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After the Deluge

Peter Campbell: How Rainbows Work, 25 April 2002

The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth and Science 
by Raymond Lee and Alistair Fraser.
Pennsylvania State, 394 pp., £54.95, June 2001, 0 271 01977 8
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... saturated with red, under which I could not distinguish any more colours.Langwith then went on, as Raymond Lee and Alistair Fraser put it, to question the rainbow wisdom of the Royal Society’s President, Isaac Newton: ‘I begin now to imagine, that the Rainbow seldom appears very lively without something of this Nature, and that the suppos’d exact ...

Burning Up the World

Luke Mitchell: ExxonMobil, 8 November 2012

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power 
by Steve Coll.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 1 84614 659 6
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... otherwise its total reserve would diminish and with it the overall share price. By the time Lee Raymond became CEO in 1993, the company had to replace more than a billion barrels a year just to stand still. (When an oil industry analyst asked him what disturbed his sleep, Raymond answered: ‘Reserve ...

A Man without Frustration

Raymond Williams, 17 May 1984

Record of a Life: An Autobiography 
by Georg Lukacs, edited by Istvan Eörsi.
Verso, 204 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 86091 071 7
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Lukacs Revalued 
edited by Agnes Heller.
Blackwell, 204 pp., £17.50, September 1983, 0 631 13159 0
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The Young Lukacs 
by Lee Congdon.
North Carolina, 235 pp., £15.75, May 1983, 0 8078 1538 1
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... position the project can be reduced to a projection. This is in effect the position chosen by Lee Congdon in The Young Lukacs: ‘In his earliest years, he despaired; regarding alienation as the condition humaine, he espoused a tragic conception of life. Only when, out of the crucible of a great personal tragedy, he came to believe that alienation might ...


Anne Stillman: Jean Cocteau, 13 July 2017

Jean Cocteau: A Life 
by Claude Arnaud, translated by Lauren Elkin and Charlotte Mandell.
Yale, 1024 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 300 17057 3
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... the lover in the lyric sequence Plain-chant (1923) to the uncanny eyes painted on the eyelids of Lee Miller in his 1930 film Le Sang d’un poète. He kept returning to the pivotal moment in the myth of Orpheus when a sudden, interlocked gaze sends Eurydice back to the unseen shades. Despite the connections, his work is remarkable for its eclecticism: he ...


Tom Vanderbilt: ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, 21 August 2003

The Manchurian Candidate: BFI Film Classics 
by Greil Marcus.
BFI, 75 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 85170 931 1
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... There is no evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald saw The Manchurian Candidate, which was released in 1962, a year before Kennedy’s assassination. A more plausible cinematic influence on him is Suddenly (1954), in which Frank Sinatra plays a President’s assassin who acquired his taste for killing in the Second World War ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives, 5 May 2016

... are not real,’ Kaveney wrote, ‘it becomes okay to abuse them.’ Nonetheless, in 1979 Janice Raymond pronounced in The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male that male-to-female transsexuals are frauds (on this issue, female-to-male seem to pose less of a problem even though surgical transition is much harder in their case, as phalloplasty is ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... his work. This, after all, is someone prepared to take years to contrive a proper translation of Raymond Queneau’s complex artifice, Saint Glinglin. So if Sallis chooses bugs, there’s a reason for it. What he wants to taste is the otherness of insects, their fast-burn and utterly alien sense of time. The quotation from Enrique Anderson Imbert at the ...

Terrorists? Us?

Owen Bennett-Jones, 7 June 2012

Terror Tagging of an Iranian Dissident Organisation 
by Raymond Tanter.
Iran Policy Committee, 217 pp., £10, December 2011, 978 0 9797051 2 0
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... Dean, Obama’s former national security adviser General James Jones and the former congressman Lee Hamilton. The rate for a speech is between $20,000 and $40,000 for ten minutes. Subject matter is not a concern: some speakers deliver speeches that barely mention the MEK. In recent months the Obama administration has indicated it may put a halt to these ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... to that faced by feminists, and in the section on ‘The Body Politic’ Marina Warner, Hermione Lee and Sandra Gilbert explore the ways in which women might or do speak and write so as to convey their experience in a way that communicates a female point of view without being disenfranchising. Marina Warner writes of ‘Fighting Talk’, the ...

