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Waiting for the next move

John Bayley, 23 July 1987

Dostoevsky. The Stir of Liberation: 1860-1865 
by Joseph Frank.
Robson, 395 pp., £17.95, April 1987, 0 86051 242 8
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Selected Letters of Dostoevsky 
edited by Joseph Frank and David Goldstein.
Rutgers, 543 pp., $29.95, May 1987, 0 8135 1185 2
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... that sort of picture, as do Dostoevsky’s own letters, a selection of which has been edited by David Goldstein and Frank. The editing is superb, the notes meticulous, but it must be said that Dostoevsky does not come into the category of great letter-writers. The most interesting are not the ones written to his brother from the Peter and Paul Fortress ...

Provenly Unprovable

Solomon Feferman: Can mathematics describe the world?, 9 February 2006

Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel 
by Rebecca Goldstein.
Norton, 224 pp., $13.95, February 2006, 0 393 32760 4
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... is also held to imply the existence of God, since only He can decide all truths. Even Rebecca Goldstein’s book, whose laudable aim is to provide non-technical expositions of the incompleteness theorems (there are two) for a general audience and place them in their historical and biographical context, makes extravagant claims and distorts their ...


Galen Strawson: Brain Chic, 25 March 2010

36 Arguments for the Existence of God 
by Rebecca Goldstein.
Atlantic, 402 pp., £12.99, March 2010, 978 1 84887 153 3
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... six-year-old mathematical genius who is the central attractor, but not the protagonist, of Rebecca Goldstein’s new novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. Twenty-eight is the next perfect number (divisors 14, 7, 4, 2, 1), and 28 arguments for the existence of God might have been more than enough. But 36 is a perfect number of perfect numbers: a perfect ...


Edward Said: Reflections on the Hebron Massacre, 7 April 1994

... all the many commentators in the West who had something to say about the Hebron events, only one, David Shipler of the New York Times, made a connection between Baruch Goldstein, political Judaism and Zionism itself. All of them, he said correctly, are aspects of each other: they can’t be broken up into smaller, separate ...

So, puss, I shall know you another time

Peter Campbell, 8 December 1988

The World through Blunted Sight 
by Patrick Trevor-Roper.
Allen Lane, 207 pp., £16.95, August 1988, 0 7139 9006 6
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Visual Fact over Verbal Fiction 
by Carl Goldstein.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £40, September 1988, 0 521 34331 3
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Hockney on Photography: Conversations with Paul Joyce 
Cape, 192 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 224 02484 1Show More
Portrait of David Hockney 
by Peter Webb.
Chatto, £17.95, November 1988, 0 7011 3401 1
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... is married to a dangerously over-engineered brain. The picture is stranger than I thought. Carl Goldstein is concerned with a kind of distortion which affects, not the world, but works of art. How are we to see pictures ‘made in the more or less distant past’? His subjects are the Carracci – Lodovico and his cousins Annibale and Agostino, who worked ...

Get the placentas

Gavin Francis: ‘The Life Project’, 2 June 2016

The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of Our Ordinary Lives 
by Helen Pearson.
Allen Lane, 399 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 1 84614 826 2
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... Butler’s study showed that smoking was associated with poorer outcomes for the baby; Harvey Goldstein, the study’s statistician, quit smoking while crunching the data, as did his wife. The effect was limited to later pregnancy; mothers who gave up by the end of the first trimester had the same outcomes as lifelong non-smokers. The knowledge took ...

Remaining Issues

Robert Fisk, 23 February 1995

... they left almost half a century ago? Israeli historians like Benny Morris, Israeli authors like David Grossman and Amos Oz, have written eloquently of their catastrophe. But in 1950, the Israeli government passed the Absentee Property Law which still forbids Selma Tawil and the other 750,000 Palestinians from ever returning – if they left their homes in ...


David Garrioch: Making peasants into Frenchmen, 3 November 2005

The Abbé Grégoire and the French Revolution: The Making of Modern Universalism 
by Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall.
California, 341 pp., £35.95, April 2005, 0 520 24180 0
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... Estate, and was one of the first to take the Tennis Court Oath, appearing in the foreground of David’s painting. He was secretary of the National Assembly during the session of 14 July 1789, and later president, as well as a key member of some of the important committees that did much of the real work of revolution. One of the leaders of the Jacobins, he ...

