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Me and My Breakfast Cereal

Frank Close: Co-operative Atoms, 9 February 2006

A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down 
by Robert Laughlin.
Basic Books, 254 pp., £15.50, September 2005, 9780465038282
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... without the intervention of experiments that might show such a theory to be highly presumptuous, Robert Laughlin cautions against searching ‘on smaller and smaller scales for meaning that is not there’. Laughlin’s central argument is that instead of becoming obsessed with ultimate theories we would do better to ...

He was the man

Robert Crawford: Ezra Pound, 30 June 2016

Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and his Work: Vol. III: The Tragic Years, 1939-72 
by A. David Moody.
Oxford, 654 pp., £30, September 2015, 978 0 19 870436 2
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... foundational example) and ‘The Hero as Man of Letters’ (culminating in the bardic example of Robert Burns), surely underpinned Pound’s deep and lasting sense of his vocation as a preacher, teacher and poet. Despite his modernism, Pound was a product of 19th-century assumptions and cadences; Moody’s acceptance of him as a Carlylean ‘hero of his ...
The ego is always at the wheel 
by Delmore Schwartz.
Carcanet, 146 pp., £6.95, May 1987, 0 85635 702 2
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A Nest of Ninnies 
by John Ashbery and James Schuyler.
Carcanet, 191 pp., £10.95, June 1987, 0 85635 699 9
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... is told never ignite. Schwartz’s reputation suffered for it on all fronts. His publisher James Laughlin was unenthusiastic, Auden advised him not to publish, and, when it did come out in 1943, it received, at best, tepidly polite reviews. Schwartz never abandoned poetry. In fact, over the next twenty years he wrote reams of it, much of it still unpublished ...

Diary

Mark Ford: Love and Theft, 2 December 2004

... some time after Laurence Sterne’s death in 1768 that this passage was itself plagiarised from Robert Burton’s attack on literary imitators in his introduction to The Anatomy of Melancholy. ‘As apothecaries,’ Burton observed, ‘we make new mixtures every day, pour out of one vessel into another … Again, we weave the same web still, twist the same ...

Take out all the adjectives

Jeremy Harding: The poetry of George Oppen, 6 May 2004

New Collected Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by Michael Davidson.
Carcanet, 433 pp., £14.95, July 2003, 1 85754 631 8
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... company, stopped off to buy some pencils and a pad of paper. The Materials was published by James Laughlin in association with the San Francisco Review in 1962. Davidson quotes two lines from ‘Blood from the Stone’, the first poem Oppen wrote after the dream, and the tenth of some forty in the new book, most of them bigger, all of them less cagey, than ...

Tickle and Flutter

Terry Castle: Maude Hutchins’s Revenge, 3 July 2008

... art studies Maude Phelps McVeigh married the precocious, prodigious, ‘collar-ad handsome’ Robert Maynard Hutchins, a brilliant young teacher and law student who became secretary to the Yale Corporation in 1923 at the age of 24. In 1928, soon after receiving his law degree and a professorship, he was made dean of the Law School – the youngest in Yale ...

Mostly Middle

Michael Hofmann: Elizabeth Bishop, 8 September 2011

Poems 
by Elizabeth Bishop.
Chatto, 352 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 7011 8628 9
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... Moore and her mother finished her in Brooklyn (decorum studies?) after she left Vassar. James Laughlin, founder of New Directions, publisher and friend of Ezra Pound, was so desperate to publish her that even after he accepted he wasn’t going to be allowed to, he still hoped at least to be permitted to announce that he was. The alpha males – and the ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home, 24 May 2012

Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... Quinn, a lawyer and collector to whom T.S. Eliot gave the manuscript of The Waste Land; to James Laughlin, founder and editor of New Directions (or Nude Erections as Pound liked to call it); to Alice Corbin Henderson of Poetry; to Scofield Thayer and James Sibley Watson of the Dial; to Margaret Anderson of the Little Review. Two hefty books collected his ...

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