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Diary

Karl Miller: On Doubles, 2 May 1985

... to page 15 and lit on the magic words: ‘When he first saw how enchanted I was by this toy, Karl Miller was pleased.’ In the literature of romantic duality the most important of all pairs is the one constituted by the author and his principal character, or his narrator: here, if you like, is the primal duplication of the genre. In these fictions doubleness ...

On Jonathan Miller

Neal Ascherson: Jonathan Miller, 2 January 2020

... Once we argued about genotypes and phenotypes, and Jonathan rang me two days later to tell me that Richard Dawkins had defined the ‘extended phenotype’ as an artefact that can only be created by a given species incapable of modifying it whereas humans can vary phenotypes endlessly.Sometimes, as his mind began to fade, he would repeat a familiar rant. My ...

On Richard Hollis

Christopher Turner: Richard Hollis, 24 May 2018

... and Alison Smithson, who displayed a series of found objects in a post-apocalyptic mirrored shed. Richard Hamilton’s group presented a funfair vision that launched the British Pop Art movement. Robby the Robot, star of the science-fiction movie Forbidden Planet, opened the show because, according to the critic Reyner Banham, he was much ‘easier to book ...

Textual Intercourse

Claude Rawson, 6 February 1986

The Name of Action: Critical Essays 
by John Fraser.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, December 1984, 0 521 25876 6
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... The answer is that it is an inept rendering of the sexual term jouissance in the translation by Richard Miller in which Anglophone readers regularly misread Barthes’s Plaisir du Texte, though it’s true that no single English word gives the full sense of ‘active pleasure’, with specific associations of orgasm, of Barthes’s usage. Barthes ...

At the Imperial War Museum

Gaby Wood: Lee Miller, 17 December 2015

... How​ close can you get? That seems to be the question Lee Miller’s war photographs are trying to answer. In theory, it’s the question behind any action shot, or any embedded reporting, but in Miller’s case it was especially wilful. The only cameras she took with her when she joined the 83rd infantry division of the US army, as it advanced across Europe in 1944, were Rolleiflexes ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Looking Ahead, 18 May 2000

... New Consensus was published in March. Harvard University Press are advertising it together with Richard Lewontin’s new book, The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, Environment, presumably to let everyone know they’re not taking sides. Lewontin and Wilson, fiercely opposed to each other intellectually, used to have labs one directly above the other at Harvard ...

Presidential Criticism

John Sutherland, 10 January 1991

Victorian Subjects 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 330 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0820 8
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Tropes, Parables, Performatives: Essays on 20th-Century Literature 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 266 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0836 4
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... as they make their way to the annual convention of the Modern Languages Association. J. Hillis Miller is one of the handful who matter. Like those mystic few who know the Coca Cola formula, such people shouldn’t be allowed to travel on the same plane. The collective loss would be irreparable. Harvester Press salutes ...

The kind of dog he likes

W.G. Runciman: Realistic Utopias, 18 December 2014

Justice for Earthlings: Essays in Political Philosophy 
by David Miller.
Cambridge, 254 pp., £18.99, January 2013, 978 1 107 61375 1
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... Why ‘earthlings’​ ? David Miller isn’t drawing a contrast with justice for creatures from outer space. Nor is he taking issue directly with Ronald Dworkin’s ‘justice for hedgehogs’ in Dworkin’s book of 2011 with that title, although Miller does say in a footnote that he disagrees with him ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... the respect for working-class values which he associates with the work of Williams, Young and Richard Hoggart, and before that of D.H. Lawrence, and which would appear here to have followed on a spell of postwar indifference. The working class is thought by these writers to be marked by a power of sympathy, of closeness and attachment, which makes them ...

Don’t tread on me

Galen Strawson, 6 October 1994

Humiliation and Other Essays on Honour, Social Discomfort and Violence 
by William Ian Miller.
Cornell, 270 pp., £20.95, December 1993, 0 8014 2881 5
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... the most often felt; their centrality may lie in the strength of our desire to avoid them. William Miller’s suggestion has a creeping plausibility – in the playground, among teenagers, among mid-life colleagues, in the retirement home. It has a serious claim to express a human universal, valid for all societies, with origins in the deep past of the ...

Good Girl, Bad Girl

Elaine Showalter, 5 June 1997

Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment 
by Jane Gallop.
Duke, 104 pp., £28.50, June 1997, 0 8223 1918 7
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A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned 
by Jane Tompkins.
Addison-Wesley, 256 pp., $22, January 1997, 0 201 91212 0
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Bequest and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent’s Death 
by Nancy Miller.
Oxford, 208 pp., £19.50, February 1997, 0 19 509130 2
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... intellectual autobiography, or the mixture of literary and confessional writing defined by Nancy Miller as ‘narrative criticism’ is changing the tradition of feminist academic writing. In books such as Patricia Williams’s Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1991), Alice Kaplan’s French Lessons: A Memoir (1993) and Marianne ...

Knowledge Infinite

D.J. Enright, 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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... This compilation arose out of Jonathan Miller’s 1985 production of Don Giovanni for the English National Opera, and his introduction to the book is agreeably illuminating, not least for those who for one reason or another never go to the opera. The main characters of Don Giovanni, he notes, have a prior and conspicuous existence outside the opera, being well-established figures of myth, a fact which both helps and hinders ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Have you seen their sandals?, 3 July 2014

... They’re just Instagramming and getting the word out to an audience of none.’ At the Matthew Miller show, the man from Chinese Vogue sitting next to me was worried that he wouldn’t be able to get an interview with any of the guys from GQ. David Gandy, the male supermodel, wearing a shark-tooth suit and a Burberry tie, was being interviewed for Fashion ...

The Court

Richard Eyre, 23 September 1993

The Long Distance Runner 
by Tony Richardson.
Faber, 277 pp., £17.50, September 1993, 0 571 16852 3
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... left’? Until the birth of the English Stage Company, the post-war British theatre was, as Arthur Miller has said, ‘hermetically sealed off from life’ – and from the American theatre. When Look Back in Anger was produced Miller had written Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge and All My ...

Diary

John Sutherland: Do books have a future?, 25 May 2006

... large, electronically sophisticated wholesalers, Ingram Book Company and Baker & Taylor. As Laura Miller notes, these wholesalers’ speed and reliability of delivery ‘rationalised book distribution by enabling booksellers to implement a “just in time” strategy’.* The cultural tone of the mall book-chains, and the wholesalers behind them, was ...

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