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17 February 1983
From Author to Reader: A Social Study of Books 
by Peter Mann.
Routledge, 189 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9089 7
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David Copperfield 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 781 pp., £40, March 1981, 0 19 812492 9
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Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Margaret Cardwell.
Oxford, 923 pp., £45, December 1982, 0 19 812488 0
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Books and their Readers in 18th-Century England 
edited by Isabel Rivers.
Leicester University Press, 267 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7185 1189 1
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Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century 
by Ian Norrie.
Bell and Hyman, 253 pp., £12.95, October 1982, 0 7135 1341 1
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Reading Relations 
by Bernard Sharratt.
Harvester, 350 pp., £18.95, February 1982, 0 7108 0059 2
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... simply junked their dead files. Crusoe-like, the student of current publishing history is obliged to make his own tools before he can achieve anything. This, presumably, is the primitive need which PeterMann’s From Author to Reader is intended to supply. Mann’s perspective is severely sociological, and his aim to lay a groundwork of conceptual starting-points. From Author to Reader has a ...

Magic Thrift

J.P. Stern

16 September 1982
Thomas MannThe Making of an Artist 1875-1911 
by Richard Winston.
Constable, 325 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 09 460060 0
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... Richard and Clare Winston are well-known as the authors of elegant and accurate translations of some of Thomas Mann’s essays and correspondence, including The Letters of Thomas Mann, 1889-1955. While annotating that selection, Richard Winston began assembling material for what he intended to be an extensive biography of the writer. It was to be the culmination of a lifetime’s ...

Impossible Conception

T.J. Reed: ‘Death in Venice’

24 September 2014
Deaths in Venice: The Cases of Gustav von Aschenbach 
by Philip Kitcher.
Columbia, 254 pp., £20.50, November 2013, 978 0 02 311626 1
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... The double centenary​ in 2012 of the publication of Kafka’s The Judgment and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice was marked only, to my knowledge, by a single conference, in California. Yet these two stories represented crucial breakthroughs for writers who came to dominate the German ...

I Could Sleep with All of Them

Colm Tóibín: The Mann​ Family

6 November 2008
In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann​ Story 
by Andrea Weiss.
Chicago, 302 pp., £14.50, May 2008, 978 0 226 88672 5
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... Thomas and Katia Mann had six children. It was clear from early on that Katia most loved the second child, Klaus, who was born in 1906, and that Thomas loved Erika, the eldest, born in 1905, and also Elisabeth, born in ...

Her Boy

R.W. Johnson: Mark Thatcher

16 November 2006
Thatcher’s Fortunes: The Life and Times of Mark Thatcher 
by Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran.
Mainstream, 415 pp., £7.99, July 2006, 1 84596 118 8
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The Wonga Coup: The British Mercenary Plot to Seize Oil Billions in Africa 
by Adam Roberts.
Profile, 304 pp., £9.99, June 2006, 1 86197 934 7
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... are nothing if not respectable, you’d be dead wrong, because not only did Mark set himself up in palatial style here but so did Spencer’s ex-friend the convicted fraudster Darius Guppy; Simon Mann, the leader of the attempted mercenary coup in Equatorial Guinea in 2004; and Teodorin Nguema, the playboy son of the Equatoguinean dictator, Obiang Nguema, whom Mann was trying to overthrow. It was ...

Rendings

Edward Timms

19 April 1990
Thomas Mann​ and his Family 
by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Collins, 230 pp., £20, August 1989, 9780002158374
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... comparable to those of German Jews, who experienced more extreme forms of persecution and anguish. His roll-call of radical Jewish dissent extends from Adorno and Benjamin through Kafka and Lukacs to Peter Weiss and Arnold Zweig. But his argument simplifies a more complex problem. His generalisations about Jewish trouble-makers would apply almost equally well to a Catholic like Heinrich Böll, a ...

Deliverance

Daniel Johnson

20 June 1996
The Dear Purchase: A Theme in German Modernism 
by J.P. Stern.
Cambridge, 445 pp., £40, February 1995, 0 521 43330 4
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... Cambridge only woke up to the great achievements of Peter Stern when he died there aged 70 in 1991. Stern’s adoptive university, to which he found himself evacuated from the LSE after arriving from Prague as a refugee from Nazi anti-Semitism, became his ...

