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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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... 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 rocks and has a macho cast to it, like rap ...

Angry Waves

C.H. Sisson, 18 December 1986

Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai 
translated by Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell.
Viking, 173 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 670 81454 7
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Hurricane Lamp 
by Turner Cassity.
Chicago, 68 pp., £12.75, May 1986, 0 226 09614 9
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Selected Poems 
by Robert Wells.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £2.95, September 1986, 0 85635 669 7
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... work of a contemporary poet in another language is strictly impossible. What Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell have done, however, is to give us enough of the content, complex and difficult as it clearly is, to convince us that we know something of the kind of literary phenomenon Yehuda Amichai is, and to leave us with a little more understanding of ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: Peace in Our Lunchtime, 6 October 1994

... only person in his audience. A flybill on a street sign promised ‘Ulster’s answer!’ Pastor Stephen Mitchell was proclaiming ‘the glorious gospel’ at John White’s Church on Sunday morning. Pastor Mitchell, who is in his early thirties, spoke of the ‘gross indecency’ of Chaldee in Abraham’s day. ‘Is ...
Life of a Poet: Rainer Maria Rilke 
by Ralph Freedman.
Farrar, Straus, 640 pp., $35, March 1996, 0 374 18690 1
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Uncollected Poems 
by Rainer Maria Rilke and Edward Snow.
North Point Press/Farrar, Straus, 266 pp., $22, March 1996, 0 86547 482 6
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Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’: Cambridge Readings 
edited by Roger Paulin and Peter Hutchinson.
Duckworth/Ariadne, 237 pp., £30, March 1996, 1 57241 032 9
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... through it will your heart survive. Be forever dead in Eurydice ... Sonnets to Orpheus, II, 13, Stephen Mitchell’s translation Rilke was born into an ambitious but failing family in German-speaking Prague in 1875. His first given name was René, which he changed to Rainer when he met the extravagant Lou Andreas-Salomé. Before that he had unhappily ...

Dressed as an Admiral

Michael Wood: Neruda’s Hocus Pocus, 2 September 2004

Memoirs 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Hardie St Martin.
Souvenir, 370 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 9780285648111
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Isla Negra: A Bilingual Edition 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Alastair Reid.
Souvenir, 416 pp., £14.99, June 2004, 0 285 64913 2
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The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems 
edited by Mark Eisner.
City Lights, 199 pp., $16.95, April 2004, 0 87286 428 6
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... make up ‘The Heights of Macchu Picchu’, and some later work. It includes strong versions by Stephen Mitchell and Robert Hass (from one of which I have already quoted), and the editor, Mark Eisner. In some cases Eisner has reworked translations by others, notably John Felstiner and Stephen Kessler, and he includes ...

Biographical Materials

Alan Hollinghurst, 15 October 1981

Remembering Britten 
edited by Alan Blyth.
Hutchinson, 181 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 09 144950 2
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Britten and Auden in the Thirties: The Year 1936 
by Donald Mitchell.
Faber, 176 pp., £7.50, February 1981, 0 571 11715 5
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... Donald Mitchell recalls that Benjamin Britten had a low opinion of music critics in newspapers. Alan Blyth’s compilation Remembering Britten would have done little to make him change his mind: it is a book fundamentally misconceived and often grotesque in execution. The tributary volume of memoirs, such as the one Stephen Spender compiled after Auden’s death, has the value not only of illuminating its subject but of providing a complex shading of reaction and relation through the personalities of the contributors ...

Mae West and the British Raj

Wendy Doniger: Dinosaur Icons, 18 February 1999

The Last Dinosaur Book: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon 
by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 321 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 226 53204 6
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... burden to lay even on such a big animal, and requires some massive scholarly leverage; W.J.T. Mitchell invokes the secular trinity of Darwin, Marx and Freud. He traces the historical origin and development of our ideas about dinosaurs, through evolutionary theory and palaeontology (primarily Darwin and Cuvier), 19th and 20th-century history of ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde, 5 February 1998

The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... film – which, rather mysteriously, refers in the titles to ‘an original screenplay by Julian Mitchell from Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellmann’ – shows a phalanx of unpainted male prostitutes, leaning on some railings. Watching for a cab, Stephen Fry’s Wilde makes eye contact with one of them. ‘Looking for ...

