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Touching the music

Paul Driver, 4 January 1996

Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship 
by Robert Craft.
Vanderbilt, 588 pp., £35.95, October 1994, 0 8265 1258 5
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... Extracts, or pericopes – to borrow his typically ornate term – from Robert Craft’s diary of his years with Stravinsky first appeared in the famous series of their conversation books issued throughout the Sixties. In 1972, after the composer’s death, a far bigger selection was published as Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship, 1948-1971 ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being, 10 October 2019

The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September 2019, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... When Hotel Bedroom appeared in London, destined for the Venice Biennale, the catalogue essay by Robert Melville said of Freud, among many other offensive things: ‘in England we look upon him as the finest of our living primitives. His art has the exquisite laboriousness of Sunday painting relentlessly pursued throughout the week.’ When the critic and ...

Abolish the CIA!

Chalmers Johnson: ‘A classic study of blowback’, 21 October 2004

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001 
by Steve Coll.
Penguin, 695 pp., $29.95, June 2004, 1 59420 007 6
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... provoked by the United States. In his memoir published in 1996, the former CIA director Robert Gates made it clear that the American intelligence services began to aid the mujahidin guerrillas not after the Soviet invasion, but six months before it. In an interview two years later with Le Nouvel Observateur, President Carter’s national security ...

Aux sports, citoyens

Douglas Johnson, 3 December 1981

Sport and Society in Modern France 
by Richard Holt.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £20, July 1981, 0 333 25951 3
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... the author of Regain and Que ma joie demeure as compared to their curiosity about Fachleitner, le berger de Manosque. Some years later, when I was living by the Côte du Mont-aux-Malades, between Déville and Rouen, I noticed that, when the Tour de France was being run, most of the local inhabitants would ride their bicycles to the top of the hill – at all ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell, 2 December 2010

J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... to Martyn Goff; Terence Kilmartin walked out), and Farrell then followed the 1972 winner, John Berger, in denouncing capitalism and Booker’s treatment of Guyanese workers. David Lean optioned the novel a year later, and though the project came to nothing, Farrell found himself in funds for the first time in his life. After finishing The Singapore Grip in ...

I’m a Cahunian

Adam Mars-Jones: Claude Cahun, 2 August 2018

Never Anyone But You 
by Rupert Thomson.
Corsair, 340 pp., £18.99, June 2018, 978 1 4721 5350 0
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... Moore and Claude Cahun (1920). Thomson’s sharp sketches of the women’s intimates, such as Robert Desnos, Edouard de Max and Henri Michaux, are more successful than the cameo appearances or conversational allusions. Names like Hemingway or Lacan can’t be brought into play without making a thud or a clang. No doubt people at Paris parties in the 1920s ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby, 23 March 2006

... they believe, would be contrary to God’s will. Neo-conservative gentiles such as John Bolton; Robert Bartley, the former Wall Street Journal editor; William Bennett, the former secretary of education; Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former UN ambassador; and the influential columnist George Will are also steadfast supporters. The US form of government offers ...

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