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Fear of Drying

Richard Eyre, 4 September 1986

Stage Fright: Its Role in Acting 
by Stephen Aaron.
Chicago, 156 pp., £13.95, July 1986, 0 226 00018 4
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... are a dogged, mirthless clinic conducted with the reverence reserved for Masonic inductions. Stephen Aaron’s Stage Fright, which anatomises the stages of rehearsal from the first day to the first night, from the point of view of a psychotherapist, endorses this impression. Stage Fright is ostensibly about the phenomenon of chronic anxiety that ...

Just about Anything You Want

Ben Jackson: Guerrilla Open Access, 5 October 2016

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz 
by Aaron Swartz.
Verso, 368 pp., £15.99, February 2016, 978 1 78478 496 6
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... In January​ 2011, Aaron Swartz was arrested for downloading 4.8 million academic articles from the digital archive JSTOR, using a laptop hidden in a broom cupboard on the MIT campus. He was 24, and already a respected and influential computer programmer. As a teenager, he had helped develop RSS, a syndication format that led to the explosion in popularity of blogging, and Markdown, an easy to use tool that converted text to HTML ...

Clytie’s Legs

Daniel Aaron, 2 May 1985

The Optimist’s Daughter 
by Eudora Welty, introduced by Helen McNeil.
Virago, 180 pp., £3.50, October 1984, 0 86068 375 3
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One Writer’s Beginnings 
by Eudora Welty.
Harvard, 136 pp., £8.80, April 1984, 0 674 63925 1
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The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty 
Penguin, 622 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 14 006381 1Show More
Conversations with Eudora Welty 
edited by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw.
Mississippi, 356 pp., £9.50, October 1984, 0 87805 206 2
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... and ceremonial stiffness’ of body and spirit that prevents this story from melting into pathos. Stephen Dedalus, in one of his aesthetic harangues, describes a process by which the artist’s personality ‘finally refines itself out of existence’ through the dissolvent of his imagination. Once this mystery, a purification of life, is accomplished, the ...

How to Hiss and Huff

Robert Alter: Mann’s Moses, 2 December 2010

The Tables of the Law 
by Thomas Mann, translated by Marion Faber and Stephen Lehmann.
Haus, 113 pp., £10, October 2010, 978 1 906598 84 6
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... Mann wrote this engaging novella in a few weeks in 1943. (The new translation by Marion Faber and Stephen Lehmann, which is brisk and direct, is a welcome replacement of the fussier and less accurate English version done by Helen Lowe-Porter for the original publication.) The novella was written after Mann helped pitch a film on the Ten Commandments to ...

Mr Lion, Mr Cock and Mr Cat

Roger Lonsdale, 5 April 1990

A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... had what is for Guest a paradigmatic conversation about Young at Court in the 1780s was Col. Stephen Digby, the Queen’s Vice-Chamberlain.) It is a tribute to Guest’s powers of perceptive analysis that some less promising 18th-century writers can just as usefully illustrate differing tones of exemplary reverence or exhortation, postures of explanatory ...

The Inevitable Pit

Stephen Greenblatt: Isn’t that a Jewish name?, 21 September 2000

... no doubt born in Lithuania. But my parents carefully gave me approximate English equivalents, Stephen Jay, reversing the order presumably because they thought it looked or sounded somehow more elegant, and, for the same reason, using the Greek spelling of my first name, the name of the first Christian martyr. I recall as a child being annoyed and a bit ...

The Great National Circus

Eric Foner: Punch-Ups in the Senate, 22 November 2018

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War 
by Joanne Freeman.
Farrar, Straus, 450 pp., £20.99, September 2018, 978 0 374 15477 6
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... and Daniel Webster, as well as eloquent spokesmen on both sides of the slavery question, such as Stephen Douglas and William Seward. John Quincy Adams didn’t consider it beneath him to serve in the House after his term as president. Such men offer a sharp contrast to the smaller-than-life mediocrities who occupy seats today. But as Freeman points out, even ...

Oh, the curse!

David Runciman: A home run, 19 February 2004

Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball 
by Stephen Jay Gould.
Cape, 342 pp., £16.99, January 2004, 0 224 05042 7
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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game 
by Michael Lewis.
Norton, 288 pp., $24.95, June 2003, 0 393 05765 8
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... of the 11th, smacked into the crowd by some guy they had recently acquired from Cincinatti called Aaron Boone. Afterwards, Boone told the press that Derek Jeter, the Yankees’ shortstop, a nice, inoffensive boy with cheekbones, the David Beckham of baseball, had promised him that ‘the ghosts would turn up eventually’. The Red Sox were at least spared the ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby, 23 March 2006

... for Near East Policy (WINEP); Dennis Ross, who joined WINEP after leaving government in 2001; and Aaron Miller, who has lived in Israel and often visits the country. These men were among Clinton’s closest advisers at the Camp David summit in July 2000. Although all three supported the Oslo peace process and favoured the creation of a Palestinian state, they ...

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