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Drowned in Eau de Vie

Modris Eksteins: New, Fast and Modern, 21 February 2008

Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond 
by Peter Gay.
Heinemann, 610 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 434 01044 8
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... Voici le temps des assassins,’ Rimbaud announced in the wake of the Paris Commune. One could argue that the central motif in Modernism was the notion of violation: André Breton saying that ‘the simplest surrealist act consists of dashing into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can, into the crowd’; Otto Dix portraying a crazed murderer dismembering a female body, flinging limbs hither and thither; Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí slitting an eyeball with a razor in the unwatchable opening sequence of Un Chien andalou ...

You gu gu and I gu gu

Andrew O’Hagan: Vaslav Nijinsky, 20 July 2000

The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky 
edited by Joan Acocella and Kyril Fitzylon.
Allen Lane, 312 pp., £20, August 1999, 0 7139 9354 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £12, May 2000, 0 333 76622 9
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... partly explains his fascination for the Bloomsbury set: war and sexuality were his main concerns. Modris Eksteins explains the way Nijinsky seemed to summon the peculiar worries of the age. ‘Nijinsky was the faun,’ he writes, ‘a wild creature temporarily trapped by society. Imagine, they said to themselves, this incredible physical specimen, given ...

Between centuries

Frank Kermode, 11 January 1990

In the Nineties 
by John Stokes.
Harvester, 199 pp., £17.50, September 1989, 0 7450 0604 3
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Olivia Shakespear and W.B. Yeats 
by John Harwood.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 333 42518 9
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Letters to the New Island 
by W.B. Yeats, edited by George Bornstein and Hugh Witemeyer.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £45, November 1989, 0 333 43878 7
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The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The ‘Little Review’ Correspondence 
edited by Thomas Scott, Melvin Friedman and Jackson Bryer.
Faber, 368 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 571 14099 8
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Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 
edited by Omar Pound and Robert Spoo.
Duke, 181 pp., £20.75, January 1989, 0 8223 0862 2
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Postcards from the End of the World: An Investigation into the Mind of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 
by Larry Wolff.
Collins, 275 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 215171 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Bantam, 396 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 593 01862 1
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Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1916-1925 
by Kenneth Silver.
Thames and Hudson, 506 pp., £32, October 1989, 0 500 23567 8
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... a firm basis for such tremendous generalisations. Such generalisations are also the business of Modris Eksteins’s book, though the pivotal period is now moved on, surely reasonably, to 1914-18. Reminiscent in some ways of Paul Fussell’s work, and of Robert Wohl’s The Generation of 1914 in others, this book has a thesis. Like Wolff’s, it works ...

Whiter Washing

Richard J. Evans: Nazi Journalists, 6 June 2019

Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer: From Inner Emigration to the Moral Reconstruction of West Germany 
by Volker Berghahn.
Princeton, 277 pp., £35, December 2018, 978 0 691 17963 6
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... the well-informed and opinionated reports and debates carried in newspapers and magazines. But, as Modris Eksteins showed in The Limits of Reason (1975), the industry was supporting too many barely profitable titles, and so ran into financial trouble in the Depression, enabling businesses like the chemical company I.G. Farben to buy up shares. I.G. Farben ...

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