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Paradise Lost

Stephen Bann, 17 March 1983

Deadeye Dick 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 224 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 224 02945 2
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by Max Frisch, translated by Geoffrey Skelton.
Methuen, 142 pp., £5.95, February 1983, 0 413 51750 0
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The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction 
by Colin Greenland.
Routledge, 244 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 7100 9310 1
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More Tales of Pirx the Pilot 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Louis Iribarne, Magdalena Majcherczyk and Michael Kandel.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 9780436244117
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Yesterday’s Men 
by George Turner.
Faber, 234 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 571 11857 7
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Rebel in Time 
by Harry Harrison.
Granada, 272 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 246 11766 4
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Three Six Seven: Memoirs of a Very Important Man 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 236 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 7206 0602 0
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... The question is a blunt one, and yet it gains in significance if we compare Deadeye Dick with Max Frisch’s elegant little novella, Bluebeard. For Max Frisch is cleverly exploiting the displacement of guilt as a plot device. A middle-aged doctor who has had so many wives as to merit the name in the title is ...


Edward Timms, 19 April 1990

Thomas Mann and his Family 
by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Collins, 230 pp., £20, August 1989, 9780002158374
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... structure. This led to a lively critical dialogue, not least with writers like Heinrich Böll and Max Frisch, who were in a position to answer back. But it also resulted in some tendentious misreadings – for instance, his dismissive remarks about Karl Kraus (as epitome of ‘Jewish self-hatred’). For many readers Reich-Ranicki was far too ...

De Mortuis

Christopher Driver, 28 June 1990

The Ruffian on the Stair: Reflection on Death 
edited by Rosemary Dinnage.
Viking, 291 pp., £14.99, April 1990, 0 670 82763 0
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Death, Ritual and Bereavement 
edited by Ralph Houlbrooke.
Routledge, 250 pp., £35, October 1990, 0 415 01165 5
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In the Face of Death 
by Peter Noll, translated by Hans Noll.
Viking, 254 pp., £15.99, April 1990, 0 670 80703 6
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... months, was a German-Swiss academic lawyer who was lucky in his family, his friends (including Max Frisch, whose valediction is printed here), his doctors, his Christian or post-Christian convictions, and the time his cancer allowed him for reflection – including his decision at the peak of his career not to prolong his own life by radical ...

He speaks too loud

David Blackbourn: Brecht, 3 July 2014

Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life 
by Stephen Parker.
Bloomsbury, 704 pp., £30, February 2014, 978 1 4081 5562 2
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... Zoff; their daughter, who became the actress Hanne Hiob, was born in 1923. Hired as a dramaturg at Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater, Brecht moved permanently to Berlin in September 1924. His favourite restaurant there, Schlichter’s in Schöneberg, was run by the brother of the painter and Communist Party member Rudolf Schlichter. Works by Georg Grosz hung ...

Long Live Aporia!

Hal Foster: William Gaddis, 24 July 2003

Agapē Agape 
by William Gaddis.
Atlantic, 113 pp., £9.99, January 2003, 1 903809 83 5
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The Rush for Second Place: Essays and Occasional Writings 
by William Gaddis, edited by Joseph Tabbi.
Penguin, 182 pp., $14, October 2002, 0 14 200238 0
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... imagination; and here other peers come to mind as well, not only Bernhard in Concrete, but also Max Frisch in Man in the Holocene and William Gass in Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife. Like these works, Agapē Agape exists on the threshold between the collage technique of many Modernists and some other mode or archive that is not yet adequately ...

Outside in the Bar

Patrick McGuinness: Ten Years in Sheerness, 21 October 2021

The Sea View Has Me Again: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness 
by Patrick Wright.
Repeater, 751 pp., £20, June, 978 1 913462 58 1
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... news from the Kent Evening Post and the Sheerness Times Guardian were Hannah Arendt, Christa Wolf, Max Frisch, Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Günter Grass. When, in 1978, Jürgen Habermas asked Johnson for an essay for a book he was editing, provisionally titled Observations on ‘The Spiritual Situation of the Age’, Johnson wrote about what he could see ...

Spying made easy

M.F. Perutz, 25 June 1987

Klaus Fuchs: The man who stole the atom bomb 
by Norman Moss.
Grafton, 216 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 246 13158 6
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... of theoretical physics at Bristol; after this he worked at Edinburgh with the German physicist Max Born, who was one of the founders of wave mechanics. In the spring of 1940 Fuchs was arrested, interned and later deported to Canada together with hundreds of other German and Austrian refugees, including myself. We were taken back to England and released in ...

In the Nightmare Kitchen

Rivka Galchen: Kafka’s Boyhood, 16 March 2017

Kafka: The Early Years 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 564 pp., £27.95, November 2016, 978 0 691 15198 4
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... and final volume of Stach’s landmark biography.* In the introduction the translator, Shelley Frisch, explains that The Early Years was written last rather than first because Stach was waiting for papers in Max Brod’s keeping to make their way out of a 39-year Jarndycean legal fog.† So this volume is the first ...

What kind of funny is he?

Rivka Galchen: Under Kafka’s Spell, 4 December 2014

Kafka: The Years of Insight 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 682 pp., £24.95, June 2013, 978 0 691 14751 2
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Kafka: The Decisive Years 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 552 pp., £16.25, June 2013, 978 0 691 14741 3
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... of which are out in German, with the second and third already translated into English by Shelley Frisch. (The first volume, covering Kafka’s youth, was written last in the hope that the papers in the Max Brod estate – a mysterious suitcase full of documents – would exit the apartment of the septuagenarian daughter of ...

War on Heisenberg

M.F. Perutz, 18 November 1993

Heisenberg’s War: The Secret History of the German Bomb 
by Thomas Powers.
Cape, 610 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 224 03641 6
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Operation Epsilon: The Farm Hall Transcripts 
introduced by Charles Frank.
Institute of Physics, 515 pp., £14.95, May 1993, 0 7503 0274 7
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... around the sun-like nucleus, their concentric orbits governed by Newtonian mechanics combined with Max Planck’s quantum theory. Bohr’s theory accounted for the spectra of the simplest atom with only one electron, hydrogen, but it ran into difficulties with the spectra of larger atoms and left many other observations unexplained. Heisenberg broke away from ...

Oh God, what have we done?

Jackson Lears: The Strange Career of Robert Oppenheimer, 20 December 2012

Inside the Centre: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 224 06262 6
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... was underway. But the most ambitious theorists – Oppenheimer as well as Bohr, Heisenberg and Max Born – still wondered what physical reality was being modelled by the maths. At Cambridge in 1926, Oppenheimer could be sure he was at the centre of things.That wasn’t the only reason he was feeling better, however. On holiday in Corsica with his Harvard ...

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