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Keeping the synapses busy

Stuart Sutherland, 7 July 1994

Listening to Prozac 
by Peter Kramer.
Fourth Estate, 409 pp., £16.99, April 1994, 1 85702 233 5
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... by patients requesting prescriptions for it, even though they are not in the least mentally ill. Peter Kramer is a bit more cautious, but he does make one seemingly remarkable claim. He asserts that the drug gives people who are unhappy but not depressed (‘dysthymics’ in the esoteric language of psychiatry) great self-confidence and the ability to ...

The Comic Strip

Ian Hamilton, 3 September 1981

... the Outer Limits, is more hooked into the media than is Coyote, and more conventionally slick. Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer have been together now for eight years – ‘We do everything together. We piss into each other’s mouths’ – but for most of that time they played music, with the jokes as decoration. Now a lot of the jokes (many of them ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag, 12 February 2009

Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... is unfavourably impressed with her high-pitched voice. Sontag visits Allen Ginsberg and his lover Peter Orlovsky in their hotel on rue Gît-le-Coeur; years later she will berate herself for namedropping the connection (‘how many times did I talk about Allen Ginsberg last year?’). Sontag goes to her first Paris party, at the home of the philosopher Jean ...


Peter Craven: On the Demidenko Affair, 16 November 1995

... awards (and of the Miles Franklin in particular). Jill Kitson and her fellow judge Dame Leonie Kramer did nothing more sinister than wildly overvalue a novice’s book, but they clung so fiercely to that mistaken judgment that they have given the impression of wanting to back a disturbed and narcissistic girl, with marked plagiaristic tendencies and ...

Half a Million Feathers

Peter Campbell, 4 April 1996

Oceanic Art 
by Nicholas Thomas.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £6.95, May 1995, 0 500 20281 8
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... lost to typhoons and war, were recorded by two German ethnologists, Augustin and Elisabeth Kramer. Palauans traditionally put their graphic talents to use in decorating the gable ends of bai, as the Kramers’ photographers reveal – in strip cartoon-like sequences of scenes of war, mythology and everyday life (including modern cranes and ...

The crematorium is a zoo

Joshua Cohen: H.G. Adler, 3 March 2016

The Wall 
by H.G. Adler, translated by Peter Filkins.
Modern Library, 672 pp., £12.99, September 2015, 978 0 8129 8315 9
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... London until his death in the summer of 1988.’ In 2002, after Sebald’s death, the translator Peter Filkins came across a copy of the German original of The Journey, the middle novel of a trilogy by Adler, in Schoenhof’s Foreign Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Filkins found a very different Adler from the chronicler who had inspired Sebald. Adler’s ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... heterosexual society, often in aggressively heterosexual families. The writer and activist Larry Kramer was told by his father that he wished he’d ‘shot [his] load in the toilet’; when France came out to his family, his father was baffled: ‘It’s like wearing shorts to show off a wooden leg.’ Other men revealed their gayness in the same breath as ...

Tomorrow is here again

Anne Wagner: The First Pop Age, 11 October 2012

The First Pop Age 
by Hal Foster.
Princeton, 338 pp., £20.95, October 2011, 978 0 691 15138 0
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... than the anaesthetics it was initially thought to bring about. ‘Pop Art,’ the critic Hilton Kramer complained in 1962, ‘does not tell us what it feels like to be living through the present moment of civilisation – it is merely part of the evidence of that civilisation.’ ‘What is Pop art?’ G.R. Swenson asked in 1963. He pressed Andy Warhol on ...

What does Fluffy think?

Amia Srinivasan: Pets with Benefits, 7 October 2021

Loving Animals: On Bestiality, Zoophilia and Post-Human Love 
by Joanna Bourke.
Reaktion, 184 pp., £18, October 2020, 978 1 78914 310 2
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... Jasper, the ill-advised beagle that followed, loved no one but himself. The heart of my hamster, Kramer, was an enigma. When one morning I found his cold, motionless body next to the wheel in which he had whirred away the days, a small furry Sisyphus, I cried for a creature I had never really known. But the arrival last summer of Goose, a black ...

What’s It All About?

Tom Lubbock, 6 April 1995

Shark-Infested Waters: The Saatchi Collection of British Art in the Nineties 
by Sarah Kent.
Zwemmer, 270 pp., £19.95, November 1994, 0 302 00648 6
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The Reviews that Caused the Rumpus, and Other Pieces 
by Brian Sewell.
Bloomsbury, 365 pp., £12.99, November 1994, 0 7475 1872 6
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... defending, Michael Craig-Martin, leading light at Goldsmiths’ College; prosecuting, Hilton Kramer, editor of the New Criterion (it’s telling that there was no obvious British champion on this side). It was made a condition that the speakers should not address each other. Afterwards I went to look at Rachel Whiteread’s House by floodlight. A member ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... Sontag magnetised the camera her entire career, a watchful muse and Medusa starer in portraits by Peter Hujar (whose photographs line the inside cover of Moser’s book like a wall of publicity stills), Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, and, later, her partner Annie Leibovitz. Sontag’s post-cancer skunk-stripe hair made her instantly ...

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