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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Master’, 11 October 2012

... People weren’t walking out in droves from the suburban cinema in which we saw Paul ThomasAnderson’s new film The Master because there weren’t droves there: just perhaps eight or nine people. But they did all walk out, in a slow trickle that started about halfway through the film ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Phantom Thread’, 22 February 2018

Phantom Thread 
directed by Paul ThomasAnderson.
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... in which this scene occurs, and in which a whole series of versions of it are offered to us, is Paul ThomasAnderson’s Phantom Thread, hailed as a masterpiece by some critics and viewers and deemed an annoying waste of time by others. I would say it’s a staring contest we can’t win. But we can’t lose ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inherent Vice’, 5 February 2015

Inherent Vice 
directed by Paul ThomasAnderson.
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... supporting actor. In a sluggish movie we keep looking at our watch and it seems to have stopped. Paul ThomasAnderson’s Inherent Vice is more slow than sluggish but pretty sluggish all the same. Anderson wrote the adaptation himself and clearly loves the 2009 ...

Diary

Christian Lorentzen: Homo Trumpiens, 3 November 2016

... Hey, everybody,​ how about it, huh?’ Paul Ryan said, coming onto a stage decorated with hay bales and pumpkins in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of 9 October. ‘Man, good day! Good to see you, what a beautiful day, huh? Welcome to Fall Fest, you guys! Welcome to Fall Fest! Look, let me just start off by saying, there is a bit of an elephant in the room ...

English Marxists in dispute

Roy Porter, 17 July 1980

Arguments within English Marxism 
by Perry Anderson.
New Left Books, 218 pp., £3.95, May 1980, 0 86091 727 4
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Capitalism, State Formation and Marxist Theory 
edited by Philip Corrigan.
Quartet, 232 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2241 2
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Writing by Candlelight 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 286 pp., £2.70, May 1980, 0 85036 257 1
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... to Marxist history. In France, Louis Althusser and his disciples, and in England followers such as Paul Q. Hirst and Barry Hindess, have argued that the business of Marxist intellectuals is to construct not history but theory (e.g. a rationally water tight account of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, not one purportedly told from the ‘facts’ and ...

Damsons and Custard

Paul Laity: Documentary cinema’s unsung poet, 3 March 2005

Humphrey Jennings 
by Kevin Jackson.
Picador, 448 pp., £30, October 2004, 0 330 35438 8
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... is far from a household name, his critical reputation has for decades been extremely high; Lindsay Anderson, an influential champion of his work, considered him ‘the only real poet the British cinema has yet produced’. The best, and best-known, of his films – the 20-minute montage Listen to Britain and Fires Were Started, an account of a day in the life ...

‘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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... review. To many traditionalists this decline is a source of regret. Not the least merit of Paul Halliday’s enthralling and scholarly historical survey, focusing primarily on the years 1500-1800, is to remind us of what could be seen as the glory days of habeas corpus. John Anderson was a slave in ...

Getting it right

Tam Dalyell, 18 July 1985

The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... This is no exaggeration. Simply a statement of fact. I am in a position to know. However right Paul Rogers, Lee Chadwick, Arthur Gavshon and I may have been, the fact is that without the sustained interest of Guardian readers, and, in my case, the Labour Party up and down the country, there was no way which the professors of Belgrano Studies, as David ...

Karl’s Darl

M. Wynn Thomas, 11 January 1990

William Faulkner: American Writer 
by Frederick Karl.
Faber, 1131 pp., £25, July 1989, 9780571149919
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William Faulkner 
by David Dowling.
Macmillan, 183 pp., £6.95, June 1989, 0 333 42855 2
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... the end be omitted. Faulkner’s ungrateful and ungracious treatment of his early mentor, Sherwood Anderson, may be charitably interpreted as youthful high jinks (although Karl brings out the malice of rivalry in it). His invitation in distinguished middle age to young women to come and inspect his valuable etchings (alias the manuscripts of his famous ...

Embalming Father

Thomas Lynch, 20 July 1995

... thing, no symbols, no euphemisms, no half-measures. If he’d raised anything less, of course, as Paul points out, the deacon and several others of us would be out of business or back to Saturday Sabbaths, a sensible diet and no more Christmases. The bodies of the newly dead are not debris or remnant, nor are they entirely icon or essence. They ...

A Ripple of the Polonaise

Perry Anderson: Work of the Nineties, 25 November 1999

History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the Nineties 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Allen Lane, 441 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7139 9323 5
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... dated to the Grand Siècle, the time of the voyages to Mughal India of François Bernier or Thomas Coryate. Distinctions between the more advanced European cultures in the volume or quality of travellers’ tales would be difficult to make for most of the modern period. In the Enlightenment, for every Cook there was a Bougainville or Georg ...

Most Himself

Matthew Reynolds: Dryden, 19 July 2007

The Poems of John Dryden: Vol. V 1697-1700 
edited by Paul Hammond and David Hopkins.
Longman, 707 pp., £113.99, July 2005, 0 582 49214 9
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Dryden: Selected Poems 
edited by Paul Hammond and David Hopkins.
Longman, 856 pp., £19.99, February 2007, 978 1 4058 3545 9
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... resurrectors. The same melancholy afflicts his most authoritative modern biographer, James Anderson Winn: ‘Any candid teacher of English literature must admit that many students find little pleasure or stimulation in those few selections from Dryden we now ask them to read.’ The difficulty is not confined to students, or to recent ...

Desperately Seeking Susan

Terry Castle: Remembering Susan Sontag, 17 March 2005

... Walser? (Ooooh errrg blush, ahem, little cough, um: No, I’m ashamed to say . . .) Had I read Thomas Bernhard? (Yes! – Yes, I have! ‘Wittgenstein’s Nephew’! Yay! Yippee! Wow! Phew! – dodged the bullet that time!) It seemed, for a while at least, that I had yet to be contaminated by the shocking intellectual mediocrity surrounding me at Stanford ...

Reach-Me-Down Romantic

Terry Eagleton: For and Against Orwell, 19 June 2003

George Orwell 
by Gordon Bowker.
Little, Brown, 495 pp., £20, May 2003, 0 316 86115 4
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Orwell: The Life 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 448 pp., £20, June 2003, 0 7011 6919 2
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Orwell: Life and Times 
by Scott Lucas.
Haus, 180 pp., £8.99, April 2003, 1 904341 33 0
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... his paedophilic housemaster. If Williams’s notion does not take sufficient account of the Paul Foots of this world, it also fails to take account of the army of ex-working-class socialists who are not averse to swapping their political beliefs for a Jacobean farmhouse in Kent. Orwell did not get a bullet through his throat in Spain ...

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 AndersonThe ‘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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... 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 outward from particular occasions to generalisations. One is the first night of Le Sacre du Printemps in May 1913, ‘a milestone in ...

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