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Derwent May

17 July 1980
... I sometimes lie in the darkness Glad there is nothing I can see To blot the pictures in my memory: Sunlight in a fallen tree Where I hung on the wilting branches; Woodlarks circling in the sky Or folding like a bell into the heather; Blue light hardening to die Out of which there hurry faces, Lips, smiles, a sudden frown, A body white in the bracken, Raindrops where the leaves lay brown, Water, pavements, water, A fence where the starlings preen – I compel them through my memory, Never asking what else might have been ...

‘You May!’

Slavoj Žižek: The post-modern superego

18 March 1999
... Balkan Other, while we in the West are merely observers, neutral, benevolent and righteously dismayed. Finally, there is reverse racism, which celebrates the exotic authenticity of the Balkan Other, as in the notion of Serbs who, by contrast with inhibited, anaemic Western Europeans, still exhibit a prodigious lust for life. Reverse racism plays a crucial ...

Diary

May Jeong: Femicide in Kandahar

6 September 2017
... an administrative clerk for the provincial passport office, was shot in the head and died. In May, Nasrin, a police officer, was shot but survived. A week later, Leila, a 25-year-old student, was kidnapped while walking to school, supposedly because her sister, a well-known poet, was ‘too loud’. It was rumoured that Leila had also been raped. Half of ...

May ’88

Douglas Johnson

21 April 1988
Les Sept Mitterrand 
by Catherine Nay.
Grasset, 286 pp., frs 96, September 1988, 2 246 36291 1
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France Today 
by John Ardagh.
Secker, 647 pp., £22.50, October 1987, 0 436 01746 6
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Jacques Chirac 
by Franz-Oliver Giesbert.
Seuil, 455 pp., frs 125, April 1987, 2 02 009771 0
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Monsieur Barre 
by Henri Amouroux.
Laffont, 584 pp., frs 125, June 1986, 2 221 04954 3
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The Workers’ Movement 
by Alain Touraine, Michel Wieviorka and François Dubet, translated by Ian Patterson.
Cambridge/Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 322 pp., £35, October 1987, 0 521 30852 6
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The State and the Market Economy: Industrial Patriotism and Economic Intervention in France 
by Jack Hayward.
Wheatsheaf, 267 pp., £32.50, December 1985, 0 7450 0012 6
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France under Recession 1981-86 
by John Tuppen.
Macmillan, 280 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 333 39889 0
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... process of modernisation which had characterised the Fifth Republic from its inception. De Gaulle may have given up Algeria and the French empire with an ostentatious reluctance, but the very idea of de-colonisation was part of modernisation. The French Army, it was said, should not be confined to social welfare and sentry tasks in uninspiring parts of ...
13 July 2016
... or behind partitions at busy family-style restaurants, or at tea houses, or in car parks. I met Humayoon Haideri through a former smuggler, whom I’ll call Muhammad. Muhammad had spent his youth smuggling – ‘arms in, drugs out’ – and had accumulated a lot of money and many scars. When Muhammad introduced me to a man who called himself Haideri, he ...
30 August 1990
A Wicked Irony: The Rhetoric of Lermontov’s ‘A Hero of Our Time’ 
by Andrew Barratt and A.D.P. Briggs.
Bristol Classical Press, 139 pp., £25, May 1989, 1 85399 020 5
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The Battle for Childhood: Creation of a Russian Myth 
by Andrew Baruch Wachtel.
Stanford, 262 pp., $32.50, May 1990, 0 8047 1795 8
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... in question by the fact that the revealer is revealing it. The Rousseau point of view – you may not need to know this but I need to tell you – is merely the converse of the darkly enigmatic self-tormentor, with his one virtue and a thousand crimes. Good writers soon grasped that the best way to deal with this hero is to place him in the most equivocal ...

Visitors

Naomi May

5 July 1984
... Seen from a helicopter or from an aeroplane the garden appeared to be no more than a green shape amid arid country where there was a reservoir and quarries and a private airstrip. Just beyond the garden on the far side of the house was a red tennis-court and a swimming-pool that was not properly regulated, so that even from the air it looked slimy. But for the children, who could not get out of it, the proportions were different: the garden was their world ...
5 June 1997
... cannot be recovered’? It is a beguiling thought – though Blair’s understanding of radicalism may prove to be only distantly related to the usual interpretation. A more reliable guide to the future is likely to be found in the mantra the new Prime Minister repeated on the threshold of 10 Downing Street on his first day in office: ‘We were elected as New ...

May Day, 1986

Sarah Maguire

3 July 1986
... for Tadeusz Slawek Yesterday, the weather in Warsaw was the same as London’s: ‘Sunny; 18°’ (sixty-four Fahrenheit). I am sitting in a walled garden drinking gin, the fading sky as blue as this tonic water loosening its bubbles against the flat ice. What is in the air? The first midges; a television three doors down, its hum like this lone bat avoiding the walnut tree ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers

6 March 2008
... In southern Iraq, just south of Amara, the main city of Maysan province, the British military base at Camp Abu Naji was preparing for the night. Set at the northern end of the marshlands between the Tigris and the Euphrates, the camp is now abandoned and looted, but in May 2005 it was a busy centre of military operations ...
27 May 1993
Flaubert–Sand: The Correspondence 
translated by Barbara Bray.
HarperCollins, 428 pp., £20, March 1993, 0 00 217625 4
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Correspondence. Tome III: janvier 1859 – décembre 1868 
by Gustave Flaubert, edited by Jean Bruneau.
Gallimard, 1727 pp., frs 20, March 1991, 2 07 010669 1
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Madame Bovary: Patterns of Provincial Life 
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Francis Steegmuller.
Everyman, 330 pp., £8.99, March 1993, 1 85715 140 2
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Madame Bovary 
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Geoffrey Wall.
Penguin, 292 pp., £4.99, June 1992, 0 14 044526 9
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... some of us than that made in an opposite direction by E.M. Forster). As correspondents he and Sand may agree on such matters as the avariciousness of the bourgeoisie or the harm Catholicism has done and continues to do to the condition of France, but more profitably they diverge, writing at a tangent rather than directly to one another, and sparing us too many ...
7 March 1991
The Collected Letters of George Gissing. Vol. I: 1863-1880 
edited by Paul Mattheisen, Arthur Young and Pierre Coustillas.
Ohio, 334 pp., £47.50, September 1990, 0 8214 0955 7
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... eighth or even ninth volume of an ambitious American project to publish all Gissing’s letters may reveal whether Gissing kept many of Clara’s letters to him. It seems that he did not. Gissing would have been gratified by this culmination to a continuous, if small-scale industry of studies, biographies, selections of letters and diaries, and ...
3 March 2016
... here. May I touch your                                                                           name. Your ...

May I come to your house to philosophise?

John Barrell: Godwin’s Letters

8 September 2011
The Letters of William Godwin Vol. I: 1778-97 
by Pamela Clemit.
Oxford, 306 pp., £100, February 2011, 978 0 19 956261 9
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... him: ‘you have … justly earned my approbation’; if he carried on down the same path, ‘you may go on to deserve the applause & esteem of/An impartial honest man’ (the last phrase in lieu of a signature). It goes without saying that in issuing his reproofs Godwin had only the best interests of his correspondents at heart. His letters to Amelia ...

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