrine Martin, translated by Mark McLeod.
California, 398 pp., $35, July 1994, 0 520 07052 6
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Cambodia’s New Deal: A Report 
by William Shawcross.
Carnegie Endowment, 106 pp., £27.50, July 1994, 0 87003 051 5
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... a brief, profound and very welcome social revolution’. The French professor Marie Alexandrine Martin writes in her full-scale history of modern Cambodia that, on the contrary, the peace mission favoured ‘Phnom Penh’s profiteers, the Khmer Rouge utopists, the Chinese businessmen of South-East Asia, the annexationist neighbours’. She believes ...

What Fred Did

Owen Bennett-Jones: Go-Betweens in Northern Ireland, 22 January 2015

... that raises intriguing questions about how the Northern Ireland peace process got underway.* ‘Martin McGuinness,’ Powell writes, ‘still denies sending the message stating that “our war is over” which started the correspondence with John Major, and it is pretty clear in retrospect that one of the intermediaries in the chain between the government ...

His Only Friend

Elaine Showalter, 8 September 1994

Hardy 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Bloomsbury, 886 pp., £25, February 1994, 0 7475 1037 7
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... the book. Could the cosmic wires have been crossed and could the spiritualist have been talking to Martin Seymour-Smith? For this massive biography of Hardy – or ‘Tom’, as Seymour-Smith chummily calls him – has the vehemence of divine revelation and the fervour of personal mission. ‘I wrote Hardy,’ the author explains in a remarkable ...

When the barracks were bursting with poets

David A. Bell: Napoleon, 6 September 2001

Napoleon the Novelist 
by Andy Martin.
Polity, 191 pp., £45, December 2000, 0 7456 2536 3
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... Andy Martin is unlikely to convince many readers that Napoleon conquered Europe only as compensation for his inability to write a sentimental novel. His attention to the Emperor’s literary ambitions is, however, not unreasonable. Napoleon dreamed of literary as well as military glory, wrote copiously at various moments in his life, and had real talent for it (Sainte-Beuve called him ‘a great critic in his spare time’, while Thiers elevated him to ‘greatest writer of the century ...

What the hell happened?

Alexander Star: Philip Roth, 4 February 1999

I Married a Communist 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 323 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 224 05258 6
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... employment on popular radio shows in New York City; his marriage to the fading Hollywood actress Eve Fine, and the dreadful combustion of that marriage in a series of mutual betrayals that lead to the exposure of Ira’s party membership and the publication of Eve’s tell-all memoir, entitled ‘I Married a ...

After Andropov

John Barber, 19 April 1984

Andropov 
by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 227 pp., £7.50, June 1983, 0 631 13401 8
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Andropov in Power: From Komsomol to Kremlin 
by Jonathan Steele and Eric Abraham.
Martin Robertson, 216 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 85520 641 1
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Life in Russia 
by Michael Binyon.
Hamish Hamilton, 286 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 241 10982 5
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The Soviet Union after Brezhnev 
edited by Martin McCauley.
Heinemann, 160 pp., £14.50, November 1983, 0 8419 0918 0
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Yuri Andropov: A Secret Passage into the Kremlin 
by Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova, translated by Guy Daniels.
Robert Hale, 302 pp., £11.50, February 1984, 0 7090 1630 1
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... modernising through a centrally-planned economy in the 1930s, the weakness of the Red Army on the eve of the Second World War, and Soviet technological backwardness in the 1950s, before Sputnik and Gagarin inaugurated the space age, are only a few of the discarded orthodoxies about the Soviet Union over past decades. Predictions of leadership changes have ...

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