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Maurice Bloch, 5 July 1984

The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 308 pp., £22.50, July 1983, 9780521247399
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... The appearance of a book entitled The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe, and written by an anthropologist, will not surprise either historians or anthropologists. In the last ten years the two subjects have been paying increasing attention to each other. They have tried to learn each other’s methods, jargon and mannerisms. They have even begun to meddle with each other’s subject-matter ...

Pairs

Maurice Bloch, 5 May 1983

The Way of the Masks 
by Claude Lévi-Strauss, translated by Sylvia Modelski.
Cape, 249 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 224 02081 1
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... One of the most disconcerting aspects of introducing the work of Lévi-Strauss to students is that those who are just beginning an anthropology course often seem able to grasp quickly and easily the main points of his work, while those who have a good anthropological training seem almost invariably incapable of understanding what he is saying. The reason is that Lévi-Strauss’s work deals with different questions from those which are traditionally assumed to be the subject-matter of anthropology ...

Communism and Shamanism

Maurice Bloch, 15 September 1983

Karl Marx Collective: Economy, Society and Religion in a Siberian Collective Farm 
by Caroline Humphrey.
Cambridge, 522 pp., £30, July 1983, 0 521 24456 0
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... Most of us have very little idea of what life is actually like in the Soviet Union for ordinary people. We are so bombarded by various kinds of propaganda that the Communist world becomes a mythological place, to the extent that when we catch glimpses of the reality, we are surprised to find it peopled by ordinary human beings. Caroline Humphrey’s book, Karl Marx Collective, tells us what we want to know: what is the relation between theory and practice, what is the relation of the state and the party to the local unit – in this case collective farms – how much are individuals constrained in their lives by central planning, what is family life like, what are schools like, what are funerals like? This is not, however, a subjective account, such as we would find in an autobiography or a short interview ...

Ceremonies

Rodney Hilton, 21 January 1988

Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies 
edited by David Cannadine and Simon Price.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 521 33513 2
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... evidence, throw extra light on the efficacy of ritual from top to bottom of the social scale. Maurice Bloch describes in great detail the ceremony of the royal bath at the beginning of the agricultural year in Madagascar. There was a complex series of rituals involving a veto on funerals, a hierarchically-ordered giving of gifts, organised weeping ...

Sacred Crows

John Skorupski, 1 September 1983

Marxism and Anthropology 
by Maurice Bloch.
Oxford, 180 pp., £9.50, January 1983, 0 19 876091 4
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Death and the Regeneration of Life 
edited by Maurice Bloch and Jonathan Parry.
Cambridge, 236 pp., £18.50, January 1983, 0 521 24875 2
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... in the 1960s to examine the possibility of applying Marxist ideas to pre-industrial societies. Maurice Bloch’s Marxism and Anthropology is, among other things, an excellent survey of some of the results. Bloch, who teaches anthropology at the London School of Economics, is one of the leaders in the middle ...

Fisherman’s Friend

David Landes, 27 October 1988

The Metronomic Society: Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables 
by Michael Young.
Thames and Hudson, 301 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 500 01443 4
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... an erratum slip: on page 200 we learn of a book on feudalism by that great French Medievalist Maurice Bloch. The reference note gets it right.) The book begins with the co-existence of the cyclical and the linear, of repeating phenomena and the march of passing time, and notes the pervasive presence of both in our consciousness and patterned ...

Along the Voie Sacrée

Inigo Thomas, 8 November 2018

... to German Jews, being made of stone, stand out. Vienne-le-Château to the south-west is where Marc Bloch was posted in 1915. His war diaries convey the boredom of war work behind the lines, with nothing to read and no sense of what was going on elsewhere. ‘I had little comprehension of the battle,’ he wrote. ‘It was the victory of the Marne but I would ...

Happy in Heaven

Patrick O’Brian, 10 February 1994

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Life and Death of the Little Prince 
by Paul Webster.
Macmillan, 276 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 0 333 54872 8
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... and his young widow and five children went to live with her great-aunt at the château of Saint-Maurice-de-Rémens, thirty miles north-east of Lyon, a house with an immense garden, mountains in the distance and country all around. This was the true home of Saint-Exupéry’s childhood, and in retrospect the happiest, perhaps the only happy, time of his ...

