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Prada Queen

Elaine Showalter: Shopping, 10 August 2000

Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End 
by Erika Diane Rappaport.
Princeton, 323 pp., £21.95, January 2000, 0 691 04477 5
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... less privileged returned from a day’s shopping ‘famished and worn out’. One diarist, Ursula Bloom, recalled that when she was a girl, there were no public lavatories and even ‘fashionable ladies went for a day’s shopping with no hope of any relief for those faithful tides of nature until they returned home again.’ A working-class woman was told by ...

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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... our cultural insularity that it has taken so long for Pessoa’s work to become known. When Harold Bloom recently listed him among the 26 authors who comprise, for him, the fabled Western Canon, Time magazine implied that this was a symptom of Bloom’s pretentious interest in ‘academic obscurities’. It will certainly be ...

No one hates him more

Joshua Cohen: Franzen on Kraus, 7 November 2013

The Kraus Project 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Fourth Estate, 318 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 0 00 751743 5
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... his Fulbright trip to Germany; about his relationships with women, and with the spectres of Harold Bloom and Pynchon. He writes about envy, and how it encourages productivity, and how it limits productivity, and about the folly of the very notion of artistic productivity. He writes against blogs, yet allows a comparison between Die Fackel and blogs; he writes ...

The Tangible Page

Leah Price: Books as Things, 31 October 2002

The Book History Reader 
edited by David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery.
Routledge, 390 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 415 22658 9
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Making Meaning: ‘Printers of the Mind’ and Other Essays 
by D.F. McKenzie, edited by Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez.
Massachusetts, 296 pp., £20.95, June 2002, 1 55849 336 0
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... be a history of misreadings’ uncannily echoes the insistence of their successor at Yale, Harold Bloom, that criticism and poetry alike depend on ‘creative misunderstanding’. Yet given The Anxiety of Influence’s lofty indifference to the mechanics of bibliographical transmission, it’s characteristically mischievous for McKenzie to substitute for ...

Berenson’s Elixir

Simon Schama, 1 May 1980

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 477 pp., £9.50, June 1979, 0 674 06775 4
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Being Bernard Berenson 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 473 pp., £8.50, January 1980, 0 297 77564 2
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... pretended to at least one client (Henry Goldman in 1914) that it was in pristine condition. ‘The bloom of the ages remains as in a fresh flower,’ he said of that particular Fra Angelico. Nor was Berenson altogether the corrupted Faust to Duveen’s Mephistopheles. There were occasions when he actually complained, as to René Gimpel, that the dealer was not ...

A Strange Blight

Meehan Crist: Rachel Carson’s Forebodings, 6 June 2019

‘Silent Spring’ and Other Writings on the Environment 
by Rachel Carson, edited by Sandra Steingraber.
Library of America, 546 pp., £29.99, March 2018, 978 1 59853 560 0
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... farms, with fields of grain and hillsides of orchards, where, in spring, white clouds of bloom drifted above the green fields. In autumn, oak and maple and birch set up a blaze of colour that flamed and flickered across a backdrop of pines. Then foxes barked in the hills and deer silently crossed the fields, half hidden in the mists of the fall ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths, 28 January 2010

... Phone boxes have always been ‘obscene’. One of the accusations levelled against Leopold Bloom in the Nighttown episode of Ulysses is that he telephoned ‘unspeakable messages … mentally to Miss Dunn at an address in D’Olier Street while he presented himself indecently to the instrument in the callbox’. In Christopher Isherwood’s Mr Norris ...

Permission to narrate

Edward Said, 16 February 1984

Israel in Lebanon: The Report of the International Commission 
by Sean MacBride.
Ithaca, 282 pp., £4.50, March 1984, 0 903729 96 2
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Sabra et Chatila: Enquête sur un Massacre 
by Amnon Kapeliouk.
Seuil, 117 pp.
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Final Conflict: The War in the Lebanon 
by John Bulloch.
Century, 238 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 7126 0171 6
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Lebanon: The Fractured Country 
by David Gilmour.
Robertson, 209 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 85520 679 9
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The Tragedy of Lebanon: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventures and American Bunglers 
by Jonathan Randal.
Chatto, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1983, 0 7011 2755 4
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God cried 
by Tony Clifton and Catherine Leroy.
Quartet, 141 pp., £15, June 1983, 0 7043 2375 3
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Beirut: Frontline Story 
by Salim Nassib, Caroline Tisdall and Chris Steele-Perkins.
Pluto, 160 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 0 86104 397 9
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The Fateful Triangle: Israel, the United States and the Palestinians 
by Noam Chomsky.
Pluto, 481 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86104 741 9
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... settlements, Chomsky notes here: this is ‘what is called in technical terms “making the desert bloom” ’. There have been refugees before. There have been new states built on the ruins of old. The unique thing about this situation is Palestine’s unusual centrality, which privileges a Western master narrative, highlighting Jewish alienation and ...

Watching Me Watching Them Watching You

Andrew O’Hagan: Surveillance, 9 October 2003

... of the street I mentioned at the specified date and time. The trees are beginning to lose their bloom. People are eating in the restaurants. At 8.02 two girls come walking up Denman Street; one is wearing white jeans and a black denim jacket. The camera turns: there are crowds around the caricaturists outside the NatWest bank. At 8.05 a No. 38 bus passes on ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... which, fifty years or more after it was written, burns on the page. Pathological and homosexual. Jonathan Arac, who edited Matthiessen’s letters, wrote that ‘to create the centrally authoritative critical identity of American Renaissance, much had to be displaced, or scattered, or disavowed.’ Matthiessen was aware of this. In January 1930 he wrote to ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... To Cambridge, where I talk to students about my medical history. It’s part of a course run by Jonathan Silverman, director of communications at Addenbrooke’s and himself a Cambridgeshire GP. As so often when I’ve spoken in schools I find I’m of more interest to the staff than I am to the students, and I don’t do it very well, haltingly recounting ...

Karl Miller Remembered

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

... in my heart’ – we started making excursions with Seamus Heaney and a fellowship came into bloom. Karl felt he got a new wind on those trips; they brought together a lot of the things he cared about, poetry, friendship, the Celtic landscapes and incidents of a kind that test one’s character.Once, at a hotel in Dublin while Seamus was off trying to ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... image, such transitional songs already brush against a radiant skein of melancholy that would bloom in their later work.A grasp of what might be conjured through carefully stacked or mingled tones is what their producer, George Martin, gave them. Martin’s own sense of sonic possibility was honed through the bafflingly eclectic series of projects that ...

Peace without Empire

Perry Anderson, 2 December 2021

Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union 
by Stella Ghervas.
Harvard, 528 pp., £31.95, March, 978 0 674 97526 2
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... between the rival realms of Europe, an idea developed in England by Charles Davenant and Jonathan Swift; on the other, in the ideal of a federation of states to secure the peaceful unity of the continent, as proposed by the Abbé de Saint-Pierre in France. The first became canonical in the diplomatic chancelleries of the time. The second inspired ...

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