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Uncle Vester’s Nephew

Graham Coster, 27 February 1992

Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession 
by Greil Marcus.
Viking, 256 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 670 83846 2
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Rythm Oil: A Journey through the Music of the American South 
by Stanley Booth.
Cape, 254 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 224 02779 4
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... to garb himself in for a Las Vegas show, and then go and buy yourself an Elvis alarm clock. In a booth in one of the many trinket shops sits the affable Uncle, ready to autograph for you a copy of his Vester Presley Cookbook, a collation of favourite Presley family recipes, and impart to anyone who cares to stop and be buttonholed his memories of his ...

National Treasure

Christopher Hitchens, 14 November 1996

Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir 
by John Davis.
Wiley, 256 pp., £14.99, October 1996, 0 471 12945 3
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... like the most abject stage-door Johnnies, and indeed Janes. The former First Lady sat in the main booth with her friends, looking serene and detached, while all sorts of people took their time collecting their hats or whatever, and rubbernecking shamelessly.What was this? It was more than fame and more than glamour. And it was a bit less than Edmund Burke’s ...


W.G. Runciman: Slums, Unemployment, Strikes and Party Politics, 23 June 1988

... experts. But the conclusion of Sean Glynn, in a recent volume of papers edited by himself and Alan Booth under the title The Road to Full Employment,* is that ‘it can be said with reasonable confidence that unemployment in the 1980s has been much worse than during the inter-war period and has reached levels comparable with the 1930s peak.’ Some will ...

Up the avenue

Peter Clarke, 11 June 1992

Election Rides 
by Edward Pearce.
Faber, 198 pp., £5.99, April 1992, 0 571 16657 1
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... advance in the Twenties. While, like Archie Rice, he was still having a go on the public stage, Stanley Baldwin stole into the sitting-room of anyone lucky enough to have a new wireless. His avoidance of histrionics in favour of the fireside manner was pitched perfectly for his middle-brow, middle-class constituency, and showed that the public meeting, in ...
... and forms of art in the traditional sense of ‘dominance’: but they have not yet achieved what Stanley Cavell calls the ‘modernist’ condition, in which the medium has to be reinvented with each new achievement. We may hear people leaving the movies saying, ‘That was weird’ (or ‘different’, or ‘original’), but we don’t hear them ...

Rat Poison

David Bromwich, 17 October 1996

Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life 
by Martha Nussbaum.
Beacon, 143 pp., $20, February 1996, 0 8070 4108 4
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... she has called it, for she recognises certain sharers of her aims: among literary critics, Wayne Booth; among philosophers, Bernard Williams and Stanley Cavell; among social scientists, Amartya Sen. Nussbaum explains her discovery of virtues eloquently, volubly, in the manner of a belated Victorian moralist. The reverse of ...

My Year of Reading Lemmishly

Jonathan Lethem, 10 February 2022

... non-fiction, and a dearth of science fiction. But the boy’s antennae were good. At the booth of the Seabury Press (a publishing division of the Episcopalian Church) he spotted four anomalous hardcovers, all by an author with a peculiar name: Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, The Futurological Congress, The Invincible and The Cyberiad. Two – Invincible ...


Ian Penman: The Obsession with Charlie Parker, 23 January 2014

Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker 
by Gary Giddins.
Minnesota, revised edition, 195 pp., £15, October 2013, 978 0 8166 9041 1
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Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker 
by Stanley Crouch.
Harper, 365 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 06 200559 5
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Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker 
by Chuck Haddix.
Illinois, 188 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 252 03791 7
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... impulse control.) At one point in Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker, Stanley Crouch describes Mrs Parker’s attitude to Rebecca as that towards an ‘interloper’; otherwise, no one embellishes this score with any oblique psychoanalytic riffs. (Oh, for a quick burst of Melanie Klein!) There’s a muggy feeling of various ...

Culler and Deconstruction

Gerald Graff, 3 September 1981

The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction 
by Jonathan Culler.
Routledge, 256 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 7100 0757 4
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... they are changeable. This view would seem to align Culler with the most recent work of Stanley Fish (only Fish’s earlier views are taken up by Culler here), who argues influentially in Is there a text in this class? that interpreters have no recourse to ‘independent evidence’ in disputes over texts, since what counts as evidence is ...

Dark Markets

Donald MacKenzie, 4 June 2015

... investigations of the dark pools run by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS. Schneiderman isn’t the first New York attorney general to show his unwillingness to leave the policing of financial markets to federal bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. Eliot Spitzer, who was elected attorney general in ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... Tim Yeo, David Mellor (greatly exaggerated, but not his only alleged misdemeanour), Hartley Booth, Michael Brown (though he is a borderline case, since he resigned from office while denying allegations that he had had a homosexual relationship). We should also not forget David Trevinnick and Graham Riddick, suspended from their jobs as Parliamentary ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’, 18 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... Side ‘transformed’ him ‘overnight into a minor literary celebrity’, able to get the best booth at any luncheonette. Podhoretz’s irresistible climb to the top is rudely interrupted by a letter from Uncle Sam, a dreaded draft notice – the Korean War casts its cold shadow – that yanks him out of civilian life and shoves him into the factory farm ...

There isn’t any inside!

Adam Mars-Jones: William Gaddis, 23 September 2021

The Recognitions 
by William Gaddis.
NYRB, 992 pp., £24, November 2020, 978 1 68137 466 6
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by William Gaddis.
NYRB, 784 pp., £20, October 2020, 978 1 68137 468 0
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... endeavour emerge from a seventy-page party scene in The Recognitions. The tortured composer Stanley talks about ‘living among palimpsests … double and triple palimpsests pile up and you keep erasing, and altering, and adding, always trying to account for this accumulation, to order it, to locate every particle in its place in one whole’. He feels ...

Mrs Shakespeare

Barbara Everett, 18 December 1986

William Shakespeare: The Sonnets and ‘A Lover’s Complaint’ 
edited by John Kerrigan.
Viking, 458 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 670 81466 0
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... the time (some of the best are gathered into the Lapidaria, volumes printed with great beauty by Stanley Morison) work with this grace and wit, minute yet monumental. Carefully central or final in climax, a single verb or pregnant noun will so govern contrasting predicates as to reflect the tragi-comedy of the human condition. Thus Robert Burton ...

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