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Beyond the Human

Jamie McKendrick: Dante’s Paradiso, 26 March 2009

Paradiso 
by Dante, translated by Robin Kirkpatrick.
Penguin, 480 pp., £12.99, October 2007, 978 0 14 044897 9
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Paradiso 
by Dante, translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander.
Anchor, 915 pp., $19.95, September 2008, 978 1 4000 3115 3
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... two new English translations, one by Robin Kirkpatrick, the other by the husband and wife team of Robert and Jean Hollander, should be welcomed. Each edition is the final volume of a long labour, and each helps the reader see this last cantica in the context of the previous two. With Virgil as his guide, Dante has already ...

Unmasking Monsieur Malraux

Richard Mayne, 25 June 1992

The Conquerors 
by André Malraux, translated by Stephen Becker.
Chicago, 198 pp., £8.75, December 1991, 0 226 50290 2
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The Temptation of the West 
by André Malraux, translated by Robert Hollander.
Chicago, 122 pp., £8.75, February 1992, 0 226 50291 0
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The Walnut Tree of Altenburg 
by André Malraux, translated by A.W. Fielding.
Chicago, 224 pp., £9.55, April 1992, 0 226 50289 9
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... He’s the one great epic novelist of the revolution to come that never came.’ ‘All of a sudden, after the war, his novels seemed to me to have no literary value whatsoever,’ ‘I find them naff.’ ‘In L’Espoir he is immersed in the action and that makes his art great,’ ‘He was a fake: he always pretended to be what he was not.’ ‘He was in love with danger, with adventure,’ ‘He was one of the most religious men I ever met ...

Killing Stripes

Christopher Turner: Suits, 1 June 2017

Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress 
by Anne Hollander.
Bloomsbury, reissue, 158 pp., £19.99, August 2016, 978 1 4742 5065 8
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The Suit: Form, Function and Style 
by Christopher Breward.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £18, May 2016, 978 1 78023 523 3
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... Charles Dickens, Henry James, Bram Stoker, Ulysses S. Grant, Toulouse-Lautrec, Lillie Langtry, Robert Mitchum and Jean Cocteau were also on the books. Some of their accounts are closed, crossed out with lines of red ink and marked ‘Dead’. Grand Duke Sergei of Russia’s reads ‘Assassinated’. A ‘Sundry Debtors’ list from 1909-41 fills a hundred ...

Transcendental Criticism

David Trotter, 3 March 1988

The Renewal of Literature: Emersonian Reflections 
by Richard Poirier.
Faber, 256 pp., £14.95, March 1988, 0 571 15013 6
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... Sense of Henry James (1960) through A World Elsewhere (1966) and The Performing Self (1971) to Robert Frost: The Work of Knowing (1977), Poirier has pursued a consistent and inventive enquiry into literary language, and into the politics of literary language. ‘When a writer is most strongly engaged by what he is doing, as if struggling for his identity ...

Just How It was

Anne Hollander: The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, 7 May 1998

Tête à Tête: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson 
edited by E.H. Gombrich.
Thames and Hudson, 144 pp., £32, February 1998, 9780500542187
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Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans 
edited by Jean Clair.
Thames and Hudson, 231 pp., £29.95, January 1998, 0 500 28052 5
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... lastyear of the great forerunner’s life. Stieglitz’s face has a weary look not unlike that of Robert Flaherty, father of the documentary film, another great forerunner whose portrait Cartier-Bresson took in the same year. A similar weariness infuses the faces of Georges Rouault and Pierre Bonnard in their 1944 portraits; but the relationship between these ...

Short is sweet

Christopher Ricks, 3 February 1983

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs 
edited by J.A. Simpson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 19 866131 2
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A World of Proverbs 
by Patricia Houghton.
Blandford, 152 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 0 7137 1114 0
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... is up against variant forms from 1766 and 1776; that an injustice may have been done to Sir Robert Walpole (‘All those men have their price’); that ‘It is the first step which counts’ gets its power from the miracle that followed St Denis’s execution – ‘Afterwards he picked up his head and walked for six miles’; that nobody ever quite ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... York this season is the Armani retrospective at the Guggenheim. Designed by the Post-Modern artist Robert Wilson, who has draped the Frank Lloyd Wright spiral ramps with white gauze, bathed the museum in patchouli and musk, and created a Japanese soundtrack to accompany the show, the exhibition is a perfect example of the blend of fashion, art, commerce and ...

