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I’m hip. I live in New York

Theo Tait: Leonard Michaels, 3 March 2016

Sylvia 
by Leonard Michaels.
Daunt Books, 131 pp., £9.99, June 2015, 978 1 907970 55 9
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... the New York Times, smokes and eats their food. A week later, on a hot day, he visits his friend Naomi Kane in an old tenement on MacDougal Street, which is thronged with ‘slow, turgid crowds of sightseers’ soaking up the new ‘apocalyptic atmosphere’ of Greenwich Village. In a squalid apartment, he meets Naomi’s ...

It’s slippery in here

Christopher Tayler: ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’, 21 September 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 
created by Mark Frost and David Lynch.
Showtime/Sky Atlantic, 18 episodes, 21 May 2017 to 3 September 2017
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... played by MacLachlan, to take his place in the otherworld on the real Cooper’s release. So the black-eyed, mahogany-tanned Evil Cooper got to carry on with his sinister activities, while the genuine item, near-catatonic, shuffled into Dougie’s place, where he stayed for the next 13 episodes. Meanwhile an FBI taskforce, headed by Cole, looked into some ...

Why do white people like what I write?

Pankaj Mishra: Ta-Nehisi Coates, 22 February 2018

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy 
by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 0 241 32523 0
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... of Independence had called ‘merciless Indian Savages’. ‘When this is all over,’ Cofer Black, Bush’s chief counterterrorist adviser, assured his boss, ‘the bad guys are going to have flies walking across their eyeballs.’ The mood was infectious among the personnel in charge of exterminating the brutes. The Atlantic’s Robert Kaplan ...

Diary

Elaine Showalter: At the Modern Language Association , 9 February 1995

... with ram’s horns on their head, was probably there for the football; a skinhead dressed in black with several earrings was probably an assistant professor; but at the convention centre security guards checked badges to make sure no civilians slipped into sessions on ‘Mayan Textual Practices’ or ‘Pierre Loti Today’. The MLA offers something for ...

Retro-Selfies

Iain Sinclair: Ferlinghetti, 17 December 2015

I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career: The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955–97 
edited by Bill Morgan.
City Lights, 284 pp., £11.83, July 2015, 978 0 87286 678 2
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Writing across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1960-2010 
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, edited by Giada Diano and Matthew Gleeson.
Liveright, 464 pp., £22.99, October 2015, 978 1 63149 001 9
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... virgin territory. The space had once been a community art venture called King Ubu, operated by the Black Mountain poet Robert Duncan and his collagist partner Jess Collins. Duncan, removing his clothes at the conclusion of his verse play Faust Foutu, in order to demonstrate the meaning of nakedness, anticipated by a decade or so the Ginsberg party trick that ...

The Divine Miss P.

Elaine Showalter, 11 February 1993

Sex, Art and American Culture 
by Camille Paglia.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, March 1993, 0 670 84612 0
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... Vanity Fair in full make-up and a bulging décolletage, her arms around the bare biceps of the two black bodyguards she calls ‘my centurions’. In the introduction to Sex, Art and American Culture, a bizarre grab-bag of book reviews, interviews, transcribed lectures, classroom notes and personal memorabilia, Paglia gleefully provides an annotated ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

Misbehaviour 
directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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Nightcleaners 
directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... archives held in London: the Feminist Library in Peckham, the Women’s Library at the LSE, the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton and the Sisterhood and After collection at the British Library, which holds taped and sometimes filmed interviews with Women’s Liberation Movement activists, each of them around six or seven hours long. But we all know what ...

I need money

Christian Lorentzen: Biden Tries Again, 10 September 2020

Yesterday’s Man: The Case against Joe Biden 
by Branko Marcetic.
Verso, 288 pp., £12.99, March 2020, 978 1 83976 028 0
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... Even when he was elected to the Senate at the age of thirty Biden hadn’t got into the black. In What It Takes (1992), a breathless work of campaign stenography, Richard Ben Cramer described the confession Biden made to his aides before deciding to run: ‘The debts – he went through his finances whole, the mortgages, the credit cards. He was ...

