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Michael Neve, 8 November 1990

The Double in 19th-Century Fiction 
by John Herdman.
Macmillan, 174 pp., £35, August 1990, 9780333490242
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Romanticism and the Sciences 
edited by Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine.
Cambridge, 345 pp., £40, June 1990, 0 521 35602 4
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Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion? 
by Mary Boyle.
Routledge, 248 pp., £35, September 1990, 0 415 04096 5
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... questions about the mysteries of the Devil gets such good historical answers. From Tymms (1949) to Miller (1985) to the touchingly named Herdman (is he trying to keep us safe, inside the yard?) the literary study of doubles roots itself in Christian accounts of the world, describing how, by trick, by election or by sin, characters break open, split apart, see ...

Instant Depths

Michael Wood, 7 July 1994

The Cryptogram 
by David Mamet.
The Ambassador's Theatre
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A Whore’s Profession: Notes and Essays 
by David Mamet.
Faber, 412 pp., £12.99, June 1994, 0 571 17076 5
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... The earlier plays of David Mamet seemed to spring from a meeting between Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter, as if the characters from The Caretaker or The Homecoming had caught the American anxieties of Death of a Salesman. Pinter is also never far from the later plays, and he directed Oleanna in London; but other, more oblique influences now hover in the air ...

What Works

Michael Friedman: The embarrassing cousin, 31 March 2005

The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity 
by Raymond Knapp.
Princeton, 361 pp., £22.95, December 2004, 0 691 11864 7
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... suspended. These moments violate the integrity of the drama, but also give it definition. D.A. Miller, in Place for Us (1998), a brilliant essay on the American musical and homosexuality, describes the ‘fundamental structural opposition between narrative and number’ and points out that in Gypsy, so often taken as a paradigm of the integrated ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Artist’, 9 February 2012

The Artist 
directed by Michel Hazanavicius.
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... film form can save a man’s life. And a dead film life can be reborn. When the new star, Peppy Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo, rescues Valentin from his gloom, saying she won’t act in her new hit if he isn’t allowed to join her, a marvellous verbal formulation maps a whole intricate world. Valentin doesn’t believe in himself, or in this second ...


Karl Miller: Balance at the BBC, 9 October 1986

... has been forthcoming from the press. Another painful development was the publication in June of Michael Leapman’s Last Days of the Beeb: a narrative of power plays and mean-spirited intrigues. Here was a writer about the BBC for whom the programmes and their producers did not seem to matter all that much. What mattered was behind the screen, and at the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Basingstoke’s Paisleyite, 21 April 2005

... his ‘How I See It’ column for the last time; Conservatism in Basingstoke has a new face. Maria Miller is a working mother of three, campaigning vigorously on local issues: education, ‘local environment improvement’ and crime. She ought to win easily. The constituency, a hotbed of affluence, has returned a Tory in every election since World War ...

Smoked Out

McKenzie Funk: Travels in the Apocalypse, 7 February 2019

Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future 
by Edward Struzik.
Island Press, 248 pp., £22.99, October 2017, 978 1 61091 818 3
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Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change 
by Ashley Dawson.
Verso, 384 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 1 78478 036 4
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Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault 
by Cary Fowler.
Prospecta, 160 pp., £29.99, September 2016, 978 1 63226 057 4
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Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration and Homeland Security 
by Todd Miller.
City Lights, 272 pp., £7.99, September 2017, 978 0 87286 715 4
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... and ‘green growth’ pushed by – among others – the former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and his cast of visiting Dutch architects, questioning post-Hurricane Sandy projects like the Big U seawall proposed for lower Manhattan: it would attract tourists and protect Wall Street, but displace storm surge waters to surrounding, poorer ...

The God Squad

Andrew O’Hagan: Bushland, 23 September 2004

... impulses of their enemies. ‘It’s no fun to protest on an empty stomach,’ said Mayor Michael Bloomberg to assembled journalists, ‘so you might want to try a restaurant. Or you might want to go shopping, maybe for another pair of sneakers for the march.’ New York is a Democrat city, but also a famous backdrop, and the Republicans took the ...


Inigo Thomas: Michael Wolff’s Book Party, 8 February 2018

... to understand for himself – and so do the journalists who write about him. Or most of them. Michael Wolff never planned to write a book about the president just as Trump never planned to become president. Wolff remained uncertain about his book’s prospects in the days leading to its publication in mid-January, though things began to look up when he ...

Guilty Men

Michael Neve, 5 March 1981

The Fate of Mary Rose 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Cape, 208 pp., £5.95, February 1981, 0 224 01791 8
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Darling, you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble 
by Caroline Blackwood and Anna Haycraft.
Cape, 224 pp., £6.50, November 1980, 0 224 01834 5
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... by a gallery of friends and neighbours, are ready and waiting for them. Jonathan and Rachel Miller contribute their Saturday Salad that can increase in size as the friends flood in. Some of them may arrive in the condition of Rowan Anderson when Maureen Sutton was murdered: comatose from drink. The brandy and champagne mix here called ‘Colin’s ...

Kinks on the Kinks

Michael Wood: Plots, 5 May 2016

by Robert Belknap.
Columbia, 165 pp., £22, May 2016, 978 0 231 17782 5
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... books on Dostoevsky. Plots is a version of a series of lectures he gave in 2011, and Robin Feuer Miller, in a witty and affectionate introduction, describes the printed book as a last work of a special kind: ‘How typical of Belknap to produce a magnum opus that is particular, profound, original and short.’ This is a magnum opus with no pretensions to ...

Why are you here?

Sherry Turkle, 5 January 1989

The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique 1953-1954 
edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by John Forrester.
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Book II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955 
edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by Sylvana Tomaselli.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £35, May 1988, 0 521 26679 3
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... Lacan describe himself in contrast to the far more familiar Anna Freud, Melanie Klein and Michael Balint. In the contrasts, Lacan emerges far more clearly than in much of his other writing. And we get a new perspective on what we thought was familiar. The Seminar: Book I begins by invoking the ‘return to Freud’ – that is, a return to Freud’s ...

Miss Skippit

Andrew O’Hagan, 18 February 2021

... jokes. Such and such a man was ‘on a fault-finding mission’. ‘Marriages end,’ she said to Michael Neve, ‘but divorces never do,’ which Neve said was as Wildean as it gets.It was J.D. Salinger, writing about William Shawn, who spoke of that rare thing, ‘born great artist-editors’, lovers of ‘the long shot’. I’ve admired a few ...

Living the Life

Andrew O’Hagan, 6 October 2016

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency 
by James Andrew Miller.
Custom House, 703 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 0 06 244137 9
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... except the need for change. ‘There were all these cronies sitting on the second floor,’ Michael Ovitz adds, ‘who just hung out at the business and sucked the profits out of it.’ In 1975, Meyer and Ovitz joined forces with Bill Haber, Mike Rosenfeld and Rowland Perkins, and together they founded Creative Artists Agency (CAA). At first they were ...

Icicles by Cynthia

Michael Wood: Ghosts, 2 January 2020

Romantic Shades and Shadows 
by Susan J. Wolfson.
Johns Hopkins, 272 pp., £50, August 2018, 978 1 4214 2554 2
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... stylistic analysis. There is also the method of ‘too close reading’ wittily practised by David Miller, especially in his book Hidden Hitchcock (2016).Wolfson’s work is not unrelated to this last example – both writers are concerned with seeing apparitions and being glad to see them – but she tends to think that patient, uncensored curiosity will do ...

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