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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Prometheus’, 5 July 2012

Prometheus 
directed by Ridley Scott.
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... of Prometheus could well have been ‘Frankenstein Revisited’. It’s hard to get Mel Brooks out of one’s mind here, but Victor Frankenstein’s real achievement was to create life – out of bits and pieces of dead bodies to be sure. In Scott’s movie a creature who looks not like Victor but an athletic version of his creature drinks a small ...

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 ...

Up from Under

John Bayley, 18 February 1988

The Faber Book of Contemporary Australian Short Stories 
edited by Murray Bail.
Faber, 413 pp., £12.95, January 1988, 0 571 15083 7
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... in this book recognise it in one way or another. Most, like the examples by Helen Garner, David Brooks, Peter Carey, Joan London, Kate Grenville, are admirably achieved on this basis, the authors all born in the Forties or Fifties; and the names indicate that the newer European immigrants have not yet found a voice in ...

Thatcher’s Artists

Peter Wollen, 30 October 1997

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection 
by Norman Rosenthal.
Thames and Hudson, 222 pp., £29.95, September 1997, 0 500 23752 2
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... work is represented in the show, as well as a prolific art journalist (Art Forum, Flash Art etc). Brooks Adams is an American an journalist based in New York, who follows up with an outsider’s account, enthusiastically describing the works’ rather patchy reception in the United States. Finally, Lisa Jardine, an academic who doubles as an art ...

Strangers

John Lanchester, 11 July 1991

Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon 
edited by Stephen Egger.
Praeger, 250 pp., £33.50, October 1990, 0 275 92986 8
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Serial Killers 
by Joel Norris.
Arrow, 333 pp., £4.99, July 1990, 0 09 971750 6
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Life after Life 
by Tony Parker.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.50, May 1991, 0 330 31528 5
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American Psycho 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 399 pp., £6.99, April 1991, 0 330 31992 2
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Dirty Weekend 
by Helen Zahavi.
Macmillan, 185 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 333 54723 3
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Silence of the Lambs 
by Thomas Harris.
Mandarin, 366 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 7493 0942 3
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... of virtuoso psychiatrist-bashing. (Both also provided the occasion for first-rate books: on Peter Sutcliffe, Gordon Burn’s Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son and Nicole Ward-Jouve’s The Street-Cleaner; on Dennis Nilsen, Brian Masters’s Killing for Company.) Before the 1981 trial of Peter Sutcliffe for the 13 ...

Skating Charm

James Wolcott: Kenneth Tynan, 13 December 2001

The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan 
edited by John Lahr.
Bloomsbury, 439 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 7475 5418 8
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... his reputation through a series of profiles for the New Yorker, his biggest scoop enticing Louise Brooks to break her silence, a piece laden with Sunset Boulevard shadows. The much-publicised party snap of Tynan in drag as Brooks, looking instead eerily like a cross between Milton Berle and Anna Wintour. His ...

Kinks on the Kinks

Michael Wood: Plots, 5 May 2016

Plots 
by Robert Belknap.
Columbia, 165 pp., £22, May 2016, 978 0 231 17782 5
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... for siuzhet is also “plot”.’ This makes perfect sense in spite of the mischief, and echoes Peter Brooks’s thought in Reading for the Plot (1984), still the indispensable book on this subject: ‘“Plot” … seems to me to cut across the fabula/siuzhet distinction … Plot could be thought of as the interpretive activity elicited by the ...

Who’s Got the Moxie?

A. Craig Copetas, 23 March 1995

The Mexican Tree Duck 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 247 pp., £15.99, May 1994, 0 330 32451 9
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One to Count Cadence 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 338 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 330 32450 0
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... real estate was cheap, plentiful and luring the likes of Tom McGuane, Tim Cahill, Jeff Bridges, Peter Fonda and the late Seymor Lawrence. Frontier towns like Livingston and Boulder Creek are today about as close as you can get to a nursing home for Sixties’ veterans and survivors of the more recent Hollywood filmscript wars – complete with a beanery in ...

