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Sexual Subjects

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 21 October 1982

The Sexual Fix 
by Stephen Heath.
Macmillan, 191 pp., £12.95, June 1982, 0 333 32750 0
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Questions of Cinema 
by Stephen Heath.
Macmillan, 257 pp., £12.50, August 1981, 0 333 26122 4
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‘Sight and Sound’: A 50th-Anniversary Selection 
edited by David Wilson.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.50, September 1982, 0 571 11943 3
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... ever condemned to our discourses. And so, says Foucault, with the ‘sexual revolution’ itself. Stephen Heath never mentions Foucault. Yet his point in exposing the ‘Sexual Fix’ is almost exactly the same. It is to show that when we believe ourselves at last to be able to express our real selves in sex, when we claim our Right to Sex Happiness, go ...

English Words and French Authors

John Sturrock, 8 February 1990

A New History of French Literature 
edited by Denis Hollier.
Harvard, 1280 pp., £39.95, October 1989, 0 674 61565 4
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... representative in literature, of a time, a milieu, a genre, a creative kin-group – towards what Stephen Greenblatt, contributor here of a fascinating little piece on the textuality of death in the 16th century, calls ‘cultural poetics’. This giant volume has, however, nearly as many different contributors as there are chapters and they follow no one ...
Criticism in the University 
edited by Gerald Graff and Reginald Gibbons.
Northwestern, 234 pp., £29.95, September 1985, 0 8101 0670 1
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... have attracted accomplished disciples. One of the best books on Barthes is by the Englishman Stephen Heath, written in French, and Barthesian French at that. No small feat. But all such endeavours have an unavoidable air of trotting obediently along paths that have been opened up by others. A further difficulty is that to include literature in a ...

Lacan’s Mirrors

Edmund Leach, 2 July 1981

The Talking Cure: Essays in Psychoanalysis and Language 
edited by Colin MacCabe.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £20, February 1981, 0 333 23560 6
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... But all that has nothing whatever to do with this book.Although it appears in a series (edited by Stephen Heath and Colin MacCabe himself) in which the titles suggest all the latest Marxist, Feminist and Structuralist Paris fashions, the actual contents of this exercise, where they are comprehensible, seem to me to be distinctly old hat. Most of the ...

I am a Cretan

Patrick Parrinder, 21 April 1988

On Modern Authority: The Theory and Condition of Writing, 1500 to the Present Day 
by Thomas Docherty.
Harvester, 310 pp., £25, May 1987, 0 7108 1017 2
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The Order of Mimesis: Balzac, Stendhal, Nerval, Flaubert 
by Christopher Prendergast.
Cambridge, 288 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 521 23789 0
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... Prendergast, who in 1971 edited the Cambridge structuralist pamphlet ‘Signs of the Times’ with Stephen Heath and Colin MacCabe, might be said to have played a small part in the assault on mimesis. Now he has tentatively and scrupulously set out to rehabilitate it. Plato argued for excluding the poets because he considered that their mimetic activities ...

Anger and Dismay

Denis Donoghue, 19 July 1984

Literary Education: A Revaluation 
by James Gribble.
Cambridge, 182 pp., £16.50, November 1983, 0 521 25315 2
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Reconstructing Literature 
edited by Laurence Lerner.
Blackwell, 218 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 631 13323 2
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Counter-Modernism in Current Critical Theory 
by Geoffrey Thurley.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 33436 1
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... theory are tourists: mid-Atlantic figures like Frank Kermode and Tony Tanner, or Francophiles like Stephen Heath and Stephen Bann. Samuel Johnson had moral principles, but nothing like a theory of literature: he didn’t need one. The force of English common sense is that it leaves you free to deal with the things that ...