Medieval Fictions

Stuart Airlie, 21 February 1985

Chivalry 
by Maurice Keen.
Yale, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 0 300 03150 5
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The Rise of Romance 
by Eugène Vinaver.
Boydell, 158 pp., £12, February 1984, 0 85991 158 6
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War in the Middle Ages 
by Philippe Contamine, translated by Michael Jones.
Blackwell, 387 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 631 13142 6
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War and Government in the Middle Ages 
edited by John Gillingham and J.C. Holt.
Boydell, 198 pp., £25, July 1984, 0 85115 404 2
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Prussian Society and the German Order 
by Michael Burleigh.
Cambridge, 217 pp., £22.50, May 1984, 9780521261043
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... theatrically over the warriors was a valuable part of a knight’s intellectual equipment. As Maurice Keen points out, heraldry was ‘one of the prime keys to a secular chivalrous erudition that was at once literal and visual, practical and ideological’. Dr Keen’s book is a brilliantly successful attempt to describe and explain this secular ...

Sensitive Sauls

Nicholas Spice, 5 July 1984

Him with his foot in his mouth, and Other Stories 
by Saul Bellow.
Alison Press/Secker, 294 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 436 03953 2
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... an account of the early life of a brilliant, ebullient, generous-hearted young man (Proust’s Bloch came to mind) who, much to his father’s disgust, marries an equally expansive Macedonian girl, travels east to New York with her, and becomes a professional philosopher only to discover in the wearisome ecstasy of his married life and after reading Moby ...

Proust and His Mother

Michael Wood, 22 March 2012

... although obviously it is open to several interpretations, some kinder than others. Evelyne Bloch-Dano, the biographer of Jeanne Proust, thinks her subject’s forgiveness is ‘contradicted by the mock warning’. I don’t think it’s contradicted, but clearly there is something about the postscript that makes it a sort of mockery, probably just a ...

Making things happen

R.W. Johnson, 6 September 1984

The Missing Dimension: Governments and Intelligence Communities in the 20th Century 
edited by Christopher Andrew and David Dilks.
Macmillan, 300 pp., £16.95, July 1984, 0 333 36864 9
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... have come to a summary end in 1945 but for the absurd amateurishness and procrastination of Sir Maurice Peterson, the British Ambassador to Istanbul. If Peterson had acted more quickly or had even addressed his letter to the right man, Philby would never have had time to destroy the Russian defector, Volkov, who was about to shop him. As Cecil adds, with ...

‘What a man this is, with his crowd of women around him!’

Hilary Mantel: Springtime for Robespierre, 30 March 2000

Robespierre 
edited by Colin Haydon and William Doyle.
Cambridge, 292 pp., £35, July 1999, 0 521 59116 3
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... the road and stay away. In 1791 the gateway opened into a yard, with sheds where wood was stored; Maurice Duplay, who owned the house, was a master-carpenter. In this courtyard, Paul Barras saw two generals of the Republic picking over the salad herbs for dinner, under the eye of Madame Duplay. Robespierre lived on the first floor, in a low-ceilinged room ...

The Sound of Voices Intoning Names

Thomas Laqueur, 5 June 1997

French Children of the Holocaust: A Memorial 
by Serge Klarsfeld.
New York, 1881 pp., $95, November 1996, 0 8147 2662 3
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... Paul Zubrichas, looking impishly at the camera, and yet another new portfolio starts at B with the Bloch twins and their brother Jean-Pierre. From here to the end, alphabetical order breaks down. Additional faces and bodies of children without names appear in these pictures, not to speak of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of adults: mothers and ...

His Bonnet Akimbo

Patrick Wright: Hamish Henderson, 3 November 2011

Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. I: The Making of the Poet (1919-53) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 416 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84697 132 7
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Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. II: Poetry Becomes People (1954-2002) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 395 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 1 84697 063 4
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... romanticism’. He was part of a left-wing circle that included Raymond Williams, D.J. Enright and Maurice Craig, a Northern Irishman who remembered Henderson as ‘very loud-voiced, very insistently Scottish, and constantly singing’. During the two years he spent in Cambridge before the Second World War bore him off to North Africa, Henderson flourished as ...

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