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Hellmouth

Michael André Bernstein: Norman Rush, 22 January 2004

Mortals 
by Norman Rush.
Cape, 715 pp., £18.99, July 2003, 0 224 03709 9
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... Norman Rush’s first novel, Mating (1991), is narrated by an unnamed 32-year-old female doctoral student in nutritional anthropology. It takes the cherished theme of a brilliant and independent woman’s search for a male partner worthy of her, and transplants it to a utopian matriarchal community in Botswana ...

The Basic Couple

Benjamin Kunkel: Norman Rush, 23 October 2013

Subtle Bodies 
by Norman Rush.
Granta, 234 pp., £14.99, October 2013, 978 1 84708 780 5
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... in 1960, when Leslie Fiedler published Love and Death in the American Novel, four years after Norman Rush graduated from Swarthmore College, where he met the woman whose ‘heart, sensibility and intellect are so signally – if perforce esoterically – celebrated and exploited’ in the novels he would come to write, to cite the dedication to the ...

What the Organ-Grinder Said

Christopher Beha: Andrés Neuman, 5 April 2012

Traveller of the Century 
by Andrés Neuman, translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia.
Pushkin, 584 pp., £12.99, February 2012, 978 1 906548 66 7
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... mode of Proust and Musil and Mann, and of those writers from Bellow and Gaddis to Kundera and Norman Rush whose work is marked more by continuity with modernism than by postmodern rupture. Following Bakhtin, we might call these dialogic novels, not just because there’s so much conversation in them, but because the conversation is in dialogue with ...

Wittgenstein’s Confessions

Norman Malcolm, 19 November 1981

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Personal Recollections 
edited by Rush Rhees.
Blackwell, 235 pp., £9.50, September 1981, 0 631 19600 5
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... Rush Rhees has put together a wonderful book. These Recollections are a rich portrayal of Wittgenstein’s extraordinary character and personality, moral force, stunning intelligence. The contributions are by Wittgenstein’s sister, Hermine; Fania Pascal, who taught him Russian in the 1930s; F.R. Leavis, the literary critic; John King, who attended Wittgenstein’s lectures and became a friend; M ...

Cinders

Ian Hamilton, 21 October 1982

Women Working: Prostitution Now 
by Eileen McLeod.
Croom Helm, 177 pp., £6.95, August 1982, 0 7099 1717 1
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An English Madam: The Life and Work of Cynthia Payne 
by Paul Bailey.
Cape, 166 pp., £7.50, October 1982, 0 224 02037 4
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All the Girls 
by Martin O’Brien.
Macmillan, 268 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 333 31099 3
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... then get on with it I haven’t got all day,” and they say “I hope you’re not going to rush me,” and I say “Look cock, you’ve got a certain amount of time here I don’t expect you to be in and out in two minutes, but I don’t expect you to spend two hours here”; they say “Fair enough.” ’ ‘Fair enough’ may indeed be what they say ...

Mother! Oh God! Mother!

Jenny Diski: ‘Psycho’, 7 January 2010

‘Psycho’ in the Shower: The History of Cinema’s Most Famous Scene 
by Philip Skerry.
Continuum, 316 pp., £12.99, June 2009, 978 0 8264 2769 4
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... the ‘shower scene’ proper, from Marion’s feet stepping into the bathtub to the moment when Norman is heard shouting ‘Mother! Oh God! Mother! Blood! Blood!’ back at the house, which Skerry extends to 60 shots by starting the scene from the moment the hapless Marion sits in Cabin 1 figuring what she owes, having determined to redeem herself by ...

Anxiety of Influx

Tony Tanner, 18 February 1982

Plotting the Golden West: American Literature and the Rhetoric of the California Trail 
by Stephen Fender.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £15, January 1982, 0 521 23924 9
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Witnesses to a Vanishing America: The 19th-Century Response 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Princeton, 320 pp., £10.70, July 1981, 9780691064611
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... be sure – his (superbly annotated) book concentrates largely on aspects of the Californian Gold Rush, and the ‘plots’ and maps and charts which emerged from that strange burst of national madness/euphoria/and often amazingly brave adventurism (‘rush’ is an appropriate word, for it seems that everyone was in some ...

The Young Man One Hopes For

Jonathan Rée: The Wittgensteins, 19 November 2019

Wittgenstein’s Family Letters: Corresponding with Ludwig 
edited by Brian McGuinness, translated by Peter Winslow.
Bloomsbury, 300 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 4742 9813 1
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... dons, then it is contradicted by the memoirs of some of Wittgenstein’s devoted friends (Norman Malcolm, Rush Rhees, Con Drury and others), and by a fascinating collection of family letters, published in German in 1996 and now available in English.Wittgenstein’s father was a self-made industrialist who saw ...

Look over your shoulder

Christopher Hitchens, 25 May 1995

... list of mugshots, exposing the real powers behind Zog. My own name appeared next to that of Norman Podhoretz. Momentarily chilling as it was to feel ‘wanted’ by these people (let alone to be gazetted with Podhoretz), the overwhelming impression was of crankiness cut with impotent, pitiable hatred. No longer. The Oklahoma detonation has exposed the ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Personal and Public Affairs, 4 November 1982

... a car for 60 years. Once I used to enjoy this. Now I am embarrassed at having taken part in the rush of Gadarene vehicles. However, I am learning wisdom. My next commitment out of London after St David’s was to Shrewsbury, and there I went by train. The electrified route is a delight. There ought to be far more of them. Shrewsbury was once a great railway ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Hungarians and Falklanders, 17 February 1983

... people, though maybe living a little more modestly. The main streets are as congested during the rush hours as they are in London. The suburban roads are lined with parked cars at night. The only difference from England is that nearly all the cars are on the small side – say, Escort-type. As I drive a Fiesta, I applaud the common sense of the ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Reagan and Rambo, 3 October 1985

... drift to the right, the rediscovery of patriotism, the gruesome maturity of the once iconoclastic Norman Podhoretz, okay, okay! I have one question which Atlas in his much-ballyhooed article did not even discuss. The old gang may have had regrettable flirtations. Their political compromises, endlessly reviewed, may have exhibited naivety or self-regard. But ...

Speaking in Tongues

Robert Crawford, 8 February 1996

The Poetry of Scotland: Gaelic, Scots and English 1380-1980 
edited and introduced by Roderick Watson.
Edinburgh, 752 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 7486 0607 6
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... Aeneid. Writing this review in Douglas’s old university five centuries later I feel an emotional rush when I look out of my window at the North Sea, ‘In this congelit sesson scharp and chill, / The callour ayr, penetratyve and puyr’. I also perceive in medieval Scottish poetry a sense of linguistic pluralism, of occasional relationships across languages ...

Coldbath Fields

Simon Bradley: In Praise of Peabody, 21 June 2007

London in the 19th Century: ‘A Human Awful Wonder of God’ 
by Jerry White.
Cape, 624 pp., £20, January 2007, 978 0 224 06272 5
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... or made things at home. Then there were London’s new schools, built or rebuilt in a great rush after the Elementary Education Act of 1870: the triple-decked brick board schools are still prominent on the skylines of the inner boroughs. The London School Board itself, which had women on it as well as men and was elected by ratepayers of both ...

Living and Dying in Ireland

Sean O’Faolain, 6 August 1981

... both in Dublin, 12th and 13th-century, the one founded by Christianised Danes, the other by Norman-Irish. Ruins abound, mostly of Norman castles, shelters now for wandering cattle and what we used to call wandering tinkers but must now politely call itinerants; though here and there we come on small, endearing ...

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