How Diamond Felts ended up in the mud

A.O. Scott: Annie Proulx, 9 December 1999

Close Range: Wyoming Stories 
by Annie Proulx.
Fourth Estate, 318 pp., £12, June 1999, 1 85702 942 9
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... the same. A very short piece called ‘Job History’ charts the unlucky lives of Leeland and Lori Lee, a decent, ordinary couple who endure a series of setbacks and disappointments from bankruptcy to cancer. Nearly as unlucky – though more fortunate than several of his neighbours – is Car Scrope, the dissolute protagonist of ‘Pair a Spurs’, who lives ...

Don’t teach me

Gillian Darley: Ernö Goldfinger, 1 April 2004

Ernö Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect 
by Nigel Warburton.
Routledge, 197 pp., £30, November 2003, 0 415 25853 7
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... different influences. Jaussely had translated the writings of the English architect and urbanist Raymond Unwin into French, and so once again the shadow of the Arts and Crafts movement fell across Goldfinger’s path. The next step is best told by Goldfinger himself, as quoted by Warburton: So there I was in the Beaux-Arts, I’d finished my second class ...

Bland Fanatics

Pankaj Mishra: Liberalism and Colonialism, 3 December 2015

On Politics: A History of Political Thought from Herodotus to the Present 
by Alan Ryan.
Penguin, 1152 pp., £14.99, September 2013, 978 0 14 028518 5
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Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism 
by Larry Siedentop.
Penguin, 448 pp., £9.99, January 2015, 978 0 14 100954 4
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Liberalism: The Life of an Idea 
by Edmund Fawcett.
Princeton, 496 pp., £16.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 16839 5
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An Imperial Path to Modernity: Yoshino Sakuzō and a New Liberal Order in East Asia 1905-37 
by Jung-Sun Ni Han.
Harvard, 244 pp., £29.95, March 2013, 978 0 674 06571 0
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... put in place systems of government based on a mixture of central planning and market intervention. Raymond Aron, worrying about the appeal of communism in Asia in the 1950s, suggested that non-liberal policies and institutions appealed to many state-builders in Asia because it was clear to them that liberal methods in politics and economics were doomed to ...

Aldermanic Depression

Andrew Saint: London is good for you, 4 February 1999

London: A History 
by Francis Sheppard.
Oxford, 442 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 19 822922 4
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London: More by Fortune than Design 
by Michael Hebbert.
Wiley, 50 pp., £17.99, April 1998, 0 471 97399 8
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... pattern can be traced back to King John, when London sneaked its own municipal charter under the lee of the barons, and even before. From almost the start, the dominance of Roman London in the affairs of Britain was a surprise, and shakily defined. But the climax came in the 17th century, in episodes which Sheppard handles with the evenness, lucidity and ...

Room 6 at the Moonstone

Adam Mars-Jones: Bill Clegg, 5 November 2015

Did You Ever Have a Family 
by Bill Clegg.
Cape, 293 pp., £12.99, August 2015, 978 0 224 10235 3
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... hardly be accounted a community when the keynote of the book is isolation. Spoon River in Edgar Lee Masters’s book of poems is a place of hypocrisy and double-dealing where only the dead can tell the truth from their graves. Part of the enduring appeal of It’s a Wonderful Life for cinema and television audiences can be put down to its sense of how easy ...

It’s alive!

Christopher Tayler: The cult of Godzilla, 3 February 2005

Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters 
by William Tsutsui.
Palgrave, 240 pp., £8.99, December 2004, 1 4039 6474 2
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... the Monsters (1956), which cut about a third of the original film and replaced it with footage of Raymond Burr. Playing a reporter who’s ‘stopped off in Tokyo for a social call’ en route to Cairo, Burr minimises the need for dubbing by saying things like ‘I’m afraid my Japanese is a little rusty’ – whereupon his helpful sidekick explains ...

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