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Beyond Textualism

Christopher Norris, 19 January 1984

Text Production 
by Michael Riffaterre, translated by Terese Lyons.
Columbia, 341 pp., $32.50, September 1983, 0 231 05334 7
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Writing and the Experience of Limits 
by Philippe Sollers, edited by David Hayman, translated by Philip Barnard.
Columbia, 242 pp., $31.50, September 1983, 0 231 05292 8
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The Reach of Criticism: Method and Perception in Literary Theory 
by Paul Fry.
Yale, 239 pp., £18, October 1984, 0 300 02924 1
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Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism 
by Paul de Man, edited by Wlad Godzich.
Methuen, 308 pp., £7.50, November 1983, 0 416 35860 8
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Displacement: Derrida and After 
edited by Mark Krupnick.
Indiana, 198 pp., £9.75, December 1983, 0 253 31803 3
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Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel as a Literary Genre 
by Susan Rubin Suleiman.
Columbia, 299 pp., £39, August 1983, 0 231 05492 0
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... routine ingenuity. If Riffaterre holds out for the virtues of a disciplined, methodical criticism, Paul Fry has arguments in plenty for doubting that method can ever be more than a delusive dream. His book is a sustained and elegant meditation on the limits of formalist theory, the ways in which reading confounds or eludes the rules laid down by ...

Unreal Food Uneaten

Julian Bell: Sitting for Vanessa, 13 April 2000

The Art of Bloomsbury 
edited by Richard Shone.
Tate Gallery, 388 pp., £35, November 1999, 1 85437 296 3
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First Friends 
by Ronald Blythe.
Viking, 157 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 670 88613 0
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Bloomsbury in France 
by Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright.
Oxford, 430 pp., £25, December 1999, 0 19 511752 2
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... paintings at the Tate last winter, presented along with those of Duncan Grant and Roger Fry as The Art of Bloomsbury. On another level, I approached a show of that name as one does a walk down a rainswept trunk road: however close you pull your coat, you know you’re going to get soaked. In England, ever since Wyndham Lewis fell out with Roger ...

Gloomy Sunday Afternoons

Caroline Maclean: Modernists at the Movies, 10 September 2009

The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period 
by Laura Marcus.
Oxford, 562 pp., £39, December 2007, 978 0 19 923027 3
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... Kinetoscope in 1895 by combining camera and projector in their Cinématographe. In Britain Robert Paul produced his own camera and projector when Edison refused to supply him with films. Paul also patented a design for a time machine based on H.G. Wells’s short story, in which a series of moving platforms would ...

At Tate Britain (2)

Rosemary Hill: Kenneth Clark, 2 July 2014

... Cape’ by Aubrey Beardsley (1894). ‘The Back of the Chair’ by Cézanne (c.1879). ‘The Young Paul Asleep’ by Cézanne (c.1878). Manet’s ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ (1881-82) and Cézanne’s ‘Mont Sainte-Victoire’ (c.1887). The Warburg Institute. Clark as director of the National Gallery. The evacuation of paintings to Wales, just before ...

Journey to Arezzo

Nicholas Penny: The Apotheosis of Piero, 17 April 2003

Piero della Francesca 
by Roberto Longhi, translated by David Tabbat.
Sheep Meadow, 364 pp., £32.50, September 2002, 1 878818 77 5
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... a dull gold ground on the walls of the churches of Saint Germain-des-Prés and Saint Vincent-de-Paul, works in which the Greek and the Gothic are condensed into an exalted style that may one day be acknowledged as more original than the gross realism of Courbet. In these murals, Flandrin had made an artistic decision that was to have enormous ...

The Magic Trousers

Matt Foot: Police Racism, 7 February 2019

Behind the Blue Line: My Fight against Racism and Discrimination in the Police 
by Gurpal Virdi.
Biteback, 299 pp., £20, March 2018, 978 1 78590 321 2
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... The last time I had heard that name was ten years earlier at a memorial service for my father, Paul Foot, at the Hackney Empire. There, Virdi had immediately stood out, as a serving police officer addressing a largely Marxist audience. In 1998 he had been suspended from the Metropolitan Police for ‘sending racist hate mail’ to the police. He was also ...

Unaccountables

Donald Davie, 7 March 1985

The Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid 
edited by Alan Bold.
Hamish Hamilton, 910 pp., £20, August 1984, 0 241 11220 6
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Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters of Robert Graves 1946-1972 
edited by Paul O’Prey.
Hutchinson, 323 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 9780091557508
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... admirers, not by the poet himself, who took no interest in the question, having other fish to fry; and unlike most modernists, Jones had no patience with prosody. The claim for Bunting is not contested, and seems incontestable. As for MacDiarmid, he certainly made the claim for himself, loudly. But as in other matters on which he declared himself, the ...

