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Turtles All the Way Down

Walter Gratzer, 4 September 1997

The End of Science 
by John Horgan.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £18.99, May 1997, 0 316 64052 2
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... numbered many of the best-known figures (and popularisers) of our day, such as Stephen Hawking, Steven Weinberg and Roger Penrose, not to mention all the proponents of superstring theory. But Horgan has also found some more fitting targets for his scorn. The expansion of science, the increasingly brutish struggle for survival that scientists must endure and ...

Across the Tellyverse

Jenny Turner: Daleks v. Cybermen, 22 June 2006

Doctor Who 
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Doctor Who: A Critical Reading of the Series 
by Kim Newman.
BFI, 138 pp., £12, December 2005, 1 84457 090 8
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... shows such as The Simpsons, The Sopranos, Seinfeld, and discussed, with much enthusiasm, in Steven Johnson’s book Everything Bad Is Good for You: Why Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter.* As Johnson explains, the key to these new markets is syndication, selling the same thing over and over on different platforms; and the key to syndication is making ...

Effervescence

Alan Ryan, 9 November 1989

Burke and the Fall of Language: The French Revolution as Linguistic Event 
by Steven Blakemore.
University Press of New England, 115 pp., £10, April 1989, 0 87451 452 5
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The Impact of the French Revolution on European Consciousness 
edited by H.T. Mason and William Doyle.
Sutton, 205 pp., £17.95, June 1989, 0 86299 483 7
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The French Revolution and the Enlightenment in England 1789-1832 
by Seamus Deane.
Harvard, 212 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 0 674 32240 1
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... of self-love put forward by Condillac and Helvétius and naturalised into England by Adam Smith and Bentham. Hazlitt raged against reaction and tyranny in England, but the intellectual roots of what he raged against were French, not English. Even the group which welcomed 1789 most warmly, the politically active ministers of the Dissenting ...

Reconstituted Chicken

Philip Kitcher, 2 October 1997

This is Biology 
by Ernst Mayr.
Harvard, 340 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 9780674884687
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... these doctrines are scholars like Harry Collins, Sandra Harding, Bruno Latour, Simon Schaffer and Steven Shapin. Now whether these alleged enemies have anything in common, and whether there is a genuine package of claims about science that count as constructivism or relativism or Post-Modernism are serious questions that deserve careful analysis. At ...

That’s democracy

Theo Tait: Dalton Trumbo, 2 March 2000

Johnny Got His Gun 
by Dalton Trumbo.
Prion, 222 pp., £5.99, May 1999, 1 85375 324 6
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... He then rejoined in 1954, in protest at the conviction of Party leaders under the draconian Smith Act – before leaving for a second time when the convictions were reversed. In his later accounts he suggests that the HUAC affair didn’t have ‘anything at all to do with the Communist Party’, that it was really about ‘the USA and its traditions ...

Jackson breaks the ice

Andrew Forge, 4 April 1991

Jackson Pollock: An American Saga 
by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.
Barrie and Jenkins, 934 pp., £19.95, March 1990, 0 7126 3866 0
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Abstract Expressionism 
by David Anfam.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 500 20243 5
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Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston 
by Musa Mayer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £8.95, February 1991, 0 500 27633 1
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... It was a small world that New York artists shared in the Thirties, defined by philistine hostility or Francophile indifference. The Great Depression that had made so much useless made the uselessness of art irrefutable and absurd. Then came the miracle of the WPA. Painters were paid just to paint. Talk, all accounts agree, was the thing. It was as if a century of brooding about America and Europe, the past and the future, art and society, influence and self-reliance, was coming to a head in a gush of discussion ...

In New York

Hal Foster: Plans for Ground Zero, 20 March 2003

... in the case of the ‘Dream Team’ of Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey and Steven Holl. On the other hand, to be in the running one had to be a designated über-architect, presumably with the technical expertise required of grands projets: stock in the Dream Team, Lord Foster and the Skidmore Owings & Merrill group went up, while stock ...

No Strings

Bee Wilson: Pinocchio, 1 January 2009

Pinocchio 
by Carlo Collodi, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
NYRB, 189 pp., £8.99, November 2008, 978 1 59017 289 6
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... are upturned – The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (1993) is a good example – than it does with fairy tales themselves. The narrative – which teems with talking animals – constantly plays with fairy-tale convention. Cinderella’s carriage pulled by mice-horses is reconfigured as the Blue Fairy’s ...