Politics and the Prophet

Malise Ruthven, 1 August 1996

Lords of the Lebanese Marches: Violence and Narrative in an Arab Society 
by Michael Gilsenan.
Tauris, 377 pp., £14.95, February 1996, 1 85043 099 3
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The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World 
edited by John L. Esposito.
Oxford, 480 pp., £295, June 1995, 0 19 506613 8
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Unfolding Islam 
by P.J. Stewart.
Garnet, 268 pp., £25, February 1995, 9780863721946
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Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: Religion and Politics in the Middle East 
by Fred Halliday.
Tauris, 256 pp., £35, January 1996, 1 86064 004 4
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... systematically unravelled by the God who feeds his chosen agents contradictory messages. Baruch Goldstein, who was responsible for the massacre of Arab worshippers in Hebron in 1994, is, like the late Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, a martyr for those Jews who believe that the divine manifests itself in real estate. The suicide-bombers of Hamas take things a ...

Jackson breaks the ice

Andrew Forge, 4 April 1991

Jackson Pollock: An American Saga 
by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.
Barrie and Jenkins, 934 pp., £19.95, March 1990, 0 7126 3866 0
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Abstract Expressionism 
by David Anfam.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 500 20243 5
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Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston 
by Musa Mayer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £8.95, February 1991, 0 500 27633 1
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... and the fact of the canvas. He could draw in the air, omnipotently. ‘Empty of imagery,’ David Anfam writes in a beautiful description of the drip paintings, ‘they feel intensely full; lacking overt reference to nature, the organic patterns of growth nevertheless engulf us; rather monochromatic overall, strong and metallic hues shimmer through ...

Aunts and Uncles

Michael Hofmann, 19 November 1992

A Feast in the Garden 
by George Konrad, translated by Imre Goldstein.
Faber, 394 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 571 16623 7
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Wartime Lies 
by Louis Begley.
Picador, 198 pp., £5.99, August 1992, 0 330 32099 8
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by Carmelo Samona, translated by Linda Lappin.
Carcanet, 131 pp., £13.95, August 1992, 0 85635 990 4
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by Thomas Healy.
Polygon, 161 pp., £7.95, July 1992, 0 7486 6121 2
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... for thirty pages reluctant to let his book go, even to hand it over to his fictional alter ego, David Kobra. He has a sub-Kunderesque divagation on his ‘philosophy of ecstasy’ before going on to the ownership of property – descriptions of remote and magnificent real estate are my hot tip for fiction-writers in this last decade of the ...

Who shall we blame it on?

Yitzhak Laor: Lament for the Israeli Left, 20 February 2003

... according to which ‘former Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians everything at Camp David, but they wanted even more.’ So where did the handful of members of the radical Left go? They voted for the Democratic Front (the Communist Party and others), or for Balad, Dr Azmi Bishara’s Arab nationalist party. Most remained secluded inside the ...

Palestinians under Siege

Edward Said: Putting Palestine on the map, 14 December 2000

... to the rubbish bin – and so it was a great deal easier, after the failure of the Camp David summit last July, to claim, as Clinton and Barak have done, that the Palestinians were to blame for the impasse, rather than the Israelis, whose position remains that the 1967 territories are not to be returned. The US press has referred again and again to ...

Oxford University’s Long Haul

Sheldon Rothblatt, 21 January 1988

The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. I: The Early Oxford Schools 
edited by J.I. Catto.
Oxford, 684 pp., £55, June 1984, 0 19 951011 3
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. III: The Collegiate University 
edited by James McConia.
Oxford, 775 pp., £60, July 1986, 9780199510139
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. V: The 18th Century 
edited by L.S. Sutherland and L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 949 pp., £75, July 1986, 0 19 951011 3
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Learning and a Liberal Education: The Study of History in the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, 1880-1914 
by Peter Slee.
Manchester, 181 pp., £25, November 1986, 9780719018961
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... notion of privacy to Oxford’s material environment. Oxford’s self-perception began to shift. David Fairer’s absorbing chapter on ‘Oxford and the Literary World’ explains how the romance of Oxford began in the later 18th century. We perceive the beginning of an attitude that defines a university and especially Oxford as a kind of secret epicurean ...

Get over it!

Corey Robin: Antonin Scalia, 10 June 2010

American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia 
by Joan Biskupic.
Farrar, Straus, 434 pp., $28, November 2009, 978 0 374 20289 7
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... votes. I have little doubt she’s up to the job, but am less clear on how she’ll do it.’ Tom Goldstein, the publisher of the SCOTUSblog, devoted to the goings-on at the Supreme Court, says: ‘I don’t know anyone who has had a conversation with her in which she expressed a personal conviction on a question of constitutional law in the past ...

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