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The End

Malcolm Bull, 11 March 1993

Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End? 
by Lutz Niethammer, translated by Patrick Camiller.
Verso, 176 pp., £19.95, January 1993, 0 86091 395 3
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When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture 
by Paul Boyer.
Harvard, 488 pp., £23.95, September 1992, 9780674951280
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... temporal series with the former’. The contradiction is neatly exemplified in the epigraph of Paul Boyer’s book by the hymn ‘When the Roll is Called up Yonder’: When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, And time shall be no more, And the morning breaks eternal bright and fair. If the end of time is unimaginable and the angel cannot bring ...

Into the Mental Basement

Thomas Nagel: Science and Religion, 19 August 2010

Natural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion 
by Barbara Herrnstein Smith.
Yale, 201 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 300 14034 7
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... known as scientism. Smith’s resistance is directed in detail against two anthropologists, Pascal Boyer and Scott Atran, whose analyses of religion are based on evolutionary psychology. Their approach, which she calls the ‘new naturalism’, holds that the operation of human minds can be understood largely through the identification of various subsystems or ...

Rising Moon

R.W. Johnson, 18 December 1986

L’Empire Moon 
by Jean-Francois Boyer.
La Découverte, 419 pp., August 1986, 2 7071 1604 1
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The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection 
by Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead.
Sheridan Square, 255 pp., $19.95, May 1986, 0 940380 07 2
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... Jean-François Boyer’s book on the Moonies is one of the most striking pieces of investigative writing that I have read for a long time. It tells the story of how Sun Myung Moon (his American name – real name, Young Myung Mun), from his origins as a North Korean peasant, has built a politico-religious empire with an annual revenue of over half a billion dollars (making it one of the world’s largest 50 private corporations ...

Make for the Boondocks

Tom Nairn: Hardt and Negri, 5 May 2005

Multitude 
by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 241 14240 7
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... the notion was transmitted via Hebraism to Christianity. In When Time Shall Be No More (1992), Paul Boyer gave a graphic account of how strong this belief remains among born-again Americans, and more recently still Anatol Lieven has underlined the rapport between such apocalyptic convictions and US political identity in America Right or Wrong ...
Northern Antiquity: The Post-Medieval Reception of Edda and Saga 
edited by Andrew Wawn.
Hisarlik, 342 pp., £35, October 1994, 1 874312 18 4
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Heritage and Prophecy: Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World 
edited by A.M. Allchin.
Canterbury, 330 pp., £25, January 1994, 9781853110856
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... The ‘Viking’ is one of the strongest images in contemporary popular culture. As Régis Boyer remarks in his essay in Northern Antiquity on the French reception of Old Norse literature, Vikings look out, under their now traditional horned helmets, from every herring tin in the supermarket, while a great part of the population of Normandy marks itself off from the Parisian riff-raff by putting little longship stickers on their cars ...

I’m a Surfer

Steven Shapin: What’s the Genome Worth?, 20 March 2008

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life 
by Craig Venter.
Allen Lane, 390 pp., £25, October 2007, 978 0 7139 9724 8
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... at a bar, in a conversation between Robert Swanson, a 29-year-old venture capitalist, and Herbert Boyer, a biochemist at the University of California, San Francisco. Working with the Stanford geneticist Stanley Cohen, Boyer had helped to develop some elegant recombinant DNA technologies which immediately suggested enormous ...

Look beyond the lips

Bee Wilson: Hedy Lamarr, 28 July 2011

Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film 
by Ruth Barton.
Kentucky, 281 pp., £25.95, May 2011, 978 0 8131 2604 3
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... beauty in evening gown and pearls who falls in love with the gangster Pépé, played by Charles Boyer. Both Boyer and the film’s makers worried that Hedy’s performance would hurt its chances. In the end, though, it didn’t matter ‘whether Hedy could act. The critics agreed with one voice that she could ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors, 3 January 2002

... of Now, Voyager, though I doubt that Aunty Myra ever had her Craven A lit by someone as refined as Paul Henreid, Australian lance-corporals more her line of thing. If not quite on the same footing as Davis or Crawford there were a whole string of tall, elegant ‘professional women’ who were stars in their own right: Alexis Smith, Rosalind Russell, Eve ...

Beat the carpets later!

Michael Wood: Proust’s Noisy Neighbours, 8 May 2014

Lettres à sa voisine 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Estelle Gaudry and Jean-Yves Tadié.
Gallimard, 86 pp., £11.40, October 2013, 978 2 07 014224 8
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... thirty pages to describe how he tosses and turns in his bed before falling asleep’ (Georges Boyer for Ollendorff ). As Tadié crisply says in his biography, Proust was not part of these people’s world, ‘and he doesn’t write like them, since he doesn’t write like anybody’. Proust published the book at his own expense with Grasset – the first ...

Living Death

T.J. Clark: Among the Sarcophagi, 7 January 2010

... essentially death-denying – is a topos. It crops up everywhere in the literature. The title of Paul Zanker and Björn Christian Ewald’s tremendous book on the Roman material – Mit Mythen leben (2004) – has the challenge to the present built into it, since ‘living with myth’ on the tomb reliefs, they believe, was above all a way for mourners to go ...

Desperately Seeking Susan

Terry Castle: Remembering Susan Sontag, 17 March 2005

... not heard of (though she assured me that ‘she had, of course, known the pianist’ – the late Paul Jacobs – ‘very well’); but I almost came a cropper when I confessed I had never listened to Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr Broucek. She gave me a surprised look, then explained, somewhat loftily, that I owed it to myself, as a ‘cultivated ...

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