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Eaten Alive

Ruth Franklin: Stefan Zweig, 3 April 2003

The Royal Game 
by Stefan Zweig, translated by B.W. Huebsch.
Pushkin, 79 pp., £8, April 2001, 1 901285 11 1
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... On 15 August 1941, Stefan Zweig and his wife set sail for Brazil, where they planned to settle after seven years of exile in England and America. At first he seems to have found the change of scene rejuvenating: he continued work on a biography of Balzac, started a new novel and a critical study of Montaigne, and finished his autobiography, The World of Yesterday, which starts in the late 19th century and romps through the interwar years, with vivid and comic descriptions of Toscanini, Freud and many other artists and intellectuals ...

Halfway to Siberia

Ruth Franklin: Theodor Fontane, 13 December 2001

Theodor Fontane: Literature and History in the Bismarck Reich 
by Gordon A. Craig.
Oxford, 232 pp., £26, November 2000, 0 19 512837 0
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... In the middle of the 1870s,’ Theodor Fontane’s novel Delusions, Confusions begins, ‘just at the crossing of the Kurfürstendamm and the Kurfürstenstrasse, diagonally across from the “Zoological”, could still be found a large vegetable garden, stretching a distance away from the street.’ By the early 1880s, when Fontane began to write his ‘Berlin novels’, the city was living through a period of change not unlike the decade since Reunification – the vegetable garden probably didn’t survive for long ...

It doesn’t tie any shoes

Madeleine Schwartz: Shirley Jackson, 5 January 2017

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life 
by Ruth Franklin.
Liveright, 585 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 87140 313 1
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Dark Tales 
by Shirley Jackson.
Penguin, 208 pp., £9.99, October 2016, 978 0 241 29542 7
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... she says. ‘I don’t.’ Jackson was born into a snobbish San Francisco family in 1916. As Ruth Franklin describes in her sharp new biography, Jackson’s mother, Geraldine, was a social climber who didn’t understand her unruly and unattractive daughter. She told her she was the result of an unsuccessful abortion; when the pill was introduced in ...


Anne Enright: Call Yourself George, 21 September 2017

... over a third. When it comes to literary fiction, my sense of the market corresponds with what Ruth Franklin found in American publishing in 2010, when she pointed out that the gender ratios at ‘the elite literary houses’ were sharply different from those pitching to a broader audience, citing the gap between Random House US at 37 per cent and ...

Up from the Cellar

Nicholas Spice: The Interment of Elisabeth Fritzl, 5 June 2008

by Elfriede Jelinek, translated by Martin Chalmers.
Serpent’s Tail, 340 pp., £7.99, July 2008, 978 1 84668 666 5
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... about her – by Matthias Matussek in Der Spiegel, for example, or Iris Radisch in Die Zeit or Ruth Franklin in the New Republic. The destructive personal animus in these attacks needs explaining. The explanation lies more, I think, with Walter Klemmer than with Kurt Janisch. Walter’s rage and brutality, never far below the surface, is summoned by ...


Alan Hollinghurst, 17 September 1981

by Graham Swift.
Allen Lane, 220 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 7139 1413 0
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The Frights 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Alison Press/Secker, 170 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 436 44085 7
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March House 
by Mary Hocking.
Chatto, 222 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 0 7011 2586 1
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The Missing Person 
by Doris Grumbach.
Hamish Hamilton, 252 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 241 10660 5
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... and spare and insinuating detail are soon suspected of decoying us from some central issue. For Ruth Saunders, the wrong side of thirty, is in a sense a child, protecting herself by looking after others – her widowed father, and the staff and patients of March House, the psychiatric clinic where she is a secretary. Her tone unsettles by the ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: RBG’s Big Mistake, 8 October 2020

... What has become of me could happen only in America,’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her confirmation hearing before the United States Senate in 1993. She meant to praise America. The descendant of Jewish émigrés, she was about to become only the second female justice to join the US Supreme Court. But today the statement reads like an indictment: what became of her thirty years later could only happen in America too ...


