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A Sense of Humour in Daddy’s Presence

J.L. Nelson: Medieval Europe, 5 June 2003

The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe 
by Patrick Geary.
Princeton, £11.95, March 2003, 0 691 09054 8
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Europe in the High Middle Ages 
by William ChesterJordan.
Penguin, 383 pp., £9.99, August 2002, 0 14 016664 5
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... their barbarian husbands to Christianity are yet more situational constructs to be unpacked). William ChesterJordan has written a general survey of Europe in the ‘high’ or ‘central’ Middle Ages, often taken to constitute the Middle Ages. If this period is likely to seem less dark, more familiar to general ...

Extraordinary People

Anthony Powell, 4 June 1981

The Lyttelton – Hart-Davis Letters 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 185 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 7195 3770 3
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... When housekeeping was still difficult after the second war we used to lunch quite often at the Chester Arms, which stood nearly opposite where we lived in Regent’s Park. The pub was run by a delightful family, a handsome widow and her two pretty daughters. We once took an American to luncheon there. Could he have been an American officer? I can’t remember ...

Writing Absurdity

Adam Shatz: Chester Himes, 26 April 2018

Chester B. Himes: A Biography 
by Lawrence P. Jackson.
Norton, 606 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 393 06389 9
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... lay dead, and the National Guard was called in to suppress rioting. Among the survivors was Chester Himes, a twenty-year-old black man serving a twenty-year sentence for armed robbery. Himes had already seen his share of troubles but, as Lawrence Jackson writes in his impressive biography, they ‘did not inspire him’ the way that ‘stumbling through ...

Why Literary Criticism is like Virtue

Stanley Fish, 10 June 1993

... hit a stalled car. The car has only one occupant, but it is Saul Bellow, or Madonna, or Michael Jordan, or Margaret Thatcher. What do you do? I submit that if you are seeking counsel at a crucial moment of decision the last person you want to turn to is someone who spends his time thinking up hypotheticals like this one so that he can amaze students with ...

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