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Looking for a Crucifixion

Robert Alter, 9 September 1993

The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered 
by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise.
Element, 286 pp., £14.95, November 1992, 0 85230 368 8
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... scholar Lawrence Schiffman has noted, so the rubric would be defensible only if the Eisenman and Wise interpretation were the first to qualify as ‘complete’. Then there is the question of whether many of these really are ‘key’ texts and whether they have been ‘withheld’ or rather, which strikes me as far more likely, left languishing through ...

Wharton the Wise

D.A.N. Jones, 4 April 1985

The Missing Will 
by Michael Wharton.
Hogarth, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2666 3
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... For 27 years Michael Wharton has written the ‘Peter Simple’ column in the Daily Telegraph. He was only 43 when he secured this good, steady job and now he has published an autobiographical account of his 43 apprentice years – dissident, drifting, bohemian years, marked by a lack of will-power, what the Greeks called aboulia ...

On Michael Longley

Colin Burrow: Michael Longley, 19 October 2017

... There are​ few contemporary poets as likeable as Michael Longley. That’s not because his poems are simply amiable, but because he looks at things hard and clearly and invites his readers to share his acts of seeing. In his new book, Angel Hill (Cape, £10), even a cataract operation is an opportunity to celebrate sharpness of vision: ‘My eyeball’s frozen ...
The Korean War 
by Max Hastings.
Joseph, 476 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 9780718120689
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The Origins of the Korean War 
by Peter Lowe.
Longman, 256 pp., £6.95, July 1986, 0 582 49278 5
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Korea: The War before Vietnam 
by Callum MacDonald.
Macmillan, 330 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 333 33011 0
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... they attempted any further military interventions in the Third World. For a few years, under the wise guidance of Dwight Eisenhower, American leaders did so bear it in mind, and shaped their policy accordingly: they realised the unwisdom of becoming involved in a land conflict anywhere, especially in Asia. But only ten years after the truce was signed at ...

Three Poems

Michael Longley, 27 June 2002

... with squeaky floors, Landings hung with pictures of lost relatives, Professors, station-masters, wise embroiderers. Driving along the Delaware my poet-host Stops to let two wild turkeys cross the road. Is that a third one dithering behind us? We wind the car windows up – a freshly Flattened skunk so pongily alive in death Even the magpies in the dogwood ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Tony and Jeremy, 20 April 2017

... a constant theme, and it is not just Benn himself who is drawn to the flame. Eric Heffer, Audrey Wise, Michael Meacher, Ken Livingstone and others feature in earnest discussions about whether the time is right for another attempt to capture the flag and how the forces are assembled. The votes of the unions and the ...

Michael Hofmann reads his father’s book

Michael Hofmann, 25 June 1987

Our Conquest 
by Gert Hofmann, translated by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 281 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 85635 687 5
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... adults in some mournful genre painting. Altklug is the German word: literally ‘old-clever’, as wise as the old, an old head on young shoulders, precocious. Their dialogue moves as purposefully as a flow diagram. They ask questions like scrupulous logicians: ‘For instance, which theatres have they played in, how long their longest applause lasted, what ...

Opera Mundi

Michael Neve, 1 December 1983

Out of Order 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 256 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 86051 190 1
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Frank Johnson’s Election Year 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 192 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86051 254 1
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by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 264 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 224 02114 1
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Poem of the Year 
by Clive James.
Cape, 79 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 224 02961 4
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The Original Michael Frayn 
by Michael Frayn.
Salamander, 203 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 907540 32 5
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... can’t trim bureaucratic overmanning. She cuts the social services instead. You needn’t be as wise as Pitt or Canning To see how malnutrition lies ahead. Now the decency in this is to propose that malnutrition does lie ahead. The cock-up is ‘wise as Pitt or Canning’, where the demands of the rhyme bring in on the ...

‘This in no wise omit’

Tom Bingham: Habeas Corpus, 7 October 2010

Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire 
by Paul Halliday.
Harvard, 502 pp., £29.95, March 2010, 978 0 674 04901 7
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... aforesaid Nicholas is charged, before us at Westminster on Saturday next after eight days of Saint Michael, to undergo and receive whatever our court should then and there happen to order concerning him in this behalf, and this in no wise omit, upon the peril that may befall, and have there this writ. Witness, Sir John ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Big Short’, 18 February 2016

The Big Short 
directed by Adam McKay.
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... people who did. The difficulty with such a story is that the ones who know are likely to appear so wise as to be inhuman, and the ones who don’t know seem more ignorant than anyone can be. This is not a difficulty for Adam McKay in The Big Short, it’s his opportunity, his way of turning a film about the financial crash of 2008 into a very funny, if ...

Sunny Days

Michael Howard, 11 February 1993

Never Again: Britain 1945-51 
by Peter Hennessy.
Cape, 544 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 224 02768 9
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Churchill on the Home Front 1900-1955 
by Paul Addison.
Cape, 493 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 224 01428 5
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... war leader has become so fixed in the public mind that his defeat in 1945 is generally seen as the wise decision of a politically sophisticated electorate: Churchill had been the right man to run the war, but had no serious qualifications as an architect of domestic peace. But as Paul Addison rightly suggests in Churchill on the Home Front, Churchill has been ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘A Dangerous Method’, 8 March 2012

A Dangerous Method 
directed by David Cronenberg.
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... old-fashioned, undiluted shock would do them both a lot of good: Freud doesn’t need to be so wise, and Jung doesn’t need to be so eager. It’s hard to tell whether this is what the film wants us to think, or just a collateral effect of the set-up. The figures, including that of the young woman, Sabina Spielrein, are historical, but this is not a ...
... up calmly, cheating is no problem. There’s no crime here but simply the game, the entire game. A wise man debates with fools: do you call that cheating? A seasoned warrior fights beginners: do you call that cheating? Knowing how things are isn’t cheating. You always go in with a will to win. That’s how life is. Withdraw from the game if you’re ...

Michael Gove recommends …

Robert Hanks: Dennis Wheatley, 20 January 2011

The Devil Is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley 
by Phil Baker.
Dedalus, 699 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 903517 75 8
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... set in Soviet Russia, it introduced Wheatley’s ‘Four Musketeers’: the wealthy, worldly-wise Duke de Richleau, a monarchist exile from France, and his young friends Simon Aron, a brilliant Jewish banker, Rex Van Ryn, a brash, genial American multimillionaire, and the comparatively colourless Englishman Richard Eaton, supposedly a self-portrait. The ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Marlene Dietrich, 17 December 2020

... of her husband. There is no emperor, the assassin explains, only the empress.Vamp, floozy, martyr, wise woman, empress: what do they have in common? Nothing much, unless Dietrich is the link. Then they add up to a portrait of a person who knows – who has always known – that life is a too-ripe ...

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