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Vanity and Venality

Susan Watkins: The European Impasse, 29 August 2013

Un New Deal pour l’Europe 
by Michel Aglietta and Thomas Brand.
Odile Jacob, 305 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 2 7381 2902 4
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Gekaufte Zeit: Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen Kapitalismus 
by Wolfgang Streeck.
Suhrkamp, 271 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 3 518 58592 4
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The Crisis of the European Union: A Response 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by Ciaran Cronin.
Polity, 120 pp., £16.99, April 2012, 978 0 7456 6242 8
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For Europe! Manifesto for a Postnational Revolution in Europe 
by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Guy Verhofstadt.
CreateSpace, 152 pp., £9.90, September 2012, 978 1 4792 6188 8
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German Europe 
by Ulrich Beck, translated by Rodney Livingstone.
Polity, 98 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 0 7456 6539 9
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The Future of Europe: Towards a Two-Speed EU? 
by Jean-Claude Piris.
Cambridge, 166 pp., £17.99, December 2011, 978 1 107 66256 8
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Au Revoir, Europe: What if Britain Left the EU? 
by David Charter.
Biteback, 334 pp., £14.99, December 2012, 978 1 84954 121 3
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... currency for every Eurozone country,’ the French economist Michel Aglietta and his co-author, Thomas Brand, write in Un New Deal pour l’Europe. ‘It binds them to rigidly fixed exchange rates, regardless of their underlying economic realities, and strips them of monetary autonomy.’ For Aglietta, a currency is essentially a social ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Rough Guiding, 1 June 2000

... to ‘integrity’. It just so happens that he has in mind the difficulty of ‘maintaining brand integrity’, and the so-called ‘disasters’ are ‘international marketing blunders’. Any suspicions that this might be devaluing the word ‘disaster’ are confirmed when you read the first such story in the opening chapter. An English airline ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: ‘Big Brother’, 5 June 2003

... put on lavish display so advertisers can decide where to bestow their munificence. And of the 38 brand-new programmes on the six major channels, none is a ‘reality’ show. This doesn’t mean, however, that the slough of degeneracy has at last been traversed and civilisation is advancing to the sunlit uplands; nor indeed that, waist-high in ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Military intelligence, 4 April 2002

... Times obituary of his own, his walk-on part in HKH’s send-off his only claim to that particular brand of immortality. The German Government paid him £300,000 for his pains, of which, HKH’s elegist recounts with some glee, ‘all but the first £29,000 was in forged sterling notes’ – so he didn’t even get his 30 pieces of silver. He was never ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Literary Prizes, 10 May 2001

... is a ‘management-engineering company’, and shouldn’t be confused with Immac, which is a brand line of depilatory treatments. The 43-year-old WHSmith Literary Award, forced to compete in an ever-expanding marketplace and unable to lay claim to any absolute superlatives – it’s merely ‘one of the oldest and most prestigious’ – was this year ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Ryanverse, 11 July 2002

... The story of the Lithuanian captain of a Soviet submarine defecting to the West, taking his brand-new ship with him, was first published by the Naval Institute Press – ‘the semi-official mouthpiece’, in Clancy’s words, ‘of the US Navy’. Nobody, least of all Clancy, at the time an insurance broker with an enthusiasm for naval ...

No Fun

David Blackbourn: Heinrich and Thomas Mann, 15 October 1998

Letters of Heinrich and Thomas Mann, 1900-49 
edited by Hans Wysling, translated by Don Reneau.
California, 444 pp., £40, March 1998, 0 520 07278 2
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... wrote a double biography of the literary Brothers Mann, giving equal billing to the celebrated Thomas and the neglected Heinrich. It was certainly time to look again at Heinrich, whose importance as a public and literary figure had been taken for granted by an earlier generation of writers. Gottfried Benn called him ‘one of my gods’; Lion Feuchtwanger ...

