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Killing Stripes

Christopher Turner: Suits, 1 June 2017

Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress 
by Anne Hollander.
Bloomsbury, reissue, 158 pp., £19.99, August 2016, 978 1 4742 5065 8
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The Suit: Form, Function and Style 
by Christopher Breward.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £18, May 2016, 978 1 78023 523 3
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... of an earlier age, seeing in such dress a confident symbol of masculine sexuality and pride? Anne Hollander, who died in 2014, was the Ernst Gombrich of fashion history and tackled this question head-on in a confident survey of the field first published in 1994. Her text is full of provocations, in particular the idea that women’s fashion has historically ...

American Manscapes

Richard Poirier, 12 October 1989

Manhood and the American Renaissance 
by David Leverenz.
Cornell, 372 pp., $35.75, April 1989, 0 8014 2281 7
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... the intricate and mysterious network of connections, the echoes and reflections by which, as John Hollander demonstrates in The Figure of Echo, works of literature are flexibly bound, despite all national boundaries, one to another. Such criticism then hopes to reconnect the works to a social-economic support system wherein, on new frequencies, a ...

Gravity’s Smoothest Dream

Matthew Bevis: A.R. Ammons, 7 March 2019

The Complete Poems 
by A.R. Ammons.
Norton, two vols, 2133 pp., £74, December 2017, 978 0 393 25489 1
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... Stevens’s Collected Poems came out in the mid-1950s. It was ‘a major imaginative event’, John Hollander said, and John Ashbery – in his first piece for the New York Review of Books – hailed Ammons as an ‘American original’. ‘I was born big and jaundiced (and ugly),’ Archie Randolph Ammons ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... designed and marketed male style from Playboy to Carnaby Street. Alistair O’Neill’s article on John Stephen, ‘The King of Carnaby Street’, for example, shows how Stephen successfully adapted a gay style to the mass heterosexual menswear market in the 1960s. Indeed, men’s clothing choices in general seem to produce a wider range of ambiguous ...

Just How It was

Anne Hollander: The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, 7 May 1998

Tête à Tête: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson 
edited by E.H. Gombrich.
Thames and Hudson, 144 pp., £32, February 1998, 9780500542187
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Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans 
edited by Jean Clair.
Thames and Hudson, 231 pp., £29.95, January 1998, 0 500 28052 5
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... air in tandem for emphasis (Louis Kahn, 1960) or touch fingertips together in front of the mouth (John Huston, 1946). They may clasp one another in a range of expressive moves that the face may sustain or deny – see ancient Ezra Pound (1971), grim Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie (1944), coy Leonor Fini (1933), and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor sitting ...

His Own Private Armenia

Anne Hollander: Arshile Gorky, 1 April 2004

Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work 
by Hayden Herrera.
Bloomsbury, 767 pp., £35, October 2003, 9780747566472
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Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective of Drawings 
edited by Janie Lee and Melvin Lader.
Abrams, 272 pp., £30, December 2003, 0 87427 135 5
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... were indigenous, not borrowed from the Old World. At the turn of the century, on the other hand, John Singer Sargent had been a transatlantically renowned American painter with avowedly European artistic roots. Gorky admired his work – he even claimed to possess one of Sargent’s brushes – and was eager to take on the mantle of this quite incidentally ...

Slicing and Mauling

Anne Hollander: The Art of War, 6 November 2003

From Criminal to Courtier: The Soldier in Netherlandish Art 1550-1672 
by David Kunzle.
Brill, 645 pp., £64, November 2002, 90 04 12369 5
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... separated from the southern Catholic Netherlands, still governed by Spain, first in the person of John of Austria. By the end of the century, the ever more numerous Dutch soldiers came to be quartered in northern towns and villages, and it was their prerogative to plunder the countryside. A squad under an officer might emerge from town to waylay a rich convoy ...

At the Café Central

Andrew Forge, 22 March 1990

First Diasporist Manifesto 
by R.B. Kitaj.
Thames and Hudson, 128 pp., £7.95, May 1989, 0 500 27543 2
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Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles, 1957-1987 
by John Ashbery, edited by David Bergman.
Carcanet, 417 pp., £25, February 1990, 9780856358074
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... equipped.                   I may be needing a new cover, signals Cupcake, John Hollander’s secret agent in his marvellous book-length poem Reflections on Espionage:                                      I worry Mostly, though, how having been made another Person might have enabled me to do ...