The Pills in the Fridge

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Christodora’, 29 March 2017

Christodora 
by Tim Murphy.
Picador, 432 pp., £16.99, February 2017, 978 1 5098 1857 0
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... come down in the world. After a fire it was refurbished and turned into a condominium, in which Steven Traum, an urban planner, bought an apartment, using it as office space while he continued to live on the Upper East Side. His son Jared, an art student specialising in industrial sculpture (the next Richard Serra, even), started to make it his home. Young ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... familiar truths of national character. The dictionary had been undertaken by the publisher George Smith as a piece of private enterprise, with no official or institutional backing, and it had been brought to completion in record time by a very small staff. Less fortunate nations, in whom the spirit of liberty and energy of ‘character’ had been suppressed ...
Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles 
by Irwin Gellman.
Johns Hopkins, 499 pp., $29.95, April 1995, 0 8018 5083 5
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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley 
edited by Geoffrey Ward.
Houghton Mifflin, 444 pp., $24.95, April 1995, 0 395 66080 7
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No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War Two 
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Simon and Schuster, 759 pp., £18, June 1995, 0 671 64240 5
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The End of Reform 
by Alan Brinkley.
Knopf, 371 pp., $27.50, March 1995, 0 394 53573 1
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... But although Welles believed the stories of death camps circulating by late 1942, he told Rabbi Steven Wise: ‘For obvious reasons you will understand, I cannot give these [facts] to the press.’ Welles may have been silenced on the genocide out of loyalty to FDR’s priorities, Hull out of his own White House ambitions and the desire not to call ...

How to die

John Sutherland, 13 February 1992

Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying 
by Derek Humphry.
Hemlock Society, 192 pp., $16.95, April 1991, 0 9606030 3 4
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... April 1991. No established house would touch it and it was taken on by a Hemlock Society member, Steven Schragis, who owns a small publishing group (now a lot less small than it used to be). Initial sales were very slow. Only a thousand copies had been sold by July. But strong word-of-mouth promotion got the book talked about and it was featured in the Wall ...

Empty Cookie Jar

Donald MacKenzie: Ethnoaccountancy, 22 May 2003

Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego and the Death of Enron 
by Robert Bryce.
PublicAffairs, 394 pp., £9.99, November 2002, 1 903985 54 4
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Enron: The Rise and Fall 
by Loren Fox.
Wiley, 384 pp., £18.50, October 2002, 0 471 23760 4
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... owners (the shareholders)? The question is as old as the joint stock company as a legal form. Adam Smith suspected the answer was ‘no’. In Volume III of Capital, Marx warned that directors might swindle shareholders, although he also welcomed the growing separation of managerial control from legal ownership as a transitional step towards socialism. In ...

Little Englander Histories

Linda Colley: Little Englandism, 22 July 2010

A Mad, Bad & Dangerous People? England 1783-1846 
by Boyd Hilton.
Oxford, 757 pp., £21, June 2008, 978 0 19 921891 2
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Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld, 1780-1939 
by James Belich.
Oxford, 573 pp., £25, June 2009, 978 0 19 929727 6
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... of the age’. Thomas Chalmers features as the ‘spiritual guide’ of the Liberal Tories. Adam Smith, of course, is ‘central’. Mechanics institutes open first in Glasgow, and then in London. Phrenology infiltrates England ‘via Scotland’. The Edinburgh Review, founded in 1802 by a group of Scottish Whigs, together with the Quarterly Review published ...

Tacky Dress

Dale Peck, 22 February 1996

Like People in History: A Gay American Epic 
by Felice Picano.
Viking, 512 pp., $23.95, July 1995, 0 670 86047 6
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How Long Has This Been Going On? 
by Ethan Mordden.
Villard, 590 pp., $25, April 1995, 0 679 41529 7
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The Facts of Life 
by Patrick Gale.
Flamingo, 511 pp., £15.99, June 1995, 0 602 24522 2
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Flesh and Blood 
by Michael Cunningham.
Hamish Hamilton, 480 pp., £14.99, June 1995, 9780241135150
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... femme who leaves her husband for Lois and becomes a noted author; Johnny the Kid, a.k.a. Johnny Smith, a.k.a. Jerrit Troy, a.k.a. the Green Goddess, the lounge singer who, in donning a dress, seemingly invents camp; Larkin, the nervous member of an early gay group, so nice that he’ll always be someone’s boyfriend, so bland that he’ll always be ...

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