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Sweet Dreams

Christopher Reid

17 November 1983
The Oxford Book of Dreams 
by Stephen Brook.
Oxford, 268 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 19 214130 9
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... Dreams are often most profound when they seem most crazy’), two analytical descriptions of dreams, and one rather dogmatic passage laying down the law on dream symbolism. It is a measure of StephenBrook’s easy-going editorial attitude that Freud and his detractors are given equal house-room. His anthology is, deliberately, a miscellaneous compilation, containing, in addition to passages of ...

The Pain of History

Stephen Brook

19 February 1981
The Star-Apple Kingdom 
by Derek Walcott.
Cape, 58 pp., £2.50, March 1980, 0 224 01780 2
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Selected Poems 1961-1978 
by David Holbrook.
Anvil, 143 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 85646 066 4
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Death Valley and Other Poems in America 
by Alan Ross.
London Magazine Editions, 92 pp., £3, June 1980, 0 904388 32 8
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Poems 1955-1980 
by Roy Fisher.
Oxford, 193 pp., £7.95, November 1980, 0 19 211935 4
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A.R.T.H.U.R. & M.A.R.T.H.A. 
by Laurence Lerner.
Secker, 69 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 436 24440 3
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... Derek Walcott is now 50 years old, but there is none of the placidity or mellowing of middle age in The Star-Apple Kingdom. If Naipaul is the great novelist of the colonial experience, Walcott has a claim to be considered the great poet of the same experience. They share an acute sense of belonging to more than one culture and hence to none. The reference in the title poem to the Caribbean’s ‘history-orphaned ...
12 July 1990
Intifada. The Palestinian Uprising: Israel’s Third Front 
by Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari.
Simon and Schuster, 352 pp., £14.95, May 1990, 0 671 67530 3
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Winner takes all: A Season in Israel 
by Stephen Brook.
Hamish Hamilton, 363 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12635 5
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... Israel’s Third Front’, the first and second fronts being open war and terrorism. So much for ‘strategic depth’ as an excuse for hanging onto the territories. Schiff and Ya’ari, like StephenBrook in Winner takes all (a perceptive account of a recent visit to Israel), examine the plight of the Israeli Arabs and the problem posed for Israel by their divided loyalties and the radicalising ...


David Cannadine

27 July 1989
The Social Politics of Anglo-Jewry 1880-1920 
by Eugene Black.
Blackwell, 428 pp., £35, February 1989, 9780631164913
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The Persistence of Prejudice: Anti-Semitism in British Society during the Second World War 
by Tony Kushner.
Manchester, 257 pp., £29.95, March 1989, 0 7190 2896 5
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The Club: The Jews of Modern Britain 
by Stephen Brook.
Constable, 464 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 09 467340 3
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... than it created. Above all, Hitler’s bombs did far more to disperse and to assimilate the East End Jews than any amount of Rothschild philanthropy or social engineering had ever been able to do. Brook’s volume brings the story up to date, with a readable, irreverent and pessimistic account of contemporary Anglo-Jewry, as seen by someone who belongs to it by birth but rejects many of its values ...

Fouling the nest

Anthony Julius

8 April 1993
Modern British Jewry 
by Geoffrey Alderman.
Oxford, 397 pp., £40, September 1992, 0 19 820145 1
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... cousinhood’; Colin Holmes’s study of English anti-semitism is essential reading on the subject; and contemporary Anglo-Jewry has been more shrewdly, as well as more comprehensively, described by StephenBrook. There is a need for a book which draws together the separate threads represented by these other studies, but Modern British Jewry is not it. Alderman is unable to place Jews in the context of ...

Vibrating to the Chord of Queer

Elaine Showalter: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

6 March 2003
Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity 
by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.
Duke, 216 pp., £14.95, March 2003, 0 8223 3015 6
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Regarding Sedgwick: Essays on Queer Culture and Critical Theory 
edited by Stephen​ Barber and David Clark.
Routledge, 285 pp., £55, September 2002, 0 415 92818 4
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... Buddhism, and has turned away from writing to weaving and other forms of fibre art. In 1999, fibre installations by Sedgwick, both called Floating Columns: In the Bardo, were exhibited at Suny Stony Brook and the Cuny Graduate Center. She uses the Tibetan Buddhist term bardo, or the ‘space between states of being’, to signify the ‘painful bardo of dying’, which occupies the ‘space between ...
20 July 2000
... designer and more often a woman than a man. Sometimes, unforgivably (though she forgave him), it was his frequent collaborator, the designer Jocelyn Herbert. The nominal producer of The Old Crowd was Stephen Frears, but in real terms it was LWT and its then head of programmes, Michael Grade. Used as I was to the BBC and to my regular producer, Innes Lloyd, I found LWT entirely well-meaning but awkward to ...

