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Ediepus

Michael Neve, 18 November 1982

Edie: An American Biography 
by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
Cape, 455 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 224 02068 4
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself 
by Jan Kerouac.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 233 97487 3
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... you’d fuck. People used him that way. His office was a social focal point.’ If you didn’t ball Doctor Roberts, it was probably because you had to go off and appear on television. Doctors seem to have been good dealers in those days. Edie staggers through this world, to go on to, say, the back room at the club Max’s Kansas City (‘how many pills can ...

Who is Laura?

Susannah Clapp, 3 December 1981

Olivia 
by Olivia.
Hogarth, 109 pp., £4.50, April 1981, 0 7012 0177 0
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... students, who, more maidenly than the average batch of 16-year-olds, appear at a Fancy Dress Ball provocatively equipped with plunging necklines or decked out in top hat and whiskers. It is present in the language of Olivia’s ‘indefinite desire’, which has her aching, awakening and dissolving; it is present in Mlle Julie’s promise that, St ...

Crack Open the Shells

Hal Foster: The Situationist Moment, 12 March 2009

Correspondence: The Foundation of the Situationist International (June 1957-60) 
by Guy Debord, translated by Stuart Kendall and John McHale.
Semiotext(e), 397 pp., £12.95, February 2009, 978 1 58435 055 2
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... or another he deems such critics and artists as Michel Tapié, Georges Mathieu, Yves Klein and Simon Hantaï, not to mention all the Angry Young Men, ‘apolitical and fascistic’, and even the once-recruited Spur artists are soon dismissed as ‘ridiculous’. Sentiments like this one – ‘we already have amongst us too many young artistic elderly who ...

Stabbing the Olive

Tom McCarthy: Toussaint, 11 February 2010

Running Away 
by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, translated by Matthew Smith.
Dalkey, 156 pp., $12.95, November 2009, 978 1 56478 567 1
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La Vérité sur Marie 
by Jean-Philippe Toussaint.
Minuit, 204 pp., €14.50, September 2009, 978 2 7073 2088 9
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... itself above all others: what do you do after the nouveau roman? Alain Robbe-Grillet, Claude Simon et compagnie redrew the map of what fiction might offer and aspire to, what its ground rules should be – so much so that some have found their legacy stifling. Michel Houellebecq’s response has been one of adolescent rejection, or, to use the type of ...

Miracle on Fleet Street

Martin Hickman: Operation Elveden, 7 January 2016

... lot of you and replace you with them.’ On another occasion she had scrunched a news list into a ball and hurled it at him, screaming and slamming the door on the morning editorial conference. In 2004 alone, the Sun paid sources at least £362,000 in cash; Graham Dudman, then managing editor, kept £25,000 in his safe. Asked how much went to public ...

Top Brands Today

Nicholas Penny: The Art World, 14 December 2017

The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... Simon​ de Pury, assisted by ‘a regular contributor to Vanity Fair’, has written a book about his ascent to the top of the art world: the auctions he conducted, the deals he struck, the parties he attended. It resembles a board game, with smaller parts assigned to the ‘hedge fund overlord’, the ‘polo-playing playboy millionaire’, the ‘James Bond of the Russian oligarchy’, the ‘French luxury goods tycoon’ (also appearing as the ‘French luxury titan’), the ‘serial dater of supermodels’, and the ‘leveraged-buyout king ...

Who had the most fun?

David Bromwich: The Marx Brothers, 10 May 2001

Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 480 pp., £7.99, April 2001, 0 14 029426 0
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The Essential Groucho 
by Groucho Marx, edited by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 254 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 14 029425 2
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... from the ‘grouch bag’ carried by travelling showmen. His parents were Jewish immigrants: Simon Marrix, of a family of tailors from Alsace-Lorraine, and Minna Schoenberg, the daughter of a Dutch magician who emigrated when his work in Germany ran out in the 1870s. All of the Marxes appear to have been clever with words – ...

Cricket’s Superpowers

David Runciman: Beyond the Ashes, 22 September 2005

... jerky bowling action (they suspect him of achieving his extraordinary bounce by chucking the ball rather than bowling it). Muralitharan didn’t disappoint either his supporters or his critics, but the Australians had the last laugh. Ponting’s team won 3-0, despite the fact that they conceded a first innings lead in each game, and despite ...

Trains in Space

James Meek: The Great Train Robbery, 5 May 2016

The Railways: Nation, Network and People 
by Simon Bradley.
Profile, 645 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 1 84668 209 4
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... many times over, in the town where I grew up. Those engines were new in the 1970s. Unlike Simon Bradley I lack the trainspotter’s enthusiasm for locomotives, and I’ve had some horrible journeys on that train. But the theatrical grandeur of its arrival always alters my sense of my surroundings, as if a door had opened, offering a glimpse of an ...

The Last Years of Edward Kelley, Alchemist to the Emperor

Charles Nicholl: Edward Kelly, 19 April 2001

... spirits and the invocation of angeli boni – Dee brought out his ‘shew stone’, or crystal ball. The soi-disant Talbot ‘then settled himself to the Action … and within one quarter of an hour (or less) he had sight of one in the stone’. The angel identified itself as Uriel. It ‘spake plainly’, in a mixture of Latin and English, ‘to the ...

Diary

James Meek: Waiting for the War to Begin, 28 July 2016

... defence correspondent, Richard Norton-Taylor, sends me an email from London which he received from Simon Wren, an MoD press officer. Wren is ranting about my colleagues’ earlier reports on how soldiers haven’t got enough toilet paper, aren’t getting decent food and haven’t got the right colour of uniform. He’s put his mobile number at the bottom. I ...

Down from the Mountain

Greg Grandin: What Happened to Venezuela?, 29 June 2017

Chávez: My First Life 
by Hugo Chávez and Ignacio Ramonet, translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 544 pp., £30, August 2016, 978 1 78478 383 9
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... fruit, flying kites made of old newspapers, fishing in the river with my father, playing ball’. Provincial children of a similar social class in oil-importing countries which were even poorer, such as Colombia next door, or in Central America or the Caribbean, had considerably less favourable life chances. Even so, Chávez only occasionally ...

Kafka at Las Vegas

Alan Bennett, 23 July 1987

... dock on perambulatory trial for their lives. He is interested in the feelings of the squash ball and the champagne bottle that launches the ship. In a football match his sympathy is not with either of the teams but with the ball or, in a match ending nil-nil, with the hunger of the goalmouth. He would be unable to ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: My 2006, 4 January 2007

... a nice warm and varied shade the protester had achieved. ‘Maze brown’ I suppose Farrow and Ball would tastefully have called it. 4 March. We stay the night at Lacock, as R. is doing a shoot at nearby Corsham Court. In the morning we walk round this picture-book village wholly owned by the National Trust since 1944. It’s not yet ten o’clock but ...

Mrs Stitch in Time

Clive James, 4 February 1982

Lady Diana Cooper 
by Philip Ziegler.
Hamish Hamilton, 336 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 241 10659 1
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... about his own interior drama. His name came up the second time I met Lady Diana, at a fancy-dress ball. Once more I was lucky enough to draw her as a dinner partner. I was pretending to be an Australian in a black tie while she was in her standard outfit as a nun. On her right she had the Arab who was financing the party. He was dressed as a sheik but that ...

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