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The Shock of the Pretty

James Meek: Seventy Hours with Don Draper, 9 April 2015

... divorce and subsequent remarriage to Henry, looking after her and Don’s three children; Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), who rises from twenty-year-old secretary to executive in Don’s team, the first woman to do so since the war; Roger Sterling (John Slattery), the urbane old-money wit and rake who runs Accounts; Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), the ...

Dislocations

Stephen Fender, 19 January 1989

Landscape and Written Expression in Revolutionary America: The world turned upside down 
by Robert Lawson-Peebles.
Cambridge, 384 pp., £35, March 1988, 0 521 34647 9
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Mark Twain’s Letters. Vol. I: 1853-1866 
edited by Edgar Marquess Branch, Michael Frank and Kenneth Sanderson.
California, 616 pp., $35, May 1988, 0 520 03668 9
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A Writer’s America: Landscape in Literature 
by Alfred Kazin.
Thames and Hudson, 240 pp., £15.95, September 1988, 0 500 01424 8
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... analysis. The famous descriptions in Notes of the natural stone bridge over a branch of the James River, and of the passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge Mountains, establish the picturesque by means of cunningly juxtaposed evocations of the sublime and the beautiful. (The first of these terms, perhaps because American topography was supposed ...

The Coat in Question

Iain Sinclair: Margate, 20 March 2003

All the Devils Are Here 
by David Seabrook.
Granta, 192 pp., £7.99, March 2003, 9781862075597
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... as proposed by the geographer Carl Sauer (a great favourite of that poet of place Charles Olson). Sauer, like Seabrook, deals in awkward particulars, grit under the eyelid. Areal is what you finish up with when there’s no way out, economically, emotionally, spiritually – with Connex and Railtrack operating the only escape chute. With Quatermass ...

Call me Ahab

Jeremy Harding: Moby-Dick, 31 October 2002

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale 
by Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
Northwestern, 573 pp., £14.95, September 2001, 0 8101 1911 0
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Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live in 
by C.L.R. James.
New England, 245 pp., £17.95, July 2001, 9781584650942
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Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival 
by Clare Spark.
Kent State, 744 pp., £46.50, May 2001, 0 87338 674 4
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Lucchesi and the Whale 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Duke, 104 pp., £14.50, February 2001, 9780822326540
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... and moderate? Master and slave? Dictator and compliant intellectual? (This was how C.L.R. James saw them in Mariners, Renegades and Castaways, written during his detention on Ellis Island in 1952 and republished last year.) Or are they merely chalk and cheese? Would the debates of the 1930s and 1940s, which cast Ahab as a Hitler or a Stalin and ...

Vendlerising

John Kerrigan, 2 April 1987

The Faber Book of Contemporary American Poetry 
edited by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 440 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 13945 0
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Selected Poems 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 348 pp., £16.95, April 1986, 0 85635 666 2
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The Poetry Book Society Anthology 1986/87 
edited by Jonathan Barker.
Hutchinson, 94 pp., £4.95, November 1986, 0 09 165961 2
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Two Horse Wagon Going By 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 85635 661 1
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... Contemporary, and slanted into bias. Nothing in the objectivist or projective line is included. Olson is rejected, along with Dorn. A tradition of strong poetry, leading back through Stevens to Coleridge, Keats and Wordsworth is implied. Up to a point this will help the anthology appeal to English readers. It certainly makes a better Faber Book than its ...

Death (and Life) of the Author

Peter Wollen: Kathy Acker, 5 February 1998

... insistence on writing prose rather than poetry. Acker’s debt to Black Mountain – to Charles Olson, in particular, whose work she had known since she was still a schoolgirl – is quite clear and it is strange that this should have gone unrecognised, at least as she saw it, because she was not considered to be a poet. She adapted his concern with writing ...

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