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The Girl in the Attic

Jenny Diski, 6 March 1997

The Diary of a Young Girl 
by Anne Frank, edited by Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler, translated by Susan Massotty.
Viking, 339 pp., £16, February 1997, 0 670 87481 7
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... prayer, rather as one feels anxious about sending important letters to large organisations. Anne Frank is the only Jewish saint. I first read the diary of Anne Frank when I was about the same age as she was when she began to write it. She seemed to me perfectly to fit the bill as a possible intercessor. Perhaps, in the ...

Except for His Father

Isabel Hull: The Origins of Genocide, 16 June 2016

East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity 
by Philippe Sands.
Weidenfeld, 437 pp., £20, May 2016, 978 1 4746 0190 0
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... of Poland, an area Germany occupied but didn’t annex. The region’s governor-general, Hans Frank, presided over the extermination of Polish intellectuals and almost all of Lemberg’s Jews. In January 1945, the city fell again to the Soviets, and after 1989 became part of Ukraine, once more under a new name, Lviv. Each exchange of control and name was ...

Under threat

Frank Kermode, 21 June 1984

Tributes: Interpreters of our Cultural Tradition 
by E.H. Gombrich.
Phaidon, 270 pp., £17.50, April 1984, 0 7148 2338 4
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... celebrated are friends and professional associates of the author: Frances Yates, Ernst Kris, Otto Kurz, George Boas. Others are great art historians of an earlier generation: Aby Warburg and Johan Huizinga, each remembered on the centenary of his birth. More remote are Hegel and Lessing, remembered in occasional pieces which again demonstrate ...

Gorgon in Furs

D.D. Guttenplan: Paula Fox, 12 December 2002

Borrowed Finery: A Memoir 
by Paula Fox.
Flamingo, 256 pp., £12, August 2002, 0 00 713724 9
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... afternoon in Cobble Hill, a neighbourhood of brownstone houses a few blocks from Brooklyn Heights. Otto and Sophie Bentwood are sitting down to sauteéd chicken livers and risotto Milanese. With her inventory of the couple’s willow-ware platter, Tiffany lampshade and a bookcase ‘which held, among other volumes, the complete works of Goethe and two shelves ...

Novels about Adultery

Frank Kermode, 15 May 1980

Love and Marriage 
by Laurence Lerner.
Edward Arnold, 264 pp., £12, August 1979, 0 7131 6227 9
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Adultery in the Novel: Contract and Transgression 
by Tony Tanner.
Johns Hopkins, 383 pp., £9.75, April 1980, 0 8018 2178 9
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... and guest. He asks why three of the characters involved have closely related names (Charlotte, Otto, Ottilie), and why the child born of the central and rather louche sexual act should resemble not its parents but the lovers for whom they were surrogates, and why it should be named Otto rather than Edward, after its ...

Made in Heaven

Frank Kermode, 10 November 1994

Frieda Lawrence 
by Rosie Jackson.
Pandora, 240 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 9780044409151
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The Married Man: A Life of D.H. Lawrence 
by Brenda Maddox.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 631 pp., £20, August 1994, 1 85619 243 1
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by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Bruce Steele.
Cambridge, 493 pp., £60, August 1994, 0 521 38455 9
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Twilight in Italy and Other Essays 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Paul Eggert.
Cambridge, 327 pp., £55, August 1994, 0 521 26888 5
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... long since ended, and also of Edward Carpenter and Bertrand Russell, as well as of her early lover Otto Gross and other pre-war German thinkers and doers. Her performance as a mother must also be shown to be impeccable. Of course it is right to say that Lawrence behaved very badly about the children, though whether her leaving them was consistent with Frieda ...

Is writing bad for you?

Frank Kermode, 21 February 1991

Writer’s Block 
by Zachary Leader.
Johns Hopkins, 325 pp., £19.50, January 1991, 0 8018 4032 5
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... to be blocked is itself a sure sign that the patient isn’t a poet anyway); and a tribute to Otto Rank, for whom the problem of creative blockage was central. Leader pays his respects to others as well, but his destination is the English object-relations school of psychoanalytical thought. After dealing with Klein he settles down happily with ...
A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein 
by John Kerr.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 608 pp., £25, February 1994, 1 85619 249 0
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... sexual wishes in his patients’ dreams and was given his marching orders), Eugen Bleuler, (Miss) Frank Miller (altruistically given to analysing her own poems), Otto Weininger (a suicide), Johann Jakob Honegger Jr (a suicide), Krafft-Ebing, Goethe, Nietzsche, Leopold Löwenfeld, Wilhelm Stekel, James Jackson Putnam, Karl ...

It could be me

Joanna Biggs: Sheila Heti, 24 January 2013

How Should a Person Be? 
by Sheila Heti.
Harvill Secker, 306 pp., £16.99, January 2013, 978 1 84655 754 5
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... or to Joan Didion, and the literary equivalent of the filmmaker Lena Dunham or the songwriter Frank Ocean, who astonished the luridly heterosexual R’n’B scene last year by recording love songs addressed to his boyfriend. But what if she’d just prefer to be one of the characters in Made in Chelsea? Heti, who turned 36 on Christmas Day, has said that ...


Celia Paul: Painting in the Dark, 17 December 2020

... him that people presumed he’d been influenced by the Neue Sachlichkeit movement – the painters Otto Dix, George Grosz and Christian Schad who were active during Lucian’s childhood in Berlin. It came to an end, along with the Weimar Republic, in 1933, the year that Lucian and his family fled to England.Lucian once told William Feaver: ‘I want to be ...

Princely Pride

Jonathan Steinberg: Emperor Frederick III, 10 May 2012

Our Fritz: Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany 
by Frank Lorenz Müller.
Harvard, 340 pp., £33.95, October 2011, 978 0 674 04838 6
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... do the decent thing. At 84, the old man simply would not die. Worse, his ‘over-mighty subject’ Otto von Bismarck, in spite of constant illness and breakdowns, continued to exercise his power over the old emperor. The crown prince felt utterly useless: ‘fifty years, life therefore behind me, idle observer in daily self-denial, discipline practised over a ...

Short Cuts

Jonathan Meades: This Thing Called the Future, 8 September 2016

... architects on this West Coast gravy train are, predictably, those consummate exterior decorators Frank Gehry and Thomas Heatherwick. They are unlikely to cede control to the rodents inhabiting their bespoke boxes which plainly derive from the biospheres and domes of the late 1960s and 1970s. Those are among the more feasible, more tested, hence more ...

Is it ‘Mornington Crescent’?

Alex Oliver: H W Fowler, 27 June 2002

The Warden of English: The Life of H.W. Fowler 
by Jenny McMorris.
Oxford, 242 pp., £19.99, June 2001, 0 19 866254 8
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... trite’; ‘a true autobiography of a second-rate soul’. Henry bolted again, this time to join Frank, his younger brother, who was growing tomatoes in Guernsey. They impressed OUP with a translation of Lucian, and from then on were virtually full-time employees of the Press. Next came The King’s English (1906), which provided some of the content for the ...


Frank Kermode: William Golding, 5 November 2009

William Golding: The Man Who Wrote ‘Lord of the Flies’ 
by John Carey.
Faber, 573 pp., £25, 0 571 23163 2
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... associated with a fear of the supernatural. At much the same time there was a vogue for Rudolf Otto’s book The Idea of the Holy, which, as it happens, cites Stonehenge as an instance of what Otto called ‘the numinous’, a concept, some maintain, that may be welcomed by people who avoid more usual religious ...

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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... 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. The mutilation of symbol, value, history ...

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