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A Man with My Trouble

Colm Tóibín: Henry James leaves home, 3 January 2008

The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume I 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 391 pp., £57, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2584 8
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The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume II 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 524 pp., £60, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2607 4
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... After the death of Henry James’s father in 1882, his sister-in-law Catharine Walsh, better known as Aunt Kate, burned a large quantity of the family papers, including many letters between Henry James senior and his wife. Henry James himself in later life made a number of bonfires in which he destroyed a great quantity of the letters he had received ...

At the National Gallery of Scotland

Peter Campbell: Joan Eardley, 13 December 2007

... for the cinema, can also be seen in photographs taken by Eardley herself and by her friend Audrey Walker. The photographs give the look of one corner of postwar Britain in documentary black and white. Eardley’s paintings give it in colour; bright patches of clothing show up against dark, chalk-scrawled walls. The turn of a head, the angle of a leg, or the ...

Witchcraft and the Inquisition

Robin Briggs, 18 June 1981

Unclean Spirits: Possession and Exorcism in France and England in the Late 16th and Early 17th Centuries 
by D.P. Walker.
Scolar, 116 pp., £9.95, March 1981, 9780859676205
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The Witches’ Advocate 
by Gustav Henningsen.
Nevada, 607 pp., $24, November 1980, 0 87417 056 7
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... properly integrated into the study of European history in general, and it is here that Professor Walker’s book on possession and exorcism is most helpful. This handsomely produced, if expensive version of his 1979 Northcliffe lectures is mostly devoted to quite well-known cases, such as that of Marthe Brossier in France, and the activities of John Darrel ...

Hungry Ghosts

Paul Connerton, 19 April 1990

Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Parts I-III 
edited by Michel Feher, Ramona Naddaff and Nadia Tazi.
Zone, 480 pp., £35.95, May 1989, 0 942299 25 6
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... constructed he has been followed more recently by, among others, Norbert Elias, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and Mary Douglas. To these we must now add Fragments for a History of the Human Body, a collection edited by Michel Feher, with Ramona Naddaff and Nadia Tazi. The book is in three volumes, containing in all 48 essays, many of a remarkably high ...

Mrs Meneghini

Gabriele Annan, 17 February 1983

My Wife Maria Callas 
by Giovanni Battista Meneghini, translated by Henry Wisneski.
Bodley Head, 331 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 370 30502 7
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... loves his raft: in a sense he does. To choose another metaphor – or rather, to borrow it from Pierre-Jean Rémy, who uses it repeatedly in his book on Callas: in her art she was like a tightrope-walker without a net. But at least from Verona onwards, she had a net in her private life and it was Meneghini. Meneghini ...

Feeling feeling

Brian Dillon: Sense of Self, 5 June 2008

The Inner Touch: Archaeology of a Sensation 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 386 pp., £21.95, June 2007, 978 1 890951 76 4
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... was not alone in almost, so to speak, losing it. In the second chapter of Reveries of the Solitary Walker, Rousseau recounts how, on 24 October 1776, outside Paris, he was rushed by an enormous Great Dane. He calculated at once that his only possible escape lay in leaping over the speeding dog, but it was already too late; before he could launch himself he ...

Genius in Its Pure State

Mark Ford, 22 May 1997

... a Racine letter describing a play he hopes to write about a third-century Corsican tight-rope walker. On occasions Roussel took active steps to preserve his own literary papers, depositing various manuscripts with his financial adviser, Eugène Leiris – father of Michel – not all of which have come to light. By the time of his departure for ...

Mr and Mr and Mrs and Mrs

James Davidson: Why would a guy want to marry a guy?, 2 June 2005

The Friend 
by Alan Bray.
Chicago, 380 pp., £28, September 2003, 0 226 07180 4
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... On 12 February 1834, Anne Lister recorded in her diary her plans to solemnise her union with Ann Walker: ‘She is to give me a ring & I her one in token of our union.’ Their relationship ‘would be as good as a marriage’, Ann had said. ‘Yes,’ said Anne, ‘quite as good or better.’ Earlier she had broached the subject with her aunt. ‘My aunt ...

