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31 October 1996
A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
by Karen Armstrong.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £20, July 1996, 0 00 255522 0
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years 
by Israel Shahak.
Pluto, 118 pp., £11.99, April 1994, 9780745308180
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City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present 
edited by Nitza Rosovsky.
Harvard, 562 pp., £25.50, April 1996, 0 674 13190 8
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Jerusalem in the 20th Century 
by Martin Gilbert.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 7011 3070 9
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 
by Norman Finkelstein.
Verso, 230 pp., £39.95, December 1995, 1 85984 940 7
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To Rule Jerusalem 
by Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht.
Cambridge, 554 pp., £29.95, June 1996, 0 521 44046 7
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... 1993 that Yasser Arafat ... would accept partition’. In fact his acceptance was strongly signalled in 1974 and unambiguously announced in 1988. Yet despite these and other blunders Friedland and Hecht are usually fair, and their book, based on many interviews conducted over a period of years, contains much fascinating material. They are especially good on the fast increasing number of Orthodox ...

Places Never Explained

Colm Tóibín: Anthony Hecht

8 August 2013
The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht 
edited by Jonathan Post.
Johns Hopkins, 365 pp., £18, November 2012, 978 1 4214 0730 2
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... for any of these poets. Each responded to events and to what was expected of them in different ways, but none in a way that is easy to interpret. Perhaps the very act of bombing from a plane – what Richard Eberhart called ‘The Fury of Aerial Bombardment’, the gap between, in J.M. Synge’s phrase, ‘a gallous story and a dirty deed’ – made it impossible for anyone, including Yeats in ‘An ...

On Douglas Crase

Matthew Bevis

25 November 2019
... The most interesting book of first poems in many years’, Richard Howard proclaimed in 1981. James Merrill, John Hollander and John Ashbery spoke in similarly emphatic terms, while Anthony Hecht saluted an ‘extraordinarily fine’ debut and Harold Bloom hailed the arrival of a great original. ‘I think I speak for many,’ David Kalstone wrote, ‘in saying it appeared with that sense of ...

Major and Minor

Frank Kermode

6 June 1985
The Oxford Companion to English Literature 
edited by Margaret Drabble.
Oxford, 1155 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 19 866130 4
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... literature is not fully honoured, and the representation of Commonwealth writers and writing is very spotty. None of the following poets, all born before 1939, gets in: Ammons, Ashbery, Dorn, Hecht, Hollander, Zukofsky. Moby-Dick, here described as an ‘epic tragedy’, is summarised in about half the space devoted to Humphrey Clinker. Melville, like Hawthorne, gets the same wordage as Day ...

Erasures

Mark Ford: Donald Justice

16 November 2006
Collected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 289 pp., £15, June 2006, 0 85646 386 8
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... he has much in common, he devoted his life to the perfection of a small body of deceptively modest poems. His work exhibits little of the ostentatious virtuosity of better-known formalists such as Richard Wilbur and Anthony Hecht, with whom he is so often, and rather unfortunately, grouped. Rather, Justice’s poems delicately induce the hypnotic state that Bishop described as her artistic ideal in a ...

A Rumbling of Things Unknown

Jacqueline Rose: Marilyn Monroe

26 April 2012
... long to make plain its impotence,’ the narrator observes in Sister Carrie, perhaps the earliest exposé of the curse of celebrity, and one of the many books that Monroe owned. According to Ben Hecht, Monroe said that Steffens’s autobiography excited her ‘more than any other book I had read’. She was excited by it at the exact moment when the world, for very different reasons, was about to ...

Thunder in the Mountains

J. Hoberman: Orson Welles

6 September 2007
Orson Welles: Hello Americans 
by Simon Callow.
Vintage, 507 pp., £8.99, May 2007, 978 0 09 946261 3
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What Ever Happened to Orson Welles? A Portrait of an Independent Career 
by Joseph McBride.
Kentucky, 344 pp., $29.95, October 2006, 0 8131 2410 7
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... career. But Callow devotes a chapter to his 1937 Federal Theatre production of the agitprop opera The Cradle Will Rock and attaches suitable significance to Welles’s 1941 Broadway staging of Richard Wright’s Native Son, which was no less daring than Citizen Kane. In any case, it would be impossible to ignore politics when writing about Welles’s wartime activities, and especially the ill ...

On Trying to Be Portugal

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Zionist Terrorism

6 August 2009
‘A Senseless, Squalid War’: Voices from Palestine 1945-48 
by Norman Rose.
Bodley Head, 278 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07938 9
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Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War against Jewish Terrorism 1945-48 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 434 01844 4
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... as Martin Buber and Judah Magnes, hoped for a binational state, ‘a common motherland for these two semitic peoples’, as Magnes called it, though he too expected large-scale Jewish immigration. Richard Crossman, who was a member of the commission, concluded that Magnes ‘represented nothing real in Palestine’. This was sadly confirmed by Hourani’s saying that a binational state could work only ...
11 February 1993
Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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Wagner: Race and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard​ Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... track; at Wahnfried after Wagner’s death Cosima and then her daughter-in-law Winifred all too effectively held court alone, as Syberberg’s chilling cinematic portrait of her attests. Hitler and Richard Strauss, Toscanini and Houston Stewart Chamberlain came there, as well as a whole host of lesser figures, sycophants, geniuses, philosophers, charlatans, and professional Wagnerians of every stripe ...

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