Did Harold really get it in the eye?

Patrick Wormald: The Normans

3 June 2004
The Battle of Hastings, 1066 
by M.K. Lawson.
Tempus, 288 pp., £16.99, October 2003, 0 7524 1998 6
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The Normans: The History of a Dynasty 
by David Crouch.
Hambledon, 345 pp., £25, July 2002, 1 85285 387 5
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Domesday Book: A Complete Translation 
edited by Ann Williams and G.H. Martin.
Penguin, 1436 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 14 143994 7
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... he shows that the scene of floundering warhorses, when the Normans must have come closest to defeat, probably took place to the ridge’s south-west. The water shown here may well be the ‘sandy brook’ that would have given the field the name Senlac, taken by Freeman from the later but richly detailed account of the Anglo-Norman Orderic Vitalis. We may even glimpse the stakes of the defensive ...

Dingy Quadrilaterals

Ian Gilmour: The Profumo Case

19 October 2006
Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir 
by David Profumo.
Murray, 291 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 7195 6608 8
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... dingy quadrilateral’. He certainly lacked the abilities and attractiveness of his three younger brothers. At the Cliveden swimming-pool Jack met, not for the first time, Astor’s osteopath, Stephen Ward, ‘the Doctor’ of the quadrilateral, and the exceptionally pretty Christine Keeler. Profumo, as he later put it, ‘was extremely taken by Christine, whom I thought was Ward’s girlfriend ...

Regrets, Vexations, Lassitudes

Seamus Perry: Wordsworth’s Trouble

18 December 2008
William Wordsworth’s ‘The Prelude’: A Casebook 
edited by Stephen​ Gill.
Oxford, 406 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 0 19 518092 5
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... the scope of my plan.’ The encyclopedic ambitions are ringingly Coleridgean, and indeed Coleridge had himself entertained for a time thoughts of a similar long poem (his was to be called ‘The Brook’), which would have interwoven natural description and metaphysical reflections. Like many of Coleridge’s grandest schemes it came to nothing; but in Wordsworth, he clearly felt, he had found ...

Homer Inc

Edward Luttwak

23 February 2012
The Iliad by Homer 
translated by Stephen​ Mitchell.
Weidenfeld, 463 pp., £25, October 2011, 978 0 297 85973 4
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... Graves, in prose and song, both in paperback; two blank verse Robert Fagles in solid covers; one rhythmic Richmond Lattimore with a lengthy new introduction;* and three hardback copies of the new Stephen Mitchell translation, with refulgent golden shields on the cover and several endorsements on the back, of which the most arresting is by Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget: ‘The poetry ...
18 April 2019
Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities 
by Eric Kaufman.
Allen Lane, 617 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 241 31710 5
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National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy 
by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin.
Pelican, 384 pp., £9.99, October 2018, 978 0 241 31200 1
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... only be celebrated. ‘Left-modernism’ is based on a ‘trinity’ of sacred values – race, gender and sexuality – but race matters most, and anti-racism has become a ‘religion’ that will brook no questioning, shutting down all rational debate. This part of the argument relies more heavily on anecdote, and skips between countries: he repeats Orwell’s well-worn remark that ‘in left-wing ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being

10 October 2019
The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... Later he explained that this was what started him off. ‘The image had to be substantiated,’ Feaver writes. Once he was in his late teens, it became fashionable to fall in love with Freud. When Stephen Spender, according to himself, told T.S. Eliot that he had succumbed, Eliot said: ‘There’s nothing I understand more.’ Spender and Freud spent some time in a cottage in Wales when Freud was 18 ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000

25 January 2001
... The mystery on mornings like this is how one can still persist in thinking that this is a decent society whichever government we live under. 20 February, Yorkshire. Via Mallerstang to Kirkby Stephen and Barnard Castle, the tops still veined with snow and in the late afternoon bathed in a rich tawny light, the valleys in shadow with the hills still catching the sun. We have tea at Muker, where we ...

A Use for the Stones

Jacqueline Rose: On Being Nadine Gordimer

20 April 2006
Get a Life 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Bloomsbury, 187 pp., £16.99, November 2005, 0 7475 8175 4
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... quality to the whole surface of life.’ This slowly mutating world is, for Gordimer, the privileged domain of the writer, the domain of ‘unconscious reality’ as she put it in a letter to Stephen Clingman, to which the writer, unlike the intellectual, has unique, almost mystical access. ‘Even if he writes about a great public event, or war or revolution,’ she said in her acceptance speech ...

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