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Whiter Washing

Richard​ J. Evans: Nazi Journalists

6 June 2019
Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer: From Inner Emigration to the Moral Reconstruction of West Germany 
by Volker Berghahn.
Princeton, 277 pp., £35, December 2018, 978 0 691 17963 6
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... This was a postwar concept used by the novelist Frank Thiess, who stayed in Germany under Hitler and published a number of officially approved books. Thiess was responding to a broadcast by Thomas Mann (who spent the period in exile in America) in which he said that everyone who lived in Germany between 1933 and 1945 was dishonoured by the horrific photographs that appeared across the world after ...

Six Wolfs, Three Weills

David Simpson: Emigration from Nazi Germany

5 October 2006
Weimar in Exile: The Anti-Fascist Emigration in Europe and America 
by Jean-Michel Palmier, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 852 pp., £29.99, July 2006, 1 84467 068 6
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... We don’t even know for sure the number of those who left Germany after 1933, let alone their names and destinies. It would have been relatively easy to write a story around the big names – Thomas Mann, Freud, Adorno, Schoenberg and their kind – but this is not Palmier’s strategy. He doesn’t find a meaningful pattern in the data he records. Personal idiosyncrasy and historical accident have ...

Tribal Lays

D.J. Enright

7 May 1981
The Hill Station 
by J.G. Farrell.
Weidenfeld, 238 pp., £6.50, April 1981, 0 297 77922 2
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... Indian diary, all of them deserving better than to be thought of as padding. Malcolm Dean supplies a personal memoir, while John Spurling discusses Farrell’s relations with Stendhal, Thomas Mann, Richard Hughes and Malcolm Lowry, and, by reproducing Farrell’s notes, indicates the general course the story was to have taken. Margaret Drabble writes on the comic undercutting, at their most ...

Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching

Terry Eagleton: Richard​ Dawkins

19 October 2006
The God Delusion 
by Richard​ Dawkins.
Bantam, 406 pp., £20, October 2006, 0 593 05548 9
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... Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to ...
6 December 1979
The Ghost Writer 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 180 pp., £4.95
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... comedy in Nathan’s response to all this – with his awed shyness of Lonoff, his literary big-headedness and then the almost hysterical embarrassment at being a witness of ‘scenes’. The Richard Benjamin of Goodbye Columbus could walk straight into the part. There are no other notable actions. The rest of the novel’s interest lies in the ramifying material. There is the Henry James story ...
16 August 1990
The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... becomes a holy man and miracle-worker – but he is less convincing, less central, in whichever role. Miller reflects on the difficulty posed nowadays by the introduction of devils and hell. Thomas Mann, modern enough, has his Faustian character succumb to syphilis and madness, and evokes hell in terms, chillingly authentic, of the concentration camps. In their appearance as Romantic heroes, rebels ...

Mental Arithmetic

Nicholas Wade

7 January 1993
Genius: Richard​ Feynman and Modern Physics 
by James Gleick.
Little, Brown, 532 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 316 90316 7
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... Richard Feynman was one of the élite group of American and British physicists who developed atomic weapons with the Manhattan project in the Second World War. He flashed back into the public eye in 1965 ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White

19 July 2012
Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... White started writing Forgetting Elena in 1966, but it didn’t appear until 1973. It might never have been published at all had it not been for the intercession of the poet and translator Richard Howard, who was introduced to White by a friend who had met Howard at a West Village pick-up bar. Howard liked White’s manuscript, suggested revisions and eventually persuaded Random House to ...

Diary

James Lasdun: Salad Days

9 February 2006
... The alternative career fantasies of writers would make an interesting study: James Joyce dreaming of becoming the agent for Irish tweeds in Trieste, Thomas Mann musing that he would have made a good banker, Samuel Beckett contemplating a career as a pilot. ‘I hope I am not too old to take it up seriously nor too stupid about machines to qualify as a ...

It wasn’t him, it was her

Jenny Diski: Nietzsche’s Bad Sister

25 September 2003
Nietzsche’s Sister and the Will to Power: A Biography of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche 
by Carol Diethe.
Illinois, 214 pp., £26, July 2003, 0 252 02826 0
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... to observe him being fed bits of cake as he cowered on a chair. Rudolf Steiner tried to teach Elisabeth her brother’s philosophy but gave up in disgust at her lack of understanding. In time, Thomas Mann, Romain Rolland and Spengler all resigned their posts at the archive, unable to tolerate what Elisabeth was doing to her brother’s work and her cosying up to the Nazis. Walter Benjamin wrote that ...

‘My God was bigger than his’

Colin Kidd: The Republicans

4 November 2004
The Right Nation: Why America Is Different 
by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £14.99, August 2004, 0 7139 9738 9
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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet 
by James Mann.
Penguin, 448 pp., $16, September 2004, 0 14 303489 8
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Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image 
by David Greenberg.
Norton, 496 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 393 32616 0
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America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism 
by Anatol Lieven.
HarperCollins, 274 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 716456 4
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... of dissident intellectual groupings: ultra-traditionalist, Southern agrarian, Roman Catholic, libertarian, Ayn Rand atheist – ‘a tiny contrapuntal campus movement’, in the words of James Mann in Rise of the Vulcans, whose members were as defiantly countercultural as hippies and peaceniks. Together, white Southern Democrats and self-confessed conservatives shaped the social agenda of ...

Italianizzati

Hugh Honour

13 November 1997
A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 
compiled by John Ingamells.
Yale, 1070 pp., £50, May 1997, 0 300 07165 5
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... 17th and 18th-century art, a patron of living British painters, and in many ways a reincarnation of the ideal virtuoso and Grand Tourist. He was first drawn to the subject by the Roman landscapes of Richard Wilson; published a book on Wilson’s then little-known drawings; and went on to annotate the letters written from Rome in 1757 by a minor British painter who had mentioned Wilson and other British ...
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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... Forward; and about the reasons Singer did not have it translated during his lifetime. It has been compared 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 ...
3 March 1983
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
Parsifal 
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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Parsifal 
by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... but, as Syberberg reminds us, these also introduce a further cluster of moral, aesthetic and interpretative problems. Parsifal’s sexual-pathological element, which so impressed and disturbed Thomas Mann (an authority on such matters), is one of the Parsifal problems; the issue of whether or not the work is ‘Christian’ is another. Nietzsche isolated these two problems together with a third, which ...

Grande Dame

D.A.N. Jones

18 July 1985
With Open Eyes: Conversations with Matthieu Galey 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Beacon, 271 pp., £19.95, October 1984, 0 8070 6354 1
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The Dark Brain of Piranesi, and Other Essays 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Richard​ Howard.
Aidan Ellis, 232 pp., £9.50, June 1985, 0 85628 140 9
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Alexis 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Walter Kaiser.
Aidan Ellis, 105 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 85628 138 7
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Coup de Grâce 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Grace Frick .
Black Swan, 112 pp., £2.50, October 1984, 9780552991216
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... Adriana, encrusted with roots and brambles, and the cliff-like foundation wall of Hadrian’s tomb. Besides Piranesi she discusses Cavafy, whose Greek poems she has translated into French, and Thomas Mann, whose manner of dealing with antiquity (as in Joseph and his Brethren) she perhaps assimilates to her own way of dealing with Hadrian’s world. Galey suggests as much. ‘Are you sure that there ...

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