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His Eggs

Tim Souster, 26 March 1992

Stockhausen: A Biography 
by Michael Kurtz, translated by Richard Toop.
Faber, 259 pp., £25, March 1992, 0 571 14323 7
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... Kontakte, Momente, Telemusik etc etc? The extent of KS’s achievements emerges clearly from Michael Kurtz’s biography which appears in an excellent translation by Richard Toop. Kurtz records meticulously the genesis of all KS’s works to date and gives details of his global concert-giving activity. We may not ...

Just one of those ends

Michael Wood: Apocalypse Regained, 13 December 2001

Apocalypse Now Redux 
directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
August 2001
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Marlon Brando 
by Patricia Bosworth.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £12.99, October 2001, 0 297 84284 6
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... The continuing American blindness to Vietnam itself, in this and many other instances, notably Michael Cimino’s film The Deer Hunter (1978), can be astonishing, but the myth also shows some genuine self-understanding. Apocalypse Now, in particular, is full of the sense that Americans exported whole chunks of their culture to Vietnam and discovered its ...

In Some Sense True

Tim Parks: Coetzee, 21 January 2016

The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy 
by J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz.
Harvill Secker, 198 pp., £16.99, May 2015, 978 1 84655 888 7
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J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face to Face with Time 
by David Attwell.
Oxford, 272 pp., £19.99, September 2015, 978 0 19 874633 1
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... frankly, of good and evil. This written debate between Coetzee and the psychologist Arabella Kurtz about the role of storytelling in psychoanalysis and, more generally, in the construction and consolidation of individual identity is largely a dialogue of the deaf. Or rather, one partner in the debate is deaf, or perhaps simply resistant, while the other ...

His Shoes

Michael Wood: Joan Didion, 5 January 2006

The Year of Magical Thinking 
by Joan Didion.
Fourth Estate, 227 pp., £12.99, October 2005, 9780007216840
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... a postscript’. She has in mind the afterthought, ‘scrawled . . . in an unsteady hand’, to Kurtz’s high-minded report to the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs: ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’ It says a lot about Didion’s own writing that she lights on a fictional proposition that is so laconic and so apparently unplanned ...

What does a chicken know of bombs?

David Thomson: A Key to Brando, 5 December 2019

The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando 
by William J. Mann.
HarperCollins, 718 pp., £22, November 2019, 978 0 06 242764 9
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... supporting actor, but he had delivered the central performance in modern American film. Pacino’s Michael makes a journey through the film (carried on in Part II) such as Brando never quite managed on screen. Vito is a peasant, if you like, but he’s immaculate, and in his own world. So it was that in pursuing eccentricity or solitude – wows and sighs ...

Zeitgeist Man

Jenny Diski: Dennis Hopper, 22 March 2012

Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel 
by Peter Winkler.
Robson, 376 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84954 165 7
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... close, but I suspect that’s more the result of moribund acting. There isn’t any doubt about Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (one of the few good films I wish I’d never seen): as blank and merciless a psychopath as I’ve ever come across in the movies. But no one has ever been as repeatedly and consistently sinister, morally ...

Textual Harassment

Claude Rawson, 5 April 1984

The World, the Text and the Critic 
by Edward Said.
Faber, 327 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 571 13264 2
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The Deconstructive Turn: Essays in the Rhetoric of Philosophy 
by Christopher Norris.
Methuen, 201 pp., £4.95, December 1983, 0 416 36140 4
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The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. VIII: The Present 
edited by Boris Ford.
Penguin, 619 pp., £3.50, October 1983, 0 14 022271 5
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... come up with the names of Hugh Kenner, Denis Donoghue, Geoffrey Hill, Robert M. Adams, Michael Foot, Norman Brown, J. Middleton Murry, George Orwell, André Breton, F.R. Leavis. Said’s overlooking of most (not all) of these might strike you as a shade provincial, but they aren’t much to his point, since what he really means is ‘the major ...


David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... chapters are centred on myths or archetypes – ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Faust’, ‘Mercury’, ‘Kurtz’, ‘Kublai Cain’, ‘Lord of Misrule’, ‘Sacred Beast’ – to suggest the themes under whose aspect Welles lived and worked. Everything is relevant here, and everything equally relevant: something that happened to the subject or something that ...

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