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5 September 1996
Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature 
by Anthony Heilbut.
Macmillan, 636 pp., £20, June 1996, 9780394556338
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Bloomsbury, 672 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 7475 2531 5
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Thomas Mann: A Life 
by Donald Prater.
Oxford, 554 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 19 815861 0
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... frank and perceptive in its own naive way; with Mann’s diaries, it offers all we need to know about him. Three new books on Mann, however, each as long as Buddenbrooks, have appeared in English. RonaldHayman and Donald Prater are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Anthony Heilbut’s Hamlet. They are dull and worthy and useful perhaps, and they repeat the same facts and the same narrative. Their ...
1 September 1988
Sartre: A Life 
by Annie Cohen-Solal, translated by Anna Cancogni.
Heinemann, 591 pp., £17.95, October 1987, 0 434 14020 1
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Writing against: A Biography of Sartre 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 487 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 297 79002 1
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Sartre: Romantic Rationalist 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 158 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 7011 3095 4
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... Reason, except once again to convey Sartre’s experiences while writing it – the drugs he took to keep going, his increasing confusion, his explanations for why he could not complete it. RonaldHayman does offer such analysis. He devotes careful attention to each of the major works, considering their roots in Sartre’s reading, teaching and reflection. Hayman stresses, as does Cohen-Solal, that ...

Möbius Strip

Dan Jacobson

3 December 1981
K: A Biography of Kafka 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 349 pp., £16.50, October 1981, 0 297 77996 6
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Stories 1904-1924 
by Franz Kafka, translated by J.A. Underwood.
Macdonald, 271 pp., £7.50, November 1981, 9780354046398
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... of order and logic. The writings of Franz Kafka, I would suggest, are the literary equivalent of the Möbius strip. Consider this tiny sampling of passages from his letters and diaries quoted in Mr Hayman’s biography: [Of a present sent to a correspondent] Keep it in your pocket, it will protect you, leave it in a drawer, it will not be inactive there either, but throw it away, that’s best of all ...
17 October 1985
On Writing and Politics: 1967-1983 
by Günter Grass, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Secker, 157 pp., £12, September 1985, 0 436 18773 6
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Günter Grass 
by Ronald Hayman.
Methuen, 80 pp., £2.75, September 1985, 0 416 35490 4
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... remains the question of whether a writer should keep a certain distance, and whether ‘day-to-day politics with its insipid jargon’ has indeed hindered Grass’s literary development. The critic RonaldHayman thinks that it has. His short book on Grass, published in the Methuen ‘Contemporary Writers’ series, provides a careful and fascinating analysis of all Grass’s fiction, but concludes ...
3 October 1985
Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... John Mills saw him as someone ‘who had managed to create himself out of nothing’, and suggested that this was why California suited him so well: ‘unlike England, it’s a rootless place.’ For RonaldHayman, no reader could ever come too close. From the moment he tells us, on page four of Secrets, that he has been psychoanalysed, we feel bound to help him if we possibly can. He never does tell us ...

All in the Family

Sylvia Lawson

3 December 1992
Letters to Sartre 
by Simone de Beauvoir and Quintin Hoare.
Radius, 531 pp., £20, December 1991, 0 09 174774 0
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Witness to My Life: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvior, 1926-1939 
edited by Simone de Beauvior, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee.
Hamish Hamilton, 448 pp., £20, November 1992, 9780241133361
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... à Sartre. But you could already tabulate the chronologies into a glorious, full-colour-coded spreadsheet jigsaw, mapping the stories from the Sartre biographies (Annie Cohen-Solal, John Gerassi, RonaldHayman) over those from the Beauvoir biographies (Deirdre Bair – very much the best; Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Margaret Crosland). Check those against the crucial four volumes of ...

Brecht’s New Age

Margot Heinemann

1 March 1984
Brecht in Context: Comparative Approaches 
by John Willett.
Methuen, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1984, 0 413 50410 7
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Brecht: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 423 pp., £18.50, September 1983, 0 297 78198 7
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... belong to very different genres, both of which are relevant to this task – John Willett’s a critical and historical study based on many years as reviewer, English editor and translator of Brecht, RonaldHayman’s a lively, detailed biography – though the first turns out to be far the more expert, original and reliable. Indeed, Brecht in Context, economical, witty and unpretentious in a way that ...

Nietzsche’s Centaur

Bernard Williams

4 June 1981
Nietzsche on Tragedy 
by M.S. Silk and J.P. Stern.
Cambridge, 441 pp., £27.50, March 1981, 0 521 23262 7
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Nietzsche: A Critical Life 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 424 pp., £18.50, March 1980, 0 297 77636 3
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Nietzsche. Vol. 1: The Will to Power as Art 
by Martin Heidegger, translated by David Farrell Krell.
Routledge, 263 pp., £11.50, March 1981, 0 7100 0744 2
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... book, his association was at its closest, though he was later to break it off, in a reaction of independence which was self-protective and entirely necessary. One of the many interesting facts in Hayman’s detailed and scholarly biography is that Nietzsche was present at the Wagner house on the famous occasion on Christmas Day 1870 when Richter and 15 musicians played on the staircase Wagner’s ...

Crossed Palettes

Ronald​ Paulson

4 November 1993
Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in 18th-Century England 
by David Solkin.
Yale, 312 pp., £40, July 1993, 0 300 05741 5
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... in the 1730s and charity hospitals in the 1740s, and of art exhibitions and the Royal Academy in the 1760s. The artists who figure prominently comprise a third group, of distinctly minor painters (Hayman, Gravelot, Mercier, Highmore, Penny) who do not show Hogarth’s impatience with academic discourse while painting in what for Reynolds was a distressingly unacademic way. But Solkin lumps all of ...

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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... not enough interest is assumed in the often limited detail of what she describes of Elisabeth and Friedrich’s lives. To fill out her omissions and even to make sense of the overall narrative I read RonaldHayman, 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 ...

Impossible Wishes

Michael Wood: Thomas Mann

6 February 2003
The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann 
edited by Ritchie Robertson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £45.50, November 2001, 9780521653107
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Hermann Kurzke, translated by Leslie Willson.
Allen Lane, 582 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 7139 9500 9
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... by publishing houses all over the place. There have been the new translations I have mentioned (1993, 1995, 1997), and no fewer than five biographies since 1995 – four of them (by Klaus Harpprecht, RonaldHayman, Anthony Heilbut, Donald Prater) published in that single year. The German version of Kurzke’s book appeared in 1999. Six volumes of Mann’s essays were published between 1993 and 1997, and ...

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