A Likely Story

Frank Kermode, 25 January 1996

Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 
by Michael Auping, John Elderfield and Susan Sontag, edited by Marla Price.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £28, October 1995, 0 500 09256 7
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Howard Hodgkin 
by Andrew Graham-Dixon.
Thames and Hudson, 192 pp., £24.95, October 1994, 0 500 27769 9
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... an oblique and unsolicited tribute. There is evidence of this persistent dialogue of the deaf in John Hollander’s excellent book, The Gazer’s Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art, a learned study of the tradition of ekphrasis – poetic description of paintings – illustrated by a ‘gallery’ of paintings and their tributary ...

Meg, Jo, Beth and Me

Elaine Showalter, 23 March 1995

Little Women 
directed by Gillian Armstrong.
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... mid-Atlantic accents instead of Alcott’s Yankee vernacular. Laurie’s grandfather is played by John Neville, and the scenes, whether meant for Concord, Boston or New York, have that interchangeable Merchant/Ivory, Masterpiece Theatre look. The Anglo-American effect isn’t totally off base. Both ‘Marmee’ and Louisa herself thought of the Alcott sisters ...

Ropes, Shirts or Dirty Socks

Adam Smyth: Paper, 15 June 2017

Paper: Paging through History 
by Mark Kurlansky.
Norton, 416 pp., £12.99, June 2017, 978 0 393 35370 9
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... In​ 1619, for a bet, John Taylor – prolific poet, proud Londoner, waterman, prankster, anti-pollution campaigner, barman, literary celebrity, palindrome enthusiast (‘Lewd did I live, & evil I did dwel’) – sailed forty miles down the Thames to Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey in a boat made from brown paper ...

Big Pod

Richard Poirier: How Podhoretz Dumped His Friends, 2 September 1999

by Norman Podhoretz.
Free Press, 256 pp., $25, February 1999, 0 684 85594 1
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... Ginsberg ever proved to be. There were, for example, the soon-to-be-distinguished poet and scholar John Hollander, the critic Steven Marcus, and Jason Epstein, destined to become a force in New York publishing. None of these was to figure in his career with the importance of Lionel Trilling. The two first met when, in his senior year, Podhoretz enrolled ...

Getting Ready to Exist

Adam Phillips, 17 July 1997

A Centenary Pessoa 
edited by Eugénio Lisboa and L.C. Taylor.
Carcanet, 335 pp., £25, May 1995, 9780856359361
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The Keeper of Sheep 
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Edwin Honig and Susan Brown.
Sheep Meadow, 135 pp., $12.95, September 1997, 1 878818 45 7
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The Book of Disquietude 
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Richard Zenith.
Carcanet, 323 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 301 7
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... As all the pundits so well collected in A Centenary Pessoa agree – Borges, Steiner, Josipovici, Hollander, Cyril Connolly, Roman Jakobson, Mark Strand – it is a compounding of Pessoa’s mystery that he has been anonymous for so long in Anglo-American culture. A canon that includes Pessoa seems infinitely less claustrophobic and bossy. There is, Pessoa ...

Don’t abandon me

Colm Tóibín: Borges and the Maids, 11 May 2006

Borges: A Life 
by Edwin Williamson.
Penguin, 416 pp., £9.99, August 2005, 0 14 024657 6
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... some of the best contemporary poets and translators such as Alastair Reid, Richard Wilbur and John Hollander. He also worked with Borges on translating his prose works into English, and coaxed him into producing new stories and a long autobiographical piece for the New Yorker. All of this is vividly described in The Lesson of the Master: On Borges ...

Karl Miller Remembered

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

... would be wielded in giving a description and character summary. For example, the first time Anne Hollander was mentioned, I asked who she was. Karl didn’t say: ‘She’s a distinguished historian of fashion.’ He said: ‘She’s a tremendous pedant and aesthete of the knicker.’ This was delivered as: ‘She’s a [level-one italics] tremendous pedant ...

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