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The pleasure of not being there

Peter Brooks, 18 November 1993

Benjamin Constant: A Biography 
by Dennis Wood.
Routledge, 321 pp., £40, June 1993, 0 415 01937 0
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Isabelle de Charrière (Belle de Zuylen): A Biography 
by C.P Courtney.
Voltaire Foundation, 810 pp., £49, August 1993, 0 7294 0439 0
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... Benjamin Constant was a Swiss Protestant patrician and a cosmopolitan, but many episodes of his life fall somewhere between soap opera and boulevard farce. For instance on 5 June 1808, the 41-year-old Constant married Charlotte von Hardenberg (her second marriage had been annulled, his first had ended in divorce), but married her secretly, then took extraordinary precautions to prevent anyone knowing he was married, living apart and visiting Charlotte only clandestinely ...
Body Work 
by Peter Brooks.
Harvard, 325 pp., £39.95, May 1993, 0 674 07724 5
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... of pleasure, not least in its Parisian variants, is a very solemn, high-toned affair. Either, like Peter Brooks in Body Work, you write about this bizarre stuff in an impeccably academic idiom, thus risking an incongruous clash of form and content; or, like some of his American colleagues, you let the body take over your script and risk disappearing up ...

Qui s’accuse, s’excuse

Terry Eagleton: In confessional mode, 1 June 2000

Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature 
by Peter Brooks.
Chicago, 207 pp., £17, May 2000, 0 226 07585 0
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... issues about truth, self-deception, intentionality and the like, most of them subtly dissected in Peter Brooks’s rich, stodgily written new study. The fact that Brooks is an American is not accidental in this respect, since after Stalinist Russia the US is surely the most neurotically confessional culture in modern ...


Ardis Butterfield: Who was Chaucer?, 27 August 2015

... that Chaucer mentions (‘His barge ycleped was the “Maudelayne”’). That ship’s master, Peter Risshenden, together with the famous pirate John Hawley, captured three ships loaded with wine. Such activity is behind these lines: Ful many a draughte of wyn had he ydrawe Fro Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep. Of nyce conscience took he no ...

Is there another place from which the dickhead’s self can speak?

Marina Warner: The body and law, 1 October 1998

Bodies of Law 
by Alan Hyde.
Princeton, 290 pp., £39.50, July 1997, 0 691 01229 6
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... only has being in language. He draws richly from such literary critics as Roland Barthes and Peter Brooks, but he is a member of that rare emerging species, the male feminist, and above all, he invokes Monique Wittig and Julia Kristeva, and heats the whole by the halogen sparkle of the superanovae of the American cultural empyrean – Judith ...

Scenes from the Movies

Peter Campbell, 5 August 1982

Lulu in Hollywood 
by Louise Brooks.
Hamish Hamilton, 109 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 9780241107614
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... The photographs of Louise Brooks in Lulu in Hollywood show a face as beautiful, and almost as unchanging, as a Japanese mask. Both praise and criticism notice this inexpressiveness: ‘Louise Brooks exists with an overwhelming insistence ... always enigmatically impassive,’ ‘Louise Brooks cannot act ...

English Words and French Authors

John Sturrock, 8 February 1990

A New History of French Literature 
edited by Denis Hollier.
Harvard, 1280 pp., £39.95, October 1989, 0 674 61565 4
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... the same. Lesser writers may escape dismemberment: in the best chapter in the entire volume, by Peter Brooks, Laclos and the Liaisons Dangereuses are contained within seven magisterial pages. Such a process makes very good sense intellectually, particularly with authors as inherently decentred as Diderot or Rousseau, but it is unlikely to make sense ...
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 
edited for the Arden Shakespeare series by Harold Brooks.
Methuen, 164 pp., £8, September 1979, 1 903436 60 5
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... proposed – that Theseus said: ‘Now is the mure rased between the two neighbours.’ Professor Brooks admits that this is bad, and agrees that Shakespeare may have agreed to have it changed on the prompt-book, but is certain he wrote it at first, because of the rules invented by Dover Wilson for the misinterpretation of his handwriting. Surely anyone used ...

