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Anything Can Be Rescinded

Isabel Hull: When can you start a war?, 26 April 2018

The Internationalists and Their Plan to Outlaw War 
by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro.
Allen Lane, 608 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 0 241 20070 4
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... been seen as hopelessly utopian, as evanescent and dated as the Charleston. But Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro argue that it was revolutionary. By outlawing war, it laid the legal foundations for a ‘New World Order’ which still prevails, but which we fail to appreciate. The book begins with a bleak description of the ‘Old World Order’, which ...

A Furtive Night’s Work

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s working habits, 20 October 2005

1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 429 pp., £16.99, June 2005, 0 571 21480 0
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... these texts are read only as period pieces anyway, it might appear shockingly polemical for James Shapiro to locate everything William Shakespeare wrote in 1599 in a topical context. Salzman’s aim was simply ‘to solve some of the problems raised by the theoretically informed return to history in Renaissance/early modern studies over the last fifteen ...

Peace without Empire

Perry Anderson, 2 December 2021

Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union 
by Stella Ghervas.
Harvard, 528 pp., £31.95, March, 978 0 674 97526 2
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... level-headed than the fantasies woven around the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro in The Internationalists (2017), which traces the blessings of today’s ruled-based order to the schemes of assorted US bankers and Wall Street lawyers for universal peace in the same years, in a ne plus ultra of empty American ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott, 23 May 2019

by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... their divergences became more evident. McInerney achingly, almost poignantly, longed for the F. Scott Fitzgerald doomed glamour of extravagance and careless waste, raptures of the deep followed by hangovers of the damned. McInerney, you felt, craved critical and collegial approval, the respect of his peers and elders (he and Norman Mailer became friends), a ...

Think outside the bun

Colin Burrow: Quote Me!, 8 September 2022

The New Yale Book of Quotations 
edited by Fred R. Shapiro.
Yale, 1136 pp., £35, October 2021, 978 0 300 20597 8
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... Scotty,’ though only the Yale Book records that the misquotation (he preferred ‘Beam us up, Mr Scott’) first appeared in the Aeronautical Journal in 1975.Sadly, neither volume finds room for Kirk’s other catchphrase, ‘Set phasers to stun,’ presumably because such a kindly articulation of American intergalactic colonialism doesn’t suit the spirit ...

While Statues Sleep

Thomas Laqueur, 18 June 2020

Learning from the Germans: Confronting Race and the Memory of Evil 
by Susan Neiman.
Allen Lane, 415 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 0 241 26286 3
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... Adams would have subscribed to the view that ‘all men are created equal’ – but, as James Shapiro recently showed in Shakespeare in a Divided America, he also thought that Desdemona’s ‘fondling with Othello is disgusting’ and her passion for him ‘unnatural solely and exclusively because of his colour’. It would be convenient if such views ...

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