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Sabotage

Gavin Millar, 13 September 1990

Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles 
by Frank Brady.
Hodder, 655 pp., £18.95, January 1990, 0 340 51389 6
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If this was happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 312 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79630 5
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Norma Shearer 
by Gavin Lambert.
Hodder, 381 pp., £17.95, August 1990, 0 340 52947 4
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Ava’s Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner 
by Jane Ellen Wayne.
Robson, 268 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 86051 636 9
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Goldwyn: A Biography 
by Scott Berg.
Hamish Hamilton, 579 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 241 12832 3
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The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era 
by Thomas Schatz.
Simon and Schuster, 514 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 671 69708 0
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... straining after girlishness at the age of 34. But then her whole life, and career, were a strain. Scott Fitzgerald said on Thalberg’s death, ‘The Golden Bowl is broken,’ and the same might be said for Shearer’s career. A more accurate portrait of the Thalberg-Shearer ménage than the rabbi’s can be found in Fitzgerald’ short story ‘Crazy ...

‘Mmmmm’ not ‘Hmmm’

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn, 11 September 2003

Kate Remembered 
by A. Scott Berg.
Simon and Schuster, 318 pp., £18.99, July 2003, 0 7432 0676 2
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... even when she’s supposed to be falling for the mush; and with Hepburn . . . Well, this is what Scott Berg’s vivid and subtle memoir is all about. Berg, the biographer of Maxwell Perkins, Sam Goldwyn, Charles Lindbergh and (in the works) Woodrow Wilson, first met Hepburn in 1982, when she was 75, and was a close ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn, 5 March 2015

... explain to her what the phrase ‘Vive la différence’ means. As if she hadn’t always known. Scott Berg, thinking of a later Hepburn movie, makes a fine, understated remark: ‘It was ultimately difficult for an audience – to say nothing of the star herself – to accept Katharine Hepburn as somebody who had truly lost her mind.’ The ...

A, E♭, C, B

Paul Driver: Robert Schumann, 21 February 2008

Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician 
by John Worthen.
Yale, 496 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 300 11160 6
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The Cambridge Companion to Schumann 
edited by Beate Perrey.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £19.99, June 2007, 978 0 521 78950 9
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Schumann’s Late Style 
by Laura Tunbridge.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £50, October 2007, 978 0 521 87168 6
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... by Jean Paul.’ And in his chapter on Schumann’s ‘Novel Symphonies and Dramatic Overtures’, Scott Burnham, one of the non-specialists, sees the four symphonies as embodying the diversity of ‘characters’ and ‘tones’ that Schumann found in Jean Paul’s writing and heard echoed in Schubert’s Ninth Symphony, with its ‘heavenly length ...

Mad to Be Saved

Thomas Powers: The Kerouac Years, 25 October 2012

The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac 
by Joyce Johnson.
Viking, 489 pp., £25, September 2012, 978 0 670 02510 7
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... novels, a vast manuscript archive of notes, letters and diaries – now housed in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. Six of the women in Kerouac’s life – his first two wives and four occasional lovers – either wrote books about him or were the subject of books. Glassman was the first with a memoir and now, writing under her ...

On ‘Fidelio’

Edward Said, 30 October 1997

... it. Most critics who have written about Beethoven’s heroic middle period – most recently, Scott Burnham, but also Paul Robinson, for whom Fidelio is a relatively uncomplicated enactment of the French Revolution – can see nothing except the triumphalism with which he appears to end these works. If we look a bit more closely at ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq, 5 January 2006

... and healthy way. So there’s an awful lot good that’s happening in that country.’ I heard Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, say: ‘I think we have a clear strategy for success, and there is great progress being made on the ground. We are succeeding and we will succeed.’ I heard the President say: ‘We have a clear path ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester: A Memoir, 5 July 2001

... flat, was boxing, on Sunday afternoons at the Ring, Blackfriars, especially when Jack ‘Kid’ Berg was fighting.For that visit to Lord’s with Nurse, I chose the annual contest between Gentlemen and Players, which meant that I would be seeing the best English amateurs of the day play the best English professionals. When I saw C.F. Walters open the ...

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