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Hare’s Blood

Peter Wollen: John Berger, 4 April 2002

The Selected Essays of John Berger 
edited by Geoff Dyer.
Bloomsbury, 599 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 7475 5419 6
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... John Berger’s selected essays run to nearly six hundred pages, yet that is just the tip of the iceberg if one looks at the totality of his published work: the essays and reviews about the visual arts – drawing, painting, photography, film – but also short stories, journals, screenplays, travel articles, letters, television scripts, translations, novels, poems, even a requiem in three parts which gives a wrenching account of the untimely deaths of three of Berger’s neighbours ...

Cheerfully Chopping up the World

Michael Wood: Film theory, 2 July 1998

The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium 
by Gilberto Perez.
Johns Hopkins, 466 pp., £25, April 1998, 0 8018 5673 6
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On the History of Film Style 
by David Bordwell.
Harvard, 322 pp., £39.95, February 1998, 0 674 63428 4
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Gilles Deleuze's Time Machine 
by D.N. Rodowick.
Duke, 260 pp., £46.95, October 1997, 0 8223 1962 4
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The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema 
by Jean Mitry, translated by Christopher King.
Athlone, 405 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 485 30084 2
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Signs and Meaning in the Cinema 
by Peter Wollen.
BFI, 188 pp., £40, May 1998, 0 85170 646 0
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... to stay and look. ‘Why do you think we have suddenly become so interested in early cinema?’ Peter Wollen asks at the end of the new edition of his Signs and Meaning in the Cinema. ‘It’s more than archaeology. It is to regain a sense of cinema as potential, not yet frozen into the world spectacle. It is to imagine a renaissance.’ Bordwell, I ...

Mad Monk

Jenny Diski: Not going to the movies, 6 February 2003

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 963 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 316 85905 2
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Nobody’s Perfect: Writings from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Anthony Lane.
Picador, 752 pp., £15.99, November 2002, 0 330 49182 2
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Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film 
by Peter Wollen.
Verso, 314 pp., £13, December 2002, 1 85984 391 3
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... didn’t), I’d have bothered to stop for a fight. In Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film, Peter Wollen makes no mention of Titanic, and one would rather hesitate to mention it to him. He writes as an academic, which does not mean he loves film any less than Thomson, but does mean that his love isn’t as evident. His essays sometimes cover the ...

At The Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Gerhard Richter, 8 January 2004

... Gudrun Ensslin – the images from which the paintings in the series October 18, 1977 were made (Peter Wollen wrote about them in the LRB of 5 April 2001). Some of the images are out of focus; a few have had grids drawn over them or been extended: indications that they are the source for a painting on canvas. Also at the Whitechapel, mostly hung away ...

Many Andies

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 October 1997

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes 
by Andy Warhol.
Bulfinch Press, 35 pp., $10.95, May 1997, 0 8212 2319 4
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Style, Style, Style 
by Andy Warhol.
Bulfinch Press, 30 pp., $10.95, May 1997, 0 8212 2320 8
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Who is Andy Warhol? 
edited by Colin MacCabe, Mark Francis and Peter Wollen.
BFI, 162 pp., £40, May 1997, 9780851705880
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All Tomorrow’s Parties: Billy Name’s Photographs of Andy Warhol’s Factory 
by Billy Name.
frieze, 144 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 9527414 1 5
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The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night 
by Anthony Haden-Guest.
Morrow, 404 pp., $25, April 1996, 9780688141516
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... few of the authors any favours at all. Mercifully, there is one essay here, by one of the editors, Peter Wollen, which is useful in helping you get the connection between Warhol’s commercial drawings and his big silkscreens, between the fashion pages and The Factory, and the role he came to assume there as Svengali-producer and artist-voyeur. Clement ...

From Plato to Nato

Christopher Norris, 7 July 1983

Literary Theory: An Introduction 
by Terry Eagleton.
Blackwell, 244 pp., £15, May 1983, 0 631 13258 9
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Essays on Fiction 1971-82 
by Frank Kermode.
Routledge, 227 pp., £9.95, May 1983, 0 7100 9442 6
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Deconstructive Criticism: An Advanced Introduction 
by Vincent Leitch.
Hutchinson, 290 pp., £15, January 1983, 0 09 150690 5
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Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies 
by Peter Wollen.
Verso, 228 pp., £15, March 1983, 0 86091 055 5
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Knowing the Poor: A Case-Study in Textual Reality Construction 
by Bryan Green.
Routledge, 221 pp., £12.95, February 1983, 0 7100 9282 2
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... of the rise and present institutional character of English Studies. A similar case was argued by Peter Widdowson and his contributors in the ‘New Accents’ volume Re-Reading English. It is hardly surprising that their arguments were met with great hostility by those (not only ‘Leavisites’) who continue to believe in the vital role of English as a ...

