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Hand and Mind

Michael Baxandall

17 March 1983
Dürer: His Art and Life 
by Fedja Anzelewsky, translated by Heide Grieve.
Gordon Fraser, 273 pp., £50, November 1982, 0 86092 068 2
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Dürer: Paintings, Prints, Drawings 
by Peter Strieder, translated by Nancy Gordon and Walter Strauss.
Muller, 400 pp., £35, September 1982, 0 584 95038 1
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... Both these books are art books in the particular sense that the main reason for paying quite large sums for them would be their illustrations. This is not to say their texts are bad. Both are by distinguished Dürer scholars and both offer tidy brief versions of the academic consensus without any eccentricities. Anzelewsky proceeds chronologically: after a first short chapter on Nuremberg he works through Dürer’s career in ten uncontroversial phases, Strieder goes by topic: ‘personality’, writings, ambience, influences, subject-matters, techniques – he was director of the great quincentenary Dürer exhibition in Nuremberg in 1971, and the arrangement reminds one a little of that ...

Theories of Myth

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

19 March 1981
Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual 
by Walter Burkert.
California, 226 pp., £9, April 1980, 0 520 03771 5
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Myth and Society in Ancient Greece 
by Jean-Pierre Vernant, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Harvester, 242 pp., £24, February 1980, 9780391009158
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... of its concept of a symbol. Far more in the public eye at present is the theory of Claude Lévi-Strauss. Influenced by Durkheim and Mauss, and acting on the analogy of the structural linguistics initiated by de Saussure, he finds a second meaning which may be more significant than the surface sense in the ordered arrangement of the different recurring ...

I Love You Still

Russell Jacoby

9 February 1995
Intellectuals in Exile: Refugee Scholars and the New School for Social Research 
by Claus-Dieter Krohn, translated by Rita Kimber and Robert Kimber.
Massachusetts, 255 pp., $15.95, July 1994, 0 87023 864 7
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... impossible to conceive of American political thought without Hans Morgenthau, Hannah Arendt or Leo Strauss; American psychoanalysis without Erik Erikson, Bruno Bettelheim or Heinz Hartmann; American publishing without Kurt Wolff or Theodore Schocken; architecture without Walter Gropius; art history without Erwin ...

Enfield was nothing

P.N. Furbank: Norman Lewis

18 December 2003
The Tomb in Seville 
by Norman Lewis.
Cape, 150 pp., £14.99, November 2003, 0 224 07120 3
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... I hate voyages and explorers,’ Lévi-Strauss writes in his Tristes Tropiques (1955). So what is he doing, he asks himself, in producing this account of his expeditions? Must I relate so many insipid details and insignificant occurrences? Adventure has no place in the ethnographic profession: it is merely a form of servitude, it burdens effective work with the weight of weeks or months lost in travelling; idle hours in which informants disappear; hunger, fatigue, sometimes illness; and always those thousand duties which consume the days in pure loss and reduce the dangerous life in the virgin forest to an imitation of military service ...

In the Waiting-Room of History

Amit Chaudhuri: ‘First in Europe, then elsewhere’

24 June 2004
Provincialising Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference 
by Dipesh Chakrabarty.
Princeton, 320 pp., £42.95, October 2000, 0 691 04908 4
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... both arresting time and focusing on the key moments of a concatenation, in a similar way to what Walter Benjamin thought photographs did in changing our perception of human movement: Whereas it is a commonplace that, for example, we have some idea what is involved in the act of walking (if only in general terms), we have no idea at all what happens during ...
19 March 1981
Thirty Seconds 
by Michael Arlen.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 211 pp., £5.50, February 1981, 0 374 27576 9
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The Crystal Bucket 
by Clive James.
Cape, 238 pp., £6.95, February 1981, 0 224 01890 6
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The Message of Television 
by Roger Silverstone.
Heinemann, 248 pp., £14.50, March 1981, 0 435 82825 8
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... One is academic. One is by a very literary-minded critic (and draws its title from a poem by Sir Walter Raleigh). One is a piece of vivid journalism recognisably in the tradition of Norman Mailer and other modern American writers. All these books are from literary stables. Michael Arlen’s first appeared in the New Yorker, and comes to the British reader ...

