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Lucky Hunter-Gatherers

T.J. Clark: Ice Age Art, 21 March 2013

Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind 
British Museum, 7 February 2013 to 26 May 2013Show More
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... in his sights, of the human animal first coming across itself and deciding on a name: A primitive man, on meeting other men, will first have experienced fright. His fear will make him see these men as larger and stronger than himself; he will give them the name giants. After many experiences, he will discover that the supposed giants are neither larger nor ...

Jacques Derrida

Judith Butler: Commemorating ‘one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century’, 4 November 2004

... significance and a new promise. In that book, he openly mourns Roland Barthes, who died in 1980, Paul deMan, who died in 1983, Michel Foucault, who died in 1984, and a host of others, including Edmund Jabès (1991), Louis Marin (1992), Sarah Kofman (1994), Emmanuel Levinas (1995) and Jean-François Lyotard (1998). In ...

Off the edge

Frank Kermode, 7 November 1991

Musical Elaborations 
by Edward Said.
Chatto, 128 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 7011 3809 2
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... the vogue, with magisterial strength and gloomy inclusiveness. Said, deferential but still his own man, characteristically points out that to treat modern music as a reflection or portent of the world’s present or impending ruin is actually a Eurocentric view, taken, with unconscious colonialist arrogance, to apply universally. He knows far too much about ...

Where Did the Hatred Go?

Adam Phillips: Criticism without Malice, 6 March 2008

A Scholar’s Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe 
by Geoffrey Hartman.
Fordham, 195 pp., £17.50, October 2007, 978 0 8232 2832 4
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... trajectory, about intense preoccupations and about meetings with remarkable men (Harold Bloom, Paul deMan, Lacan etc), not about wives and children or, indeed, meetings with remarkable women. It is, unusually, a memoir without alibis, without a palpable design on the reader. As a critic Hartman never takes ...

Not Just Anybody

Terry Eagleton: ‘The Limits of Critique’, 5 January 2017

The Limits of Critique 
by Rita Felski.
Chicago, 238 pp., £17, October 2015, 978 0 226 29403 2
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... to end up feeling that she has a point. The critical approach she has in mind is a form of what Paul Ricoeur calls the hermeneutics of suspicion. On this view, the task of critique is to dig out hidden meanings and concealed contradictions in a text, scanning it for those symptomatic points at which it falters, deadlocks, disrupts its own logic or threatens ...

Early Hillhead Man

Paul Addison, 6 May 1982

Churchill’s Political Philosophy 
by Martin Gilbert.
Oxford, 119 pp., £8, November 1981, 0 19 726005 5
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Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 
by Martin Gilbert.
Macmillan, 279 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 333 32564 8
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Churchill and de Gaulle 
by François Kersaudy.
Collins, 476 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 0 00 216328 4
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The Diaries of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart 
edited by Kenneth Young.
Macmillan, 800 pp., £30, October 1981, 0 333 18480 7
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Churchill’s Indian Summer 
by Anthony Seldon.
Hodder, 667 pp., £14.95, October 1981, 0 340 25456 4
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... with seven companion volumes comprising just about every notable document by or about the great man: altogether a revolution in knowledge, and one that has knocked on the head many a misconception. No longer can it be said, for instance, that Churchill forced the Asquith Cabinet into Gallipoli or the Baldwin Cabinet into the General Strike. Gilbert has been ...

Report from the Interior

Michael Wood: Fredric Jameson, 9 January 2014

The Antinomies of Realism 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 432 pp., £20, October 2013, 978 1 78168 133 6
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... from Flaubert’s L’Education sentimentale, where Frédéric Moreau, standing on the pont de la Concorde in Paris, very briefly contemplates suicide and even more swiftly decides against it. I’ve slightly modified the translation by Douglas Parmée. Des nues sombres couraient sur la face de la lune. Il la ...

The Silences of General de Gaulle

Douglas Johnson, 20 November 1980

Mon Général 
by Olivier Guichard.
Grasset
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Lettres, Notes et Carnets: Vol.1 1905-1918, Vol.2 1919-1940; 
by Charles de Gaulle.
Plon
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Le Colonel de Gaulle et les Blindés 
by Paul Huard.
Plon
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... complicated burdens of office, but Reagan appealed because he was able to show himself as a direct man who had the determination to dominate and solve problems. Carter is not at ease within himself; Reagan is a man who is at ease. Such judgments flow easily from the commentators. Take the case of Richard Nixon. He is ...

