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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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... myself seriously as a student. In fact, it seemed to make it somewhat easier for me to write.’ Richard Klein, now the celebrated author of Cigarettes Are Sublime, was one of the guys. Approached by Duke for a quote, he wrote: ‘For decades I have felt guilt and shame for having performed toward her in a way that was unprofessional, exploitative, and lousy ...

Ardour

J.P. Stern, 3 November 1983

The Sacred Threshold: A Life of Rainer Maria Rilke 
by J.F. Hendry.
Carcanet, 184 pp., £9.95, July 1983, 0 85635 369 8
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Rilke: sein Leben, seine Welt, sein Werk 
by Wolfgang Leppmann.
Scherz Verlag, 483 pp., £11, May 1981, 3 502 18407 0
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Rainer Maria Rilke: Leben und Werk im Bild 
edited by Ingeborg Schnack.
Insel Verlag, 270 pp., £2.55, May 1977, 3 458 01735 6
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... Nietzsche follows up this insight with a fireworks of rhetorics – enter, and eventually exit, Richard Wagner at Bayreuth. Rilke, on the other hand, is compelled to face in his own creative work the paradox inherent in the deliberate making of a modern mythology: he acknowledges the difficulty of inventing consciously what was once the ...

Communism’s Man of Letters

J.P. Stern, 26 September 1991

Georg Lukács: Life, Thought and Politics 
by Arpad Kadarkay.
Blackwell, 538 pp., £45, June 1991, 1 55786 114 5
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... and the content is the more approved the more it portrays the larger conflicts of society,’ Richard Humphrey wrote in The Historical Novel as Philosophy of History (1986); and since the size of the conflicts in history or society is assessed by the critic who assesses them in literature, and according to the same criteria, the argument is circular. An ...

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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... fill out her omissions and even to make sense of the overall narrative I read Ronald Hayman, J.P. Stern, Michael Tanner, Rüdiger Bittner, Walter Kaufmann, Leslie Chamberlain and, yes, even Nietzsche on Nietzsche, Ben MacIntyre on Elisabeth’s Paraguayan adventure, and H.F. Peters on Lou Andreas-Salomé (some of the detail below is from these books rather ...

In Hiding

Nicholas Spice, 30 December 1982

Richard Strauss: A Chronicle of the Early Years 1864-1898 
by Willi Schuh, translated by Mary Whitall.
Cambridge, 555 pp., £35, July 1982, 0 521 24104 9
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... of Robert Browning’s Dramatis Personae. The author of Andrea del Sarto would have found in Richard Strauss a subject ideally suited to his imaginative powers. He would have cast the composer, not, I think, in his early years, but towards the end of his life: in 1940, perhaps, in late summer. The scene: Strauss’s tastefully furnished study in his ...

Unarmed Combat

Richard Usborne, 21 April 1988

The Anglo-French Clash in Lebanon and Syria, 1940-1945 
by A.B. Gaunson.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £29.50, March 1987, 0 333 40221 9
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Personal Patchwork 1939-1945 
by Bryan Guinness.
Cygnet, 260 pp., £9.50, March 1987, 0 907435 06 8
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Staff Officer: The Diaries of Lord Moyne 1914-1918 
edited by Brian Bond.
Leo Cooper, 256 pp., £17.50, October 1987, 0 85052 053 3
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... Lord Moyne followed Casey as Minister, and in November 1944, in Cairo, was assassinated by the Stern Gang. There is a moving description of the new Lord Moyne’s last harrowing weeks of travel down to Cairo from Damascus, the elaborate funeral procession, and the air journey back to England with his father’s coffin. A few more postings now, to SHAEF in ...

Doctor, Doctor

D.A.N. Jones, 19 April 1984

The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea 
by Randolph Stow.
Secker, 276 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 436 49734 4
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The Suburbs of Hell 
by Randolph Stow.
Secker, 165 pp., £7.95, April 1984, 0 436 49735 2
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Kingsley’s Touch 
by John Collee.
Allen Lane, 206 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 7139 1633 8
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A Suitable Case for Corruption 
by Norman Lewis.
Hamish Hamilton, 185 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 241 11178 1
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... but his way of displaying it suggests that he is attempting, as well as a skilful whodunnit, a stern comment on the reader’s appetite for bad news and juicy murders. Turn back to The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea and we find the little boy touching, ‘with pleased interest’, the scars on his cousin’s ankles, souvenirs of his imprisonment by the ...

