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Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... material, at last, that Bayard is at home with, as well as a nod to Umberto Eco’s analysis of Ian Fleming’s narrative structures. True to his initials, Simon uses his training to perform a Sherlock Holmes-like cold reading on Bayard, who responds by requisitioning him in the name of police intelligence. So begins a mismatched-buddy policier that’s ...

The Politics of Now

David Runciman: The Last World Cup, 21 June 2018

The Fall of the House of Fifa 
by David Conn.
Yellow Jersey, 336 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 224 10045 8
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... the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury earlier this year, the Labour MP Ian Austin called for England to withdraw from the World Cup in Russia on the grounds that ‘Putin is going to use it in the way that Hitler used the 1936 Olympics.’ In response, Boris Johnson said: ‘I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. It is ...

Time and the Sea

Fredric Jameson, 16 April 2020

... process common to their respective historical moments. Conrad as modernist? Not exactly. Ian Watt’s idea of Conrad’s style as ‘delayed decoding’ – the bewildering perceptual fragmentation of an act or object only then belatedly identified – is more appropriate to, say, his friend and collaborator Ford Madox Ford, whose sentences ...

We want our Mars Bars!

Will Frears: Arsène Who?, 7 January 2021

My Life in Red and White 
by Arsène Wenger, translated by Daniel Hahn and Andrea Reece.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £25, October 2020, 978 1 4746 1824 3
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... 12 October 1996, I was no longer in the stands … We were playing away at Blackburn Rovers. Ian Wright scored twice. Victory! On the way to the stadium, the players were chanting: “We want our Mars Bars!” I had started to work with them and apply my ideas, particularly as regards nutrition.’ The football played in England today – the speed, the ...


John Bayley, 17 September 1987

Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry 
edited by Steven Gould Axelrod and Helen Deese.
Cambridge, 377 pp., £17.50, June 1987, 0 571 14979 0
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Collected Prose 
by Robert Lowell, edited and introduced by Robert Giroux.
Faber, 269 pp., £27.50, February 1987, 0 521 30872 0
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... had been his life.’ The sharpest point that Marjorie Perloff makes is to quote from Ian Hamilton’s biography of Lowell, recalling his treatment of one of his mistresses, the Lithuanian dancer Vija Vetra, for whom he declared ‘undying love’, and whom he set up in a Manhattan flat, rented in the name of Mr and Mrs Robert Lowell. A few weeks ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... 1979 and Costain: £105,650 since 1979), John Milne (Royal Insurance: £110,500 since 1979), and Ian Fraser (formerly of Lazards: £86,100 since 1979). The same list in 1987 saw knighthoods bestowed on Frank Gibb (chairman and chief executive of Taylor Woodrow which had given £35,000 to the Party in the previous financial ...

Travelling in the Classic Style

Thomas Laqueur: Primo Levi, 5 September 2002

Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics 
by Robert Gordon.
Oxford, 316 pp., £45, October 2001, 0 19 815963 3
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Primo Levi 
by Ian Thomson.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £25, March 2002, 0 09 178531 6
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The Double Bond: Primo Levi, a Biography 
by Carole Angier.
Viking, 898 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 670 88333 6
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... that they are ‘ordinary virtues’, and that their opposites are ‘ordinary vices’. Charles Taylor, whom Gordon cites, lists five features of these ‘ordinary virtues’: they are rooted in dispositions accessible to anyone; they begin at home, in daily life; they subsist in the interaction of each of us with our fellow human beings at the first level ...

On the Salieri Express

John Sutherland, 24 September 1992

Doctor Criminale 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 436 20115 1
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The Promise of Light 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16715 2
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The Absolution Game 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 204 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 0 09 471460 6
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 388 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 436 20114 3
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Written on the Body 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 190 pp., £13.99, September 1992, 0 224 03587 8
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... satire into his fiction. Some of the attributions, such as the folkloric ‘Howard Kirk is Laurie Taylor,’ are discredited: Bradbury himself wittily derides this once ubiquitously offered key to The History Man in his collection of squibs, Unsent Letters. But other identifications are not as easily laughed off. Anyone who has read Eating people is wrong and ...


John Lanchester: A Month on the Sofa, 11 July 2002

... I watched it on my own. When you do that you concentrate harder and it takes more out of you, as Ian Hamilton said: ‘I don’t play football any more, but you should see me watch it.’ Underlying this is the point that a football match isn’t a spectacle but an experience: you don’t look at it, you live through it. This was England’s best performance ...

He knew he was right

John Lloyd, 10 March 1994

Scargill: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
HarperCollins, 296 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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... which made picketing illegal, preparing the police and changing the guard at the NCB. Sir Ian MacGregor was the other reason this strike was unlike any other. The choice of MacGregor as chairman of the NCB was made by Nigel Lawson, Peter Walker’s predecessor. MacGregor was as convinced of the rightness of the free enterprise system as Scargill was ...

The Cult of Celebrity

Jacqueline Rose, 20 August 1998

... so much more brazen, upfront way it puts this on display. One of my favourite moments was Barbara Taylor Bradford renewing her marriage vows in the total privacy of a completely deserted tropical island on which no tourists step; with only black luggage carriers in attendance , as well as the whole photographic and editorial team of Hello!. (She said this day ...

Love-of-One’s-Life Department

Terry Castle: The lesbian scarcity economy, 21 October 2004

Wild Girls: Paris, Sappho and Art: The Lives and Loves of Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks 
by Diana Souhami.
Weidenfeld, 224 pp., £18.99, July 2004, 9780297643869
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... can go back to women born over a hundred years ago. A late (and much missed) Stanford colleague, Ian Watt, once told me that as an undergraduate at Cambridge he was put in charge of escorting Gertrude Stein when she came to give a lecture in the 1930s. He took her to a tea shop for a snack and Virginia Woolf was sitting at the next table. (Neither great lady ...

For his Nose was as sharpe as a Pen, and a Table of greene fields

Michael Dobson: The Yellow Shakespeare, 10 May 2007

William Shakespeare, Complete Works: The RSC Shakespeare 
edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen.
Macmillan, 2486 pp., £30, April 2007, 978 0 230 00350 7
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... would be two syllables), but would urge actors not to overstress.’ Even now Ian McKellen is performing King Lear in Stratford using a text including the mock-trial scene, here relegated to an appendix. If by dabbling in the blogosphere and entering a contractual relationship not just with printers but with players Bate has made editorial ...


John Lanchester: Getting into Esports, 13 August 2020

... at this café rather than that, lamb for dinner because we had chicken yesterday, getting the new Ian Rankin because I saw it in the window of the local bookshop as I walked past. Life as a permanent breakfast buffet, where you can have whatever you want at any time, and the only risks are those of excessive indulgence or missing out. What I didn’t see ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... than three hundred staff were deployed immediately. Or that the council’s director of education, Ian Heggs, was in discussion on the morning of 14 June with the heads of eight local schools (I’ve seen the emails) about pupils from the tower. Nor that the education officers met with school heads and arranged for pupils to have psychological support and to ...

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