Anxiety of Influx

Tony Tanner, 18 February 1982

Plotting the Golden West: American Literature and the Rhetoric of the California Trail 
by Stephen Fender.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £15, January 1982, 0 521 23924 9
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Witnesses to a Vanishing America: The 19th-Century Response 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Princeton, 320 pp., £10.70, July 1981, 9780691064611
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... dominant, or most recurrent, styles in American writing have been the rhapsodic and the paranoid. Stephen Fender’s excellent book points directly to what we might call the organising ambiguity of American literature by bringing together in his title ‘plotting’ and the ‘West’. A specific geographical West, to be sure – his (superbly annotated) book ...

Britten when young

Frank Kermode, 29 August 1991

Letters from a Life: The Selected Letters and Diaries of Benjamin Britten Vol. I 1923-39, Vol. II 1939-45 
edited by Donald Mitchell and Philip Reed.
Faber, 1403 pp., £75, June 1991, 9780571152216
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... for the term ‘selected’ is perhaps doubtful. There may be omissions otherwise motivated. Mitchell’s long and informative Introduction says something about Britten’s earlier love affairs, and is candid enough about the rather awful, yet productive relationship with the mother, and the productive one with the permanent lover. Peter Pears had ...

Diary

Stephen Spender: Towards a Kind of Neo-Paganism, 21 April 1983

... support of the Arvon Foundation, and we were the judges: Basil Bunting, Gwendoline Brooks, Adrian Mitchell, George Barker and myself. I feel vaguely paranoid about any poets but those of my own generation (all dead except for Empson and myself) and was delighted at how well we all got on together. ‘King of the Cats’ (to use Yeats’s phrase about ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... the Tory Whips office, in particular by two young MPs, David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts and Andrew Mitchell, whose father, David Mitchell, is also a Tory MP, and once chose Neil Hamilton to be his Parliamentary Private Secretary. The Guardian had told a bit of the story. Parliament had uncovered none of it. And that might ...

Beijing Envy

Joshua Kurlantzick: China in Africa, 5 July 2007

China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise 
by Ian Taylor.
Routledge, 233 pp., £75, August 2006, 0 415 39740 5
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China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the 21st Century 
edited by Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham and Derek Mitchell.
Sharpe, 232 pp., $29.95, April 2007, 978 0 7656 1713 2
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China’s African Policy 
Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, January 2006Show More
China’s Expanding Role in Africa: Implications for the United States 
by Bates Gill, Chin-hao Huang and J. Stephen Morrison.
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, February 2007
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Friends and Interests: China’s Distinctive Links with Africa 
by Barry Sautman.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, April 2006
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African Perspectives on China in Africa 
edited by Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks.
Fahamu, 174 pp., £11.95, March 2007, 978 0 9545637 3 8
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Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier 
by Harry Broadman.
World Bank, 391 pp., $20, November 2006, 0 8213 6835 4
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... foreign policies. In China and the Developing World, Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham and Derek Mitchell cogently explain why a more confident leadership has chosen to demonstrate its muscle – and its appeal – in parts of the developing world. Many recent books on China’s foreign policy simply list actions without attempting to divine a ...

Ravishing Atrocities

Patrick Maynard, 7 January 1988

Realism, Writing, Disfiguration: On Thomas Eakins and Stephen Crane 
by Michael Fried.
Chicago, 215 pp., £23.95, April 1987, 0 226 26210 3
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Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology 
by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 226 pp., £7.25, October 1987, 0 226 53229 1
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... can restore her lost treasures of chaste and delicate thoughts.’ Mr Fried’s other essay, ‘Stephen Crane’s Upturned Faces’, offers no respite from such ‘ravishing atrocities’. While bypassing (though not dismissing) psychoanalytic analysis of the works of the author of The Red Badge of Courage, Fried focuses on some motifs in that work, but ...

Diary

Melanie McFadyean: In the Wrong Crowd, 25 September 2014

... David Norris. Although neither of them was found guilty of carrying out the stabbing that killed Stephen Lawrence when they were finally tried in 2011, new scientific evidence demonstrated they had been very close to Lawrence when he was attacked – ‘proximity’, as the judgment allowing Dobson’s retrial stated, ‘for which no innocent explanation can ...

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