Talking to the Radiator

Andrew Saint, 2 October 1997

Corbusier’s Formative Years 
by H. Allen Brooks.
Chicago, 506 pp., £51.95, June 1997, 0 226 07579 6
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... in a bowl of the Jura, it is fringed by mountains and pines, in which Emeritus Professor Allen Brooks, musing from the tranquillity of retirement, revels at leisure. ‘Allow time to climb the road,’ he admonishes readers eager to tick off the Villa Fallet, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret’s first house, on the out-skirts of the community. ‘Walk, don’t ...

A Resonance for William Styron

Gabriele Annan, 7 November 1985

Savage Grace 
by Natalie Robins and Steven Aronson.
Gollancz, 473 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 575 03738 5
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... An earlier cure by means of a French girl had not been completely successful; Tony’s father, Brooks Baekeland, had gone off with the girl he married after Barbara’s death. This occurred in Cadogan Square, so Tony was sent to Broadmoor. Eight years later he was released, extradited, and sent to live with his maternal grandmother in New York. He stabbed ...

The Ballad of Andy and Rebekah

Martin Hickman: The Phone Hackers, 17 July 2014

... We now know the answer to Blunkett’s question. The News of the World – first when Rebekah Brooks was editor, then under Coulson – hacked the phones of hundreds of people. In July 2011, after a long cover-up collapsed, Rupert Murdoch closed the paper in an attempt to limit the damage. That same month ...

Waiting for the Dawn to Come

Rachel Bowlby: Reading George Eliot, 11 April 2013

Reading for Our Time: ‘Adam Bede’ and ‘Middlemarch’ Revisited 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Edinburgh, 191 pp., £19.99, March 2012, 978 0 7486 4728 6
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... Shoshana Felman and Barbara Johnson), but also linked to other Yale critics, notably Harold Bloom, Peter Brooks, Geoffrey Hartman and Fredric Jameson. In the decades since then, Miller’s work has continued to evolve, often along paths marked out by Derrida. (Derrida moved from Yale to Irvine in California when Miller moved there in the mid-1980s.) In ...

The smallest details speak the loudest

John Upton: The Stephen Lawrence inquiry, 1 July 1999

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 
by Sir William Macpherson.
Stationery Office, 335 pp., £26, February 1999, 0 10 142622 4
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The Case of Stephen Lawrence 
by Brian Cathcart.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, May 1999, 0 670 88604 1
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... Lawrence was returning home on the night of 22 April 1993, accompanied by his friend Duwayne Brooks. They were waiting to catch a bus near the Well Hall Roundabout in Eltham, South London. A group of white youths ran across the road without warning. Stephen Lawrence was stabbed twice. Duwayne Brooks heard the remark ...


J.B. Trapp, 17 November 1983

Thomas More: History and Providence 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 271 pp., £19.50, September 1982, 0 631 13094 2
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The Statesman and the Fanatic: Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More 
by Jasper Ridley.
Constable, 338 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 9780094634701
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English Reformation Literature: The Tudor Origins of the Protestant Tradition 
by John King.
Princeton, 539 pp., £30.70, December 1982, 0 691 06502 0
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Seven-Headed Luther: Essays in Commemoration of a Quincentenary, 1483-1983 
edited by Peter Newman Brooks.
Oxford, 325 pp., £22.50, July 1983, 0 19 826648 0
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The Complete Works of St Thomas More. Vol. VI: A Dialogue concerning Heresies. Part 1: The Text, Part 2: Introduction, Commentary, Appendices, Glossary, Index 
edited by T.M.C. Lawler, Germain Marc’hadour and Richard Marius.
Yale, 435 pp., £76, November 1981, 0 300 02211 5
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... from his Utopia. Even so, it had been Erasmus who had given him letters to friends such as Peter Giles, dedicatee of Utopia, in Antwerp and it was Erasmus who saw to the publication of Lucian, the epigrams and Utopia, bustling about to secure commendatory letters and so enhance them. Erasmus also coined and disseminated the description ‘a man for all ...

Waldorf’s Birthday Present

Gabriele Annan: The Lovely Langhornes, 7 January 1999

The Langhorne Sisters 
by James Fox.
Granta, 612 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 86207 071 7
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... circles’. Nancy’s divorce coincided with difficulties in Phyllis’s marriage to Reggie Brooks, a sporting Southern gentleman whose drinking was getting out of control. So the sisters set off to England for the hunting season. Nancy took Bobbie, and Phyllis took her sons Peter and Winkie; they also took horses and ...

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