Other Indias

Walter Nash

15 September 1988
Ice-Candy-Man 
by Bapsi Sidhwa.
Heinemann, 277 pp., £11.95, February 1988, 0 434 70230 7
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Mistaken Identity 
by Nayantara Sahgal.
Heinemann, 194 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 434 66612 2
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Baumgartner’s Bombay 
by Anita Desai.
Heinemann, 230 pp., £10.95, July 1988, 0 434 18636 8
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... helmet, in the corner the rubber tree. His confident father, a furniture dealer, enjoys beer and Strauss in the Sunday-best park, and an occasional day at the races; his demure Mutti loves her piano, and poetry, and plants, and her little poppet, But the Nazis care for none of these things, and when they come to power, in Hugo’s youth, his wanderings ...
9 July 1987
The Age of Terrorism 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £17.95, March 1987, 9780297791157
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The Baader-Meinhof Group: The Inside Story of a Phenomenon 
by Stefan Aust, translated by Anthea Bell.
Bodley Head, 552 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 370 31031 4
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... In the first few pages of Walter Laqueur’s The Age of Terrorism (largely a reworking and updating of his 1977 work, Terrorism), the author attempts to confront the old adage that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.’ Laqueur will have none of it: Of all the observations on terrorism this is surely one of the tritest ...

Joseph Jobson

Patrick Wormald

18 April 1985
Saladin in his Time 
by P.H. Newby.
Faber, 210 pp., £10.95, November 1983, 0 571 13044 5
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Soldiers of the Faith: Crusaders and Moslems at War 
by Ronald Finucane.
Dent, 247 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 460 12040 9
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... Claude Lévi-Strauss and others have been in the habit of describing the expansion of European civilisation as an unmitigated catastrophe for the rest of mankind. It is arguable that not the least of its casualties has been the West’s sense of its own limitations. From the conquest of Mexico and Peru until 1941 (at the earliest), Europe’s onward march seemed unstoppable, fuelled as it was by a combination of immeasurably superior technology and an ineffable sense of cultural superiority ...

Witchcraft

Perry Anderson

8 November 1990
Storia Notturna: Una Decifrazione del Sabba 
by Carlo Ginzburg.
Einaudi, 320 pp., lire 45,000, August 1989, 9788806115098
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... Against this tradition Ginzburg sets what he sees as the superior programme of Lévi-Strauss’s Structuralist treatment of myths as symbolic systems, whose hidden meaning is generated by unconscious operations of the human mind – even though Lévi-Strauss’s anthropology has given insufficient weight to ...
19 December 1991
... cabinet room is studded with photographs of Buthelezi with Thatcher, with Reagan, with Franz-Josef Strauss, with the Pope. The same logic drives the IFP into the crazy situation where they value the presence of Treurnicht’s CP at their conference. In his pre-circulated speech, Buthelezi studiously avoided all mention of the funding scandal. Gerrit Viljoen ...
3 March 1983
Mozart 
by Wolfgang Hildesheimer, translated by Marion Faber.
Dent, 408 pp., £10.95, January 1983, 0 460 04347 1
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... nonsense that seems to possess most of them, and he quotes some redolent exemplars. There is Bruno Walter, seeing Mozart as an ‘open, trusting soul’: a ‘happy, simple-hearted young man’, a benign fantasy that Hildesheimer brusquely banishes to the realm of wishes. There is Bernhard Paumgartner, who thinks that after Mozart’s rupture with his ...
24 January 1985
The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... are of awesome voluptuousness. Oh, that coconut kirsch roulade in the first issue! If, as Lévi-Strauss once opined, ‘to eat is to fuck,’ then that coconut kirsch roulade is just asking for it. Even if the true foodie knows there is something not quite ... about a coconut kirsch roulade as a concept. It is just a bit ... just a bit Streatham. Its vowels ...

Marseille, 1940-43

Neal Ascherson

18 July 2013
... Heinrich and Golo Mann, Hannah Arendt, Anna Seghers, Simone Weil, Arthur Koestler, Victor Serge, Walter Benjamin, Franz Werfel and his wife Alma Mahler, Lion Feuchtwanger, Konrad Heiden (Hitler’s first truthful biographer), Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Moïse Kisling, the young Claude Lévi-Strauss … A band of ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David Blackbourn: Weimar

18 May 2016
Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present 
by Michael Kater.
Yale, 463 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 0 300 17056 6
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... of local notables and the formality of the court. A generation later the 25-year-old Richard Strauss was hired, but like others before him felt blocked by petty bureaucrats and insufficiently supported (or recompensed) by his patron. After five years he went back to Munich. The wealthy cosmopolitan Count Harry Kessler moved to Weimar in the opening years ...

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