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Tongues Wagged

Donald Rayfield, 20 February 1997

Dear Writer, Dear Actress: The Love Letters of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper 
selected, translated and edited by Jean Benedetti.
Methuen, 202 pp., £16.99, November 1996, 0 413 70580 3
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... emerges from the letters between her and Anton which have been chosen, translated and edited by Jean Benedetti, but can be even better inferred from the notes to the Collected Letters in Russian. It is beyond doubt that a benevolent conspiracy arose between Nemirovich-Danchenko and Stanislavsky to marry Knipper off to Chekhov and so secure his plays as ...

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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... the third Germany.’ He created memorable characters from among the companions who sustained him: Jean the ‘Pikolo’ of his Kommando; Lorenzo the mason who saved him with an extra daily portion of soup; Alberto his friend in a friendless place; Steinlauf who on his first day gave him the advice that saved his life; ‘Hurbinek’ the ...


Ian Penman: The Obsession with Charlie Parker, 23 January 2014

Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker 
by Gary Giddins.
Minnesota, revised edition, 195 pp., £15, October 2013, 978 0 8166 9041 1
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Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker 
by Stanley Crouch.
Harper, 365 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 06 200559 5
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Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker 
by Chuck Haddix.
Illinois, 188 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 252 03791 7
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... euphemistically ‘escorted’ out of a club by prim drummer Max Roach and adoring disciple Dean Benedetti; a terminally dishevelled Bird, but the grin is intact, if anything even wider than usual – it looks alarmingly like victory. Dean Benedetti, Charlie Parker and Max Roach leaving the Three Deuces (1948). Tommy ...

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