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By an Unknown​ Writer

Patrick Parrinder

25 January 1996
Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories 
by Italo Calvino, translated by Tim Parks.
Cape, 276 pp., £15.99, November 1995, 0 224 03732 3
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... expected of him, but he found himself unable to write it. Instead, as he subsequently explained, he ‘conjured up’ the sort of books he himself would have liked to read – ‘the sort by an unknown writer, from another age and another country, discovered in an attic’. He began with stories strongly suggestive of traditional romance, and later published in a volume called Our Ancestors: ‘The ...

A Rumbling of Things Unknown

Jacqueline Rose: Marilyn Monroe

26 April 2012
... chapter at least, the men do not come out of it very well. Witty and insightful, as she surely was, this account is of course too glib. We should not confuse it with what sex was for her: the more unknown and frightening dimension of her life, both before and inside Hollywood. I count myself among those who have no interest in contesting her story that she was abused as a child. Even though it appears ...

The Cloud Bookcase

Eliot Weinberger

28 July 2011
... the Tunghua Palace, and Director of Destinies by Anonymous (12th century) The Book of Azure Emptiness by Ch’en Nan (d. 1213) The Book of Efficacious Seals for Penetrating Mystery by Anonymous (date unknown) Includes instructions for turning red beans into soldiers by rubbing them with a specific mixture of sheep’s blood, cow’s bile and mud, and pronouncing a formula over them. The Book of the ...

Between Two Deaths

Slavoj Žižek: The Culture of Torture

3 June 2004
... in Latin America and the Third World for decades). Who can forget the Department of Defense news briefing in February 2003, when Donald Rumsfeld pondered the relationship between the known and the unknown: ‘There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknownunknown...
4 August 2005
... I know what it is to be powerless I know what it is to be made to lie low while the unknown enemy invades you what it is not to have words for what is happening for grass and tree and inanimate thing to be your only witness on the clearest day of a childhood almost fifty years ago; how I ...
8 November 2012
... hand, of my name with a hyphen between Eugene and Friedrich the Bureau has no record. Nay rather, like the name of a certain Frenchman to whom Charles Laughton might send packages, accompanied by an unknown woman who spoke to an unknown man, or accompanied by an unknown man who spoke to an unknown woman, and in the event that all the captions are not correct, please turn to page 307. [fr. 286 as p. 47 ...

Presentable

Emma Tennant

20 August 1981
Lenare: The Art of Society Photography 1924-1977 
by Nicholas de Ville and Anthony Haden-Guest.
Allen Lane, 136 pp., £15, May 1981, 0 7139 1418 1
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... Lenare was founded in 1924 by Leonard Green, whose portrait baptises this collection of society photographs. Facing him is an Unknown Woman, captured at the War’s end in an inverted pigeon’s nest and furs: she was presumably the first and certainly the last unknown woman to confront his lens. Lenare wanted fame and wealth to ...
16 September 1999
Bonar Law 
by R.J.Q. Adams.
Murray, 458 pp., £25, April 1999, 0 7195 5422 5
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... any comfort from the experience of his similarly beleaguered predecessor Andrew Bonar Law, a scarcely visible figure in the pantheon of Tory leaders? What is best known about him is that he is ‘unknown’. Lord Blake’s celebrated biography, The Unknown Prime Minister (1955), took its cue from Asquith’s perhaps apocryphal remark at Bonar Law’s funeral at Westminster Abbey in 1923: it was ...

The Catastrophist

Malcolm Bull: The Apostasies of John Gray

1 November 2007
Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia 
by John Gray.
Allen Lane, 243 pp., £18.99, July 2007, 978 0 7139 9915 0
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... possible to construct from this knowledge of the particulars a desirable social order.’ But, as Donald Rumsfeld reminded us, there are not only ‘known knowns’, but ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknownunknowns’ as well. So the growth of knowledge may take the form not only of a transition from known unknown to known known, but also from unknownunknown to known unknown, and even from known known ...

Bona Fide Travellers

Bernard O’Donoghue

4 December 2003
... We always were, whether travelling west Or east. The trouble came when, dozing On the boat, you half came round and saw The seabirds bathing, the gannet plunging Towards his bath, and battalions Of unknown children, speaking in accents Different from their parents’. Your book Has fallen on the floor, the John Hinde Postcard (from either side to other: ‘Wish you were here!’) has fallen out And now ...

Old Man

Charles Simic

5 November 2009
... we all loved, Took too many sleeping pills and died In a hotel room in Santa Monica. Now and then I thought of you, Listening to the squeak of the chalk On the blackboard, The sighs and whispers Of unknown children Bent over their lessons, The mice running in the night. Visions of unspeakable loveliness Must’ve come to you in your misery: Cloudless skies on long June evenings, Trees full of cherries ...
27 June 1991
... rehearsal of how his subjects had told themselves the greater narrative of painting. Lawrence talked about the art of the past as one reliving a family romance that stretched back centuries and whose unknown dénouement was anticipated with an excitement that was almost unbearable. As in any family epic, there were times when it seemed that identities became almost interchangeable: Vermeer becoming Bill ...

Short Cuts

Mary-Kay Wilmers: Remembering D.A.N. Jones

2 January 2003
... On Good Friday 1984 I found myself laying a wreath at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier in Baghdad. This was to me extraordinary. I belong to the Church of England and have no wish to take sides in the quarrels of Muslims.’ The writer is D.A.N. Jones, who between 1980 and 1992 ...

Three Poems

T.J. Clark: Three Poussin Poems

22 January 2004
... changed, Puffs of mud spurted from under the cattle’s feet and their pace quickened Almost to a canter; the line of roofs tilted, and from the terrace came a burst of laughter, Maybe a scream. An unknown god took his place on the mountaintop And a huge despair at the sight of him – after all we had done, after years of respite – Spread through the streets and squares. People packed up their ...

Two Poems

Aleksandar Ristovic, translated by Charles Simic

13 May 1999
... made up, the similarity between here and there in inner and outer space. We exchanged life for its semblance, the object for its shadow, the visible coin for the invisible riches whose origins are unknown and whose value is ambiguous: the body for a wee spirit, the residue of this creation out of nothing, as in a diaphanous box. Drop by drop the borders are in motion, purgatory is open for those of us ...

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