Ballooning

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 June 1986

The Unknown Conan Doyle: Letters to the Press 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 377 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 436 13303 2
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... a letter printed in the journal Light in 1887) reveals him as already a believer, and as a stern moralist as well. He had been wondering whether or not to obtain a copy of Leigh Hunt’s Comic Dramatists of the Restoration – ‘the question being whether the mental pollution arising from Messrs Congreve, Wycherley and Co would be compensated for by ...

Back to the futuh

Robert Irwin, 1 August 1996

The Middle East: 2000 Years of History from the Birth of Christianity to the Present Day 
by Bernard Lewis.
Weidenfeld, 433 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 297 81345 5
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... the resistance of the Qur’an by the device of esoteric interpretation’. However, S.M. Stern and Claude Cahen, both writing in 1970, demolished the notion that guilds, whether directed by Isma’ilis or not, played any significant part in the organisation of the Islamic city. Indeed, evidence for the very existence of craft and trade guilds prior ...

Hating

Patrice Higonnet, 14 November 1996

Benjamin Franklin and his Enemies 
by Robert Middlekauf.
California, 276 pp., £19.95, March 1996, 0 520 20268 6
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... pot never boils’. No one can wholly avoid hating ‘Old Daddy Franklin’, from whose Poor Richard’s Almanac these sayings come, especially if brought up to revere him in Public School, USA. Abraham Lincoln is the father of his people; George Washington, of his nation; but Benjamin Franklin – as it happens, a basically very decent man – hovers ...

Dangerously Insane

Deyan Sudjic: Léon Krier, 7 October 2010

The Architecture of Community 
by Léon Krier.
Island, 459 pp., £12.99, February 2010, 978 1 59726 579 9
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... architectural policy of the next British monarch, as well as of the current mayor of Rome. Robert Stern, once a board member of the Disney Corporation, now dean of Yale’s School of Architecture and the author of the introduction to Krier’s latest book, is the architect of the presidential library of George W. Bush, now under construction in Texas. And ...

Fashionable Gore

Katherine Rundell: H. Rider Haggard, 3 April 2014

King Solomon’s Mines 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 337 pp., £7.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958282 3
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She 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 317 pp., £8.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958283 0
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... it isn’t; nor is it run of the mill. It is the book which sowed the seed for John Buchan’s Richard Hannay, for Indiana Jones and James Bond, and though less slick than its successors, its anxieties and lunacies are more interesting. It isn’t suitable for children; perhaps not suitable at all.As a child Henry Rider Haggard was believed to be ...

At least that was the idea

Thomas Keymer: Johnson and Boswell’s Club, 10 October 2019

The Club: Johnson, Boswell and the Friends who Shaped an Age 
by Leo Damrosch.
Yale, 488 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 300 21790 2
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... for the revolutionary naturalism of his acting style, notably his startling performance as Richard III. Garrick was elected to the Club in 1773; the playwrights Oliver Goldsmith and George Colman were already members and Richard Brinsley Sheridan would be admitted a few years later. The Club wasn’t just full ...

Nosy-Poky

Joanna Biggs: Two Caravans, 22 March 2007

Two Caravans 
by Marina Lewycka.
Fig Tree, 310 pp., £16.99, March 2007, 978 0 670 91637 5
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... feathers ‘flying everywhere’. Tomasz catches it and carries it outside, even managing a Richard Curtis one-liner when asked what he’s doing. The bleak world of the chicken factory – Yola plumps up breast meat on polystyrene trays, Marta sorts whole birds from mangled ones, dreaming Nigellaishly of the best ways to eat them – is built up to be ...

Here comes the end of the world

Michael Hofmann, 23 July 1992

Bohin Manor 
by Tadeusz Konwicki, translated by Richard Lourie.
Faber, 240 pp., £12.99, July 1992, 0 571 14437 3
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... have by Konwicki. The first of these four books is The Polish Complex (1977 – the translation by Richard Lourie in 1982), the first of Konwicki’s books to be banned by the authorities in Poland; later on, he graduated to being banned by the Underground. Its basic situation is less extreme than that of A Minor Apocalypse, but just as dramatic and ...

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