Michael Rogin, 20 August 1998

Celebrity Caricature in America 
by Wendy Wick Reaves.
Yale, 320 pp., £29.95, April 1998, 0 300 07463 8
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... outline of, unmistakably, the showman George M. Cohan spinning his cane, Paolo Garretto’s Babe Ruth as home run baseball floating in the air, unmistakably baseball and unmistakably Ruth. And Henry Major’s Ernst Lubitsch, Will Cotton’s Theodore Dreiser, Hirschfeld’s Bojangles Robinson, and more and more, all ...

Dining at the White House

Susan Pedersen: Ralph Bunche, 29 June 2023

The Absolutely Indispensable Man: Ralph Bunche, the United Nations and the Fight to End Empire 
by Kal Raustiala.
Oxford, 661 pp., £26.99, March, 978 0 19 760223 2
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... and African diaspora intellectuals and scholars (Alain Locke, Rayford Logan, Merze Tate, E. Franklin Frazier, Eric Williams) who together would subject the global racial order to excoriating analysis.Bunche spent a dozen years at Howard, finding his wife, Ruth, among his students; the school also proved a springboard ...

A Favourite of the Laws

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 13 June 1991

Married Women’s Separate Property in England, 1660-1833 
by Susan Staves.
Harvard, 290 pp., £27.95, April 1990, 0 674 55088 9
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The Bluestocking Circle: Women, Friendship and the Life of the Mind in 18th-century England 
by Sylvia Harcstark Myers.
Oxford, 342 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 19 811767 1
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Portrait of a Friendship: Drawn from New Letters of James Russell Lowell to Sybella Lady Lyttleton 1881-1891 
by Alethea Hayter.
Michael Russell, 267 pp., £16.95, September 1990, 0 85955 167 9
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Fierce Communion: Family and Community in Early America 
by Helena Wall.
Harvard, 243 pp., £23.95, August 1990, 0 674 29958 2
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... commentary and portraiture to James Watson’s disparaging remarks on his collaborator, ‘Rosy’ Franklin, in The Double Helix (1968): ‘at the age of 31 her dresses showed all the imagination of English bluestocking adolescents’ When James Russell Lowell read the recently published letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle in 1883, the American ambassador and poet ...

Smirk Host Panegyric

Robert Potts: J.H. Prynne, 2 June 2016

by J.H. Prynne.
Bloodaxe, 688 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 1 78037 154 2
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... denunciations has (mostly) lowered. Wholly and proudly conventional writers and critics, such as Ruth Padel, Fiona Sampson, Andrew Motion and Peter McDonald, have found positive things to say. Last year Prynne received a Society of Authors award. The publication of the collected Poems in 1999, an ever fattening volume updated in 2005 and again last ...

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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... of a cluster of male supporters. These include his old college buddies Longfellow and Franklin Pierce, who became the subject of a campaign biography written by Hawthorne and who also became a President of the United States. This critic points to their influential descendents in order to explain how the canonisation continues into the present ...

The Art of Stealth

Bruce Ackerman: The Supreme Court under Threat, 17 February 2005

... to push the court leftward with stealth candidates. He nominated two seasoned professionals – Ruth Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer – with track records as moderate liberals. If Clinton had played a more provocative game, the Republicans would have responded in kind – ideological warfare, personal attacks and die-hard opposition. And perhaps they would ...

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger, 25 October 2018

... the FBI as part of its routine background checks for important government nominees. The evangelist Franklin Graham and various Republicans claim that since Kavanaugh did not actually rape Ford, but merely assaulted and groped her, and then stopped, his honourable character is evident.Because of death threats, Dr Ford is forced to move her family into ...

The Darwin Show

Steven Shapin, 7 January 2010

... work The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. And Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter Ruth Padel published Darwin: A Life in Poems, evoking the emotional nexus from which the Origin emerged:        ‘I never dreamedthat islands sixty miles apart, made of the            same stone, of nearly equal height in ...

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