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Time, Gentlemen, Please

David Cannadine, 19 July 1984

The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918 
by Stephen Kern.
Weidenfeld, 372 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 297 78341 6
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Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World 
by David Landes.
Harvard, 482 pp., £17, January 1984, 0 674 76800 0
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... public time as a discipline. And in an exceptionally wide-ranging foray into intellectual history, Stephen Kern explores the ways in which private notions of time (and space) were profoundly altered and extended in the thirty years before the First World War. The scope of these books is very different: one straddles the centuries; the other delves into ...

You and Your Bow and the Gods

Colin Burrow: Murder mysteries, 22 September 2005

A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels and Systems of Thought 
by Stephen Kern.
Princeton, 437 pp., £18.95, August 2004, 0 691 11523 0
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... or lawyers have said about agency or causality before the 19th century. The book began, Stephen Kern says, as an attempt to understand how the discoveries of late 20th-century subatomic physics influenced modern understandings of human agency. Subatomic particles do not follow the laws of causality laid down by classical physics, in which cause ...

Cubist Slugs

Patrick Wright: The Art of Camouflage, 23 June 2005

DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature – Military – Culture 
DPM, 2 vols, 944 pp., £100, September 2004, 9780954340407Show More
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... to his discovery: ‘Wars are only a means of publicising the thing already accomplished.’ Stephen Kern has pointed out that the Cubist quality of camouflage was quite widely perceived during the war. The artist Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola, who was one of the forces behind France’s camouflage initiative, claimed to have used Cubist means ...
Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 320 pp., $24.95, May 1996, 0 520 20407 7
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... by longing for a lost, pre-industrial, feudal home.’ Call it Dixieland. Supplying the music (Stephen Foster’s remains the most well known) that might attend the birth of American nationalism, the minstrel show effectively affirmed a new national identity. ‘Minstrelsy accepted ethnic difference by insisting on racial division,’ Rogin writes. It ...

Slashed, Red and Dead

Michael Hofmann: Rilke, To Me, 21 January 2021

... sculptural subjects) to the ‘centre of all centres, core of cores’, ‘Mitte aller Mitten, Kern der Kerne’. From the injunction ‘You must change your life,’ to the changed life: ‘Yet already there’s begun inside you/what lasts beyond the suns.’ And there, somewhere along the strung sequence of miracles, of mostly altered sonnets, mutated or ...

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