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Dat’s de Truth

Terence Hawkes, 26 January 1995

Dancing to a Black Man’s Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin 
by Susan Curtis.
Missouri, 265 pp., £26.95, July 1994, 0 8262 0949 1
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King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era 
by Edward Berlin.
Oxford, 334 pp., £19.99, September 1994, 0 19 508739 9
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... its presence felt at the Chicago World’s Fair (the Columbian Exposition) in 1893, where, at what Susan Curtis perceptively calls a significant ‘frontier of modern culture’, the music of black Americans offered serious competition to the classical music of Europe. Despite an economic depression, people flocked to the ‘midway’ and the sporting ...

Fashionable Gore

Katherine Rundell: H. Rider Haggard, 2 April 2014

King Solomon’s Mines 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 337 pp., £7.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958282 3
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She 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Vintage, 317 pp., £8.99, May 2013, 978 0 09 958283 0
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... Allan Quatermain – an elephant hunter with good manners – and his colleagues, Sir Henry Curtis and Captain Good, on a journey into Mashukulumbwe country. Quatermain early on stakes his claim to heroic status when he says that he has already killed, but always with the stern regret of the Victorian imperialist: ‘I have killed many men in my ...

Introversion Has Its Limits

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Essayism’, 8 March 2018

Essayism 
by Brian Dillon.
Fitzcarraldo, 138 pp., £10.99, June 2017, 978 1 910695 41 8
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Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found 
by Bella Bathurst.
Wellcome, 224 pp., £8.99, February 2018, 978 1 78125 776 0
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Proxies: A Memoir in Twenty-Four Attempts 
by Brian Blanchfield.
Picador, 181 pp., £9.99, August 2017, 978 1 5098 4785 3
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... of practitioners, but Dillon’s responsiveness is wide, to Virginia Woolf, to William Gass, to Susan Sontag, to Lester Bangs and to Roland Barthes (his first and most important inspiration). Most practitioners regard essay-writing as a sideline – Davenport set store by his stories, so much less vital than his non-fictional prose – but Dillon sees ...

A Rumbling of Things Unknown

Jacqueline Rose: Marilyn Monroe, 26 April 2012

... No woman on earth, she complained, would be so dumb as not to see that the two drag artists, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, were men (the director, Billy Wilder, clearly agreed with her, filming in black and white: colour would have been a giveaway). Monroe was a would-be breakout artist. ‘If I hadn’t become popular,’ she said to Weatherby, ‘I’d still ...

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