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Levi’s Oyster

Karl Miller, 4 August 1988

The Drowned and the Saved 
by Prime Levi, translated by Raymond Rosenthal.
Joseph, 170 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 7181 3063 4
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... The Italian writer Primo Levi died a year ago, on 11 April 1987, to the dismay of his readers, and The Drowned and the Saved may well be the last of his writings to be translated and reviewed in this country. There was a time when it must have seemed to many that he would never receive a bad review, or even a cross word ...

Theories of Myth

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 19 March 1981

Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual 
by Walter Burkert.
California, 226 pp., £9, April 1980, 0 520 03771 5
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Myth and Society in Ancient Greece 
by Jean-Pierre Vernant, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Harvester, 242 pp., £24, February 1980, 9780391009158
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... are not even quite clear as to the destination of the offering. Another is sacrifice, which is of prime importance in Greek religion, as Burkert, following Meuli, has insisted in his brilliant book Homo Necans. In his third chapter Burkert deals with various forms of ritual that resemble the Hebrew practice of driving out a scapegoat, and with the myths ...

Ripping Yarns

John Sutherland, 8 April 1993

Tennyson 
by Michael Thorn.
Little, Brown, 566 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 316 90299 3
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Tennyson 
by Peter Levi.
Macmillan, 370 pp., £20, March 1993, 0 333 52205 2
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... that, while telling a good story, his biography offers little close reading of the poems. Peter Levi’s Tennyson is particularly strong in this department; ‘Poetry is what makes him mysterious,’ he tells us. Levi’s long first section, ‘The Birth of the Poet’, is an illuminating investigation of Tennyson’s ...

Loadsa Serious Money

Ian Taylor, 5 May 1988

Regulating the City: Competition, Scandal and Reform 
by Michael Clarke.
Open University, 288 pp., £25, May 1986, 9780335153817
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Regulating fraud: White-Collar Crime and the Criminal Process 
by Michael Levi.
Tavistock, 416 pp., £35, August 1987, 0 422 61160 3
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... any seriousness in the early Eighties, with three studies by two men, Michael Clarke and Michael Levi.2 Both Clarke and Levi have now re-entered the fray in order to examine the pressing question of fraud in the City and other financial markets. Clarke’s Regulating the City provides an analysis of changes in ‘modes of ...

Orchestrated Panic

Yitzhak Laor: The Never-Ending War, 1 November 2007

1967: Israel, the War and the Year That Transformed the Middle East 
by Tom Segev, translated by Jessica Cohen.
Little, Brown, 673 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 316 72478 4
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... changed the lives of Israelis and made Palestinian lives hell. Shortly after it, Israel’s Labour prime minister, Levi Eshkol, a relative moderate, approved the colonisation of the West Bank. The Labour Party never really opposed the process, though for years it seemed to have its doubts. That way of carrying on ...

Grab more hills, expand the territory

Henry Siegman: The History of the Settlements, 10 April 2008

The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-77 
by Gershom Gorenberg.
Holt, 454 pp., £16.99, March 2007, 978 0 8050 8241 8
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Lords of the Land: The War over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 
by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar.
Nation, 531 pp., $29.95, October 2007, 978 1 56858 370 9
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... With only a murmur of dissent, the cabinet, led by Yigal Allon and Moshe Dayan, and the then prime minister, Levi Eshkol, committed itself to policies that would allow only local forms of autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza, an arrangement they believed would in time allow them to establish the Jordan River as not only ...
Criticism in the University 
edited by Gerald Graff and Reginald Gibbons.
Northwestern, 234 pp., £29.95, September 1985, 0 8101 0670 1
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... literary. The composition of the canon and the methods used in its exposition were therefore of prime importance. There are times (such as the later hours of a faculty meeting) when it is difficult to give these considerations their due weight. As one who came to academia from Grub Street, and not from graduate school, I am disposed to think of literary ...

Kisses for the Duce

Richard J. Evans: Letters to Mussolini, 7 February 2013

Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy 
by Christopher Duggan.
Bodley Head, 501 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84792 103 1
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The Fascist Party and Popular Opinion in Mussolini’s Italy 
by Paul Corner.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, July 2012, 978 0 19 873069 9
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... Shortly after he was forced out of office in November 2011, Italy’s longest serving postwar prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, told the press he was spending his time reading the last letters written by Mussolini to his mistress Clara Petacci. ‘I have to say,’ he confessed, ‘that I see myself in many aspects of those letters ...