Raiding Joyce

Denis Donoghue, 18 April 1985

James Joyce 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £20, November 1984, 9780521240147
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James Joyce and Sexuality 
by Richard Brown.
Cambridge, 216 pp., £19.50, March 1985, 0 521 24811 6
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Joyce’s Dislocutions: Essays on Reading as Translation 
by Fritz Senn, edited by John Paul Riquelme.
Johns Hopkins, 225 pp., £22.20, December 1984, 0 8018 3135 0
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Post-Structuralist Joyce: Essays from the French 
edited by Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer.
Cambridge, 162 pp., £20, January 1985, 9780521266369
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... silences, and of the ambiguities which constitute the ‘bad’ side of the priest’s discourse. Stephen Heath says of his essay that ‘as far as I am concerned, the piece is entirely past – which does not mean that I dissociate myself from it but only that I could not now write it in this same way.’ Quite understandable. In fact, his essay is both ...

Kermode’s Changing Times

P.N. Furbank, 7 March 1991

The Uses of Error 
by Frank Kermode.
Collins, 432 pp., £18, February 1991, 9780002154659
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... for us now are some very familiar names – Jonathan Culler, Christopher Norris, Annette Lavers, Stephen Heath etc – and under his guidance, we gather, they all got on extremely well, ‘preserving a tone of good humour in the midst of the most serious, even the most fierce, exchanges’. Kermode remained, as he declared in Continuities, ‘more in ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... are given great prominence in Inglis’s text. They are printed, apparently, verbatim (though Stephen Heath, Lisa Jardine and others have protested they are garbled), and are treated as though they were primary sources. Yet the quotations are oddly at variance with the interpretation they are supposed to support, and seem often to serve as tokens of ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... trade with Europe was larger than with the Commonwealth, and by 1974 it was double the size. Ted Heath’s Conservatives had taken the UK into the EEC in 1973, allowing Labour’s Europhiles and antis the indulgence of fratricidal intransigence in opposition. Labour’s return to power in 1974 made it much more difficult to fudge matters. But Wilson pressed ...


Jon Halliday, 2 June 1983

In the Service of the Peacock Throne: The Diaries of the Shah’s Last Ambassador to London 
by Parviz Radji.
Hamish Hamilton, 343 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 241 10960 4
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... and the BBC, without much success, in spite of offers of help from local volunteers like Edward Heath. At one point Radji even fantasises about blowing up the BBC transmitter on Masirah Island, off Oman, which carries the World Service to Iran. Radji’s account is an unintended tribute to two often underestimated British institutions: the BBC World Service ...

What I believe

Stephen Spender, 26 October 1989

... himself in Edgar: ‘Thou art unaccommodated man, the thing itself.’ Lear, however, even on the heath, is still the king who has demanded of his daughters Regan and Goneril that when he visits their homes he should be accompanied by his hundred knights. In Lear, the destitution which is the central image of the Christian religion, the sacred skeleton in the ...

Late Developer

Paul Foot, 22 February 1990

Against the Tide: Diaries 1973-1976 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £20, October 1989, 0 09 173775 3
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... Callaghan, I think. They won’t touch Wilson. They’ll get rid of him just as they got rid of Heath ... I wouldn’t be surprised to find a Callaghan government formed within the next couple of months.’ He was out by only eight months. Wilson resigned in mysterious circumstances in March 1976. Callaghan was elected Leader of the Labour Party and formed ...

Phantom Gold

John Pemble: Victorian Capitalism, 7 January 2016

Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds and the Rise of Modern Finance 
by Ian Klaus.
Yale, 287 pp., £18.99, January 2015, 978 0 300 18194 4
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... An MP and financier​ dead from poison on Hampstead Heath; the secretary of a life insurance company in his office with his brains blown out; a stockbroker with his throat cut in a railway carriage in Grosvenor Road Station; a diamond magnate jumping overboard from a passenger liner in the mid-Atlantic: lurid with suicide, Victorian capitalism got a very bad press ...

Everything and Nothing

Stephen Sedley: Who will speak for the judges?, 7 October 2004

... anecdotal evidence of abuse of the present system by a handful of asylum-seekers; but, as David Heath MP pointed out, the normal way of dealing with abuse of a system is to put an end to the abuse, not the system. Only the year before, a high-speed process of statutory review by the High Court had been instituted. In the course of an unusually loud and ...

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