Don’t Die

Jenny Diski: Among the Handbags, 1 November 2007

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Lustre 
by Dana Thomas.
Allen Lane, 375 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7139 9823 8
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... wants it or they’ll die. In order to accommodate this novel notion of deluxe, Dana Thomas, in her startling and richly informative book, draws a line between luxury and ‘the luxury industry’: The luxury industry has changed the way people dress. It has realigned our economic class system. It has changed the way we interact. It has become ...

Short Cuts

Jonathan Meades: This Thing Called the Future, 8 September 2016

... this West Coast gravy train are, predictably, those consummate exterior decorators Frank Gehry and Thomas Heatherwick. They are unlikely to cede control to the rodents inhabiting their bespoke boxes which plainly derive from the biospheres and domes of the late 1960s and 1970s. Those are among the more feasible, more tested, hence more repeatable forms of that ...

Ante Antietam

Michael Irwin, 24 January 1980

Confederates 
by Thomas Keneally.
Collins, 427 pp., £5.75, October 1980, 0 00 222141 1
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Just Above My Head 
by James Baldwin.
Joseph, 597 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 7181 1764 6
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Winter Doves 
by David Cook.
Secker, 213 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 436 10673 6
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All Girls Together 
by Paula Neuss.
Duckworth, 141 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 7156 1454 1
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... The novel becomes a farrago of information. In choosing to write about the American Civil War Thomas Keneally ran several additional risks. The potential subject-matter is dauntingly multifarious. How could so vast a tragedy be focused and individualised? It was a war that fairly compels the commentator to take sides. Can the novelist do so without ...

1 x 30

Anne Carson, 5 March 2020

... was given to me by a student translating Euripides on a mid-term exam. Those were the days.Once Thomas Hardy was strolling on the heath with a telescope and he put the telescope to his eye. He saw a man in white on the gallows at Dorchester and at that moment the man dropped down and the town clock struck eight. ‘Faintly.’ A faint note from the town ...

Staging Death

Martin Puchner: Ibsen's Modernism, 8 February 2007

Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theatre, Philosophy 
by Toril Moi.
Oxford, 396 pp., £25, August 2006, 0 19 929587 5
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... a desire to distance himself from the theatre. He called the first two texts he wrote in Rome – Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867) – dramatic poems because he wanted to be free of the practical requirements of stage business. Their imaginative power exceeded that of anything he had written before. Brand tackled a serious ...

Why did Lady Mary care about William Cragh?

Maurice Keen: A medieval miracle, 5 August 2004

The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory and Colonialism in the Middle Ages 
by Robert Bartlett.
Princeton, 168 pp., £16.95, April 2004, 0 691 11719 5
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... de Briouze, Lord of Gower, and sentenced by him to hang as a rebel and a homicide. The saint was Thomas de Cantilupe, former bishop of Hereford, who had died in 1282. From soon after his death posthumous miracles had begun to be attributed to him, and he was officially canonised by Pope John XXII in 1320. The story, in outline, runs thus. On the morning of ...

Simon Agonistes

Randolph Quirk, 5 November 1981

Paradigms Lost: Reflections on Literacy and its Decline 
by John Simon.
Chatto, 222 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 7011 2601 9
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... completely. As well he might. Bombastic English has been vigorously deplored since the time of Sir Thomas More, and it would be difficult to demonstrate that there was relatively more (or less) of it around today. Bad spelling is certainly no measure. As a popular touchstone of literacy standards, it has a scarcely longer history than compulsory education. But ...

Noisomeness

Keith Thomas: Smells of Hell, 16 July 2020

Smells: A Cultural History of Odours in Early Modern Times 
by Robert Muchembled, translated by Susan Pickford.
Polity, 216 pp., £17.99, May, 978 1 5095 3677 1
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The Clean Body: A Modern History 
by Peter Ward.
McGill-Queen’s, 313 pp., £27.99, December 2019, 978 0 7735 5938 7
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... with strong smells tended to breed acceptance or even dependence. The Elizabethan entomologist Thomas Muffet (now remembered only for his daughter’s encounter with a spider) told the story of a man who used to clean privies entering an apothecary’s shop in Antwerp. He smelled the spices and promptly fainted. Fortunately, a bystander rushed ...

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