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Concini and the Squirrel

Peter Campbell, 24 May 1990

Innumeracy 
by John Allen Paulos.
135 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 670 83008 9
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The Culture of Print 
edited by Roger Chartier.
351 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 7456 0575 3
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Symbols of Ideal Life 
by Maren Stange.
Cambridge, 190 pp., £25, June 1989, 0 521 32441 6
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The Lines of My Hand 
by Robert Frank.
£30, September 1989, 0 436 16256 3
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... Jacob Riis, who took pictures of New York slums in the last decades of the 19th century; Lewis Hine, who recorded the conditions of workers (most memorably, child workers) in turn-of-the century mills and factories; Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Walker Evans and others who worked for the Farm Security Administration in the Thirties. The documentary ...

Roman Wall Blues

Peter Parsons, 17 May 1984

Vindolanda: The Latin Writing-Tablets 
by A.K. Bowman and J.D. Thomas.
Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 157 pp., £16.50, November 1983, 0 907764 02 9
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The Christians as the Romans saw them 
by Robert Wilken.
Yale, 214 pp., £12.95, February 1983, 0 300 03066 5
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The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul 
by Wayne Meeks.
Yale, 299 pp., £15, June 1983, 0 300 02876 8
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Life in Egypt under Roman Rule 
by Naphtali Lewis.
Oxford, 239 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 19 814848 8
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... of the first Christian century. At the time it would not have been so clear. Paul quarrelled with Peter and Barnabas, and set up on his own. He and his staff founded and guided, by letter and visit, Christian groups in a dozen cities of Asia Minor and Greece. Jesus had asked his followers to give up home, family, worldly goods: Paul had to temper this message ...

The Enemy

Marian FitzGerald: The Great Prison Disaster, 18 December 2003

Prisongate: The Shocking State of Britain’s Prisons and the Need for Visionary Change 
by David Ramsbotham.
Free Press, 267 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 7432 3884 2
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... In 1995 Michael Howard, the Tory Home Secretary, dismissed Derek Lewis from his post as Director General of the Prison Service and appointed David Ramsbotham Chief Inspector of Prisons. Lewis then wrote a book about his experience – Hidden Agendas: Politics, Law and Disorder (1997) – which reflects very badly on Howard ...

Wolfish

John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry, 5 May 2005

Publisher 
by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... Ian Parsons, Allen Lane. It was one of the most highly regarded of today’s younger publishers, Peter Straus (now an agent), who commissioned the book. None of these coat-brushers of genius is a household name: most publishers remain invisible. And many of Maschler’s authors weren’t household names in Britain until he published them at Jonathan ...

In the Hands of Any Fool

Walter Gratzer, 3 July 1997

A Short History of Cardiology 
by Peter Fleming.
Rodopi, 234 pp., £53.50, April 1997, 90 420 0048 1
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... of the celestial clockwork. That was in the 17th century. Now medicine has become, in the words of Lewis Thomas, the youngest science; and the kind of wanton incompetence that did for Josef Shklovsky has passed into history, at least in the West. Or has it? In 1983, the Journal of the American Medical Society published the results of a study on 100 deaths, all ...

White Lies

James Campbell: Nella Larsen, 5 October 2006

In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Colour Line 
by George Hutchinson.
Harvard, 611 pp., £25.95, June 2006, 0 674 02180 0
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... in the catalogue published to accompany an exhibition about the Harlem Renaissance, David Levering Lewis referred to Larsen as ‘the mysterious and lovely Virgin Islander’. Eight years later, in When Harlem Was in Vogue, Lewis relayed the (unsourced) information that Larsen was looked down on by ‘some of her fellow ...

The man who missed his life

Michael Wood, 10 February 1994

The Age of Innocence 
directed by Martin Scorsese.
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The Age of Innocence 
by Edith Wharton, introduced by Peter Washington.
Everyman, 308 pp., £9.99, September 1993, 1 85715 202 6
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... class, who think most of America is low and all of Europe is louche. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is about to be engaged to May Welland (Winona Ryder), whose cousin Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer) has made an unfortunate marriage to a Polish count. Ellen, in flight from marital horrors too dire for Wharton or the movie to mention, has returned to her family ...