The Unstoppable Upward

James Wolcott: ‘The Life of Saul Bellow’, 24 January 2019

The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965-2005 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 864 pp., £35, November 2018, 978 0 224 10188 2
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... phone booths used as urinals, the entire city as a running sore – finds its locus in a soigné black pickpocket in a camel-hair coat who, as the pièce de résistance after isolating and robbing Sammler, forces the old man to look down as he exposes himself. Quite a production is made of the Unbuttoning, and the organ itself is prosed with an exotic plump ...

Madly Excited

John Bayley, 1 June 1989

The Life of Graham Greene. Vol. I: 1904-1939 
by Norman Sherry.
Cape, 783 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 224 02654 2
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... in many novelists today, particularly younger ones, who recognise the current literary value of a black world view but themselves possess cheerful, even sunny temperaments. They turn out The Good Companions in reverse, well aware that their escapist world will seem as convincing to today’s readers as Priestley’s did to subscribers in the Thirties. The ...

Cosmic Neutrality

Fredric Jameson: ‘Lucky Per’, 20 October 2011

Lucky Per 
by Henrik Pontoppidan, translated by Naomi Lebowitz.
Lang, 558 pp., £44, November 2010, 978 1 4331 1092 4
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... smoke billowed over it like mourning crêpe. The sky was covered with clouds and hung heavy and black over the horizon. Here and there was a rift in the clouds through which a few pale stars peeked down like angel eyes watching over the solemn journey of the corpse. Pontoppidan’s discovery, if we judge it to be that and do not reduce it to older ...

I am Prince Mishkin

Mark Ford, 23 April 1987

‘Howl’: Original Draft Facsimile 
by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Barry Miles.
Viking, 194 pp., £16.95, February 1987, 0 670 81599 3
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White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 89 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81598 5
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... called them. Mailer’s ‘The White Negro’, for instance, has a Faustian hipster jealous of the black man’s intenser and more frequent orgasms and scornful of the puritan virtues of self-containment: ‘A stench of fear has come out of every pore of American life, and we suffer from a a collective failure of nerve.’ Ginsberg and Kerouac, too, tended to ...

Babymania

Katha Pollitt, 21 March 1996

Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness 
by Elaine Tyler May.
Basic Books, 318 pp., $24, June 1995, 0 465 00609 4
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Mothers in Law: Feminist Theory and the Legal Regulation of Motherhood 
edited by Martha Albertson Fineman and Isabel Karpin.
Columbia, 398 pp., £12.95, June 1995, 9780231096812
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What about Us? An Open Letter to the Mothers Feminism Forgot 
by Maureen Freely.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £15.99, October 1995, 0 7475 2304 5
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Kidding Ourselves: Breadwinning, Babies and Bargaining Power 
by Rhona Mahony.
Basic Books, 277 pp., $23, June 1995, 0 465 08594 6
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... penalty last year after drowning her two small sons and claiming they’d been kidnapped by a black man; New York’s Awilda Lopez, whose alleged torture and murder of her six-year-old daughter Elisa Izquierdo became a holiday-season media spectacular. The current fixation on maternity has a long history. ‘We are a nation obsessed with ...

Doris and Me

Jenny Diski, 8 January 2015

... to supper, Alan Sillitoe and his wife, the poet Ruth Fainlight, Arnold Wesker and his wife Dusty. Naomi Mitchison. Ted Hughes, Christopher Logue (whose recording of poetry and jazz, Red Bird, I’d bought with my pocket money at St Christopher’s), Lindsay Anderson, Fenella Fielding. A Portuguese couple, described to me as ‘a poet in exile and his ...

Bourgeois Nightmares

Gilberto Perez: Michael Haneke, 6 December 2012

... affluent class that is more precisely observed in the Austrian than in the American version. And Naomi Watts and Tim Roth, two talented actors, render the wife and husband more sympathetic, more endearing, than they are in the Austrian version. Why should it be detrimental that the good guys are easier for us to identify with? Because our identification with ...

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