I am Prince Mishkin

Mark Ford, 23 April 1987

‘Howl’: Original Draft Facsimile 
by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Barry Miles.
Viking, 194 pp., £16.95, February 1987, 0 670 81599 3
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White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 89 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81598 5
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... to increase its underground following. It was Ginsberg’s old Columbia colleagues, John Hollander, Norman Podhoretz and Louis Simpson, all cutting their teeth in the New York literary scene under the approving auspices of Lionel and Diana Trilling, who led the charge against the Beats. ‘It is only fair to Allen Ginsberg to remark on the utter lack ...

On Douglas Crase

Matthew Bevis, 5 December 2019

... 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 ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: New New Grub Street, 3 February 1983

... Blackheath with their holdalls, or nipping round the corner from the Telegraph with a fistful of Robert Hales or Arthur Barkers. One esteemed figure at the Times used to order a taxi for noon on Friday and when it arrived he would have a flunkey load it up with art books and American encyclopedias. He would then squeeze in beside his booty and, with ...

Ropes, Shirts or Dirty Socks

Adam Smyth: Paper, 15 June 2017

Paper: Paging through History 
by Mark Kurlansky.
Norton, 416 pp., £12.99, June 2017, 978 0 393 35370 9
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... increasing supply; Joshua Gilpin introduced its use in the US in 1804. And in Paris Nicolas-Louis Robert invented a papermaking machine which, through the use of a conveyor belt, produced not single sheets but a continuous roll: the belt replicated the actions of the vatman and coucher, even the right to left, forward and back shake to distribute the ...

American Manscapes

Richard Poirier, 12 October 1989

Manhood and the American Renaissance 
by David Leverenz.
Cornell, 372 pp., $35.75, April 1989, 0 8014 2281 7
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... homosexual rape carried out by an older man – specifically, a domineering uncle-guardian named Robert Manning, whose bed and board were shared by the fledgling author before he left for Bowdoin College. (Manning also happened to be, for those who might want to make something of it, the most renowned pomologist in the United States.) For ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 23 October 2014

... to the mighty poets of Milne’s Bar and the Abbotsford: Hugh MacDiarmid, Norman MacCaig and Robert Garioch, among others. MacIver played some of the part of a father, taking Karl all over town to whatever was happening on stage or on screen. MacCaig was to become a lifelong friend, guide and admirer; they shared the same dryness of wit and much the same ...

Outfox them!

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Stalin v Emigrés, 8 March 2012

Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union 1921-41 
by Michael David-Fox.
Oxford, 396 pp., £35, January 2012, 978 0 19 979457 7
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Moscow, the Fourth Rome: Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931-41 
by Katerina Clark.
Harvard, 420 pp., £25.95, November 2011, 978 0 674 05787 6
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Being Soviet: Identity, Rumour and Everyday Life under Stalin 
by Timothy Johnston.
Oxford, 240 pp., £55, August 2011, 978 0 19 960403 6
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Stalin’s Last Generation: Soviet Postwar Youth and the Emergence of Mature Socialism 
by Juliane Fürst.
Oxford, 391 pp., £63, September 2010, 978 0 19 957506 0
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All This Is Your World: Soviet Tourism at Home and Abroad after Stalin 
by Anne Gorsuch.
Oxford, 222 pp., £60, August 2011, 978 0 19 960994 9
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... know enough about foreigners to be able to tell if they were whom they claimed to be. Moreover, as Robert Service reminds us in Spies and Commissars, in the first, formative years after the Bolshevik Revolution, when almost all the capitalist powers sent military forces to support the Bolsheviks’ opponents in the Civil War, most of the resident ...

Gravity’s Smoothest Dream

Matthew Bevis: A.R. Ammons, 7 March 2019

The Complete Poems 
by A.R. Ammons.
Norton, two vols, 2133 pp., £74, December 2017, 978 0 393 25489 1
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... Collected Poems came out in the mid-1950s. It was ‘a major imaginative event’, John Hollander said, and John Ashbery – in his first piece for the New York Review of Books – hailed Ammons as an ‘American original’. ‘I was born big and jaundiced (and ugly),’ Archie Randolph Ammons wrote, ‘on February 18, 1926, in a farmhouse ...

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