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Big Stick Swagger

Colin Kidd: Republican Conspiracism, 6 January 2022

A Conspiratorial Life: Robert Welch, the John Birch Society and the Revolution of American Conservatism 
by Edward H. Miller.
Chicago, 456 pp., £24, January, 978 0 226 44886 2
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... So abrasively​ right-wing was George W. Bush’s gravel-voiced vice-president, Dick Cheney, that he got the nickname Darth Vader. Out of office he hammed up the part, making public entrances to the Imperial March from Star Wars. He once asked his wife, Lynne, if it annoyed her that people referred to him as Darth Vader ...
... to defend the record of the Schools Council. It was set up in 1964, a gentler time, by Sir Edward Boyle, and its brief was then, and has, in a variety of manifestations, remained, the combining of examination reform with curriculum development. These were areas traditionally kept apart, for the soundest political reasons and with dire consequences for ...

Diary

Karl Miller: On Doubles, 2 May 1985

... A strong pang was felt when my eye travelled to page 15 and lit on the magic words: ‘When he first saw how enchanted I was by this toy, Karl Miller was pleased.’ In the literature of romantic duality the most important of all pairs is the one constituted by the author and his principal character, or his ...

Feminist Perplexities

Dinah Birch, 11 October 1990

Seductions: Studies in Reading and Culture 
by Jane Miller.
Virago, 194 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 86068 943 3
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... price for admission. In her discriminating survey of the issues confronting feminism today, Jane Miller argues that it has been too high. The form of her book is a demonstration of this conviction, for it is an account of an intellectual dilemma which takes shape as an autobiography. She remembers her own experience as an undergraduate at Cambridge, where ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Looking Ahead, 18 May 2000

... A special 25th anniversary edition of Edward O. Wilson’s Sociobiology: The New Consensus was published in March. Harvard University Press are advertising it together with Richard Lewontin’s new book, The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, Environment, presumably to let everyone know they’re not taking sides. Lewontin and Wilson, fiercely opposed to each other intellectually, used to have labs one directly above the other at Harvard (and weren’t on speaking terms) – an arrangement curiously reproduced in the design of the new ad ...

Hyacinth Boy

Mark Ford: T.S. Eliot, 21 September 2006

T.S. Eliot: The Making of an American Poet 
by James E. Miller.
Pennsylvania State, 468 pp., £29.95, August 2005, 0 271 02681 2
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The Annotated ‘Waste Land’ with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 270 pp., $35, April 2005, 0 300 09743 3
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Revisiting ‘The Waste Land’ 
by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 203 pp., £22.50, May 2005, 0 300 10707 2
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... Hart Crane, for one, was in no doubt about it. ‘He’s the prime ram of our flock,’ he insisted to Allen Tate in the summer of 1922. Tate was initially puzzled by the phrase, as well as by various other ‘signals’ his friend was making, but eventually came to understand Crane’s drift: ‘In those days,’ he later commented, ‘a lot of people like Hart had the delusion that Eliot was homosexual ...

Absent Authors

John Lanchester, 15 October 1987

Criticism in Society 
by Imre Salusinszky.
Methuen, 244 pp., £15, May 1987, 0 416 92270 8
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Mensonge 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Deutsch, 104 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 233 98020 2
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... bottled-at-the-place-of-origin Deconstructionists (Jacques Derrida, Barbara Johnson, J. Hillis Miller) and one sympathiser (Geoffrey Hartman), two politically-minded oppositional critics (Edward Said, Frank Lentricchia) and two unclassifiable individualists (Harold Bloom, Frank Kermode). The ninth interviewee is the ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Have you seen their sandals?, 3 July 2014

... will never wear anything extravagant or slang.’ In the end she lost that battle, for Bertie, as Edward VII, went on to introduce the dinner jacket, the velvet smoking jacket, the white dresscoat and the bowler hat. He also fell in love, temporarily, with Lillie Langtry, whose velvet-slippered friend Oscar Wilde said that ...

State-Sponsored Counter-Terror

Karl Miller, 8 May 1986

Parliamentary Debates: Hansard, Vol. 95, No 94 
HMSO, £2.50Show More
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... the list of governments supporting international terrorism, Gaddafi comes pretty low down.’ If he disappeared from the scene, ‘terrorism, as a result of the activities of the United States and Britain in the last two days, would continue, not diminish.’ The Foreign Office has been accustomed to argue that counter-terror is likely to be ...

The Wrong Blond

Alan Bennett, 23 May 1985

Auden in Love 
by Dorothy Farnan.
Faber, 264 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 571 13399 1
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... year Auden had sometimes been in tears, telling Isherwood no one would ever love him and that he would never have any sexual success. True to form on this second visit it was Isherwood who already had a date lined up: Vernon, ‘a beautiful blond boy, about eighteen, intelligent with very sexy legs’. From that out-of-the-body vantage-point ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... the narrow gap from 1957 to 1959. David Kynaston tells the story in his own measured words, and he also tells it in the often loud and uninhibited words of others – authors, newspapers, diarists, eminent politicians, Mass Observation respondents. Man, it seems, is an indignant animal. Kynaston has researched widely into such sources and digests them into ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... third most written about person in the ‘LRB’ archive, after Shakespeare and Freud. Here Karl Miller’s memories of the paper in her day are accompanied by extracts from some of the pieces published at the time. On the morning Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced, the lesser lights of television who were minding the shop did her proud. A river of ...

More about Marilyn

Michael Church, 20 February 1986

Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 414 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 575 03641 9
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Norma Jeane: The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe 
by Fred Lawrence Guiles.
Granada, 377 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 246 12307 9
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Poor Little Rich Girl: The Life and Legend of Barbara Hutton 
by C. David Heymann.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 09 146010 7
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Deams that money can buy: The Tragic Life of Libby Holman 
by Jon Bradshaw.
Cape, 431 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 224 02846 4
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All Those Tomorrows 
by Mai Zetterling.
Cape, 230 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 224 01841 8
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Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady 
by Florence King.
Joseph, 278 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 7181 2611 4
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... people, Maggie. That’s what it’s for.’ Thus Quentin, the tormented Prospero-figure in Arthur Miller’s autobiographical play After the Fall. Maggie replies by eating a handful of pills, and the scene then twists and turns between Quentin’s acknowledged guilt and his defiant belief that she would have done it anyway. ...

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini, 13 August 2020

... by academic labourers seventy years ago. And Frank Kermode had been dead for almost ten years – he died on 17 August 2010. I’d seen him in my mind quite frequently in the intervening decade: one of my running routes takes me past his old flat, and the sight of the building is enough to stir memories of evenings spent drinking and talking. But this was ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 23 October 2014

... People​ said things about Karl, but not often to his face. He might like the things or he might not, and that did not always depend on whether they were intended as compliments or the opposite. Personal remarks could be returned with interest, hot or cold. Whichever way, he remembered them with accuracy ...

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