At Pallant House

Rosemary Hill: Victor Pasmore, 19 April 2017

... Boulogne. The spell of France, transmitted through Bloomsbury by Clark and the criticism of Roger Fry, was compounded by Pasmore’s overly cerebral approach. He read Van Gogh and Cézanne and, concluding that ‘their theories were far in advance of what they were actually painting’, decided to apply their ideas to his own work. This growing interest in ...

Encyclopedias

Theodore Zeldin, 26 October 1989

Pan Encyclopedia 
edited by Judith Hannam.
Pan, 608 pp., £8.99, August 1989, 9780330309202
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Longman Encyclopedia 
edited by Asa Briggs.
Longman, 1179 pp., £24.95, September 1989, 0 582 91620 8
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International Encyclopedia of Communications: Vols I-IV 
edited by Erik Barnouw.
Oxford, 1913 pp., £250, April 1989, 0 19 504994 2
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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives 
edited by Francis Robinson.
Cambridge, 520 pp., £30, September 1989, 0 521 33451 9
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Concise Encyclopedia of Islam 
by Cyril Glass.
Stacey International, 472 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 905743 52 0
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The World’s Religions 
by Ninian Smart.
Cambridge, 576 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 521 34005 5
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The New Physics 
edited by Paul Davies.
Cambridge, 516 pp., £30, March 1989, 0 521 30420 2
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The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopedia 
by H.R. Loyn.
Thames and Hudson, 352 pp., £24, May 1989, 0 500 25103 7
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China in World History 
by S.A.M. Adshead.
Macmillan, 432 pp., £35, June 1988, 0 333 43405 6
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... popular English vocabulary) live in a separate world in this country. It judges that Christopher Fry has a place in conversation, but not Roger Fry, nor Elizabeth Fry. The spy Fuchs has a substantial entry, but whereas the Macmillan Encyclopedia adds ‘his motives were ...

Hitting the buffers

Peter Wollen, 8 September 1994

Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900-1916 
by Christopher Butler.
Oxford, 318 pp., £27.50, April 1994, 0 19 811746 9
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... Workshop, which revelled in bright colour and abstract design. Curiously, the collage which Roger Fry, the founder and organiser of Omega, made at the same time, incorporating l/2d. and 5d. No 88 bus tickets, has much duller colours, rather closer to a Cubist palette. Of course, the Omega Workshop style itself derived from Parisian influences – from the ...

Making faces

Philip Horne, 9 May 1991

The Grimace 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Grafton, 256 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 246 13770 3
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Playing the game 
by Ian Buruma.
Cape, 234 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 224 02758 1
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The Music of Chance 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 217 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 9780571161577
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... bother to try to compute the odds against this happening, and left it as a sharp earful of what Paul Auster calls ‘the music of chance’.Salaman, Buruma and Auster are all connoisseurs of the incongruous connection, all adept stringers-along of the reader into tantalisingly incomplete networks of significance. Salaman is a practised psychological ...

Diary

Paul Foot: The Labour Party’s vacillation over rail privatisation, 28 October 1999

... The prospect of Labour doing what it said it would was enough to frighten off all but the small fry. When the Roscos were flogged off in January 1996, no big investor dared to bid even a fraction of what they were worth. Labour’s bold talk had worked. No serious contender was ‘thinking of grabbing our railways’ or ‘buying a pig in a poke’. If the ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis, 11 September 2008

... Vorticism, the movement he set up with Pound and others around 1913 after a break with Roger Fry, would probably have had a short life even if the war had not intervened. Lewis was not a team player; looking back he said: ‘Vorticism, in fact, was what I, personally, did, and said, at a certain period.’ Other surviving Vorticists were, with ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Gospel According to Saint Matthew’, 21 March 2013

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 
directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
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... it is. But not in the same way that the screenplay for John Huston’s The Bible is by Christopher Fry, or for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ by Paul Schrader. Pasolini hasn’t really written this movie, he has made excerpts from the gospel and filmed them, either as images in the manner we have just ...

Bonking with Berenson

Nicholas Penny, 17 September 1987

Bernard Berenson. Vol. II: The Making of a Legend 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 680 pp., £19.95, May 1987, 0 674 06779 7
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The Partnership: The Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen 
by Colin Simpson.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £15, April 1987, 9780370305851
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... a dizzying but pleasurable succession of meetings with his circle of intimates – Walter Berry, Paul Bourget, Abbé Mugnier, Ralph and Lisa Curtis, Madame de Cossé-Brissac, Rosa Fitz-James (“the best hostess I have ever known”), and Philomène de Lévis-Mirepoix – all members of the fashionable upper crust of cosmopolitan Paris.’ Was there no one ...

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