Vehicles of Dissatisfaction

Jonathan Dollimore: Men and Motors, 24 July 2003

Autopia: Cars and Culture 
edited by Peter Wollen and Joe Kerr.
Reaktion, 400 pp., £25, November 2002, 1 86189 132 6
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... Gridlock is a great leveller. It immobilises the fastest roadster as surely as the slowest truck. It reminds us that the car is an indispensable part of what we are, but also a threat to us. Without it we couldn’t live at the pace we do; with it we’re grinding to a halt. Once the symbol and instrument of progress, now it drives us to gridlock and road rage ...

Mr and Mrs Hopper

Gail Levin: How the Tate gets Edward Hopper wrong, 24 June 2004

Edward Hopper 
edited by Sheena Wagstaff.
Tate Gallery, 256 pp., £29.99, May 2004, 1 85437 533 4
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... obvious antecedent’, Degas’s Women in Front of a Café – which I had also put forward. Peter Wollen claims that the urban Sunlight on Brownstones depicts a place ‘not located in the city’. He can’t know Manhattan’s Upper West Side near Riverside Park, where Hopper liked to walk, looking for subjects. He states that ‘Hopper bought his ...


Stephen Bann, 16 June 1983

Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 48 pp., £5.50, April 1983, 0 7145 3979 1
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That Voice 
by Robert Pinget, translated by Barbara Wright.
Red Dust (New York), 114 pp., $10.95, May 1983, 0 87376 041 7
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King Solomon 
by Romain Gary, translated by Barbara Wright.
Harvill, 256 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 00 261416 2
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A Year in Hartlebury, or The Election 
by Benjamin Disraeli and Sarah Disraeli.
Murray, 222 pp., £8.50, May 1983, 0 7195 4020 8
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The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 180 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 224 02130 3
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... occasionally dazzling novels of Pinget. A less apocalyptic way of expressing it is suggested by Peter Wollen, in one of the semi-fictional contributions to his illuminating collection, Readings and Writings.5 Wollen argues: ‘if there is to be a theory of linguistic “competence” – if, indeed, this is the ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes, 19 October 2017

After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... of the condition of being screwed up.She married her second husband, the composer and musician Peter Gordon, ‘in the throes’ of this first scare, in an attempt to get coverage from his medical insurance, but the lump turned out to be benign. It would be the first of several until the discovery, in 1996, of a lump that wasn’t.‘At that time,’ Acker ...


Gary Indiana: Nymphomania, antic incest and metaphysical torment, 14 December 2006

Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker 
edited by Amy Scholder, Carla Harryman and Avital Ronell.
Verso, 120 pp., £10.99, May 2006, 9781844670666
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... so often confused with it – a confusion which Acker herself did nothing to discourage. Peter Wollen’s essay in Lust for Life focuses attention on Acker’s lifelong involvement in politics and the visual arts, her studies with Herbert Marcuse, and the influence on her writing of conceptual art, the Black Mountain poets and Burroughs’s ...

Union Sucrée

Perry Anderson: The Normalising of France, 23 September 2004

Le Rappel à l’ordre: Enquête sur les nouveaux réactionnaires 
by Daniel Lindenberg.
Seuil, 94 pp., €10.50, November 2002, 2 02 055816 5
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Esquisse pour une auto-analyse 
by Pierre Bourdieu.
Raisons d'Agir, 142 pp., €12, February 2004, 2 912107 19 9
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La République mondiale des lettres 
by Pascale Casanova.
Seuil, 492 pp., €27.50, March 1999, 2 02 035853 0
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... Italian political science. A country that has translated scarcely anything of Fredric Jameson or Peter Wollen, and could not even find a publisher for Eric Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes, might well be termed a rearguard in the international exchange of ideas.Yet if we turn to arts and letters, the picture is reversed. French literature itself may have ...


Thomas Laqueur: Memories in German, 4 December 2003

... English was not very good, so we didn’t see much of the neighbours. Tante Biba and Onkel Peter, the friends from Istanbul, lived twenty or thirty miles away, and with them I spoke German. Then on to Bluefield, the ‘air-conditioned city’, where coal poured in from the bituminous fields. It was here that I started to learn English seriously. I ...

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