How Venice worked

Peter Burke, 6 November 1980

Politics in Renaissance Venice 
by Robert Finlay.
Benn, 336 pp., £13.95, June 1980, 0 510 00085 1
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... of Venetian politics which (at first sight) bears little more resemblance to the myth than Sir Lewis Namier’s account of The Structure of English Politics at the Accession of George III bore to the Whig and Tory histories which preceded it. Most visitors to the National Gallery must remember Bellini’s portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan, the image of ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Peeping Tom’, 2 December 2010

The Peeping Tom 
directed by Michael Powell.
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... later appeared in several Fassbinder movies, is German; second, Powell can’t stop thinking of Peter Lorre. The effect is not subtle but it is compelling. Böhm doesn’t look anything like Lorre – he looks like a nicely brought up, slightly spoiled male model – but he keeps pulling these wonderfully eerie faces, staring off sideways, rolling his ...

Great Thoughts

E.S. Turner, 7 May 1981

The Macmillan Treasury of Relevant Quotations 
edited by Edward Murphy.
Macmillan, 658 pp., £3.95, August 1980, 0 333 30038 6
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... V. Prochnow Jr, with 65 entries by Prochnow senior; and in Quotations For Our Time, by Dr Laurence Peter (author of The Peter Principle), with 37 entries of his own. It’s not wholly a new conceit: even L. T. Hoyt, last century, was not so unjust to himself as to deny his own verses comparison with those of Tennyson and ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Alan Taylor, Oxford Don, 8 May 1986

... How Alan had loathed the loathsome Dylan Thomas. How Alan had crossed swords with C.S. Lewis, Magdalen’s Fellow in English, on this or that occasion. How, on being asked as a young man at interview whether it was true that he had strongly-held left-wing views, he had replied: ‘No. I have extreme views, weakly held.’ How Alan had been invited ...

In Kent

Patrick Cockburn, 18 March 2021

... the levels of infection brought it to general attention. ‘This variant became of interest,’ Peter Horby, the chairman of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), said on 23 December, ‘because there was an investigation of the increasing case numbers in Kent in early December, despite the national ...

Medawar’s Knack

N.W. Pirie, 27 September 1990

A Very Decided Preference: Life with Peter Medawar 
by Jean Medawar.
Oxford, 256 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217779 6
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The Threat and the Glory: Reflections on Science and Scientists 
by Peter Medawar, edited by David Pyke.
Oxford, 291 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217778 8
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... Jean Taylor met Peter Medawar when they were students. When she married him she therefore knew that he was an extremely able biologist, but she cannot have foreseen what an energetic polymath she was attaching herself to. Medawar’s ability led at first to frequent moves to better jobs, with consequent house-hunting, and to much travel, on which she accompanied him, to lecture and attend conferences ...

Vienna discovers its past

Peter Pulzer, 1 August 1985

Refugee Scholars in America: Their Impact and their Experiences 
by Lewis Coser.
Yale, 351 pp., £25, October 1984, 0 300 03193 9
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The Viennese Enlightenment 
by Mark Francis.
Croom Helm, 176 pp., £15.95, May 1985, 0 7099 1065 7
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The Jews of Vienna, 1867-1914: Assimilation and Identity 
by Marsha Rozenblit.
SUNY, 368 pp., $39.50, July 1984, 0 87395 844 6
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... world, where they flourish to this day. Their story has been told many times, most recently by Lewis Coser, who stresses the innovative effect that many of them had in their new homes. Before the 1930s, ‘psychoanalysis was a stepchild in the academy’; ‘no historian of philosophy would deny that the coming of Rudolf Carnap and other members of the ...

Someone Else’s

Matthew Reynolds: Translating Cesare Pavese, 6 October 2005

Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-50 
by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
Carcanet, 370 pp., £14.95, April 2004, 1 85754 738 1
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Italian Poems 
edited by Jamie McKendrick.
Faber, 167 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 0 571 19700 0
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... when he wrote in Italian. Throughout his career he worked as a translator, notably of Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, Dos Passos, Melville and Dickens, and published essays on them and other English and American writers. In the 1930s, this was a conscious contribution to the Anti-Fascist intellectual culture which endured in Turin: as ...

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