What does a chicken know of bombs?

David Thomson: A Key to Brando

25 November 2019
The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando 
by William J. Mann.
HarperCollins, 718 pp., £22, November, 978 0 06 242764 9
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... book aside in frustration. Sure, he’s an angel, a genius, a charmer, but such a muddle and a mess, not to mention a pain in the neck. Imagine what it’s like for the writer. Or for Marlon.William Mann does not have the field to himself. There are at least a dozen biographies of Brando, or memoirs that depend on his presence. The weightiest of these is Peter Manso’s, published in 1994, when ...

Proust? Ha!

Michael Hofmann

21 August 1997
A Book of Memories 
by Péter Nádas, translated by Ivan Sanders and Imre Goldstein.
Cape, 706 pp., £16.99, August 1997, 9780224035248
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... And so it is that there land in front of us – and less and less often, at that – such confections as A Book of Memories, wildly oversold (‘claiming and extending the legacy of Proust and Mann’, ‘one of the great novels of modern times’), fantastically turgid, an all but unreadable version of the versnobter bonkbuster it so unmistakably remains. Had I not been reviewing it, there is ...

Diary

Eric Hobsbawm: Memories of Weimar

24 January 2008
... cultural. The word today suggests the Bauhaus, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Walter Benjamin, the great photographer August Sander and a number of remarkable movies. Weitz picks out six names: Thomas Mann, Brecht, Kurt Weill, Heidegger and the less familiar theorist Siegfried Kracauer and the artist Hannah Höch. One could as easily add, say, Carl Schmitt on the (rare) intellectual right, Ernst Bloch ...

Drowned in Eau de Vie

Modris Eksteins: New, Fast and Modern

21 February 2008
Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond 
by Peter​ Gay.
Heinemann, 610 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 434 01044 8
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... trend would be a gradual ascent with some stunning vertical spurts before and after the First World War. In his new book, Modernism: The Lure of Heresy, the inordinately prolific and widely admired Peter Gay has much to say about the creativity of the moderns but surprisingly little about their negativity. He conceives of Modernism in older terms as principally an intellectual and artistic grouping ...

At Tate Britain

Peter​ Campbell: How We Are

5 July 2007
... emerge from draped velvet in Julia Margaret Cameron’s photograph do not conform to the painterly canon of images of great men. But many early art photographs do recall paintings. Country people in Peter Henry Emerson’s pictures from the 1880s and 1890s of rural life in East Anglia have a Millet-like quietness. Alvin Langdon Coburn’s photogravures of London at night taken in the early 1900s ...

Sunflower

Peter​ Burke

20 March 1986
Velazquez: Painter and Courtier 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 322 pp., £35, March 1986, 0 300 03466 0
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El Greco and his Patrons: Three Major Projects 
by Richard Mann.
Cambridge, 164 pp., £35, February 1986, 0 521 30392 3
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... of works by the Neo-Stoic writer Justus Lipsius. It may not be altogether fanciful to see Velazquez as a Stoic painter, practising the virtues of restraint and discretion they recommended. Richard Mann’s study of El Greco’s patrons is highly appropriate to a new series of monographs on art history of which the editors are Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny. It is the author’s first book, a ...

Firm Lines

Hermione Lee

17 November 1983
Bartleby in Manhattan, and Other Essays 
by Elizabeth Hardwick.
Weidenfeld, 292 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 297 78357 2
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... excepts Orwell (who rather resembles Wilson in his analyses of the Depression, of false language and of Kipling). Indeed, the last essay in Bartleby in Manhattan is an attack on an English critic, Peter Conrad, for trying his hand at just this sort of thing. In these American observers and explainers two characteristics recur. The first is a close attention to the significance of detail (‘no ideas ...

The Eerie One

Bee Wilson: Peter​ Lorre

23 March 2006
The Lost One: A Life of Peter​ Lorre 
by Stephen Youngkin.
Kentucky, 613 pp., $39.95, September 2005, 0 8131 2360 7
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... He thought they looked like two soft-boiled eggs, others preferred to call them poached. Either way, any attempt to describe the appearance of Peter Lorre must deal with those eyes. What teeth are to Julia Roberts and lips to Angelina Jolie, his bulging eyes were to Peter Lorre, his unavoidable calling card and a feature quite out of proportion ...

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