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Poor Devils

Peter France, 2 December 1982

The Literary Underground of the Old Regime 
by Robert Darnton.
Harvard, 258 pp., £11.55, November 1982, 0 674 53656 8
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... Marmontel, Condorcet, La Harpe... Two familiar images come together here. Eighteenth-century France as a place of refinement, good taste and witty conversation, a haven of the ‘civilisation’ celebrated long ago by Clive Bell. But at the same time the dynamic new France, in which great thinkers shake the foundations ...


Peter Burke, 16 September 1982

Le Roi-Machine: Spectacle et Politique au Temps de Louis XIV 
by Jean-Marie Apostolidès.
Les Editions de Minuit, 164 pp., £4.50
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Le Portrait du Roi 
by Louis Marin.
Les Editions de Minuit, 300 pp., £5.60
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... is with the place of the arts in the ‘state apparatus’. He assumes rather than argues that France in Louis’s reign was passing through the crucial moment of primary accumulation in the transition from feudalism to capitalism. He also assumes that the function of spectacle was mystification. It was, in his neat phrase, ‘ideology made ...

Charmed Life

John Bayley, 15 September 1983

The Russian Revolutionary Novel: Turgenev to Pasternak 
by Richard Freeborn.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £27.50, January 1983, 0 521 24442 0
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Boris Pasternak: His Life and Art 
by Guy de Mallac.
Souvenir, 450 pp., £14.95, February 1983, 0 285 62558 6
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Pasternak: A Biography 
by Ronald Hingley.
Weidenfeld, 294 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 9780297782070
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Selected Poems 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France.
Allen Lane, 160 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 7139 1497 1
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Poets of Modern Russia 
by Peter France.
Cambridge, 240 pp., £20, February 1983, 0 521 23490 5
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Russian Literature since the Revolution 
by Edward Brown.
Harvard, 413 pp., £20, December 1982, 0 674 78203 8
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... the Formalists would say, is conveyed in the selection of poems translated by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France, and in France’s excellent study Poets of Modern Russia, which besides that on Pasternak contains informative essays on Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Mayakovsky, and the poets of today. A ...
Founders of the Welfare State 
edited by Paul Barker.
Gower, 138 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 435 82060 5
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The Affluent Society 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 233 97771 6
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... the post-war order which swathes the whole of Northern Europe and extends imperfectly into France and northern Italy. We are also describing an era which may be ending. Certainly full employment is no more. And Keynesianism is out of fashion. At the same time, there is in most countries, not merely in Britain, a more specific ‘crisis of the Welfare ...

In the Country

Peter Campbell: Trees, 24 September 2009

... What I did on my holidays. Twice in the summer I went to France, to La Sauvetat in the South-West and Mourjou in the Auvergne, and once in the spring to Italy, to Santa Cristina in Umbria, not far from Orvieto. Agriculture is, for visitors, a spectator sport. To offer a commentary on land management would be impertinent ...

Medieval Dreams

Peter Burke, 4 June 1981

Time, Work and Culture in the Middle Ages 
by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Chicago, 384 pp., £13.50, January 1981, 0 226 47080 6
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... their appearance in English, is one of the liveliest and most stimulating historians at work in France today – no small praise at a time when Ladurie has just published another monograph, and Braudel is still active. One essay in this collection dates from the year in which Le Goff set the members of his seminar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes the task of ...

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Robb, 2 May 1985

... Despite a new paralysis – my back –Am stirred, perhaps, to mine the new resource,Put down my worn suitcases and unpack.[Publications]Reader, should I turn another page?Fly off to somewhere, maybe even worse?Or limp serenely into middle ageAnd try to flog this flimsy book of verse? [c/o Fig Tree PocketQldAustraliaphotopies ofrelevantdocumentati ...

In Cambridge

Peter Campbell: The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, 18 August 2005

... a Pontifical – a book listing the ceremonies only a bishop can perform – that was made in France in the early 1300s. The Pontifical, one of the most perfectly constructed and elegantly articulated manuscripts in the exhibition, uses the text as the basis for a work of art. The Jarrow scribe’s pen unreels the text character by character, line by ...

At the Ashmolean

Peter Campbell: Lucien and Camille Pissarro, 3 February 2011

... Thomas Bewick. The move was towards books that were more readable, less monumental, plainer. In France things were different: the mix of type, lithography and etching, as well as woodcutting, resulted in wonders of freely drawn illustration. In 1900, while Pissarro was producing little books of Flaubert stories with wood-engraved frontispieces and ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: British Art and the French Romantics, 20 February 2003

... and classical myth were discarded as subject matter. The English had a lot to answer for. In France, where the state bought large paintings for the Luxembourg, and for provincial museums and churches, it had always been reasonable to paint big pictures. In England – but more and more in France too – size and ...

At the White Cube

Peter Campbell: Anselm Kiefer, 22 February 2007

... work, called Jericho, matches towers he has erected in his 35-acre open-air studio in the South of France. Each of the storeys is a roughly three-metre cube, made from reinforced concrete casts of the corner of a freight container. A door is cut out on each side of each cube: if you step in on the ground floor you can look up, through round, bashed-out ...

On the Streets

Peter Campbell: The Plane Trees of London, 18 October 2001

... seems to the casual eye – and because few are trimmed to size, fewer than would be the case in France. The height of the tide will depend on taste and on what is often still unknown: the size to which an exotic species grown in this country can reach. Dendrologists must often leave knowledge of the potential size of individual trees to their ...

Loose Woven

Peter Howarth: Edward Thomas’s contingencies, 4 August 2005

Collected Poems 
by Edward Thomas, edited by R. George Thomas.
Faber, 264 pp., £12.99, October 2004, 0 571 22260 9
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... been part of the complex and tangled relation of circumstances which had put Thomas on the road to France as well as to poetry, and this knowledge tinges the poem he sent to Thomas about a month before the latter enlisted in July 1915: I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I – I took the ...

At Condor Cycles

Peter Campbell: The Tour, 19 July 2001

... On 7 July the Tour de France began in Dunkirk. Lance Armstrong, who won in 1999 and 2000, has called it ‘a contest of purposeless suffering’. Cycling more than two thousand miles (many of them mountainous) in 21 days is as brutal a challenge as sport can offer. To meet it the human body is treated like a machine – the engine of the bike/body vehicle ...

At Low Magnification

Peter Campbell: Optical Instruments, 9 September 2010

... At lunch in France last week, with an expert on cheese and its management, the conversation turned to mites. The four teenage girls who were of the party wanted to know what they were getting their teeth into. Cheese mites are too small to be seen easily with the naked eye. Was there a magnifying glass around? There I could help, I had two of the kind of hand lenses botanists and geologists use in the field ...

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