In the Ice-Box

Janette Turner Hospital, 12 January 1995

The Book of Intimate Grammar 
by David Grossman, translated by Betsy Rosenberg.
Cape, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 0 224 03285 2
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... off into the Army; classes are cancelled to dig trenches; a school friend makes a comment about Prime Minister Levi Eshkol (which finally locates Aron’s stasis more or less precisely in time, Eshkol having been prime minister from 1963 to 1969; the Six-Day War of June 1967 is clearly ...

Jamboree

John Sturrock, 20 February 1986

Handbook of Russian Literature 
edited by Victor Terras.
Yale, 558 pp., £25, April 1985, 0 300 03155 6
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Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time 
by Roman Jakobson, edited by Krystyna Pomorska and Stephen Rudy.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £25, July 1985, 0 631 14262 2
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Historic Structures: The Prague School Project 1928-1946 
by F.W. Galan.
Croom Helm, 250 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 7099 3816 0
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Mikhail Bakhtin 
by Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist.
Harvard, 398 pp., £19.95, February 1985, 0 674 57416 8
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The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics 
by M.M. Bakhtin and P.M. Medvedev, translated by Albert Wehrle.
Harvard, 191 pp., £7.50, May 1985, 0 674 30921 9
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Dialogues between Roman Jakobson and Krystyna Pomorska 
translated by Christian Hubert.
Cambridge, 186 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 521 25113 3
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The Dialogical Principle 
by Tzvetan Todorov, translated by Wlad Godzich.
Manchester, 132 pp., £25, February 1985, 0 7190 1466 2
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Rabelais and his World 
by Mikhail Bakhtin, translated by Hélène Iswolsky.
Indiana, 484 pp., $29.50, August 1984, 0 253 20341 4
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... obtains, he fizzles out. He asks us to believe that through the grammar of a poem we have a prime access to the sense, but he never proves it. Jakobson’s poetics follow rather too strictly from his phonology. There he had master-minded the splitting of the phonetic atom: the phoneme, hitherto supposed to be an entity and the smallest feasible ...

Not in the Mood

Adam Shatz: Derrida’s Secrets, 22 November 2012

Derrida: A Biography 
by Benoît Peeters, translated by Andrew Brown.
Polity, 629 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 0 7456 5615 1
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... at least that the philosopher will be in a better mood for the second round.’ Once Jospin became prime minister, she tore into Derrida’s call for ‘unconditional hospitality’ for illegal immigrants, a swipe at her husband’s policies: ‘There is nothing more conditional than hospitality. The unconditional, in general, answers the longing of beautiful ...

Witchcraft

Perry Anderson, 8 November 1990

Storia Notturna: Una Decifrazione del Sabba 
by Carlo Ginzburg.
Einaudi, 320 pp., lire 45,000, August 1989, 9788806115098
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... here is understood the mechanisms of the human mind. Needs and emotions, which might be thought prime candidates, do not figure. Levi-Strauss has announced: ‘I cannot give these turbulent forces primacy; they erupt onto a stage already constructed and patterned by mental constraints.’ Needham, seeking the primary ...

Diary

Eric Hobsbawm: An Assembly of Ghosts, 21 April 2005

... His was the most prestigious publishing house in the country (Pavese, Calvino, Vittorini, Primo Levi, Natalia Ginzburg, not to mention Gramsci), and, for a couple of decades after the war, probably the finest in the world. He would take (under-royaltied) authors like me to dinner at the opulent Cambio restaurant, unchanged since Cavour had planned the ...

Human Science

Marshall Sahlins, 9 May 2013

... who were no longer living from his sample: the fact that, as he himself noted, killers are ‘prime targets’ for revenge means that their reproductive careers are often cut short. In any event, his claim that the Yanomami exemplify the original condition of mankind is preposterous. The Yanomami mode of existence in settled communities practising a mixed ...

Nothing he hasn’t done, nowhere he hasn’t been

Adam Shatz: Claude Lanzmann, 5 April 2012

The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir 
by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne.
Atlantic, 528 pp., £25, March 2012, 978 1 84887 360 5
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... withdrew funding after a few years, before a single reel was shot. Lanzmann turned to the new prime minister, Menachem Begin, who put him in touch with a former member of Mossad, a ‘secret man devoid of emotions’. He promised that Israel would sponsor the film so long as it ran no longer than two hours and was completed in 18 months. Lanzmann agreed ...

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