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Breathing in Verse

Theodore Ziolkowski: A rich translation of Hölderlin, 23 September 2004

Poems and Fragments 
by Friedrich Hölderlin, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Anvil, 823 pp., £19.95, March 2004, 0 85646 360 4
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... of Life’ (‘Hälfte des Lebens’): Mit gelben Birnen hänget Und voll mit wilden Rosen Das Land in den See, Ihr holden Schwäne, Und trunken von Küssen Tunkt ihr das Haupt Ins heilignüchtene Wasser. He translates the first three lines with great literalness, down to the bold pre-positioning of the verb: With yellow pears hangs down And ...

Desk Job

Deborah Friedell: Bernard Malamud, 15 November 2007

Bernard Malamud: A Writer’s Life 
by Philip Davis.
Oxford, 377 pp., £18.99, September 2007, 978 0 19 927009 5
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... of Jewish-American writers. Dara Horn, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Lethem and Jonathan Rosen have all written loving introductions to his novels, and sometimes it seems that what they most admire about them is all the suffering: so awful, and so authentic! They do not find his sentimentality off-putting: it is, after all, their grandparents he’s ...

Business as Usual

J. Hoberman: Hitler in Hollywood, 19 December 2013

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39 
by Thomas Doherty.
Columbia, 429 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 231 16392 7
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The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler 
by Ben Urwand.
Harvard, 327 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 0 674 72474 7
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... censor, Will Hays, advised them to drop the project, the treatment was sold to an agent, Al Rosen. He was warned by Hays’s successor, Breen, that given the ‘strong pro-German and anti-Semitic feeling in this country’, such a movie would be counterproductive: ‘The charge is certain to be made,’ Breen wrote, ‘that the Jews, as a class, are ...

Brandenburg’s Dream

Derek Walmsley: Digital Piracy, 7 January 2016

How Music Got Free 
by Stephen Witt.
Bodley Head, 280 pp., £20, June 2015, 978 1 84792 282 3
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... more choice – the more users, the more music there was to be had. On 24 February 2000, Hilary Rosen of the Recording Industry Association of America convened a meeting of major record label bosses. She asked executives to name a song, any song, and her staff would find it on Napster. They even managed to find a track that hadn’t yet been ...

Having Fun

Ben Jackson: Online Shaming, 9 April 2015

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed 
by Jon Ronson.
Picador, 277 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 330 49228 7
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... in question hadn’t violated Twitter’s terms of use; they weren’t shut down. In 2013, Jeffrey Rosen argued in the New Republic that the reason Twitter doesn’t take action in these cases is that it conforms to ‘the American free-speech ideal’ and has ‘explicitly concluded that it wants to be a platform for democracy rather than civility’. This is ...

Empathy

Robin Holloway: Donald Francis Tovey, 8 August 2002

The Classics of Music: Talks, Essays and Other Writings Previously Uncollected 
by Donald Francis Tovey, edited by Michael Tilmouth.
Oxford, 821 pp., £60, September 2001, 0 19 816214 6
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... of Haydn’s material, where its handling is so far from childish. Here he anticipates Charles Rosen’s Classical Style, which has always seemed to be a brilliant codification and tidying up of the rich overview implicit in Tovey’s sprawling oeuvre, in which extraordinary hints and insights are thrown out to left and right in the most hurried and ...

Music Lessons

Nicholas Spice, 14 December 1995

Mozart 
by Maynard Solomon.
Hutchinson, 640 pp., £25, May 1995, 9780091747046
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... the seductive physical power of music with the intensity and the range of Mozart,’ says Charles Rosen in The Classical Style. Glenn Gould thought Mozart’s music was ‘hedonist’. The immediacy of Mozart’s music can be spooky. That simple four-note figure repeated twice, the viola motif in the slow movement of the G minor String Quintet, reaches out at ...

In His Hot Head

Andrew O’Hagan: Robert Louis Stevenson, 17 February 2005

Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography 
by Claire Harman.
HarperCollins, 503 pp., £25, February 2005, 0 00 711321 8
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... of ‘stories for boys’. In a letter he described a character he was developing, Countess von Rosen, as ‘a jolly, elderly – how shall I say? – fuckstress’. Well, I suppose that is pretty narrow, but Stevenson’s lack of good women characters did not, weirdly, prevent his writing from having a strong flavour of femininity. Stevenson’s style ...

On Liking Herodotus

Peter Green, 3 April 2014

The Histories 
by Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland.
Penguin, 834 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7139 9977 8
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Herodotus: Vol. I, Herodotus and the Narrative of the Past 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 495 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958757 5
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Herodotus: Vol. II, Herodotus and the World 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 473 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958759 9
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Textual Rivals: Self-Presentation in Herodotus’ ‘Histories’ 
by David Branscome.
Michigan, 272 pp., £60.50, November 2013, 978 0 472 11894 6
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The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus 
by Joseph Skinner.
Oxford, 343 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 979360 0
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... When, as a vaguely anti-authoritarian ex-service undergraduate, I first studied Herodotus seriously in the years immediately following the Second World War, my overriding impression was of a man both broad-minded and cosmopolitan; fascinated by the infinite varieties of human nature; surprisingly alert to the influence of women in history, which I’ve always thought of as the subtext, by no means always sexual, of so much public action; appreciative of thaumata, marvels, wherever they might be found (parallels with the New World suggested themselves); and open-minded about religion ...

A Great Deaf Bear

James Wood: Beethoven gets going, 7 January 2021

Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces 
by Laura Tunbridge.
Penguin, 276 pp., £16.99, June 2020, 978 0 241 41427 9
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The Beethoven Syndrome: Hearing Music as Autobiography 
by Mark Evan Bonds.
Oxford, 325 pp., £22.99, January 2020, 978 0 19 006847 9
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Beethoven: Variations on a Life 
by Mark Evan Bonds.
Oxford, 147 pp., £14.99, September 2020, 978 0 19 005408 3
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Beethoven: The New Complete Edition 
Deutsche Grammophon, 123 discs, November 2019Show More
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... opening is made to something new. The final movement begins with a series of light, open F octaves, from the bottom of the keyboard to the top, as if the piano were being warmed up (not unlike the way in which the first movement of the Ninth Symphony seems to emerge from layered fourths and fifths suggestive of the orchestra tuning up). These octaves ...

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