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A Leg-Up for Oliver North

Richard Rorty, 20 October 1994

Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for America’s Future 
by Richard Bernstein.
Knopf, 367 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 41156 9
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... In his new book, Richard Bernstein – one of the best reporters at the New York Times – offers some detailed descriptions, and some solid criticisms, of a serious nuisance. Unfortunately, he then tries to inflate this nuisance into a dangerous monster. He offers a lot of useful information about what one segment of the American Left has been doing recently, and his analyses are very acute ...

Even if I married a whole harem of women I’d still act like a bachelor

Elaine Showalter: Isaac Bashevis Singer, 17 September 1998

Shadows on the Hudson 
by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Joseph Sherman.
Hamish Hamilton, 560 pp., £16.99, June 1998, 0 241 13940 6
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Isaac Bashevis Singer: A Life 
by Janice Hadda.
Oxford, 254 pp., £22.50, February 1998, 0 19 508420 9
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... to the work of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but also condemned as a melodramatic mishmash. First, Richard Bernstein (last December in the New York Times) called it ‘a startling, piercing work of fiction with a strong claim to being Singer’s masterpiece’. Bernstein kvelled about its ‘largeness, the depth and ...

Untheory

Alexander Nehamas, 22 May 1986

Contest of Faculties: Philosophy and Theory after Deconstruction 
by Christopher Norris.
Methuen, 247 pp., £16, November 1985, 0 416 39939 8
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Philosophical Profiles 
by Richard Bernstein.
Polity, 313 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 7456 0226 6
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Against Theory: Literary Studies and the New Pragmatism 
edited by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 146 pp., £12.75, November 1985, 0 226 53226 7
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... or fictional – ‘through and through, whatever their self-professed logical status.’ Richard Rorty, who identifies philosophy merely as ‘a kind of writing’, also believes, according to Norris, that ‘literary critics had best give up the idea that philosophy (or “theory”) is capable of solving any problems created by their own ...

Speaking Azza

Martin Jay: Where are you coming from?, 28 November 2002

Situatedness; Or, Why We Keep Saying Where We’re Coming From 
by David Simpson.
Duke, 290 pp., £14.50, March 2002, 0 8223 2839 9
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... it should be providing ways of going beyond them. Against thinkers such as Martha Nussbaum and Richard Rorty, he refuses to celebrate the literary as a way to avoid or perpetually defer addressing hard epistemological questions as to how we can know a real world whose solidity cannot be dissolved even by the most imaginative exercise in self-fashioning. He ...

Thinking without a Banister

James Miller, 19 October 1995

Hannah Arendt/Martin Heidegger 
by Elzbieta Ettinger.
Yale, 139 pp., £10.95, October 1995, 0 300 06407 1
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Essays in Understanding, 1930-1954: Uncollected and Unpublished Works 
by Hannah Arendt, edited by Jerome Kohn.
Harcourt Brace, 458 pp., $39.95, May 1994, 0 15 172817 8
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Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought 
by Margaret Canovan.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £12.95, September 1995, 0 521 47773 5
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Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy 
edited by Carol Brightman.
Secker, 412 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 436 20251 4
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Hannah Arendt/Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 1926-1969 
edited by Lotte Kohler and Hans Saner, translated by Robert and Rita Kimber.
Harcourt Brace, 821 pp., $49.95, November 1992, 0 15 107887 4
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... incandescent ardour, that Arendt approached the conundrums of philosophy and modern politics. As Richard Bernstein has remarked, she believed that thinking could be taught, if at all, only ‘by infecting others with those perplexities that occasion all authentic thinking’. That is why her work, however frustrating, still merits ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Cheney’s Cavalier Way with a Shotgun, 9 March 2006

... of politicians to ring the papers up every time they do something wrong (‘Hello? Is that Carl Bernstein? Richard Nixon here . . .’). The Corpus Christi Caller-Times knows differently, and so do its readers, one of whom, Hugh Smith, sent it this letter of support: The National Press Corps is sitting around with egg ...

Swoo

Jeremy Bernstein, 31 July 2014

... calculating the SWU needed to perform particular tasks. I’m using one supplied by the physicist Richard Garwin. Suppose we want to produce a kilogram of uranium hexafluoride enriched to 3.5 per cent. We begin with natural uranium hexafluoride with a U-235 content of 0.7 per cent, and accept ‘tails’ of 0.4 per cent. According to the tables, to perform ...