A Likely Story

Frank Kermode, 25 January 1996

Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 
by Michael Auping, John Elderfield and Susan Sontag, edited by Marla Price.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £28, October 1995, 0 500 09256 7
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Howard Hodgkin 
by Andrew Graham-Dixon.
Thames and Hudson, 192 pp., £24.95, October 1994, 0 500 27769 9
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... comment on the strange works of this artist. He adds that Piero lived more like a brute than a man, subsisted on boiled eggs, cooked 50 at a time while he was boiling his glue, studied a wall on which sick persons had used to spit, imagining that he saw there fantastic cities and combats of horses. Moreover he would never suffer his fruit trees to be ...

Icicles by Cynthia

Michael Wood: Ghosts, 2 January 2020

Romantic Shades and Shadows 
by Susan J. Wolfson.
Johns Hopkins, 272 pp., £50, August 2018, 978 1 4214 2554 2
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... for them, or getting them to confess, and Wolfson evokes an interesting ambiguity in a remark by Paul deMan and its citation by Marjorie Garber. De Man writes of ‘making the death speak’, which in Garber’s quotation becomes ‘making the dead speak’. As Wolfson ...

A Positive Future

David Simpson: Ernst Cassirer, 26 March 2009

Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture 
by Edward Skidelsky.
Princeton, 288 pp., £24.95, January 2009, 978 0 691 13134 4
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The Symbolic Construction of Reality: The Legacy of Ernst Cassirer 
edited by Jeffrey Andrew Barash.
Chicago, 223 pp., £26.50, January 2009, 978 0 226 03686 1
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... translated as Psychology of the Unconscious) and at the end of his life he edited a volume called Man and His Symbols (1964). The radical Freud most of us read today was less interested than Jung in the idea of a collective unconscious, but the historical Freud dallied with it in his discussions of the symbol, especially after 1914, finding common ground ...

Old Literature and its Enemies

Claude Rawson, 25 April 1991

The Death of Literature 
by Alvin Kernan.
Yale, 230 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 0 300 04783 5
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Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy and Tradition 
by Alasdair MacIntyre.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £12.95, August 1990, 0 7156 2337 0
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Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul deMan 
by David Lehman.
Poseidon, 318 pp., $21.95, February 1991, 0 671 68239 3
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... was short-lived in France, and I have heard Derrida described as a vedette américaine. Paul deMan seems to be largely unknown in French intellectual life. For all his knowingness to the effect that the real world is a bigger place than the academy and one to whose pressures the academy, including the ...

Slick Chick

Elaine Showalter, 11 July 1991

The Haunting of Sylvia Plath 
by Jacqueline Rose.
Virago, 288 pp., £14.99, June 1991, 1 85381 307 9
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Passions of the Mind 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 340 pp., £17, August 1991, 0 7011 3260 4
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... of battling with the Estate seems to have altered Rose’s work, much as the discovery of Paul deMan’s wartime journalism forced Deconstructionists to deal with history. As she writes, ‘it can be argued (it has recently been argued in relation to the critic ...

Wordsworth and the Well-Hidden Corpse

Marilyn Butler, 6 August 1992

The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... the false, material and murderous revolution ushered in by 1789. Harold Bloom, Hillis Miller and Paul deMan see something profoundly representative in Wordsworth’s sudden retreat from the public to the private sphere – the threshold of modernity, the moment when the political and social goals of history become ...

Jean-Paul

Alan Hollinghurst, 19 November 1981

Gemini 
by Michel Tournier, translated by Anne Carter.
Collins, 452 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 00 221448 2
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The Death of Men 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 249 pp., £6.50, October 1981, 0 370 30339 3
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Tar Baby 
by Toni Morrison.
Chatto, 309 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7011 2596 9
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... well as weakening the structure, also undermines the confidence of the reader. Tournier is not a man to make a point once if he can make it a dozen times, or to use one word if he can use a thousand. Subjected to this immense performance of reiterative loquacity the reader increasingly responds with both ‘I know …’ and ‘What, really, does it ...

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