Baby-Sitter

Elaine Showalter, 14 June 1990

Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography 
by Deirdre Bair.
Cape, 718 pp., £19.95, June 1990, 9780224020480
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Lettres à Sartre. Vol I: 1930-1939 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 400 pp., frs 120, February 1990, 2 07 071829 8
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Lettres à Sartre. Vol II: 1940-1963 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 443 pp., frs 120, February 1990, 2 07 071864 6
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Journal de Guerre, Septembre 1939-Janvier 1941 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 371 pp., February 1990, 2 07 071809 3
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In the Shadow of Sartre 
by Liliane Siegel, translated by Barbara Wright.
182 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 9780002153362
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... vivid and significant passages of the book, as Beauvoir, fortified by her customary shot of Johnny Walker, unflinchingly, if often irritably, responded to Bair’s questions about every aspect of her life from philosophy to menstruation and menopause. But when Bair complained about the lack of documentation, and questioned Beauvoir about the whereabouts of her ...

Mother

Wendy Steiner, 19 October 1995

Gertrude Stein in Words and Pictures 
by Renate Stendhal.
Thames and Hudson, 286 pp., £14.95, March 1995, 0 500 27832 6
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‘Favoured Strangers’: Gertrude Stein and Her Family 
by Linda Wagner-Martin.
Rutgers, 346 pp., $34.95, August 1995, 0 8135 2169 6
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... instant icons of the Modern, and though she often went about in shapeless robes and sandals, Pierre Balmain and Yvonne Davidson were pleased to dress her. ‘She accepted herself as she was,’ wrote Lincoln Steffens. ‘She was large; she dressed as a large woman ... You felt ... her self-contentment and shared her self-composure, but, best of all, the ...

The Spree

Frank Kermode, 22 February 1996

The Feminisation of American Culture 
by Ann Douglas.
Papermac, 403 pp., £10, February 1996, 0 333 65421 8
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Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the Twenties 
by Ann Douglas.
Picador, 606 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 330 34683 0
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... chapter Douglas represented Melville as presaging a revolt against this enervating fashion. Pierre is a bristlingly harsh challenge to the readers of such books, and the posthumous Billy Budd takes its place with other less literary protests against virtual matriarchy – for instance, muscular Christianity, macho college sports, Social Darwinism and ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... the boxer in the boardroom. (A high-profile exemplar of this style was the magnate, George Walker; once, according to James Morton, an ‘ally’ of Billy Hill and Eddie Chapman, later a frequently puffed adornment of the Thatcherite open market culture.) There is nothing new in the concept, quality tailoring bonded over primal naughtiness. It has been ...

Delirium

Jeremy Harding: Arthur Rimbaud, 30 July 1998

Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa 1880-91 
by Charles Nicholl.
Vintage, 336 pp., £7.99, May 1998, 0 09 976771 6
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A Season in Hell and Illuminations 
by Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Mark Treharne.
Dent, 167 pp., £18.99, June 1998, 0 460 87958 8
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... on the coast in the summer of 1886, assembling a large caravan and clearing it for departure. Pierre Labatut, his original partner in the enterprise, fell ill in June – and later died – and when Rimbaud found another, he, too, was obliging enough to drop dead in September. Rimbaud set out for Shoa in October, where he met with a series of bitter ...

Apartheid’s Last Stand

Jeremy Harding, 17 March 2016

Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil War 
by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira.
Hurst, 291 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 1 84904 284 0
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A Short History of Modern Angola 
by David Birmingham.
Hurst, 256 pp., £17.99, December 2015, 978 1 84904 519 3
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Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the Struggle for Southern Africa 
by Piero Gleijeses.
North Carolina, 655 pp., £27.95, February 2016, 978 1 4696 0968 3
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A General Theory of Oblivion 
by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated by Daniel Hahn.
Harvill, 245 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 1 84655 847 4
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In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre 
by Lara Pawson.
I.B. Tauris, 271 pp., £20, April 2014, 978 1 78076 905 9
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Cuito Cuanavale: Frontline Accounts by Soviet Soldiers 
by G. Shubin, I. Zhdarkin et al, translated by Tamara Reilly.
Jacana, 222 pp., £12.95, May 2014, 978 1 4314 0963 1
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... structures, their Potemkin village statist economies, their hard-currency stores full of Johnnie Walker and Lithuanian pickles, and their ‘modernisation’ plans for peasant agriculture were not condemned out of hand by supporters in Europe. Nor was much said about repression. The MPLA moved hard on dissenters, including enthusiastic young leftists whose ...

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