Umbah-Umbah

Jerome McGann, 22 June 1989

Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century 
by Greil Marcus.
Secker, 496 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 0 436 27338 1
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... who were swept up in the storms raised by these people: for example, Henri Lefebvre, Michele Bernstein, Richard Huelsenbeck, Malcolm Maclaren. Having abandoned or been abandoned by their fiery flying rolls, each of these memorialists re-entered the satanic world – denouncing (Lefebvre), slandering ...

Some Versions of Narrative

Christopher Norris, 2 August 1984

Hermeneutics: Questions and Prospects 
edited by Gary Shapiro and Alan Sica.
Massachusetts, 310 pp., February 1984, 0 87023 416 1
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The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge 
by Jean-Francois Lyotard, translated by Geoff Bennington, Brian Massumi and Fredric Jameson.
Manchester, 110 pp., £23, August 1984, 0 7190 1450 6
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Literary Meaning: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction 
by William Ray.
Blackwell, 228 pp., £17.50, April 1984, 0 631 13457 3
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The Philosophy of the Novel: Lukacs, Marxism and the Dialectics of Form 
by J.M. Bernstein.
Harvester, 296 pp., £25, February 1984, 0 7108 0011 8
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Criticism and Objectivity 
by Raman Selden.
Allen and Unwin, 170 pp., £12.50, April 1984, 9780048000231
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... be confined to university departments of literature. This desire to ‘keep philosophy pure’ (in Richard Rorty’s phrase) has more to do with professional self-esteem than with the interests of reason and truth. Territorial imperatives were clearly at stake when John Searle (in a recent number of the New York Review of Books) gave a simplified account of ...

Forty-Eighters

Peter Pulzer, 4 September 1986

Little Germany: Exile and Asylum in Victorian England 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Oxford, 304 pp., £17.50, July 1986, 0 19 212239 8
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... Coleridge. Eugen Oswald translated Humboldt into English and became tutor to the children of both Richard Cobden and Edward VII. Eleanor Marx translated Flaubert and Ibsen. Johannes Ronge introduced Froebel’s kindergarten ideas to England and Malwida von Meysenburg became a pioneer of women’s education, joining forces with Barbara Leigh Smith, Elizabeth ...

Not Like the Rest of Us

Linda Colley: The Clinton Succession, 16 August 2007

A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton 
by Carl Bernstein.
Hutchinson, 628 pp., £25, June 2007, 978 0 09 192078 4
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Hillary Clinton: Her Way: The Biography 
by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta.
Murray, 438 pp., £20, June 2007, 978 0 7195 6892 3
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... career, the ‘wildcard in her well-ordered, cerebral existence’, Bill Clinton. Both Carl Bernstein’s A Woman in Charge and Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta’s Hillary Clinton: Her Way have been criticised by American reviewers for failing to add much more to the familiar story of their subject’s progress than a wealth of supporting ...

I have nothing to say and I am saying it

Philip Clark: John Cage’s Diary, 15 December 2016

The Selected Letters of John Cage 
edited by Laura Kuhn.
Wesleyan, 618 pp., £30, January 2016, 978 0 8195 7591 3
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Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) 
by John Cage, edited by Richard Kraft and Joe Biel.
Siglio, 176 pp., £26, October 2015, 978 1 938221 10 1
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... sympathetic performers in order to achieve a faithful performance of the Concert, but when Leonard Bernstein programmed Cage’s similarly designed Atlas Eclipticalis as part of a New York Philharmonic season in 1964 exploring the avant-garde, he wasn’t so lucky. Bernstein had intended to follow the piece by leading the ...

Lord Vaizey sees the light

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 20 October 1983

In Breach of Promise 
by John Vaizey.
Weidenfeld, 150 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 297 78288 6
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... Vaizey has no doubt at all. ‘They were the best.’ Hugh Gaitskell, Iain Macleod, Richard Titmuss, Anthony Crosland and Edward Boyle. They were all ‘clever, honest, admirable and honourable’. They were all, except Boyle, who was at school at the time, affected by the slump. They were all excited by the political changes and administrative advances of the war ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington, 30 November 2006

State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... who wrote several hundred articles on Watergate for the Washington Post with his colleague Carl Bernstein. The two then wrote famous books about the fall of Nixon, All the President’s Men and The Final Days, the first made into a well-known movie. Bernstein went to New York and wrote a book about the papacy, but he ...

War Requiems

David Drew, 12 October 1989

... Wielki. Mr Burton and his cameramen might prefer to remember such phenomena as the close-ups of Bernstein experiencing the Leonora No 3 Overture, or the redoubtable equanimity with which Lukas Foss opened the concert by conducting Mahler’s ‘Revelge’ for Hermann Prey (with televisual reference to the doomed Polish cavalry of 1939) and then confronted ...

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