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Hugolian Gothic

Graham Robb: Gargoyles of Notre-Dame, 25 February 2010

The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity 
by Michael Camille.
Chicago, 439 pp., £34, June 2009, 978 0 226 09245 4
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... a few featureless stumps and badly weathered monsters lying about the garden behind the apse. As Michael Camille points out, gargoyles bear the brunt of the weather: they are part of ‘the exoderm of the edifice’, eroded by the water they channel away from the building. They were never intended to last, which might account for their flippancy or ...

Peroxide Mug-Shot

Marina Warner: Women who kill children, 1 January 1998

... anti-semitism in the late Middle Ages conjured terrors in the likeness of its own practices: as Michael Camille has discussed in The Gothic Idol, the supposed sacrileges of Jews and witches mimicked, in ghastly exaggeration, the mysteries of the Mass, the eucharistic miracle, and the living power of images. Legends often lingered with excitement on ...

Sit like an Apple

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Artists’ Wives, 23 October 2008

Hidden in the Shadow of the Master: The Model-Wives of Cézanne, Monet and Rodin 
by Ruth Butler.
Yale, 354 pp., £18.99, July 2008, 978 0 300 12624 2
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... a full-length figure in contemporary dress that he submitted to the Salon of 1866 under the title Camille. Posed against a red curtain on a canvas more than seven feet high, a woman in a green and black striped gown and a black jacket trimmed with fur stands with her back angled towards the viewer, her face partly visible as she turns her head over her ...

The Divine Miss P.

Elaine Showalter, 11 February 1993

Sex, Art and American Culture 
by Camille Paglia.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, March 1993, 0 670 84612 0
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... Smarter than Susan Sontag? Funnier than Harold Bloom? Well, if you take her word for it, it’s Camille Paglia, come to set the world straight on the burning issues of our time: tenured radicals, date rape, the aesthetic evolution of Madonna. The self-styled genius and warrior woman seized public attention with her first book, Sexual Personae: Art and ...

Kill a Pig, roast a Prussian

Michael Burns, 19 November 1992

The Village of Cannibals: Rage and Murder in France, 1870 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Polity, 164 pp., £25, July 1992, 0 7456 0895 7
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... who had made the mistake of arriving at the fairground in the wake of his despised cousin, Camille de Maillard. Accused by the crowd of having shouted ‘Vive la République’, the ultimate provocation in a land of Bonapartists, Maillard ran for cover, helped by his light leather boots, while the peasants plodded along behind in wooden shoes. The mob ...

Our Deputy Sheriffs in the Middle East

Malise Ruthven, 16 October 1997

A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite 
by Said Aburish.
Gollancz, 414 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 575 06275 4
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... his hashish-smuggling uncle, the SharifNasser, and misappropriated CIA funds for his personal use. Camille Chamoun, the former Lebanese President and the man largely responsible for launching the civil war in 1975 ‘dazzled Westerners with his wit and charm’ but was really ‘nothing but a skirt-chasing, narrow-minded tribal chief who saw nothing wrong in ...


Jeremy Harding: On the Tyson Saga, 31 August 1989

... it was a left hook which put him away after 93 seconds (two seconds more than it took to deal with Michael Spinks last year). The Guardian reporter said the critical punch sounded ‘like an axe going into wet wood’. On TV it looked less impressive. Besides, Mailer used that image to describe the death of Benny Paret in Madison Square Garden 27 years ago at ...


Hal Foster: Félix Fénéon, 3 December 2020

... The ultra-composed Neo-Impressionists aren’t obvious angels of chaos, yet Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac and Maximilien Luce all advocated anarchist positions, including ‘the propaganda of the deed’, aka bomb-throwing. This is one of the riddles of modernist art, and at its centre is the sphinx Félix Fénéon (1861-1944), great ...

Adipose Tumorous Growths and All

Kevin Kopelson, 18 May 2000

Franz Liszt. Vol. III: The Final Years, 1861-86 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 594 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 571 19034 0
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The Romantic Generation 
by Charles Rosen.
HarperCollins, 720 pp., £14.99, March 1999, 0 00 255712 6
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Franz Liszt: Selected Letters 
edited by Adrian Williams.
Oxford, 1063 pp., £70, January 1999, 0 19 816688 5
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... in Walker’s universe. For example, neither King Ludwig II of Bavaria (Wagner’s patron) nor Camille Saint-Saëns (Liszt’s protégé), both of whom were notorious queens, comes across that way. In a weird way, Walker’s three volumes can be reduced to a laundry list of Lisztian corrections. He was not descended from aristocrats; he never met ...

Only in the Balkans

Misha Glenny: The Balkans Imagined, 29 April 1999

Inventing Ruritania: The Imperialism of the Imagination 
by Vesna Goldsworthy.
Yale, 254 pp., £19.95, May 1998, 0 300 07312 7
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Imagining the Balkans 
by Maria Todorova.
Oxford, 270 pp., £35, June 1997, 9780195087505
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... The television producer who had wanted to massacre the cream of Colorado society was Camille Marchette. ‘I’m responsible for Moldavia,’ she told America’s TV Guide in 1986. ‘I sat down one day and said: “I’m only going to be on the show a year and I’m going to end it with a shoot-out in Moldavia.”’ Did she know that Moldavia ...


Adam Shatz, 6 May 2021

Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said 
by Timothy Brennan.
Bloomsbury, 437 pp., £20, March, 978 1 5266 1465 0
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... Arthur Gold, a brilliant Luftmensch prone to tormented idleness, and the future art critic Michael Fried, were Jews. His dissertation and first book were about Joseph Conrad’s explorations of ambiguity and double identities. As Timothy Brennan writes in Places of Mind, Said was ‘a photo negative of his Jewish counterparts’.Said spent his first ...

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