Our Founder

John Bayley: Papa Joyce, 19 February 1998

John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father 
by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello.
Fourth Estate, 493 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 85702 417 6
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... of the Chelsea Press, editor of Flann O’Brien and Oscar Wilde, and the Dublin social historian Peter Costello, should have been inspired to produce a full-length biography of, so to speak, Our Founder. It is in its way a unique undertaking. Hard to think of any other father in the history of literature, more particularly of literature in English, who made ...

No Accident

Zachary Leader: Gore Vidal’s Golden Age, 21 June 2001

The Golden Age: A Novel 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 467 pp., £17.99, October 2000, 0 316 85409 3
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... sentences: While Frederika dozed, Blaise went into the men’s section of the pool house, where Peter had observed his sister, Enid, being made love to by Clay Overbury, now her husband, as well as aide to Senator James Burden Day, whose daughter, Diana, was becoming, more and more, the center of Peter’s ...

Moments

Marilyn Butler, 2 September 1982

The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. I: Medieval Literature Part One: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition, Vol. II: The Age of Shakespeare, Vol. III: From Donne to Marvell, Vol. IV: From Dryden to Johnson 
edited by Boris Ford.
Penguin, 647 pp., £2.95, March 1982, 0 14 022264 2
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Medieval Writers and their Work: Middle English Literature and its Background 
by J.A. Burrow.
Oxford, 148 pp., £9.95, May 1982, 0 19 289122 7
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Contemporary Writers Series: Saul Bellow, Joe Orton, John Fowles, Kurt Vonnegut, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Pynchon 
by Malcolm Bradbury, C.W.E. Bigsby, Peter Conradi, Jerome Klinkowitz and Blake Morrison.
Methuen, 110 pp., £1.95, May 1982, 0 416 31650 6
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... Romantic primitivism he shares with Burke, Coleridge, Cobbett and Dickens, the wish of Barrie’s Peter Pan that our lives could be simple and protected, like children’s, and that society had never had to grow up. But Leavis is genuinely powerful on morals, on relationships, especially domestic ones, between lovers or within the family. His insistence that ...

Radical Literary Theory

John Ellis, 8 February 1990

Fraud: Literary Theory and the End of English 
by Peter Washington.
Fontana, 188 pp., £4.99, September 1989, 0 00 686138 5
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... as the reference of a word which used to be about the business of analysing such things. Peter Washington’s book is a polemic against the viewpoint which is often spoken of as if it were quite simply modern theory of literature rather than the particular critical ideology that it is. While his title accepts the identification of theory with this ...

In the bright autumn of my senescence

Christopher Hitchens, 6 January 1994

In the Heat of the Struggle: Twenty-Five Years of ‘Socialist Worker’ 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1993, 0 906224 94 2
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Why You Should Join the Socialists 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 70 pp., £1.90, November 1993, 0 906224 80 2
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... sake of ‘unity’, a pro-Chinese speaker (for some reason I remember that his name was Henderson Brooks) who maintained that all this proved the rightness of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. That was too much for me, so I made a brief intervention from the floor. As the meeting broke up, I was approached by a small, scruffy and slightly misshapen ...

Rainbows

Graham Coster, 12 September 1991

Paradise News 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 294 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 436 25668 1
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... in a surfing accident by Terry and Tony, the gay couple, and not only are Sidney and Lilian Brooks from Croydon converted to proud parents of a brave son but Cecily, the hoity bride (who has been able to resuscitate her husband with mouth-to-mouth technique fortunately learned in the Guides), is reconciled to the respiring Russ by the fright of nearly ...

What makes Rupert run?

Ross McKibbin: Murdoch’s Politics, 20 June 2013

Murdoch’s Politics: How One Man’s Thirst for Wealth & Power Shapes Our World 
by David McKnight.
Pluto, 260 pp., £12.99, February 2013, 978 0 7453 3346 5
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... likely to have – and Murdoch has done his bit in furthering it. He and Robert Stigwood financed Peter Weir’s film Gallipoli (1981), which stands in this tradition. A ‘radical’ rhetoric armed Murdoch for his invasion of the United States. In what McKnight calls a ‘deep political transformation’, America and a neoconservative view of the country ...

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